Growing up as a "bender" in Gee's Bend was unlike anything
today's children will ever see and know.Tinnie, the eldest sibling, along with her
sister Minnie, the third of five, had to not only do the house chores along
with their mother, but also had to take to the fields side by side with their
brothers and father and prepare the ground for seasonal planting...only for
months later to reap the harvest when the crops were ready....from sun up to
sundown.It was then when their mother put some old
shreds of fabric &clothes with a needle in their hands and had them to
begin quilting little blocks.
From being used as a form of punishment to
passing the time away, Tinnie and Minnie never dreamed that their
"punishment" would one day hang in museums!Their grandfather and father were also
astute businessmen in the community that allowed neighbors to shop in their garden
and even allowed them to use "credit" they granted to them if funds
were tight.Years later
they bought the shares from the "shareholders" of the community to
later form the family owned store, the "Boykin Mercantile Store"
which is still in operation to this day by Tinnie Pettway.Tinnie along with her brothers and sister
eventually moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut and lived for quite a few years
where she received her LPN degree in Nursing and not long after the birth of
her one and only daughter, Claudia, she decided to move back to Boykin (Gee's
Bend) and there became a daycare owner and took over the operations of the
mercantile store after the daycare was closed down.Minnie, who has Bachelor and Masters
Degrees, returned home and taught physical education and served as a
"guidance counselor" for many children in the Wilcox County School
System where she taught 25+ years.Now a retiree, she continues to keep the
family land and livestock in place along with her brothers.
Now both sisters have their hands full (with
enjoyment) by constantly producing quilts, wall arts and potholders for the
company that bears their name in their quilt collection. Tinnie and Minnie
knows who has blessed them to see such a time in their lives taking place and
He's the one who will make this great inheritance be a blessing for generations
to come for the family after them.