Vivian Blackmon’s children live “from Boston to San Diego,” she said, but four generations of her family live within walking distance of each other off Bethel Church Road in Cornelius.
“I have three children, six grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren,” said Vivian Blackmon, but “I’m MawMaw,” she said.
Barbara Hatcher, her daughter, said, “Everyone in the neighborhood calls her ‘MawMaw.’ We’ll be in the grocery store, and people in the store will walk by and say, ‘Hi, MawMaw.’ ”
Hatcher lives with her, in rooms that were added onto the original home.
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Her granddaughter, great-granddaughter and the rest of that family live across the street. Her son and his family live next door.
MawMaw may be 86 years old, but great-granddaughter Jillian said, “She acts more like she’s 27.”
“They won’t let me get old,” MawMaw answered.
“She stays busy. She goes more than any of us,” Hatcher said. “She rules her house with an iron fist.”
Back in 1973, MawMaw bought a lot, built and moved into her house. “Mr. Carpenter – I don’t remember his first name – Mr. Carpenter was keeping this lot for his son. When his son was killed in action, he didn’t want the lot anymore, so he sold it.”
MawMaw was married 20 years, and then married for 37 years to Henry Blackmon. “But his friends called him Blackie,” she said.
She then read me a poem she wrote, talking to God when her husband was ill before he died.
She also read two poems she’d written to commemorate the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“This poem,” she showed me which one, “was flashed on TV on 9/11. Don’t know who put it on there,” she said.
“I write poetry and paint,” MawMaw said. “I got a (how to paint) book when my husband was sick, and I’m self-taught.”
She brought out one of the 19 Santa tote bags she was painting to give to the grandchildren. “But I shouldn’t have shown you this one. It’s not that good.”
In reality, the bag was beautifully painted.
“(The family) used to have a big family dinner every Sunday. Never knew how many to expect,” MawMaw said. “I had to let up some, because I did pretty much all the cooking.”
Hatcher said the family still celebrated all the holidays at her mother’s home, joking that they used almost any excuse to celebrate a holiday together.
“Taught most of the grands and great-grands to swim in the lake,” MawMaw said.
“You almost drowned some of them,” Hatcher told her.
“I got in the lake with them,” MawMaw answered.