Presentation on theme: "Chapter 4 Idella By Dereka & Whitney. Cross Creek Cookery There were many visitors at Cross Creek; many of them were rich and famous. They had visitors."— Presentation transcript:
Chapter 4 Idella By Dereka & Whitney
Cross Creek Cookery There were many visitors at Cross Creek; many of them were rich and famous. They had visitors about every few months and they only saw people when they went shopping. Mrs. Rawlings loved to cook and began to make a cookbook named Cross Creek Cookery. When Mrs. Rawlings had come up with the idea for the cookbook, she and Idella workedin the kitchen for months determined to make every recipe just right. Mrs. Rawlings and Idella aren’t alike because Idella didn’t need to make a cookbook; she had all her recipes in her hands and head. She hadn’t written them down until Mrs. Rawlings needed them for her invention. Plenty of the recipes were Idella’s but Mrs. Rawlings only gave her credit for 3 of them, including Mrs. Rawlings all-time favorite, “Idella’s Biscuits” Mrs. Rawlings seemed very rude, stingy, and selfish because Idella did most of the cooking when trying the recipes out, and also made all the recipes, and the only thing she got in return, sadly, was an autographed copy of the book. Idella was very calm and grateful for she said she would take “any crumb white people let fall”, so she kept all her thoughts about the cookbook to herself.
Dinners at the Creek Mrs. Rawlings had a few health and weight issues. She was about 5’7”, weighed 180 lbs and was very heavy-looking in body weight from her waist down. They cooked every meal of the day where you’d think that they were expecting company. Almost every vegetable they cooked was from the garden, where Little Will planted them (okra, parsley, beans, onions, carrots, mustard and collard greens, beets, broccoli ) There was always a ham in the icebox which was cooked and served in many different ways. When the ham was to its end and almost gone from left-overs, she’d cut up the last pieces for her recipe of ham croquettes and serve them with okra and Hollandaise sauce, and Dora’s butter. They were always baking and filled the house with the sweet smell of home-made rolls, loves of bread, pies, and many different types of cakes. Pecan Pie, Coconut Pie, and Mango Ice Cream were Mrs. Rawlings favorites. She liked lamb chops and legs of the lamb. They didn’t do much with chicken but sometimes had turkey.
They drove for miles to get blue crabs and oysters, and would often serve fish, broiled, stuffed, or baked. Mrs. Rawlings loved to use sherry or rum to flavor the dishes, and those were always on the grocery list. Idella and Mrs. Rawlings both loved making a plate of food look beautiful. They planned meals so that the colors of the foods would look good together. Those were very important to both of them and they’d have hour discussions on how a vegetable would taste and appear with that meat. They also had a garden in Van Hornesville, New York, where they traveled in the summer for Mrs. Rawlings to get ingredients for her cookbook. The gardener up there was loaned from Mrs. Rawlings’ friend, Mrs Young, and Idella would have to help him with taking care of and picking the vegetables. The soil up there made it easier for things to grow. Idella hated when Mrs. Rawlings wanted asparagus for dinner because they were so much trouble to wash and was very hard work. She still doesn’t like them to this day and cringes to the sound of their name being mentioned.
Mrs. Rawlings liked to go Duck Hunting and was good at shooting She taught Idella how to call the ducks, and when they flew up, how shoot ”mow” them down. Their first duck hunt, Idella remembered she had brought home three or four ducks. She told Idella to pluck ducks for dinner. It took her three hours to pluck one duck. Mrs. Rawlings didn’t know that she’d never plucked a duck before, so when she had seen the little bit of plucking Idella had done in that long period of time she fussed and called for Martha to come over and pluck those ducks in no time to have ready to cook and eat the next day. Idella saw that Martha plucked the big feathers first then singed the pin feathers and washed the duck off and they came right out. That’s how Martha was able to finish her plucking that fast. That was one of the days Idella said that she will never forget.
When company was coming over she would get excited and rearrange the house to get ready. She loved having company because she loved to entertain. Planning parties and dinners was painful and full of hard work having to get the right wines and dinners prepared. Mrs. Rawlings never let a dish go to table without her knowing it was made perfectly. It seemed to Idella that Mrs. Rawlings enjoyed to plan and think about having parties more than she enjoyed the actual parties. Sometime she even left her own parties early, way before they ended and seemed still unhappy and lonely. (In the background, MKR is sitting alone at her desk writing). After she wrote The Yearling she began to have many visitors. With all the company that Mrs. Rawlings had, she was one lonely woman. She had few friends but plenty of visitors. Mrs. Rawlings loved to write. If she wasn’t writing a book, she was either composing a letter, traveling, eating, cooking, and drinking, or planning another dinner party.
She was often sad to the point it seemed as depression. She never smiled except for when they were cooking or when she got compliments from people on her food. She seemed as if joy was something that could not be found. Idella would go and see her family in Reddick on Sundays or for a few hours during the week, but Mrs. Rawlings had no family nearby to come visit her or to lean on. She didn’t really have anyone except for the ones who worked for her. Mrs. Rawlings often talked to Idella on their walks about her father and how she missed him and also about her brother who lived in Canada who Idella only saw a couple of times since she knew Mrs. Rawlings, and then he only came to visit for a short time. We wonder… As much as Mrs. Rawlings loved to travel,why didn’t she go to visit family?
On days that Mrs. Rawlings planned to write, she went to get flowers to put into her vase that sat beside the typewriter and got a clean astray for her cigarettes, for she was always smoking. She also sat beside her a bottle of whiskey in a paper bag to take some sips while writing.
On Sundays, Idella would drive Mrs. Rawlings’ car to church in Reddick. Idella had only seen Mrs. Rawlings read the Bible every now and then but didn’t go to church. So when Idella asked did she want to ride to church with her, and she responded with a “Yes,” Idella was surprised. On this Sunday that Mrs. Rawlings decided to go to church she was drunk. Idella was nervous because she did not want her mom (who did not like Mrs. Rawlings), and family to see her not decent. So what Idella decided to do was take Mrs. Rawlings to another church on the outskirts of Reddick called the Sanctified Church. Mrs. Rawlings was the only white person there and not many smiled at her; they looked at Idella wondering why she had a white lady with her for they knew who Idella was and knew that she was at the wrong church. Mrs. Rawlings was having a good time. She was clapping her hands to the beat of the music and smiled to everyone around her. That was another time while being around Mrs. Rawlings that Idella got to see her smile.
When the church service got louder and the people began to shout, dance, and sing Mrs. Rawlings got up and joined in. On the way home, Mrs. Rawlings was still tapping and humming to the beats of the songs that were sung in church and Idella began to be more careful about her polite invitations to church.
When Mrs. Rawlings got drunk something would always come into her head and tell her that she wanted to go drive somewhere. But one day she forgot that she promised Idella she could borrow the car to go see her Mom in Reddick. When Idella had reminded her of her promise she got extremely upset and started cussing and yelling about how she always had to be going to Reddick so often, but Idella knew that that was the whiskey talking because at other times she had no problem with Idella going there. They began heading to see Mama, and Mrs, Rawlings was driving. They passed a black convertible with four black people in it and a storm of dust flew between the two cars. Mrs. Rawlings was driving too fast and was still screaming at Idella about how she didn’t always have to come out here and how she’d better get a ride back to Cross Creek because she wasn’t coming back out to pick her up. They were turning a curve when the car started to tumble through the air. The last thing Idella remembered was Mrs. Rawlings’ other worker, Pat, soaring over her through the front window.
When Idella saw Mrs. Rawlings, she appeared to be knocked out. Idella knew that she was badly hurt because she was in extreme pain when she tried to sit forward. The people in the black convertible that had passed them rushed back to help them. They drove Idella and Mrs. Rawlings back to Cross Creek. Pat was already home. Little Will took Idella to the doctor who patched her broken bones back together. Grace had kept her. She was close to being paralyzed for life. The doctor told her that if she’d stay with Mrs. Rawlings long enough, she’d kill her. News had already reached Idella’s family, and Mama was mad. Father was on his way in the truck. Mrs. Rawlings came to visit Idella at home but Idella’s mom wasn’t letting her through the door. Somehow she got through. She went in and served herself some food, Idella’s mom hated her much more that day and stormed about her all the time speaking of the same thing the doctor had told Idella.
After too many drinks, Mrs. Rawlings always thought of random places and adventures to go. This time…she wanted to go to the movies. – And wanted to take Idella with her :/ -Idella began to feel that trouble was on its way, knowing that the time span was still in segregation and the Ocala theater was for “whites” only. After what seemed to Idella to be awhile, out stormed Mrs. Rawlings to drag Idella in to see the movie not even worrying about the consequences. (Mrs. Rawlings was one risky female and seemed not to be afraid of anything!) Idella never knew the name of the movie or what it was about because the whole time while sitting in the movie, she was horrified, waiting to be at any time snatched up by a white security patrolman from her seat and taken to jail, maybe along with Mrs. Rawlings. Because of who Mrs. Rawlings was, they were not arrested or even confronted by anyone
Idella didn’t drink and was sometime made fun of for it. Idella hated the parties because mostly all of the drinking. That bothered her as well as the way that Mrs. Rawlings and her friends picked on black people right to their faces and acted as if they were too stupid to notice it. Idella would escape the criticism and cruelty by going to chill on the green bench on the back porch. After parties Idella had to wait for what seemed like decades before she was able to go to bed.
Idella got paid five dollars a week. Her cousin, Luverne, who she stayed in Long Island, was paid twenty dollars a week. Sometime Mrs. Rawlings became too much for Idella to be around and work for so she contacted her cousin Luverne who got her a job in Hewlett, Long Island, New York, with the Richards who were Jewish. The Richards boasted about having a girl from Florida who had worked for Mrs. Rawlings, the author of the book The Yearling. They paid her plenty more than what Mrs. Rawlings paid. Idella frequently tried cooking recipes from Cross Creek for the family. One day Idella had gotten a request to cook “Broiled Liver” for lunch and was yelled at for not cooking it “well done” even though the way that the lady wanted it made was never mentioned. Idella was very humble and quiet. That somewhat evolved because of the time span (before Civil Rights) and if anything was said offensively to a “white man” there could have been a punishment. Idella made a ham for Mrs. Richards’ party one night and her friends complimented on it and asked for the recipe.
Idella stayed in Harlem a few blocks from the Apollo Theater. She took the train to Long Island everyday to go work for Mrs. Richards. Afternoons off and on weekends she loved to go and see the live shows. One day after a show she had gotten lost. She had received a letter from Mrs. Rawlings one day and wondered how she’d gotten the address. Mrs. Rawlings was in the Columbian Presbyterian-Hospital in New York and wanted Idella to come visit her. After that visit Idella was back at Cross Creek working for Mrs. Rawlings. Mrs. Rawlings is also very competitive, so when people hinted that they could cook better than her, she’d get determined to prove them wrong. Idella saw an interview one day on television about a lady named Mrs. Dukakis who had an alcohol problem but had help from family quite unlike what Mrs. Rawlings had. Mrs Rawlings had no family to help her so all she had to depend on was Idella. Mrs. Rawlings never hurt anyone but herself with her drinking problem was what it seemed like. Idella had always loved Mrs. Rawlings and still does; it’s just that sometime Mrs. Rawlings felt like too much of a burden for Idella. What else could Idella do but be there for Mrs. Rawlings?
Mrs. Rawlings was invited to the White House by Mrs. Roosevelt Idella sent her flowers to say thanks. A week later Idella got a note from Mrs. Roosevelt thanking her for the flowers saying that they were very nice but hadn’t lasted throughout the trip very well. She was planning on taking a trip to Florida and planned on meeting Idella! Idella thought very well of her because she took time to write back to a servant saying thanks for a bowl of rotten flowers. Disappointingly, Mrs. Roosevelt had never came to visit, and Idella never got to meet her.
There was a Zora Neale Hurtson Festival in Orlando and celebrities came to honor the black author form Eatonville. Idella had met Zora twice. When Zora had first come to visit, Idella was extremely surprised to see that she was a “black” woman. Zora held herself in a very proud way. She ended up spending the night after the visit, and Mrs. Rawlings had her sleep out in the tenant house with Idella. Idella had felt really bothered seeing that Zora had been treated all day with equality from Mrs. Rawlings and now she was staying the night in the tenant house with the servants. It was kind of chilly the next morning and Idella loaned Zora a quilt that her mother had self made her to keep warm. Zora took the quilt with her and never returned it. After Mrs. Rawlings had gotten married she lived at Castle Warden in St. Augustine. She had got a note from Zora saying that she was coming back to visit. This time Zora didn’t look so good and seemed as if she had gone through some hard times since the last time they’d seen her. Zora was working at a diner and didn’t have many friends anymore. Zora died years later and was buried in an unmarked grave.
Zora's grave was unmarked because of her education, colorful lifestyle, and because of the way she treated people caused them hurt. Idella could never understand Mrs. Rawlings in that area because of how liberal and understanding she was to black people, how could she not bring herself to let a black woman sleep in her house. ????
Bernard Young was barber who became real good friends with Idella. Idella had gotten so sick that she had to be taken to the hospital. She had to have her appendix taken out. She stayed in the hospital for 6 weeks and Mrs. Rawlings paid for it all. Idella needed blood from a person with matching blood cells immediately and Mrs. Rawlings was the only one that came out positive for the match, and of course Idella’s mom was horrified. Idella had to recuperate and stayed in the hospital a few more weeks before going back to work. Idella’s Remarks: “It became almost like a vacation with Bernard, family, and friends from St. Augustine coming to visit frequently.”