Patty Lark Johnson

Born August 11, 1911. As I grow older I may forget small things about my grandmother, but I will never forget her birthday. She didn't just say it, she sang it like a song... "Augus the levth nineteen leven."

Patty was the eldest of four children born to Dan and Florence Lark. The other siblings were Josephine, Mary and Dan Jr. My earliest recollection of Patty was in 1964, I might have been three years old. We lived in a small two room house off Route 2, across from Boeuf River in Alto, Louisiana. I remember running between the rows of cotton in the large fields that surround our house as she did her daily chores. Patty wasn't the typical country girl, she was head strong and stubborn. Affectionately called "Sugah" by friends and family.

She had two children out of wed lock, Rosalee and Cecil. Patty married Willie Johnson at the age of 32. The marriage lasted 12 years. Patty and Willie (Jr.) had four children, Willie, Essie, Rose Anna and Betty. I was told that Willie liked to argue and fight, so Patty took the children and left, Willie Jr. eventually went to live with his father.

As far back as I can remember her, she was a robust woman who placed a great amount of distance between herself and others. She held her mouth in such a way that her lower lip always hang in a pouting position. This could have also come from the fact that she loved Sweet Garrette snuff and Red Man chewing tobacco.
Her favorite flower was a tangerine colored rose. She loved listening to the blues. According to my mother they used to go to Earl Pikes Juke Joint and Patty would just sit there and listen to the music.Poor Boy, A Long Way From Home by "Howlin' Wolf" as one of Patty's favorite songs. I remember her asking my mother to play a record by Johnnie Taylor "one mo time." She also like visiting close relatives when she got the chance. She sometime walked about 10 miles just to pay her Aunt Lucy a visit. Along the way she was sometimes offered a ride but more than likely she and I would walk together.

The most interesting thing most people remembered, was her way of getting your attention. Relatives and friends compared her voice to a roaring clasp of thunder, that could stop you in your tracks and send a chill down your spine. Some joke by saying, her voice could be heard for miles over the corn or cotton filled fields. (To Be Continued)

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