Was My Aunt the Real-Life Inspiration for Little Miss Sunbeam?
During my seven years living in New York City, I almost forgot the way a Southerner can weave a story. And that's especially true when it comes to family lore.
With her syrupy sweet accent, my grandmother, who grew up in Pascagoula, Mississippi, had stories that were as drawn out and rich as molasses. One favorite was the time her baby brother JB caught an alligator and left it in the bathtub. As she remembers it, after it scared the bejesus out of their mother, the alligator chewed up a new broom, tore a hole in the sun porch, and trundled off toward the water.
After my grandmother passed away last year, the family all went down to her birthplace in Mississippi to scatter her and my grandfather's ashes. Her alligator-catching brother, JB Morgan, still lives there with his wife Sandra, who gave us a tour of the house, pausing in the bedroom to show us a sepia-toned vintage photograph.