My Nanny Story Inspired by the movie,”THe Help.”

by Amy Cubbison on September 9th, 2011

If you have not seen the movie, “The Help,” Please go and see it. It is based on a true story of black nannies, and maids in the south during the fifties. It exemplifies how they were paid so little, treated so different, and asked so much. As you may or may not know I was raised by a black nanny. He name was Minor. She was treated like royalty at our home and I wanted to share the story with you and Minor, herself.

When I was little my mother was in grad school, and then worked in Da’s office. My father owned trash, land fills, and recycling companies that he started with his father. So when I was little, you could see that my parent’s were busy and nobody was home. We had various maids and help. THe main couple we had living with us were from Spain and they did not speak English. I did not like them. They were not kid friendly and I was very uncomfortable with them. When I was nine, after nagging my mother, she offered to let me hire our new “nanny” and housekeeper.

I remember interviewing a few different people, and nobody was rememberable except the really nasty ones-like the woman who made me change my fishes tank and pick them up with my bare hands. I remember how cold and slimy that fish was. She was nixed the next day.

I do remember the most important person that interviewed with me and that was Minor. She came in the front door with her turban on her head. She was missing teeth, and half of them were gold. She wrote all her s’s backwards and, had on her Sunday best, as she was off to church. She has such a presence, and held herself with such dignity. I immediately felt a connection with her. She felt safe, stern( not to much) , confident, and had pride of life written all over her. I remember her humming and singing something that went like this,”Oh jesus!!” That was the first of many times I would hear that name and “hey Jesus,” sung in a song. I could hear it in my head right now. So I guess you figured it out- Minor got the job!!!. She arrived the next day with Southern bells on. Little did I know that she would turn out to be one of most loving, accepting, smart people in my life.

I could write a whole chapter book about being raised by Miner but since I don”t have the time, So the cliff notes vesion will have to suffice.. THere are two parts of my life-Before MInor and After Minor. I say this because she had a huge impact on my life and my future. Before Minor, I had to take cabs everywhere by myself . There were two twin, brothers Tim and Joe, and they drove me everywhere from the doctor’s, orthodontist, to sports. Once we had Minor, she was in the cab right along side of me. I was not alone or lonely anymore. My siblings were all so much older than me so felt like an only child. When I woke up she was there, when I went to bed she was there. I was never locked out or left to a neighbors. She was the one constant, reliable in my life. When I woke up I had breakfast, Then lunch and always a family, delicious dinner at five thirty. She made the most amazing friend chicken and ice tea. Her cooking was delicious and comforting. Every night Minor would soak her feet in amonia, and put hair straightener and curlers in her hair. This was the particular time the “Jesus” songswould appear. She loved her tv shows and was addicted to her routine. I was with her so often that I started to love all of the shows she loved. I then started sleeping with her nightly so we could watch our shows together. Her bed was always so comfy and warm. During the day she would have soaps on all day while she ironed, and talk to the tv. It went something like,’Oh you know it boy!” I did not have a preference for the soaps but I also was in school……..

There are a few memories that stand out in my mind. I think of them often. I remember when we went down to our shore home. I was about fourteen. and brought my friend Cindy . My parents were out, and my friend and I had big plans for that evening. We did until Minor caught on. We tried to sneak out the window and MInor caught us red handed. She was so upset with us, that we climbed back in immediately.. When she was upset with something I did her face was full of disappointment. That was punishment in itself. She then would sort of ignore me for a few days and that was painful. I loved her so much and never wanted to disappoint her. She also caught my friend and I taking my father’s big black El Dorado cadillac, out for test drive when we didn’t even have our licenses. She would threaten to tell my parents but she never did. She would give me a talking to and her talks were filled with reason, class and advice. The worst time was when i was making out with a boy on the steps of our house and she brought her church group home to visit. She was so upset with me and she did not talk to me for a week.

Minor had her share of tragedy in her life to picking cotton in the fields, to having a white man kill her puppy. She also lost her husband at a very young age. We got a yorkie puppy and Minor swore she would never love that dog. I use to catch her feeding and loving on our pup. She never admitted it and send since her dog was killed she never wanted to get attached to an animal again.

When we moved to California, she came with us. She did not particularly love California and missed her family in Philadelphia. She decided after a couple years to go back there. My heart was broken but I understood why. She then went out to live and work with my sister lisa and her family. They enjoyed her for years and she finally retired about seven years ago at the ripe age of 80. She is now 87, is alive and kicking and to keep her in good health, she only eats her own friend chicken once a week.

She use to always call me her, “baby”. After she worked with my sister’s family she called me her”First baby.” I called her yesterday to share my appreciation and reflection and she answered the phone as she always has,’HOw is my first baby?” Minor never cared about fancy things, and always had gratitude for her health, and her family. She say’s Jesus carries her through everything. She has lost a lot of nephews, nieces and famil on the streets of Philadelphia, but Minor never complains. I envy her faith immensely and how classy she was. She spoke words of wisdom daily and always tooted my horn. IN the movie ,” the Help,” The nanny says to one of her kids that she nannies,'”You are smart, kind and loveable.” I remember Minor always saying similiar things to me.

From my-life

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