Katherine Brant, And so...

Welcome to the life and times of Katherine Ione Brant, born June 7, 1909. These stories appear in no particular order; however, the first couple of stories will give a little background and information concerning the storyteller. From time to time, I will write information and stories about Miss Katherine from my perspective. Most of the stories are related to me and recorded by Miss Katherine. Hopefully, by the end of this year, there will be a book ready for publish. If you know Miss Katherine, have photos or stories to add to this collection, please send an e-mail with the information. Miss Katherine would love to hear some comments from you. Thanks and enjoy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Seven Year Itch

Did I ever tell you how I got the seven year itch? (giggle, giggle) The doctor lived right across the street from us. He and I were good friends. I used to drive him and his wife to Charleston once in a while. They had to go down there to get drugs from the drug house because we didn’t have a drug store at that time in Yemassee. He said that he and his wife would go to sleep if they drove down by themselves. We always went to a big seafood place to eat and they always had what they called soft shell crab.
Well, Dr Rivers was just like a member of my family and I would run over to him every time I thought I had an ailment.

I had been having some dates with a young man who was a surveyor and he was out there surveying the country for the power company, South Carolina Power Company, to come through. He, and the other men, members of the crew, were boarding there with Mama. He asked me for some dates. Well, he would take me and some other girls to a place not far from us, to a swimming pool and we would go swimming, or maybe sometimes go to a movie.

And so, he had a beautiful Citadel ring he got when he graduated from the Citadel in Charleston. He asked me if I would like to wear it. Well, you know I said, “Yes, I would.” I had to wrap it, oh, I don’t know how many times with twine so it would fit. And I was wearing his ring. Then, I started to itch.

You remember Leonie, the barber, well, this boy went to him to get a haircut and maybe a shave, I really don’t remember. Leonie heard him say, “You know, I did something I shouldn’t have done when I was going to college. I was out on the street one night and I felt like I’d like to have some sex. And I saw this girl and I asked her and she said, ‘Yea, come on and go home with me.’ {She was one of those kinds of girl}(Miss K.’s side remark). He said, “After that, I felt like I had caught something from her. Sure enough, I went to the doctor and he said, ’You’ve got gonorrhea.’ I said, “Well treat me. So the doctor treated me several times and finally told me, ‘I think you are well now. I think I got you better.’ And so, he said I didn’t think I had it, but now, that I’m out here I felt like I might be getting it again.”

Well, Leonie heard him say that in the shop. So he came home and told me, “I don’t want you going out with that fella any more. 'Cause I’m going to tell you what I heard. And so, he told me what he heard in the barber shop that day. And so help me, the next afternoon, I was itching under that ring on my finger. I mean really itching. I said “I’ve got gonorrhea!” And so, I ran over to Dr. Rivers and I said, “Dr. Rivers, I’ve got gonorrhea.” He said, “My Lord, what have you been doing?” I said, “Nothing.” He said, “Well you had to do something. What did you do? Who you been going with?” I told him. I had taken the ring off and carried it over there to show it to him. He said “You don’t get gonorrhea that way.” I said, “I heard if you sat on the toilet after somebody that had it, you could get it, too.” He said, “You can’t get it that way. You only get it one way.” And he told me how. And I said, “I sure haven’t done anything like that!” He said, “Well, tell me what you have done with him.” I said, “Well, we went swimming, and we danced up on the pavilion.” “Well, what else have you done?” I said, “He has kissed me, but that's the only thing.” He said “You had to do something else.” “I don’t know what the something else was, but I knew I hadn’t done it.”

He checked me then and he said “You’ve got the seven year itch.” I said, “Did I get that from the ring?” He said, “No, I don’t know how you got it, but that’s what you’ve got.” He gave me a jar, a nice size jar, of a black looking ointment. He said, “You had to get it from somebody, who have you slept with?” I said,”My niece and I slept together one night.” He said, “Well, find out if she is itching. If she’s itching, she’s got it too.”

And so, I went home and found her and I said, “Are you itching?” She said, “Yea, I am.” And so, I told her, “You got the seven year itch, too. Dr. Rivers said I did and he wanted to know how I got it.” She had spent the night with some girls that came up from Savannah and they lived across the street from us. The Williams family, and I said, “That’s where you got the itch from.” We found out they had the itch, too. Several of the girls at the school had the itch.

Well, Dr. Rivers said, “You and your niece put this cream all over your bodies tonight when you go to bed and you put on a gown and in the morning when you get up both of you get in the tub and give yourself a good bath. Put the sheets off that bed in the laundry and the gowns you worn that night, put them in the laundry. You don’t put on anything, but something fresh. You do that and you won’t have the itches anymore.

And so, that’s what we did and I haven’t had the itches since. But sometimes when I get itchy, I think, “Well, I guess I have the seven year itch.” But, I’ve never had it again, I don’t think.. Oh, that was something else.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Friends are like the chocolate chips in cookies. Friends carry us through the day because we can always pull up in our memory bank a pleasant moment, a good laugh, a smile, a hug, fun times, sad times, and times of endearment. Miss Katherine has been blessed beyond measure with good friends. In order to have a good friend, you must be a good friend. You cannot just hang on to a few childhood friends and not continually make new ones.

Miss Katherine, soon to be 101 years old, has out-lived most of her childhood friends and family. God has blessed her with so many new friends who love and care for her. We will discuss many of her friends as we go along. I do want to tell you about her friend “Carolyn from Savannah”.  For the past three years, I have talked with “Carolyn from Savannah” on the phone. The only face I had to put with the voice was a photo taken maybe thirty five or forty years ago. “Carolyn from Savannah” called last week to tell us that she was coming to Jacksonville for a visit. Miss Katherine was so excited she could hardly sleep the night before she came. It was a dear sweet time for two long-time friends to get together. They talked about everybody from Yemassee, SC to Early Branch, SC.

Carolyn was from Early Branch and Miss Katherine was from Yemassee, two small towns about 6 miles apart.. They sounded like little school girls, giggling, recollecting and sharing family news. You can span many years within a few hours. I have talked on the phone with Carolyn for three years and it was so nice to finally put a face to the name and her sweet southern accented voice. (Of course, people say I have an accent, but I don’t think I do.)

From what I understand, Carolyn is a talented pianist and she must be able to sing a little bit because they let her sing in the choir at Skidaway Island Baptist Church in Savannah. Carolyn is the perfect picture of a ‘southern lady’, with all the grace, charm and smile that I’m sure would set Rhett Butler’s heart spinning. (Of course, that is Rhett Butler [Clark Gable] from Gone with the Wind.) Carolyn is also a good cook. She brought Miss Katherine a delicious homemade pound cake. Yum, Yum! I had to sample the cake to make sure it was OK for Miss Katherine, a cup bearer’s job does have its benefits. When it was time for “Carolyn from Savannah” to leave, they would not tell each other “good-bye”. They would only hug and say, “I’ll see you later”.

As I said earlier, Miss Katherine is blessed with many loving, caring friends. Friends think they are ministering, helping and blessing her, but they always leave her feeling more blessed than when they came. Now, you may be sitting back and thinking, “What kind of ’things’ are people doing?” Please don’t call me Forrest Gump, but here goes a list: send a card, call on the phone, mow the grass, bake cookies (she only needs a couple), come to visit, pray with her, pray for her, come sing to her (it doesn’t matter if you are a bit off key, her hearing is a bit off key as well), house repairs, painting, grocery shopping, bring her home cooked meals, balloons, flowers, plants, help with house chores, help with yard chores, remember her on holidays, invite her out to lunch when she is feeling good, listen to her talk as she tells her stories, smile gently and listen intently, even though, this is the tenth time you have heard the same story, tell her how nice she looks, bring her ice cream (don’t forget the cup bearer), bring her CD’s or cassette tapes, bring children to visit with her, bring your grandmother to visit with her, bring someone who can play the organ and sing for her, give her a manicure, a pedicure, talk about the 'good old days', let her know you love her.  I could go on and on with this list, but I think you get the general idea.

You are  probably saying, Wow!, I don't have time for all this.  It doesn't take but a few minutes of your time.  In fact, when you come for a visit, don't stay too long.  Short, sweet visits are better than long, tiring visits. This list is not just for Miss Katherine.  It is for anyone who is elderly, sick or disabled and not able to get out much, someone who is lonely, or recently widowed.  Look around you, it could be your neighbor or one day, it could be you.