Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: Zepher Lee Dones/Burks

My mother Zepher Lee Dones/Burks born May 1924 in Marshall Texas to Richard Burks and Essie Dean Taylor. She and my father Theodore R Daviss married in Houston Texas by Rev. Moses Leonard Price at Greater Zion Baptist Church.

There are sooo many memories that I could share about my mother. I miss her terribly. I never could figure out how she would know things that I did until I had children of my own. (Mother's are like that you know).
I went to school across town and every day mom would give me two nickles to ride the trolley to and from school.
This one particular day I wanted some candy real bad, so I spent my fare. I started out walking and had to go through town to get to where we lived.
I walked past the courthouse and something told me to turn around a go up the stairs to the jail.
I sat down and proceeded to tell the sheriff that I had somehow lost my money and that if he could please spare a nickle so that I could get home. I told him that I would pay him back the next day.
When the sheriff asked my name I was smart enough not to give him my real name. He told me that he would be right back and left the room. I guess about 10 minutes passed and in walked my mother.
You talk about eyes that got as big as the moon! Well, those were mine. My mother sweetly smiled and said lets go home. All the time, I was wondering how in the heck did she find me.
I found out years later that because I took that walk from the school to town those were minutes that caused her to wonder why I had not arrived from school.
So she set out in our car to see if she could see me. As she was driving past she saw me go up the courthouse steps.
I am intentionally omitting what happened when we got home because when I think back,the pain in my rear end seems to re-appear along with those words about it hurting her more than me. Ha!!

My mother loved the heck out of her children, four boys and two girls. When we were little, each one of us had a hand to hold so that we could stay close, three on each side with mom in the middle. We sure felt warm,secure and loved.
People didn't believe that we were her kids because she looked so young herself.

I remember when the principal of the school that my younger sister and brothers went to, tried to fail all the black kids. The NAACP was called and also Edward Banks, the owner of the Arizona Tribune Newspaper.
They set up a meeting with the principal and several of the parents. The parents,and several members of the NAACP met at our house to go over the rules that they wanted everyone to abide by.
One thing they stated was to remain calm and let them do the most of the talking. During the meeting all the parents listened, some on edge. Mrs Worthum the principal said that she would not change her position and that negro kids were not as smart as the white ones. The next word that came out of her mouth was that they were a bunch of picaninnys. Thats when my mother struck!!
They had to pry my mothers hands from around Mrs Worthum's neck.
I don't know what happened after that but I do know that all the black kids were reinstated in school,and put back in their proper grades. Mrs Worthum remained the principal for some ungodly reason and my mom, well she was the neighborhood heroine

Mom was in a terrible car accident caused by a drunk driver who had been out celebrating his graduation from College and ran a red light. She was hit directly on the drivers side causing the car to spin and wrap around a railroad crossing pole.
The drivers side of the car was pushed in to the middle of the car, and the front of the car was pushed in to the seat. That's how bad the impact was. My mother was taken out of the car somehow. I was told that she was found under the dashboard on the passenger side.
I don't have to imagine who placed her there,I already know. The man upstairs had other plans for this fiesty mother of mine. And plans he had. He made it possible for her to see more grandchildren born, return to her hometown of
Marshall Texas and visit with her Aunt Carmena,and her uncles Shug,Bud and Leslie. Laugh and cry with her mother Essie, and play with her pride and joy a terrier she named Mister after the character in The Color Purple.

My mother passed away on December 4th 1994 in Phoenix Arizona. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her.
All my thoughts bring smiles and sometimes watery eyes. The kids and I bring up memories that have us laughing so hard.
Like the time I was wondering why she was wearing a scarf for so many days. I caught her with it off about a week later. Mom had cut all her hair off hoping it would come back in a curl so that she could put it in an afro.
She was in her room trying to use curl activator hoping that would make her hair nappy.

My Mother was a classy lady, GOD rest her soul. After she passed away, I picked up her Bible and found all of our pictures resting between the pages. There was also a letter asking GOD to take care of her children.


Anonymous said...

Very nice piece about your mother. I'm sure that you all made her laugh just as much as she made you laugh. Another thing that happens when you become a parent! LOL

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

Vicky what a beautiful story! I can see your mother in all of her wisdom and grace, and yes, I would loved to have seen her giving that principal a "lesson" as well.

Thank you for sharing this gem of a story!

Renate said...

Vicky, that was a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful post. As I read it, I laughed, I cried, and I remembered...

This is a wonderful tribute to your mother, and at the same time, a great reminder of "the way it was" for many of us, not too many years ago. Have you ever tried to locate those newspaper articles from your school days?

Thanks for sharing this with all of us. It was a great post.


Lisa Swanson Ellam said...

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful mother! Thanks for sharing.

Ms Vicky said...

Thank you so much!

Kathie said...

Lovely memoir about your mother. I am a Dones whose family is also from Marshall ( Pine Dexter andd Lucy Gray Dones). Is there a possible family connection? Kathie Dones-Carson

Ms Vicky said...

Hi Kathie,
thanks for visiting site. I may have spoken with you via email in the past. My grandmother was married to Warner Dones in 1922.

Feel free to "E" me at