Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Back in the . . .


129597992513478451 That pretty little girl on the far right of this picture is my mama. (Back in the day.) Her oldest two siblings aren’t in this picture. (Yep, that’s 7 kiddos and yes, it was the Great Depression, although I don’t know what was great about it.)

Just to the left of Mom is her sister Carol. The other even smaller boy is Uncle Robert. Those two are Mom’s only living siblings.

The big boy is Uncle Joe and the biggest girl is Aunt Virginia. It hurts my heart when I think about the family that’s gone on, but I love the stories the pictures bring back. Now look at Mama again. mom See how pretty and neat and girlie my mama looks with her feet together and her little puff sleeves puffed and her hair not blowing wild around her head? When I see that picture, I wonder if Mama despaired when she watched me grow up.

I hate to tell you how I looked at that age. *sigh* In most pictures (when I wasn’t heading to church or having a professional picture made) my hair is falling out of a ragged ponytail and the bows and ties on my dresses (if mama talked me into a dress that day) are all dragging behind me, because I didn’t sit and play little girl games. I ran and jumped and fought and played and had a good time!

Mama said Grandma kept her hair short and “shingled up the back” (I think that’s stacked, but I’m not sure) to make it easier to take care of. mom's-hair Mama didn’t like that pixie cut (that’s what we called it) so she kept mine long. We spent a while every night (or the next morning if I crashed too early) trying to comb out the snarls, tangles and cockle burrs. 🙂

With six sibs, I have a feeling if Mama got cockle burrs in her hair, she had to comb them out herself.

Now look at this.


Those are Mama’s feet. Her socks are sagging, her shoes need polishing or the dust washed off (and they might not match each other) and her knees and legs have a few scabs on them. 🙂

Hm. Maybe Mama and I were more alike than I thought. Maybe she liked to run and play and jump and fight and have fun, too.

Maybe, if I’d known Mom when we were both children, we’d have been really good friends. I like to think so, anyway. 😛


Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

5 thoughts on “Back in the . . .

  1. Susan, I loved scanning your site. My husband, Joe Moore’s Uncle Henry married your mother’s Aunt Letha. I always thought Mary Sue looked like Aunt Letha. We enjoyed seeing Aunt Letha’s family and the likeness of your mother and and Aunt Letha was very apparent in the picture.

    We are Joel’s parents…he’s married to Stacy Spess Moore…of course, making us grandparents of Tyler, Jake and Max.

    Your Aunt Phyllis and I were best friends. I treasure a beautiful music box that she gave me. I also knew your mother, Grandmother Ruby and sister, Amy.

    God bless you as you pursue your writing career. We are very proud of you.

    Blessings in the new year.
    Ann Privett Moore

    • Oh, my stars! How wonderful to meet you, Ann!
      You and I are nearly related two different ways! You’ve just proved once again that it is indeed a SMALL TOWN WORLD!
      And I LOVE Stacy and Joel’s kiddos. They are such sweeties.
      You know what’s funny? I open my mouth sometimes and hear Aunt Phyllis talking. I’m so surprised when I do that. LOL.
      Uncle Henry was one of my favorite people ever. He gave me my first dog, Mike. I think I shared his picture here once, too, fighting a coyote.
      Thank you so much for saying hi! I’m just thrilled!!!

      • I didn’t realize Mary Sue’s family was that large. That’s different, she had a sister named Carol and a husband named Carol! Did any of you ever ask Aunt Ruby or Ray why they named a boy Carol? I know that has been confusing in his life. Of course many names, especially now are used for both genders but I think I know only one male named Carol. The only other Reeves I knew was handsome Joe. For some reason I can’t think of his wife’s name. I may have known Carol a little, was she like a little older than our Joyce who is now 80 years? You could tell Joe and Mary Sue were kin. In the second picture it looks like your Mom had either been working hard or playing hard…like with several kids like we did when we were young. I can just hear her Mom saying, “I never will get those socks clean!” Happy New Year to ALL you Spess clan.

        • I meant to say knees clean, her socks don’t look dirty even for some reason!

        • Yep. Seven kiddos in the Reeves clan. 🙂
          Grandmother named Dad after King Carol of Rumania. I’ve known a few men named Carol, but often they spell their name with two R’s.
          Uncle Joe’s wife is Louise. She was one of mama’s really close friends. (If I remember right, Mama claimed she got them together.)
          Isn’t it funny, Mama’s dress looks as if it was just starched and ironed and her socks are clean.
          I don’t know the circumstances behind this picture. Someone gave me a copy of it a few years ago. Cindy, I think.
          Anyway, I love it. 🙂
          Thanks for coming by!

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