|Lillian Johnson Womack|
Photo Credit: Antoinette Harrell
I was extremely excited and seized the opportunity to talk with a living history book. Mrs. Lilian was born to Thomas and Carrie Johnson in 1928 in St. Helena, Louisiana. She was one of sixteen children. Some of siblings are Willie, Isaac Jessie, Walter, Rebecca, Thomas, Irene, Iretha, and Rose, these are the children who was listed on the 1940 U.S. Census.
Having someone to talk about people who were born in the early nineteen hundreds and the late eighteen hundreds was just what I needed. She gave me the names of two midwives that she could recall, two ladies by the name of Annie Sims and her grandmother Fannie Johnson who was part Indian and mulatto. She said that she didn't know Fannie maiden name because she was brought as a slave to someone plantation.
|What Not Tree " Crab Apple and Pear"|
As the conversation continued we end up talking about canning pears and how the "what not tree" in her back yard is a cross between the grab apple and pear seed. I was happy to see the peach tree in her backyard blooming with peaches. Mrs. Womack is just a kind and sweet lady. She and I are making plans going to go to the cemetery at Veneable Chapel.
She and her son Kerry told me about the plant that is called the wild onion plant. I tasted the plant and it tasted like black pepper and onion. If anyone know how to live off the land it is Mrs. Lillian. Everything they ate they grew. I asked her if any of the younger people talked with her about her early years growing up without the amenities that we have today. She said, " they don't want to know about that kind of stuff."
I only wish that more people would take interest in their family history. There is so much to learn and the rewards are great. Its nothing like sitting and talking with the elders to gain knowledge. They are waiting for us if only we take the time and talk with them. Especially if we are talking about people who they lived with and may have passed on. It helps their memory when we talk with about the times they came up in and the people who must of us are reading about on the census and other sources.