~Mama Johnnie

~Mama Johnnie

Last week Mama Johnnie lost her fight with Alzheimer’s s. She really has been gone longer. My Mom got the news late last week that there wasn’t . Sunday she flew to Dallas to see her and help my Aunt with funeral arrangements.

My brother, sister and I have been emailing stories about Mama Johnnie. Why do most of my favorites involve a gun? Words like nice, sweet or cuddly DON’T describe her! But she was efficient. She would press my hair, hot comb in one hand and hooch in the other. If I flinched she’d POP me on the head with the hot comb. She WASN’T play’n.

Oh and all these kids getting a hold of family members guns. I know the gun itself isn’t the issue. When I was little I knew Mama Johnnie had guns. Even if one of them were on the coffee table staring at me in the face wouldn’t touch it. Not because I understood gun danger. I WASN’T that smart of a kid (my name is Allison not Arthur). What I did know is Mama Johnnie would TARE my butt up if I touched that gun. I knew the word idle did not precede her threats.
This is the woman that put her loaded gun under the chin of a complete stranger. Granted the man had rear ended her car and was uninsured. Still who does that?! She gave the phrase “Balls of Steel” new meaning.

Oh but she COULD cook! You just DON’T even know! Her Gumbo, fried Cat fish, Monkey bread, barbeque, and the list goes on and on. No matter where else I’ve had these they CAN’T rival Johnnie Mays (sorry Mom).

She was very pointed where Arthur and I COULD and COULDN’T play out in front of her place. Let us not forget it was South Central LA. The front door was open but the metal screen closed. Now the TV was on, there was NO way her Stories were going to be missed! Still she would step outside on the stoop when she heard voices or a car door. Yelled at whoever it was to come meet her grand kids. I use to think Mama Johnnie was so friendly. When I got older and wiser I realized she wasn’t being friendly. She was putting them on NOTICE! You know we Never had any troubles. The thugs new Mama Johnnie had ZERO reservations using a gun. I always felt safe when I was in her presence.

So my siblings and I are buying some flowers for the services. I asked my mom what is the color scheme to which she replied pink. To which I said PINK?! She was I know RIGHT. Apparently my auntie swears it was Mama Johnnies favorite color.


In my 41 years on earth I’ve NEVER seen Mz. Johnnie Mae Rowe in pink! NO pink furnichture, blamkets, trinkets NOTHING! Nevertheless I calmed myself done and obeyed my elders and bought the pastel pink arrangement. Then LESS than an hour later I called the florist back and changed it. So it’s still in the pink family. It’s just VIBRANT pink, fuchsias, roses, etc. Johnnie was FIESTY she carried a gun!

I figure it’s one of two things. First, pastel pink is truthfully her fav but she just kept it on the down low to keep her street cred. If that’s so then my flowers are gett’n her back for hitt’n me in the head with the HOT hot come! Second if pink is my aunts favorite and NOT Mama Johnnies. If that’s true then I’ve got Mama Johnnie’s back! My flowers will truly represent her in my aunt’s sea of pastel pink.


Thank you Mama Johnnie for teaching me respect, courage and love. I love you and will miss you. Rest in peace until we meet again.


2 thoughts on “~Mama Johnnie

  1. V_Lo says:

    Allie, so sorry for your family’s loss. She sounds like my gran! (Hugs)

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