Papa and Mama Said

Full of Dare County Folklore

Non-Fiction - Memoir
342 Pages
Reviewed on 06/05/2018
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Author Biography

Lucinda G. Baum was born in 1928 and raised in Dare County in a family with 14 children. They grew up in the days prior to the war, when everything was done "the hard way" and "it was all a matter of survival." Her book "Papa and Mama Said:" is a charming book, told from the perspective of an 8 year old, that contains stories and anecdotes about life in the days of the Great Depression and is full of old Dare County sayings.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite

Papa and Mama Said: Full of Dare County Folklore by Lucinda Gallop Baum is a non-fiction memoir or autobiography about the life and experiences of Lucinda growing up in the '30s and '40s of rural America. Papa and Mama Said is written in a fairly sequential manner with events following one after another over the course of a lifetime. The story starts off with Lucinda’s childhood and early years in Dare County, North Carolina. In it, Lucinda describes her parents, their backgrounds, families, the geographical and cultural aspect of the land and places they lived in, including their day to day life such as the food they ate, the love and relationships between the siblings, making a living off the land, celebration of holidays and festivals with friends and families, the challenges and hardships, as well as the joys and happy times of childhood. There are also numerous photographs throughout the book that put the people in this story into context.

I enjoyed reading Papa and Mama Said: Full of Dare County Folklore. In it, we get a glimpse of how life used to be almost a hundred years ago. Although this is relevant to America and American life, it is also applicable to how life used to be everywhere around the world—a lot slower, natural, and with much less dependence on machines. As a result, family and community ties were more important. And this fact is brought out well in this book. I liked reading about the “old way” of living and doing things such as all the different ways pig meat was used, for example. This is a good book for anyone who likes reading about history or about older customs and ways of living that are fast dying out.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Lucinda G. Baum pens stories about her childhood in Papa and Mama Said: Full of Dare County Folklore. It was a time of penny candy, courting, home births and handmade clothes. There was a saying for every situation in life. Yarns, old wives' tales and folklore remedies abounded. Her memories and musings bear witness to her environment and upbringing “living between the woods and the water” of North Carolina. Playtime was imaginative and simple and many small tasks or errands were turned into adventures. Lucinda loves her family. She honors and respects her parents: “Papa knew just about everything and what he didn’t know Mama did.” Life was hard, but she doesn’t complain. Lucinda was taught to see potential in others and in things that many would throw away. Responsibility and helping out was considered a great reward. Each chapter is full of nostalgia and gives insight into her life growing up in Dare County.

Papa and Mama Said: Full of Dare County Folklore takes you back in time. Lucinda G. Baum gives you a personal tour of her world, sharing her feelings, thoughts, and reactions to pivotal events of growing up as one of fourteen children in North Carolina’s Dare County. Baum stays true to the theme of timeless sayings of the era. Many of the metaphors and adages caused me to chuckle, as I remembered hearing them spoken as a child. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop” rang loud and clear. Baum’s stories took me back to my own childhood, listening to tales of my aunts and mother as we gathered around the family table. The dialogue is priceless; she certainly has a unique way of telling her story. Furthermore, the family photographs capture the heart and soul of her words. I thought it relevant that Baum ends her memoir at the close of WWII. After all, it marked the end of an era. May we never forget the treasure of family and the power of our story.

Romuald Dzemo

Papa and Mama Said: Full of Dare County Folklore by Lucinda Gallop Baum is a memoir that is as hilarious as it is deft in capturing the spirit of the “good ole days.” And yes, I was drawn to the writing right off the bat with the narrator’s refined sense of humor, beginning with the circumstances of a new birth, letting the reader understand that kids were always sent off to an aunt when their mother was about to give birth and when they returned, they had a baby. But things quickly get interesting from the moment the reader learns that “The neighborhood was upset about Miss Ella, our next-door neighbor just across the field. She had had a baby before daylight that morning and it was born dead.”

This is a very engaging and interesting memoir that takes the reader back to the old days, in a rural setting in Dare County, North Carolina. The author explores the beauty of a simple life, recreating characters that are real and very relatable. The book is littered with humorous episodes from the protagonist’s life, and readers will enjoy the way the themes of love, family, community, life and death are explored. You’ll laugh at the eccentricities of life in the old days, follow characters who get drunk through the wee hours of the morning so that they are useless when they are badly needed, laugh at the thumb-sucking little girl who can’t help herself. And here is a line from a poem that translates the way parents gave messages — strong messages or warnings — to wayward kids.

“Mama said to Lucinda one day,
Lucinda, you mind while I’m away,
There’s a great, long-legged scissors man,
That comes to little girls, who suck their thumbs.”

There are images in this book that most readers will recognize and, curiously, it compelled me to look back at my own childhood and laugh and smile at what it used to feel like growing up. Lucinda Gallop Baum’s writing is evocative, dotted with a charm that will quickly rob off on readers, thanks to her unique turn of phrase, the witticism in the writing, and the engaging conversations. Papa and Mama Said: Full of Dare County Folklore is a book that invites readers to reconnect with their past, savor the beauty of family and laugh in the company of eccentric characters. It is set at a time when children still believed in wild tales. A well-written and hugely satisfying read!

Divine Zape

Papa and Mama Said: Full of Dare County Folklore by Lucinda Gallop Baum is a wonderful memoir that vividly documents growing up in Dare County in North Carolina in the “good ole days,” a beautiful story that captures childhood memories — and curiously, those memories aren’t just those of the protagonist, but reflections of the childhoods of many readers and in many other places. In these pages, Lucinda explores the joys and challenges of growing up in a very large family in a rural area. Her sober, lucid, and humorous voice will have readers reeling with laughter.

Lucinda Gallup Baum has gifted readers with something to help them remember the old days of innocence. The book captures memories of a time when “We never seemed to know Mama was going to have a baby until the day it came.” We explore the joys of childhood with her, the simplicity of life in a large family, the beauty of a rural setting, and the tough parenting of those days. Whether she is describing their sports, the early spring games of jump rope, marbles, and kites, or hide and seek, or whether describing her eccentric habit of sucking her finger for comfort when displeased, she creates images that are strong and vivid.

The memoir is well written and it mirrors how childhood perceives life. The story is filled with beautiful and humorous episodes that will remind readers of the little pleasures we sometimes take for granted. Papa and Mama Said: Full of Dare County Folklore is a captivating story with an array of interesting characters, a story that evokes emotions in the hearts of readers. I laughed my way through the entire narrative.

Arya Fomonyuy

Papa and Mama Said: Full of Dare County Folklore by Lucinda Gallop Baum is the kind of book that has something to offer anyone who still misses the adventures of their childhood; a compelling memoir that follows the early life of the author in the rural areas of Dare County in North Carolina. The author takes readers on a great ride to make them feel what it was like growing up in the olden days. She was one of fourteen kids in her family — and that wasn’t something extraordinary because most families raised as many children as that. When she begins her narrative, a new baby has just been added to the family and the author describes her in her usual, humorous manner: “She was a funny, wrinkled, little, pink thing, but she was ours and we knew, right away, we were going to love her.”

There is a lot for the reader in this memoir, and readers will love the way the theme of family is developed. Lucinda Gallop Baum’s writing is crisp and she has a rare sense of humor, and whether describing an event in her neighborhood or expressing how men acted in the face of events like “birthing,” she manages to echo the voice of the child she once was, a thumb-sucking little girl. The beauty of the prose is enriched by the author’s humor, but her treatment of character development is impeccable. One of the elements of this narrative that caught my attention is the beauty of the setting — a very lovely place where everyone knew everything about everyone. The themes of family, parenting, community, and love are beautifully written into the narrative. Here is a book that made me feel like going back in time to relive some of the wild things of my own childhood. Papa and Mama Said: Full of Dare County Folklore is masterfully written and downright humorous. You won’t want to stop on this hilarious ride.

Erika Baum

This is a wonderful book! What it was like growing up in Manns Harbor/Manteo during the days of the Great Depression and WW Ii, as seen through the eyes of a 12 year old child. Filled with charming stories, some fun and some sad, with cute southern sayings, and sone practical jokes...they sure knew how to make good use of everything!!

One of those books you’ll read over and over. Will make a great movie someday!