Jelly Roll Morton, Inventor Of Jazz, Online Book by Alan Lomax

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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strong-minded fine old French lady with a determined mouth and a big twist of hair high up. "What eyes she had/'* Amede laughed. "She never had to tell us to do anything. Just open her eyes at us and we'd move. See, when my Mama died we went to live with grandmother Mimi. My real mother I don't even remember . . . You could say the same thing about Jelly ... I hardly knew him. When he left New Orleans, we were just kids and we didn't hear no more from him until 1917 when he wrote and sent us money."
Jelly hadn't spoken about sending money. "He was a won­derful brother," Amede explained. "Do you know he sent me something almost every week for years? It was a holiday in this little family when his letters arrived—sometimes with twenty-five and thirty-five dollars—whatever he could send, if it was only five. Jelly never told us if he had any hard times, but we would know from the amount of money. Just a week before he died he sent ten dollars, and never even told us he was sick. He didn't have to do that, but he knew I had a husband . . . see, M. Colas has been sick along, not able to work so much. . . !*
From the bedroom that opened on the front parlor came an apologetic coughing and in shambled M. Colas, wearing his paint-spattered carpenter's overalls. He looked for all the world like a white crane out of a bayou—tall and stooped, the hollows of his cheeks and temples showing dark against silvery skin, and up towards the ceiling a swatch of silvery hair—a silver crane with a Cajun accent.
"That Ferd. He was a gentleman. You know? Sho he was." Tuberculosis has so deepened and softened his voice that M. Colas habitually wags his big, saw-marked forefinger for em­phasis. "When he heard about me, he sent me clothes—shirts, suits, socks, everything. One time he sent five overcoats, brand new. Ten pairs of shoes, the very best. Ferd would wear his things a couple of times and buy new and send me the old. I didn't have to buy anything for years. He was a man. He un­derstood I had it hard because of my chest. . . ."