The day I set Big Mama’s house on fire!

The day I set Big Mama’s house on fire!

So the title of this post is just that. Over 21 years ago I was one of the many grandchildren standing on the corner of Fletcher St. watching our Big Mama’s house go ablaze. Her house. Our house. A house that had been in our family since my own mother was a child. I was thinking about this day for some reason. Maybe thinking about my Big Mama who died only two weeks ago.

Died. I hate that word. Mainly because since I was fourteen years old I had been burying someone I loved. My uncles, cousins, grand parents, brothers, my Big Mama, and then the death that broke my heart the most my very own mother. I could go on and on about the tears that I have cried or the many questions I yelled to the sky hoping that God heard them. But I won’t. I don’t want to damper this post. I just want to reflect on the day I set Big Mama’s house on fire.

It had to have been the year of 1991. The summertime for sure because many of my cousins were there with me. We all sat in the living room of Big Mama’s house, our house, and watched her soaps with her. I hated watching the soap operas. At four they bored the mess out of me so I needed a distraction. So I went in search of one.

Our house had the gas burners in each room to help keep the rooms warm. A house this old there wasn’t any central air or heat, so there the gas burners burned right before you. At four the purpleish-red-orange blaze was beautiful. But the more I reached my hand out to touch it; it got too hot. And I remembered when Mama would tell me that Hell was hotter than that so I better be good so I could go to heaven. So I always tried to be a good girl. Tried is the key word though lol.

So there I sat on the floor in the back room all by lonesome looking at this pretty blaze. I couldn’t touch it but I knew I could stick something in it and bring out a piece of that fire to play with. So I did, sticking a piece a paper in it and lo and behold fire was on the tip of it. And my desire were fulfilled that is until I noticed that the fire was spreading to the ends of the paper where I was holding it.

Throwing the blazing paper onto a near by bed I jumped up and ran back into the living room with everyone else and preteneded that there wasn’t fire spreading in the back room. But a cousin noticed a burning smell and walked to the back. With my heart racing because I knew I had did something wrong I waited for someone to declare the fire was not in the burner anymore but on the bed, walls, floor, and quickly coming to where we were.

Screams and panic filled the house as Big Mama gathered us children outside and the fire department was called. Everyone was asking who did it, and I shamelessly said, my big sister did. Shoot I didn’t want a whooping so I lied.

Luckily though the fire only damaged one room and till this day when you go into Big mama’s house there is a big black wall from the day I almost set Big Mama’s house on fire. Years later I discovered that everyone knew it was me that set the fire at a family gathering we had for Big Mama in 2010. It was laughfter amognst the family.

And now today only a mere two weeks after my Big Mama has passed over I reflect on that day. The day I knew that playing with fire had its consequences. Without any knowledge that my Big mama would soon be passing, I dedicated my latest contemporary novel, Kisses Don’t Lie, that released in March to her. And the timing couldn’t have been better.

We buried my Big Mama right next to my Mama, Delphine. I had to visit a grave I hadnt seen since the day I buried my own mother. It was a trying time for sure, but it made me stronger. I lived through it and I reflected on those two women. My Big Mama and my Mama. Boy don’t I have some stories to tell.

I love you ladies!

The key to this story is…..don’t play with fire!



  1. I enjoyed the post… And I look forward to reading more about the other “stories” you have to tell.

  2. Tiffany says:

    It was around christmas when it happened cuz I was the one who discovered it.

  3. LOl ok ok see I knew it had to have been an off season with all the grand kids there

  4. Luv this story you are great writer. You brought me into that house, into your scared face when someone asked you about the fire. I felt like I was reading a novel. Funny though.

  5. OMG your are a writer I feel so stupid. lol

  6. Fond reminiscences! I love this story!

  7. Great post!

  8. Bout time the truth came out ur mouth. I can’t believe u blamed that on me damn shame

  9. I am glad you were able to share such an emotional story. Great post.

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