Mary Evelyn Wallace, Mama Teasie, was born in the year 1906 in a little town at the foot of the Appalachian mountains called Rutherfordton, North Carolina. By 1930 she was married to Frank Dewey Monteith and had a 2 year old little girl (my grandmother). At some point before my grandmother was born they moved in with Pa’s parents and sister just down the road in Gilkey, North Carolina.
This is Pa with my grandmother – their first born.
Gilkey is not much more than a dot on the map and their claim to fame is a lumber mill and a gas station – nothing else. In fact, if you blink, you would never know it existed. The nearest town is Rutherfordton, which is only about 10 minutes away by car, so that is where they went for anything they needed.
Pa (my great grandfather) and his father built the family home on top of a hill in Gilkey, but they made certain that the ladies (Mama Teasie, her sister-in-law and mother-in-law) had everything they could possibly need to provide for their growing family. They had a canning house, a well house, an outhouse (with 2 sized holes), a barn, a wood shed, a smoke house, a chicken house, and a tractor barn (which was later used more as a garage). They had gardens, fruit trees, hunting land, timber land, and Aunt Lexie (Mama Teasie’s sister-in-law) even had a gorgeous flower garden chock-full of tulips.
She and Pa had 4 children, 5 grand-children, 7 great grandchildren (my generation) and now there are 9 great great grandchildren and 1 great great great grandchild (I think I got everyone in there).
Pa (Frank) is sitting down with my Uncle Bill in his lap. From left to right behind them is my Aunt Sue, Uncle Bud, Mama Teasie, and Grandma Kent.
Pa passed away in the early 70’s and I never got the chance to know him, but Mama Teasie was alive until 1984 (at the age of 78) and was VERY MUCH a part of my life. This is one of the only pictures I have of myself with her. I remember her in the kitchen cooking with an apron on or sitting out under the tree in the shade (like this picture) with a glass of tea… Mama wasn’t the type of person to pose for photos – she was the one enjoying life, taking care of her family and taking pictures of us.
I know I’ve said it before, but the thing I remember most about Mama is the fabulous food she served. I’ve been looking around and I can’t seem to find any of her recipes, but I don’t think she actually USED recipes very often – other than to tell someone else how to make something. I feel like she was born knowing how to cook and she just cooked from instinct – she didn’t use recipes or try new things from magazines and books. She didn’t use shortcuts or frozen/boxed meals.
She just COOKED!