I’ve Had Enough of This!
My mother has told me the story several times of how we came to be in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am Annie McCray Williams. With my husband, Eugene, and family, I continue to live in Cincinnati today. I have always thought the story of how we came to live in Cincinnati was very interesting and I wanted to share it with the family.
When I was just a baby my mother, Beulah B. Hawkins McCray, came to Cincinnati to visit her sister, Annie Mae Hawkins Kirby. Aunt Annie Mae’s home was like the stopping ground for all the relatives who ventured north. You didn’t come this way without seeing Aunt Annie Mae. We visited for only a short while and then we ventured home to Leighton, Alabama.
Once at home I am not sure of what inspired or the rationale for what occurred next. My mother was to go out with me in tow. My father, Marvin McCray, told my mom to return home on a bus; and, whatever she does, do not come home in a cab. As life would have it, a thunderstorm with lightning developed as my mother waited for the bus. To protect us from the rain, my momma caught a cab. My father became very angry when we arrived. He slapped my mother and told her to get out! The only thing my mother managed to grab before she left was a silk bedspread. My mother went immediately to her mother, Mary Napier Hawkins, to get money for the trip north. Via train, we returned to Cincinnati to live with Aunt Annie Mae.
Some time had passed and the differences between Momma and Daddy were settled. Marvin came to live in Cincinnati and he and Momma were back together for a little while. However, Marvin was a country boy. He couldn’t take living in the city and left to return home to the South. My mom would eventually take sick and she couldn’t take care of herself and me both. Upon Momma’s request, Marvin picked me up and took me to live in Leighton.
I don’t know what illness my momma had but she recovered. She began to call and write my father for him to bring me home. She did this for a year and a half and for a year and a half Daddy refused. Finally, enough was enough. Momma caught the train to Leighton and went straight to Grandma Mary’s. There she met up with Aunt Alice who knew exactly where I was. Momma and Aunt Alice jumped in a cab and flew over to the house. There I was, sitting in my daddy’s sister’s lap on the porch. Momma and Aunt Alice ran up on the porch and snatched me out of Auntie’s lap. My daddy’s sisters were shocked when they tried to get me away from Momma. Momma pulled out a butcher knife as long as my arm! She swung it at’em every time they reached for me. She was just’a swinging! Momma said she didn’t put that knife down until the police made her put it down!
When the police arrived they tried to talk Momma down but she wouldn’t listen. Finally, the policeman stepped on Momma’s feet and it hurt so bad that she dropped the knife. Momma was blessed that day. I mean, really blessed! Not only did she not go to jail but also the police let Momma take me with her. Aunt Alice and Momma jumped in the cab and it was settled. And that’s how we ended up in Cincinnati!