From the Family Album
Lula Hyde Brennan
1899 - 1991
These pictures were found in a collection handed down to Janie McKinney Downs by her grandmother Lula Hyde Brennan who was the daughter of James William and Elgie Mae Gray Hyde. Some of these do not have names or first names - but are treasures in themselves to behold. Thank you Janie for sharing your memories!
Memoirs of My Mama Lou
by her granddaughter Janie McKinney Downs
She was born on the river banks of Confederate, KY, August 26, 1899, oldest of her three siblings. She weighed in at 12 lbs. and had eczema, so they had to tie her little hands to her crib to keep her from scratching. She loved life, family, friends, church and all holidays. As an adult she reached 5' and topped out at a whopping 110 lbs. soaking wet. She wasn't just my grandmother; she was my 2nd mother and to her, I was another daughter. She was young at heart and dressed that way. As a teenager, I wore her dresses and would have worn her shoes, but my foot never fit her 7 1/2's. In the late 50's we had 100 yard can-cans under our dresses. She was a waitress, took in ironing, set nights with the elderly and baby-sat. These were her all-the-time jobs, not one at a time. The only time she was still was at church on Sunday mornings. I'd have to gently nudge her when she would start to snore. She never learned to drive but never missed a funeral visitation (she knew everybody and they knew her) and I was "lucky enough" to go with her to most of them. She'd take my little hand in hers and off we'd go...ninety to nothing. Her mother, Mama Hyde, lived with her and I had to be very quiet so as not to bother her. In 4H, it was Mama Lou who taught me to use her old treadle machine to make my first pot holder and apron (it was so hard keeping it from going backwards and breaking the thread). When my parents got up and left our house while I was still asleep, it was Mama Lou that would get me up by calling on the phone and letting it ring until I answered. From early on, and until she wasn't capable anymore, wherever I lived (if I had a phone), she'd call me at midnight on new years eve just to wish me happiness and to tell me that she "Loved me too much". A devoted Democrat, she liked Happy Chandler, and believed it to be her American duty to vote. If she believed a Republican running was the better person for the job, she'd go to the polls and vote democrat for everybody else and just not make a vote for that slot. In that way she thought she had done the fair thing. She loved Clark Gable and Scarlett O'Hara and when things got tough, she'd say, "I'll think about it tomorrow." She wrote poems and thoughts on paper scrapes, stuck paper money between pages of books, saved money in a Christmas fund bank account, kept cards, hats, loved pictures and had a drawer full of pretty gowns, slips and things....in case "somebody got sick or had to go to the hospital and needed them". She loved flowers and decorating for Christmas. On her 60th birthday, I called the radio staion to have them play a song for her and announced "to the world" that my Mama Lou was 60 years young. I never thought it might embarress her a little (60 was old for everybody else but not for my grandmother). I was lucky to have her. She died April 30, 1991.