By Tori Chenault Anthony
Two of my fondest memories as a child were attending Mitchell’s day care and stopping by Mr. Cully’s (McCauley general store). I began my experience with Mitchell’s day care in August 1961 as an infant and remained there as a part of her aftercare program until I completed fourth grade. Mrs. Maude, as she was affectionately called by the first generation of the day care crew (she was later referred to as Mitchell by the second generation) took care of us in the little house located right next door to her own home on Baggett Street. We thought ourselves very grown up if we were ever given the task to take something across the yard to her house for her during the day when her own children had not yet arrived home from school. This meant that you were not only maturing, but Mrs. Maude trusted you to be responsible enough to complete the task. Mrs. Maude’s five older daughters assisted her with our care after school every day.
Mrs. Maude attempted to instill many morals, values and qualities in her day care crew, but the one that comes to mind quite often is the importance of looking out for each other. As we grew up, we were assigned a baby. This was an individual several years younger than ourselves that we took great pride in assisting Mrs. Maude with his or her daily care. Mrs. Maude ran Mitchell’s day care for over 35 years. I was very blessed to not only attend Mitchell’s day care as a child, but to also send both of my own children to her day care many years later. I can remember as a youngster and a parent dropping her children off to the overpowering smell of breakfast cooking in the morning mixed with the wonderful smells of lunch on top of the stove as well. Mrs. Maude managed to always provide two hot meals a day for all of us as well as a snack in the afternoon. If your parent happened to come early to pick you up, you could rest assure she would place your snack in a napkin (these were the days before zip lock bags) and place it in your hand before you left the house. All of the children who attended Mitchell’s day care over the years left her loving care with a very healthy level of self-esteem and respect for others. Before Mrs. Marjorie Mitchell passed away, she received the governor’s award for mother of the year.
The second fond memory began during our elementary school days on our way to Mitchell’s. We were allowed to stop by Mr. Cully’s store a couple days a week. His store was on the corner of Duke Street and Ribaut Road. My favorite item to purchase was the homemade snow cone with a small thin wooden spoon. We enjoyed the snow cones and other purchases on the long slow walk from Mitchell’s once or twice a week. It made us feel really grown up, to be allowed to stop by the store and make our own purchases without adult supervision.
By Tori Chenault Anthony