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Millie Dillard

Sadie M

Sadie McLemore with Hearn family members

It’s difficult for me to remember any time in my life before Sadie McLemore. She was helping Mom and Dad when I was very small. She was always full of life, and very busy in those early days cooking, ironing, cleaning, and spoiling and loving all of the Hearns! When I was old enough to understand, I learned that Sadie had been to college, a very unusual and amazing thing for black people in the 40s. She lacked one or two courses to graduate but even then could only get a job as a maid. It used to make me so angry. She was so intelligent that she could have done many things, given the chance.

For a time Sadie and James, her husband, were custodians at Immanuel Baptist Church. During those years we were able to see her more often because she was responsible for Wednesday night suppers. How we loved her cooking, especially her squash casserole. After Bonnie and Derek were married, Bonnie would call me ever so often to get Sadie’s recipe. Derek had never liked squash until he tried “Sadie’s way.”

Sadie loved to sing, and sometimes we would join her in the kitchen singing and praising the Lord. She taught me how to dance the Charleston, which I can do to this day.

Although Sadie and James never had children of their own, they raised several nieces and nephews. I remember playing with Joe when we were growing up. Even though Sadie’s discipline was very firm, we knew she loved us. We always rejoiced when Mom told us that she was coming over to help for a while.

When Mom and Dad traveled abroad for several weeks, Sadie would take care of us. Several times she went with us to Ridgecrest and cared for us while Mom and Dad were busy teaching classes.

As the Hearn children grew, married, and had children, our children looked forward to seeing Sadie when we were in Nashville. She loved them as she had loved us. They remember her with fondness.

When Sadie was in her late 40s and early 50s she attended Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, to complete her college degree. We were so proud of her!

From 1970 to 1978 she worked with children at Donner-Belmont Child Care Center in Nashville. When she retired, Mom did a cross-stitch picture for her with the faces and names of her students. When Sadie passed away, the picture was returned to Mother at her request. It stayed in the kitchen until last year when Mother passed away. I had asked Mother several years ago if I could have the picture when she died. It is now hanging in my den, where I see it every day. It brings back wonderful memories of a very special person who was dearly loved by all the Hearns.