Linda Scott DeRosier
RMC MLK Day Retreat January 2003
The picture on the cover of Songs was taken around 1910, and from the collection of Uncle Asberry Preston’s girl, Eula Lee Preston Perry Preston(1907-2002). She’s the little girl in the pink dress standing directly in front of my Pop Pop on the upstairs porch. The picture itself is of the Life Preston Homeplace on some after-church Sunday afternoon with a gaggle of kids and grandkids gathered for dinner. That’s Great Grandpa Life standing off to the left side—wife Elizabeth sitting in the window [holding her pipe, we think]. That house is proof that those Prestons were carpenters from way back--the first Preston-built house on Two-Mile, I think. The house was located between Two-Mile and Offutt
above the mill dam on Greasy Creek where Life plied his trade grinding whatever needed to be ground. To his death, whenever one of us had a job to do my daddy would advise us “now, get in there and grind.” Thirty-some years ago, when Aunt Eula got the picture reproduced, framed, and hung in her parlor, Daddy looked at it for the first time, shook his head and said, “Now you think about that old sumbitch raisin’ all them kids down there on nuthin’” That was Daddy. That was his family and he was always proud to be a Preston. lsd 9/1/03
The cover of Creeker has long been my favorite picture of my family--the Lifie Jay Prestons of Two-Mile--and all four of us are there, too. That's Daddy and Momma [pregnant with Sister] and and me, on our porch in Fall 1946 and I believe the picture captures much about the way we were. Daddy had just finished building those steps he was sitting on and he'd sat down to have himself a cigarette. Momma was ready to hang out her wash--those are clothespins in her hand and you can see the end of the clothesline too. Uncle Ernie, whose camera chronicled our lives had called me over from playing in the yard and snapped that picture.
If Momma's washing, it must be Monday. If Daddy's home on Monday, he must be laid off from the mines. Yet there we were, smiling. I knew Momma would take care of me. Momma knew Daddy would take care of us. In fact, all three of us knew Daddy could take care of everything so we had no reason to be anything but optimistic. Such was the story of our lives. lsd 9/1/03