Manuscripts/Mixed Material [The Story of Katy Brumby]
Just before Thanksgiving 1936, Katy came by to bring us some flowers and to borrow some money. By then both we and Katy realized our mistake in parting, and Katy left with her money and her job.
Her friend, Susy, to whom she is most helpful with food, money if needed, and other service, says, “Katy's good to dem she likes.” This is true. Among her neighbors she has her likes and dislikes, and acts accordingly. Yet even those she dislikes, she will defend. “Aw, don' mind him, he don' mean no harm,” she said of a particularly grumpy old man across the alley. She is certainly good to her family, especially to those in the country who need it most. She sends clothes to them when possible and does all she can. “I'm de oldest, and dey needs it bad, Miss Mary. Dey got children, I haven't.”
Of course, what she can do is not too much. Katy's pay is $6.00 a week. (This is pretty good pay for a cook in Birmingham and speaks its own message of conditions among this section of the population, which may, for some, be alleviated by what is called “Southern paternalism”). Out of this she must buy fuel in the Winter, pay for her insurance, clothe herself (except for uniforms), and pay rent of $4.00 a month. A further small expense is due to the fact that Katy works and is single. Without members of the family to do it for her, she must pay neighbors to do much of her washing and house-cleaning. “It sho does take de money out of yo' pocket. I pay dem 50¢0 to clean and dat's too much for jus' two little old rooms.”