The Life of Virginia Threadgoode
This blog is dedicated to the stories of my life.
Hello Friends of the Internet
My name is Virginia Threadgoode or Mrs. Threadgoode or just Ninny. I an 86 year old woman and I thought I'd give this blogging thing a try, I've got lots to tell. I was born and raised in Whistle Stop, Alabama (near Birmingham). I currently live at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home in Birmingham. Though I'd much rather be at home, it's rather boring here, not many of the other residence seem to know how to have fun.
I apologize if I'm not doing this right. This is the first time I've been on a computer so I barely know the first thing about blogging.
When you're this old and sitting in a boring home like this, you do a lot of remembering and reminiscing of the good old days, back in Whistle Stop when the train were still running. If I think hard enough I can almost be back in the Threadgoode house, listening to my old friend, Essie Rue pounding out 'Buffalo Gal, Won't You Come Out Tonight' or 'The Big Rock Candy Mountain' on the piano and Idgie Threadgoode sitting in a tree howling and whooping every time she would try to sing. I remember it all like it was only yesterday and it all makes me a little home sick.
I lived next to the Treadgoode's for as long as I can remember and when my parents died they took me in. Mr. and Mrs. Threadgoode treated me as one there own and I was as close as could be to their children, all nine of them, I even ended up marrying one their sons, they were all positively wonderful people.
Two of the most memorable Threadgoode's were Buddy and his younger sister Idgie. They were charming trouble makers, they always seemed to charm their way out of punishment no matter what. Buddy was a handsome boy, every girl in town adored him and I remember on me sixteenth birthday he stole a kiss, can you believe that, of course I was one of many. The only girl he ever considered marrying was Eva, course she wasn't one to settle down, a free spirit. Idgie was just as pretty but refused to wear a dress and kept her hair short, knees always scraped and dirty. They were partners in crime, up until Buddy was hit by a train, only 21, it was so horribly sad but Idgie hurt the most. She never really got over it, not even when she met Ruth.
Another Threadgoode was Leona, she was the oldest, the vainest and the prettiest, of course she married the richest too. Always worried about her looks, especially her hair, she stayed that way till she died. One time Idgie brought home a case of head lice and we all had to wash our hair with a mixture of kerosene, sulfer and lard, you would have thought Leona was being murdered by the way she screamed the whole way through.
I think I'm finally getting used to this whole blogging thing, it's such fun to share with you all!
The Threadgoode's had a colored maid that helped take care of us as children, a skinny little thing named Sipsey Peavey. She was superstitious, like most colored people are, she wouldn't cook anything until the head was buried in the back garden, said the spirit of the animal would make you crazy if you didn't, we got the biggest tomatoes and squash because of it though. One time, near thanksgiving, one of her colored friends came running in the backyard yelling that some one was giving away a baby down at the train station, Sipsey ran out of the house and down to the station in nothing but a thin dress. We never new the baby's name so Sipsey named it George and when he got older we started calling him Big George. He was 6'4'' and 250 pounds! Sipsey was always singing things about trains, like 'In the Baggage Car Ahead' or 'I'm Coming Home on the Morning Train', even wen she was cooking in Idgie and Ruth café. She worked well into eighties!
In the Baggage Coach Ahead (1926)
I can still remember when Ruth and Idgie opened their café, everyone was helping set up for the opening day. It was furnished with a bunch of old tables and chairs, you never new if they'd hold up or not. They'd open at daybreak and close at nightfall, Idgie would always say 'the last dog was hung' as she closed up. Idgie and Ruth would serve everybody, hobos, colored people, white people they were kind people. Idgie would even stand up to the KKK over it.
The other week when Evelyn came to visit me, she said she wanted to die! She's going through menopause, a rather bad case too. She has been worrying about her weight, I told her that she should be thankful for her curves so that when she gets to be my age she won't be all skin and bones and that you shouldn't dwell on sadness and sorrows, it'll make you sick, you see.
Remember Sipsey, the colored maid I wrote about a while ago, well I was thinking about her and her family to day. It's funny her son, Big George, was so black but married a lighter skinned woman named Onzell. When she had their twins one came out as black as Big George, blue gums and all, Artis they called him, but the other, Jasper came out light, like Onzell. Their third boy, Willie Boy was light too and their daughter, Naughty Bird was really dark.
She said that she is starting to get every thing sorted out now and she that feels much better this week.
When Evelyn came today I told her about Ruth, Idgie and their boy, Stump. Ruth came to live with us for a summer in 1924 and Idgie fell in love the minute she met her. Ruth was a sweet to the bone church girl and beautiful too. When she moved back home to get married in the fall Idgie was so heart broken she through a fit, yelled, carried on, broke things and after Ruth left she ran away. She apparently stayed down at the river with Eva but no one really knows. As it turns out, Ruth's husband was a horrible man, hurt her real bad more than once but she still stayed till 1928, when Idgie came and saved her. Idgie, Big George, Cleo, Julien, Wilbur and Billy drove down to Valdosta and got Ruth, leaving Frank Bennett, her horrible husband behind. A few months after she came back to Whistle Stop she had a boy nicknamed Stump after he lost his arm in a train accident. Ruth and Idgie raised him good, he was polite and only once felt sorry for himself, became a great football player and a better hunter. Ruth unfortunately died in 1947 to cancer, leaving poor Stump and Idgie.
One of the residence here, Vesta Adcock, has completely lost her mind. She talks on the telephone day and night so loud you can hear it through the walls. She doesn't even have a telephone at all! I'm just glad I still have my wits about these days.
Evelyn and I went for a delightful walk this passed afternoon, there where geese flying over. I love geese, well all fowl really. I remember I used to watch the birds every morning with my husband Cleo. He was such a lovely man, he was a chiropractor, you know. Cleo always treated me nice and we may have had our disagreements but I loved him and he loved me. Even when we found out I couldn't have children he stuck by me and when we finally got our little boy, Albert, but found out he had an issue with his head, Cleo still stayed. He was truly the man of my dreams. Oh how I miss him.
Oh, I remember one year when Big George and Onzell's daughter got really sick and refused to eat anything. They were so worried for her, we all were, and the only way Naughty Bird said she'd eat was if she got to meet the circus elephant, Miz Fancy. The problem was that the circus was for white people only and they'd be shot if they even tried to go in but one night Idgie went down and met Miz Fancy's trainer. She bet with him over poker and won, which meant he had to walk down from Birmingham with the elephant just so Naughty Bird could see her.
Does anyone know of Mr. Pinto? He was a famous murderer, he came to Whistle Stop in 1940 I believe (dead of course). It was one of the only celebrities Dot Weems ever got to wright about, she was the towns journalist. Stump and his friend at the time, now wife, Peggy, got some pictures! I wish I could show you but I seem to have miss placed them.
In 1955, Idgie and Big George were accused of killing Frank Bennett in 1928 and went to court for it, too. Idgie may have had a temper and threatened him over Ruth but she wouldn't have killed him, I don't think. Big George sure was scary looking but he was a nice, smart man, he wouldn't have killed him either. Apparently the trial was going bad but the pastor in Whistle Stop, Herbert Scroggins, came in with a bunch of hobos, all cleaned up and nice looking, they all testified. In the end Big George and Idgie got off the hook. Herbert and Idgie were well known to not like each other but Idgie bailed out his son from jail once, so despite their differences he paid her back.
I knew a hobo named Smokey Phillips or Smokey Lonesome, cause he always looked so lonely. He used to come round the café, Ruth and Idgie would feed him and he'd help out around the place. Smokey would leave for a few months but he'd always come back eventually. He was so polite, never stole a thing, just a nice fella in a bad spot. I wonder whatever happened to him?
As it turns out I was right, Evelyn was hired by Mary Kay. I knew she was pretty enough!
I'm sorry I haven't written lately, I moved back home and I don't have a computer. I am currently writing from the library back in Whistle Stop. It's good to be back home but I do miss Evelyn, she's gone down to California for a vacation, well deserved if you ask me.
This week my old friend Mrs. Otis passed away. I was at her funeral this morning, she was one of my last friends from my youth. I'm terribly sad but as I say, you can't dwell on sadness and sorrows. Any way life goes on.
With out the trains running anymore Whistle Stop is so quiet. Many of the people that lived here have either moved away or died. Anyway I haven't been feeling very well lately, I have that feeling you know. This may be the last time I wright to you so just incase, goodbye and it's been a good life. Now this may seem morbid but it's the truth so you just have to deal with it.