Friday, December 11, 2015

Memories of Being at my Grandmother's Home

The appearance of the Home as of 2013 [In Bad Condition]
This is a picture of the my grandmother's former home (Google maps photo), in horrible shape. The appearance of the home never looked like this when my grandmother lived here. The google maps photo is from 2011, they don't appear to have a more recent one. I have passed by the home recently and quite a few things have been fixed since this photo was taken.

My late grandmother, Shirley Pipkins, lived on 3403 Erastus Street, located in the Historic 5th ward community of Houston, Texas. My siblings, cousins, and I have so many wonderful and fun memories of being together at this home. Grandma Shirley would babysit us while our parents were at work. Her home was surrounded or fenced by a metal gate and she had burglar bars on every window. When you walk in the house you would first see her living room, the dining room, and then the kitchen {which was next to the dining room}. Grandma would feed us breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner depending on how long we were at the house that day. For breakfast we usually had a choice of stove top oatmeal, malt-o-meal, or cream of wheat with a side of toast, and pan sausage or bacon {occasionally we would have cereal: Raisin Bran or Corn Flakes}. At Lunch time we had spaghetti, chicken, cabbage, macaroni and cheese, and various other foods and our choices for our drinks were either milk or apple juice. You could NOT leave the table until you finished everything on your plate {some of us would still be seated at the table for hours and end up falling asleep until our parents arrived to pick us up}.

 My grandmother was a strict disciplinarian and would discipline us using a switch, extension chord, belt, or making us go to time out.  As children we were to "stay in a child's place", you could not be around when the adults were talking and your response should always be "Yes Ma'am/Sir" or "No Ma'am/Sir" to adults. 

The grand kids would often play in back room of the home making sock doughnuts, tents & forts, playing video games, making fart noises or bothering our Uncle Jermaine {our parent's younger brother who was still living with my grandmother at the time}. 

Me, my siblings, and cousins at my grandmother's house on Easter
Sunday 1993 or '94

Grandma would watched various shows throughout the day such as the "Phil Donahue Show", "Sally Jessy Raphael Talk Show", and at eleven her favorite soap "The Young and the Restless". By Two or Three O'Clock we could watch our favorite children's show that were on at the time, such as the Fox Kids Block: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Eek the Cat, Power Rangers and other shows.

 The grandchildren were allowed to play outside, but only in front of the house where she could see you {She would usually be seated on the sofa talking on the telephone to her brother Robert Lee Johnson or another relative, or friend while watching us from the front window}. 

Sunday Dinners and Holiday Gatherings usually took place at grandma's home. I remember the grandchildren would help Grandma Shirley shell peas and other task. We would ask to lick the the spoon or bowl whenever she would bake cakes. She would bake cookies, pies, and cakes for her brother's and their respective families and various other people throughout the year and even more so for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every year, her Christmas tree was up Thanksgiving night or the day after and it was usually one of the best decorated tree's in the family. 

Terrence A. Garnett
December 11, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Obituary: Mrs. Shirley Jean Pipkins

Shirley Jean Johnson Pipkins
Sunrise: March 14, 1937 - Sunset: April 30, 2015


On Sunday, March 14, 1937, in Houston, Texas, Benjamin Johnson Sr. and Dorothy (Austin) Johnson welcomed their 6th child, a daughter whom they named, Shirley Jean. 

Shirley attended Blackshear Elementary, E. O. Smith Jr. High, and Phillis Wheatley High School. She accepted Christ as her personal Savior at a young and tender age and she was baptized by the late Rev. B. J. Collins in 1950 at Greater True Vine Missionary Baptist Church. Although she was a member at Greater True Vine, the Lord blessed her with musical talents and she served as a musician at several churches around the Houston area. She landed her first musician job at Mt. Herman Baptist Church at the age of 12 years. Most recently, she was a member of Lilly Grove Missionary Baptist Church, under the leadership of Pastor Terry K. Anderson and Associate Pastor Carlos Washington.

Shirley loved people and worked well in whatever capacity she was asked to work. Shirley’s biggest joy in life was her children and grandchildren. Because of her children and grandchildren, she was able to start Shirley’s Daycare out of the comfort of her own home, where it allowed her to care for several children through the years.

After a lengthy illness, God called Shirley home from labor to her reward on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 3:15 a.m., at Memorial Hermann Hospital Memorial City, in Houston, Texas.

Shirley was preceded in death by her parents; son, Larry Jerome Pipkins; brothers: Thomas Higgins Jr., Wilford Johnson, Bernard Johnson, and Nathaniel Johnson; sisters: Theresa Johnson, Maude Esther Johnson Addison and Carolyn Joyce Johnson Lee.

Shirley’s outstanding personality and beautiful smile will be missed by all of the many lives that she touched during her 78 year journey here on earth.

Warm and loving memories will forever be cherished by her five children, eighteen grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, three brothers, nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.

~ Obituary and Letter/Will Originally written by Shirley in 1991 ~

Monday, May 4, 2015

Homegoing Celebration for Mrs. Shirley Pipkins

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of my beautiful grandmother, Shirley Jean Pipkins. She went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 3:15 am. She will be dearly missed by her family and friends. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Thank you,

Terrence A. Garnett

Viewing & Funeral: Saturday, May 9, 2015

Spirit of Life Ministries
485 Maxey Rd
Houston, TX 77013

9:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

11:00 a.m.