Brenda Brown

I often write stories about my paternal grandmother but I also had a maternal grandmother; her name was Leeila Griffin Mayo Marshall.  

She was born June 18, 1904, and lived until 1994; she was laid to rest in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Dawson, Ga. She became a widow before she was 40 years old and then later married Dave Marshall and moved from Terrell County to Columbus where they resided at 8 Sellers Circle. The last time I tried to revisit the site of their house, years after she passed away, I found that the property had been purchased by Columbus State University and all the charming houses that I remembered were gone.

Where Nanny was an excellent cook, Grandmother Marshall was not interested in spending valuable time in the kitchen making or baking. She spent her life working as a bookkeeper and her spare time reading novels. I am sure that is where I got my love of the written word, but I did not inherit her expertise in working with numbers.

In Dawson, she worked in the ticket booth of the movie theatre that her husband managed. It is told by family members that she had a knack for stacking coins before counting them, and she was always correct, but she credited it to luck rather than skill. When her husband and father of her daughters, David Mayo, died unexpectedly, she worked in downtown Dawson for a while and then took a position at a retail store in Albany, Ga.

When she remarried and moved to Columbus she accepted a position of head bookkeeper at Satloff Auto Parts where she shared an office with the owner and continued working there well past retirement age. As a little girl, it was an interesting place to visit because there were always customers at the front counter. The sales counter had tall stools that filled the right side of the brick structure with four clerks working at all times. They sold automotive parts to businesses and private citizens in a corner building at the north end of downtown Columbus.

Their cottage home had a feature that was popular in those days, the back area of the house was something called a sleeping porch, but I do not remember anyone ever sleeping in that room. The entire area was equipped with heavy wooden shutters that could be raised in warm weather for circulating air but I never saw them opened.

They owned several parakeets that made a lot of noise; she called it singing, but I thought that they making shrill sounds because they were frightened of us. Frequently, she put decorative covers over their cages while we visited so they could settle down and not harm themselves.

Grandmother Marshall gave me the only bride-doll that I ever owned; she was beautifully dressed in white and she was displayed on my bed for years. Granddaddy Marshall was interested in unique money; he gave us $2 bills and sometimes silver dollars.

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