SC Arts Commission 40th Anniversary
Tell Your Story!
Individuals have submitted stories based on their experiences. The Arts Commission has not verified all facts.
Gloria Barr Ford
Discipline: Theatre & Storytelling
While lingering behind my great-grandmother at the age of five, and adhering to her perfect instructions such as, “Mik haste, gal, com on yah les we guh,” which simply meant, “Come on girl, hurry up let’s go,” I had no idea that the Gullah language would become such a profound part of my life. I understood my great-grandmother perfectly. Unfortunately, she died before I reached my sixth birthday, but my memories of her have been preserved.
Today when I tell Gullah stories, it’s like I can hear my great-grandmother through my words, and I can feel her actions in my reactions. When I recite some self-written poem such as, “Mos kilt burd don mak no stew,” (Most killed bird doesn’t make a stew), or “All shet eye ain sleepin,’ and "all goodbye ain gone,” (All closed eyes aren’t sleeping, and everyone that says goodbye doesn’t leave), I find myself laughing at the humor that was a part of my great-grandmother’s life, but also taking on a seriousness at the morals she conveyed.
It’s been 55 years since I walked in those early country mornings behind a 117-year-old great-grandmother who smoked a pipe and used a dried cornstalk for a walking cane. It’s been 55 years since I learned from the lips that had lived out a small part of her life in slavery about “massa” and the whip, and the mandatory partaking of buzzard’s soup. It’s been 55 years since I learned that the greatest lesson in life is to hold on. No matter what the circumstance, no matter the geography of your existence, if you can hold on with trust and belief in God, if He brought you to it, He will bring you through it.”
Submit your story by e-mailing Milly Hough.