My Memories of Aunt Sealy
By Ruby Crabbe

(Used by permission from the Old Huntsville Magazine.)

The first time I saw Aunt Sealy, I had no way of knowing the joy and happiness that short plump woman would bring into my life.

Aunt Sealy was a black woman who earned her living by washing and ironing for people in Dallas Village. She also did work for a few families in Lincoln Village. No matter how hot the sun, or how cold the day, Aunt Sealy toiled long and hard, bent over a washboard in someone's back yard. Every time you saw her you would see the little cloth sack and walking stick she carried everywhere she went. At the end of a hard day she was never too tired to stop and say a few kind words to everyone she met. To say Aunt Sealy was a permanent fixture in Dallas Village would be putting it mildly, she was a permanent fixture in the hearts of all those folks who were fortunate enough to know her.

I remember the early mornings when the kids would gather together to see who would be the first one to see Aunt Sealy coming down the street. We would all run to meet her and by the time she got to where she was going half the kids in Dallas Village would be behind her. All the children loved Aunt Sealy and she dearly loved all the children.

Mama had to be on her job at the Dallas Textile mill every morning by 6 o'clock. Bless Aunt Sealy, she got to where she would come to our house every morning to "help" Mama get us kids up and ready for school. Mama didn't ask her for her help because she knew she couldn't pay her on the meager salary she made.

Aunt Sealy cooked our breakfast every morning and the only pay she asked was the food she ate from our table.

Then came the night my family and I will never forget. It was the last time we ever saw our beloved friend, Aunt Sealy. That night will stay etched in my memory as long as God grants me the privilege of life.

On this cold, wintry night the ground lay hidden under a blanket of snow, and the still falling snow promised another foot or two before morning. And everywhere the air was filled with our enemy - the North wind. At around 11 o-clock that night someone knocked frantically at our back door and with every knock could be heard someone crying loudly. When Mama opened the door there stood Aunt Sealy, almost frozen to death. She was shaking and crying so hard her words were hard to understand. When she was finally able to speak she told us that some boys had torn her house completely down. You see, Aunt Sealy lived in a tent beside the railroad tracks. Her tent was located between Beirne Avenue and the Dallas Mill. That little place had been her home for many years. Se told us she had no place to go, on that night so many years ago.

Mama assured her she did nave a place to stay, and that place was with us. She told us to just fix her a pallet in a warm place, behind our cook stove. We fired that old cook stove up for all it was worth, and it wasn't long until Aunt Sealy had a nice warm place to sleep.

Next morning Aunt Sealy was gone. When our household woke up we found the pallet quilts neatly folded but no Aunt Sealy. We hunted for days and days but no one seemed to know where she was. She had just simply vanished. After all these many years I still wonder what happened to her. I know it is impossible to do, but I wish I could reach back to the morning she left us just to tell her how much we all loved her.

She was our beloved Aunt Sealy.


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