From Lilly to Eartha Lee
Over the years, the family has been fortunate to have women who cooked, cleaned,
washed, changed diapers, held hands and offered their down-to-earth wisdom.
The apparent last of the line is Eartha Lee Jenkins (above)
She has been with the Sonenshines for more than 25 years. Eartha Lee, born
on the now-fashionable Daniels Island, replaced plain-talking, always-smiling
Ida, who kept Stanley, Gerald and Kenneth in check for many, many years.
It was Ida who introduced us to delightful low-country sayings, a special
one being "bones" for teeth.
For Bertha, George, Barry and Richard, it was Esther who served a long period.
In the 1930's, there was the first of the line: Lilly, who had a dog named
"Queenie." She handled Sidney and Jack, sometimes taking them crabbing
on High Battery or to hear the gospel singers at her church on Meeting St.
near Romney St..
Another long-time fixture at 753 Meeting St. was Bertha, who arrived after
the nest was finally empty and watched over Mom and Pop, being especially
loyal after Mom had her stroke.
(This list is probably missing some people. If anyone has others or memories
of those mentioned, let me know and I'll add to the article.).
I have vague recollections of Justine/Jestine at Granny's and Pop's. She preceded
Bertha, or as Granny would say, "Boita."
Also, after Esther Brown died, Mary (too many last names to mention) worked
for Mom and Dad. She still remembers Mom and Dad every birthday (her own) as
well as on every other revenue generating occasion (Christmas, Easter, Wednesday,
My clearest recollection of Mary was teaching her to cook so she could have
dinner ready for me when I got home from after-school activities.
I think we should be credited with inventing the predecessor to email, rmail.
Since all of our schedules conflicted, we communicated by leaving notes on the
refrigerator. (We should receive royalties from 3M as well for the sticky note).
Since Mary could not read (a secret that is revealed here for the first time),
I acted as her interpreter.
Half the alcohol went into my dinner and the other half went into Mary. At least
that is what I told Mary the notes said. She never argued. Every meal was a
culinary delight and every bus ride home for Mary was a new adventure.