Bringing Mother Home


I went to Louisiana to get my mother (that’s

         where she was at)

The twenty-third of December.

(That was my borned state.  I left there when I

         was seventeen.)

And when I got there she didn’t know me.

She had to look at me a long time.

But she come to remember; she finally come to;

She said, “This is Martha.

Martha?” she says, “Is this you?”

So my brother he come from New York.

He got there on the twenty-fourth of December.

(He has two chuldren and a wife),

And so they said, “We come after you mama,

That’s what we come for.”

But she didn’t want to go with them,

And I didn’t want her to, because

They had little chuldren and his wife couldn’t--

You know--take care of all.

So we carried her to a doctor--Dr. King,

And he give her some examines

And he said she was a mentality case.

He told me, “Don’t leave her. Stay with her.”

I stayed with her til February,

Just me alone.


She would go out of the house and walk

In the rain and I would follow close behind—

To see would she know the way back.

A lot of times she wouldn’t know where she was


I would come up beside her and she would look at me

And say, “Martha, where we goin?”

“Where you goin?”  “I do’know.”  “Then le’s go home.”

Then she agreed to come back to California with me,

She agreed to.  So, on the seventeenth of February,

We left in a car.  But we got to the place where

         she wouldn’t

Stay in the car no more.  She would ask for the

         key until

We had to give it to her (Can’t drive no more

Without the key.).

Then she would get out and walk; so

I would walk too, until she was tired.

I couldn’t get her to eat, not anything.

So come to El Paso, Texas, I put her in the hospital

For five days.  I asked the doctor there,

Could she take a plane or a train to California,

Or could she make it in a car.  He said, “She can.”


We got as far as Fresno, and rainin’!

It rained so hard the windshield wiper

Couldn’t make it.  Mama was laughin’ and

Talkin’, so I said, “Mama’s better. I’m glad

I had her in the hospital.”

Then we went into a gas station

And all of a sudden Mama said to me,

“Martha, look at me.  I’m as white.  I’m as

     white as that white man standing over there.”

So then I knew she was very sick.

We carried her to the hospital.

The lady there, she said, “This is a payin’


I said, “That’s all right, if you can do her some


The doctor, he gave her an injection, and then,

Just like that, she died.


Well, I mean

I would’uv stayed there in El Paso with her.

I asked the doctor “Can she make it?”

And he said, “She can.”

I told them all, “I kin keep my mother. I kin

       keep her.”

I wasn’t thinking of no money.  I didn’t care.

I was thinking of how to keep my mother.