One of my happiest childhood memories was the regular visit of our priest, the rector of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. This church was on the other side of town. Sometimes we didn't get there because of the distance and other reasons, but he regularly came to Brooklyn to see how our family and other parishioners were getting along.
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Plum Thickets and Field Daisies
Plum Thickets and Field Daisies is Rose Leary Love's memoir of her life in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Charlotte. She left the original manuscript in the care of her friends. When the Brooklyn she described ceased to exist, the historical value of the manuscript increased. Realizing this, her friends transferred the memoir to the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room for care and preservation.
I CANNOT REMEMBER WHEN I did not know our devoted friend, Miss Lowe. Long before I was born, she lived in her little house next door to my mother’s and lived beside us until her death.
She was one of the pillars of my childhood. She was a twinkling-eyed, even-featured woman who bore her seventy-odd years and her stroke of “Paralsy” as she called it with a smile.
WE INHERITED an insatiable love of books from both of our parents. Books of all kinds, poetry, law, travel, history, religion, music and fiction, were in our home. In fact, these books lined the walls of the small room and once filled a big closet. We were always encouraged to read and inquire.
Today when so many children show disinterest in homework, I often think of my mother’s dining room table where we gathered at night to study. If one was not interested upon sitting down, he remained there until interest was born and the lesson was completed.
TUCKED AWAY in a corner of many gardens in Brooklyn was a small plot saved for an herb garden. This little plot was methodically and clearly kept out of cultivation because herbs were prized plants, and owners wanted to avoid losing their root stock as a result of too much digging around them. Herbs seem to multiply and grow best when they are left alone to grow in their own way.
MUCH OF THE Material in this book is information that was told to me by older people. Much of it is what I have remembered from my childhood experiences.
I have decided to write about the section of Charlotte, North Carolina, which was called Brooklyn because I think its development and the history of its colored citizenry should be recorded.
This area was small in land size, but the activities of its people give an intimate glimpse of life as it was centered in this segment of America many years ago.
THERE WAS A CERTAIN YOUNG WOMAN who loved to dance. In fact she loved it so much that she just seemed to live to dance. People tried to persuade her to stop, but no one could change her mind. She danced night after night.
BEFORE I DISCUSS my father’s life, I wish to give some historical facts that I think will be of interest to readers about the establishment of the Leary family.
Jeremiah O’Leary, my great grandfather, was of Irish and Lumbee Indian descent. At one time, the family name used was O’Leary, but one of our ancestors dropped the O and shortened the name to Leary. Jeremiah O’Leary married Sarah Jane Revels, who came from a free family of color, prior to the year 1800. Together, they established the Leary Family.