- Emma: In Her Own Words — The Background & The Beginning
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Childhood
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Employment
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Elopement & Early Marriage
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Work & Travel
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Bits & Pieces
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Papa
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Grandparents & Relatives
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Mama
- Emma: In Her Own Words — The Flood
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Teaching
- Emma: In Her Own Words — The End
Transcription of my grandmother’s notebook. See Part 1 in the series for a full explanation. Some text is omitted to protect the privacy of living family members.
“I had lived in my house 52 years and the water had never been in my house. But in Apr. 1977 6 ins. rain fell very fast and the river raised very fast. We left and went to the Church. Spent night on floor. I took quilts, pillows & food and water. The water got in our house 38 ins. I had surgery in Jan. and wasn’t very strong. So Fay sent after me and I went down there and stayed 2 wks. When I got back the mud was cleaned out and we moved back in about 6 wks. We lived in a mobile home till our house was dried out. We lost about everything we had. I didn’t worry over any of it but I hated to lose my books and papers. So many things I had written. A blue back speller, my old school books, my speeches I had made over the years, a box of clippings of events I and the children & grandchildren had been in. These were things I couldn’t buy back. It was a terrible tragedy.
Well we have had our house raised 7 ft off the ground. We are really in orbit and need a helicopter to get in and out. Carpenter made us some temporary steps this morning but we don’t have water turned on yet.1
Cinda Saylor and I used to get a taxi and to to Harlan with our babies and stay about all day.2 We would eat in a restaurant, let the babies nurse and change them. We would tell the taxi driver not to drive fast. We has some good times raising our children. We would go stay all day with each other and fix big dinners.
It was the custom to put a little sac of asafoetida around the neck to keep off diseases. After I got in H.S. the kids wold tease me and the room would smell of it. I would be so embarrassed.
We wore long underwear and high top shoes. We slept in the longies, too. Took a bath in a wash tub behind a red hot heating stove.3
- We’ve never known exactly when Mamaw wrote all of this, but it’s apparent she was writing this particular section in the aftermath of the flood. Makes me wonder if the loss of all those papers was what pushed her to begin writing her story and she wrote all of it during that time while she was waiting to get back into her house. ↩
- Cinda and Elmer were first cousins. ↩
- Emma Ewers Taylor Hopkins, “Journal,” 1974–1978, Loyall, Harlan County, Kentucky; privately held by Faye Hopkins McCauley, Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, 1978. Spiral notebook in which Emma wrote about her life, in possession of Faye (Emma’s youngest daughter) since her death in 1978. ↩