Mary Elizabeth and Freddie Reminisce
(Taken from Robinson girls’ tape)
Til is 13 months older. Freddie always says that.
When we played Freddie always wanted to be Maggie from the comic strip “Maggie & Jiggs.” Til pretended to be Tillie the Toiler.
Mama kept Mary Elizabeth out of school for one year so she and Freddie could go together. We were always in the same class. We always slept in the same bed.
Freddie finished college in one year; Mary E. finished in three weeks.
We started first grade in Greensboro. We often sang at the fire department for their Sunday School class. That Christmas the firemen gave us each a doll.
In second grade we lived in Hampton, Va. We rode the ferry every Sunday to Newport News where we had our own radio program with fan mail and all. Our theme song was “Into My Heart.”
By third grade we were living in Mooresboro and went to Cliffside School. At recess time as well as at many of the chapel programs we would entertain the other children. Some of the funny songs we sang were “Bingo,” “The Billy Goat,” and “A Hungry Dog.”
Often we would sing trios with our mother, Era. Mama would sit on a chair with us girls [standing] on either side. The reason was so we would be closer to the same height.
All during our childhood we girls were busy singing. Every second Sunday night we would go to Race Path church. We would ride in the cooter shell of Uncle Jim’s old T- Model to go sing. Once we went to the Poor House and mistakenly sang “I’m Just As Rich As You.”
Both girls played the piano. Mary Elizabeth played by ear (she played on the black notes). Freddie read music (she played on the white notes).
At Christmas time Uncle Bronner would dress up in a Santa suit and drive us to Cliffside in his Hoover car. There we would sing Christmas carols. One time we drove down to White Line, the colored section of town. Til got out of the car to do the Charleston, but soon found out that they could out-dance her.
At home when the family would get ready for bed, we would sit on the back steps and wash our feet in a washtub. Then we would all climb into bed and Daddy or Mama would blow out the kerosene lamp. Daddy would call out from their bedroom to ours and say, “Ready kids?” Lying there we would all sing in harmony, “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep,” adding an Amen and good-night.
Daddy and Mama were good parents and both were good singers. Daddy could sing tenor or bass. Often Daddy would say, “Now sing Daddy’s song.” We would all sit around the fireplace in the kitchen and sing, “Dear Old Daddy.”
Mary Elizabeth and Freddie graduated from Cliffside High in 1940. Grandma Hollady, Uncle Edward and Aunt Hazel came for the occasion. Our happiest memory of graduation was a gift of a suitcase for each of us with a note telling us to pack our bag. We were going to Washington, D.C. for a two-week visit with Uncle Edward and Aunt Hazel. During the visit we enjoyed seeing all the sights and visiting such an important city. They sent us home by train.