Ethel has now been a resident at Allen Manor for over four years, and she has vivid memories of growing up on a large farm in rural Mississippi. Born in 1930 in Rolling Fork, Ethel lived with her grandparents and extended family members in an old, large farmhouse near the railroad tracks in Elizabeth, MS. They bought the farmhouse on four acres of property and rented other land as a sharecroppers. Ethel and her mom lived not only with her grandparents but also her great grandmother, one uncle, three aunts, and several cousins. They grew and canned all the vegetables and fruits they needed and had a smokehouse to process the chickens and hogs that were slaughtered.
Ethel did not enjoy many aspects of farm life, especially the activities associated with picking and processing cotton. She does have better recollections of going to elementary school in the church house a half-mile away, where Miss Annie was her teacher. She also went to high school in Leland, MS, making the one-mile walk until she was nearly 17 years old. During these early years, Ethel’s mom and uncle worked in a local factory, her mom as a welder. Her clearest and fondest memory is of placing her faith in Jesus at Good Hope Baptist Church when she was 14 years old.