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Unformatted text preview: re folks were more tolerant. The notion of a black woman going to college in the 1920s was Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html downright crazy." The story was running in many directions. I wanted to record some of it but I had not brought a notepad. The image of a young black girl living in an antebellum home speaking Italian and listening to the opera in Mississippi fifty years earlier had to be unique. "Did you work in the house?" I asked. "Oh yes, when I got older. I was a housekeeper, but I never had to work as hard as the others. Nicola wanted me close by. At least an hour every day we would sit in her parlor and practice speaking. She was determined to lose her Italian accent, and she was just as determined that I would have perfect diction. There was a retired schoolteacher from town, a Miss Tucker, an old maid, I'll never forget her, and Nicola would send a car for her every morning. Over hot tea we would read a lesson and Miss Tucker would correct even the slightest mispronunciation. We studied grammar. We memorized vocabulary. Nicola drilled herself until she spoke perfect English." "What happened to college?" She was suddenly exhausted and story time was over. "Ah, Mr. Traynor, it was very sad. Mr. DeJarnette lost everything back in the 1920s. He'd invested heavily in railroads and ships and stocks and such stuff, and went broke almost overnight. He shot himself, but that's another story." "What happened to Nicola?" "She managed to hold on to the big house until the Second War, then she moved back to Memphis with Mr. and Mrs. Rossetti. We swapped letters every week for years, I still have them. She died four years ago, at the age of seventy-six. I cried for a month. I still cry when I think of her. How I loved that woman." Her words trailed off and I knew from experience that she was ready for a nap. Late that night I buried myself in theTimes archives. On September 12, 1930, there was a front page story about the suicide of Zachary DeJarnette. Despondent over the collapse of his busines...
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This note was uploaded on 07/18/2010 for the course LIT 301 taught by Professor Dra during the Spring '10 term at American College of Computer & Information Sciences.
- Spring '10