Before the movies Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes, and certainly before the book, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, there were the women I consider the original Ya-Yas: my mother, Peggy Osborne, her sister, Patsy, and their friend, Stattie Kendall.
And if they were the original Ya-Yas, then we, their children, were the original petite Ya-Yas.
This photo, taken sometime in the 1950s, probably by Aunt Pat, shows (from left) my mother, Peggy, with Mary Blanton, me with Mary June, my brother Win with our younger brother, Richard, and Stattie with Nancy.
Looking at this picture makes me wonder if Peggy, Stattie and Patsy used their daughters as their play dolls as adults. Just look at those frilly little dresses and because the boys were in just shirts, I can assure you it was not Easter. The Taylor boys always had jackets and ties for Easter. And I wore a hat.
There were others the three Ya-Yas spent time with, but my memories focus on those three. They grew up together, laughing, playing tennis, arguing as friends and sisters do. I’m not certain they ever rode around in a convertible, drinking cocktails, as the book and movie versions do, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to learn they had. I can see them pulling up to A. Kellar Dam and toasting, glasses held high, as the South Licking River meandered by.
They got married and had us, the petite Ya-Yas. We played together, we went swimming at the city pool, we had picnics in Gran’s backyard. And to this day, most of us are still close friends. On March 10, Mary Blanton celebrated her birthday. As most of us do nowadays, we posted wishes on her FaceBook page. Mary June’s made me smile: Rain, snow , sleet or hail we always wore our new shorts set for your birthday party!!!♥
That’s one of the heartwarming special reasons to grow up in a close-knit small southern town. I’m still close friends with the people I grew up with. Many of us went to Miss Sarah Lail’s Little Red School House on Pike Street. Our graduation was at the Rohs Theater. The girls all wore white organza. I think the boys wore white shirts and black pants. I played the triangle. Many of us, older and younger than me, went through the same rituals.
Then it was off to Marshall School for Miss Batts’ first grade. We would walk home for lunch, sometimes bringing friends with us. My mother, as any good Ya-Ya would do, served soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on rainy days.
Then, the Taylor family moved to the small town of Berry, in the northern part of the county. Our visits to town became few, but still involved family and other friends we had started to grow up with. Great memories.