‘Mama Bobo’ finds old age ‘inconvenient’ but a ‘blessing’
Even before the morning dawned today, Lois Ann “Mama” Bobo “turned the tables” on 93 years.
She’s not sure of the hour and minute of her birth in 1917 so as soon as the midnight hour struck, she was one year older. Not that it matters much. There’s not a lot of difference between 92 and 93. “Getting old is inconvenient,” said a smiling ‘Mama Bobo’ as she is affectionately called by all who know her. “But the Lord’s been real good to me. I’ve been blessed. I’ve had a good, long life and I’ve loved every minute of it. Ninety-three years … I never thought I’d see that.”
If she had her “druthers,’ Bobo would spend her birthday sitting on the bank of a pond with a wiggler in the water.
“That’s what I love to do most of all – fish,” she said. “I learned to fish when I was a little girl and I never got over it.”
Bobo grew up in the Needmore community, the daughter of a sharecropper.
“We lived in kind of a little ol’ slave hut and we worked the fields — hoeing cotton, chopping cotton and picking cotton and digging, shaking and stacking peanuts, feeding chickens and hogs — just working hard all the time. But there was always something good to eat lurking around. We’d pick blackberries and plums. What I liked the most was going down to Walnut Creek and gathering chestnuts. And there was this big, ol’ hickory nut tree. We’d crack the hickory nuts open with a hammer and mama would get the goodies out with her hat pin and make cornbread with hickory nuts in it. Now that was good eating.”
Bobo didn’t make it past the fifth grade in school at Tick Hill. That was as far as she was allowed to go. But she learned the things that she needed to know to survive on a red clay farm in Pike County.
“I could drive the wagon and I loved to do that,” she said. “I could make a fire of oak and hickory chips to smoke the meat. I could sew and wash and iron And, I learned that I’d rather plow than hoe. Plowing paid more than hoeing so I hired out to plow.”
Bobo also did some “superintending,” which was primarily “washing and ironing for folks,” and honed her “stitching” skills. But when the opportunity came for her to go to Birmingham for a visit, she was more than ready.
“I liked it up there and I stayed,” she said.
For 18 years, she worked as a domestic for school teachers, lawyers and doctors and “thanked God for it.”
She met her future husband and moved with him to Pennsylvania where she wore a white uniform and worked as a domestic and as a clerk at a furniture store.
“My mama didn’t want me to go way off up there but I told her if she ever needed me that I would come back home,” Bobo said. “Eleven years later, on August 16, 1975, mama called me home.”
Bobo didn’t hesitate. She made good on her promise and came home to “see after my mama. I’d promised that if she needed me …”
Back home, Bobo “sat with Doctor Edge” and enjoyed being back home where she knew everybody and they knew her.
She made good use of her talent with a needle and thread and spent many hours piecing quilts and “giving way” to her green thumb.
“I’ve made so many quilts that I can’t even think of how many,” she said. “I love sewing but now, I can’t do much. Arthritis has got me. And, it’s hard to work in the flowers, too. But I can still fish. I’m thankful that at 93 I can still fish.”
“Mama Bobo” has enjoyed a long life. She can still get around and has her wits about her. And, she has the “recipe” for a long, content life.
“Trust in God,” she said. “I can’t come up with anything better than that. I’ve always put my trust in Him and He has never let me down.” Sometimes Bobo says she just sits back and thinks about her life and how good God has been to her. “Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry with it but I’m always thankful.”