A Soul Survivor: The Story of Little Mary
I wanted to die... Sometimes I'd sit and try to will myself to death so I could fade away. I truly believed no one in this world loved me because I was not lovable, and I agreed with my mother that I should never have been born. Mary Eliza Reese Jr., also known as 'Little Mary, ' was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and reared in Los Angeles, California. As an African American living during the racial tension of the '50s and '60s, Little Mary found her light-colored skin to be a major issue, but that wasn't her only problem. Little Mary's mother, 'Big Mary, ' caused her to endure numerous life-threatening situations due to her drinking problem. Big Mary was co-owner of a well-known and respected mortuary in the African American community in Los Angeles. Little Mary's childhood experiences, and the mental and physical abuse she grudgingly faced each day, led her to believe that her only true friends were the dead people in her mother's mortuary. Little Mary's story tells what really happens behind the embalming room doors-the light and dark side of life. In her incredible and extraordinary memoir, A Soul Survivor, author Mary Ross Smith explores the depths of human emotions, both real and imagined. That any of us reach adulthood in one piece, emotionally or physically, is a miracle of no small proportion. That any of us reach adulthood to contribute back to society and become highly respected in the community is truly a gift of time and place. Little Mary's story is one of heartbreak and anguish, but one that ends in triumph. It is an enlightening and revealing peek into the unexpected and is, in the end, a story of A Soul Survivor.
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afraid ain’t angry asked Aunt Norma Lee baby began Big Mary Blakely body Buddy Buddy’s called can’t casket couldn’t crying Daniel dead didn’t know didn’t want door drinking Eddie embalming room Etta eyes face fear feel felt fight floor friends front funeral home girl hand hated hear heard hearse heart hell Holmes hurt Ilona J. T. Stone Johnnie Cochran kids kill knew Lary laughed Lenore Lil Mary Little Mary living looked Los Angeles Lou Rawls loved married Mississippi Mortuary Mother move never night Norman okay preacher pulled Redd Foxx Reverend Andrews Reverend Lindsey Sam Cooke screaming seemed sister sleep smile someone stay stood stop talk tears tell things thought told took trying Uncle Bud voice wait walked wasn’t watched What’s Willie wondered yelled you’re