Cornbread in Buttermilk
The Buntyn Family
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (1/17)
“Cornbread in Buttermilk” by the Buntyn family is a wonderful tribute to Emma Lee Buntyn, also known as “Pappie” by her six grandchildren. Reading this tribute reminded me so much of growing up with my mom. She, like Pappie, took no nonsense from any of us, and taught us good values and manners.
Pappie grew up in poverty, worked in the cotton fields as a child, and took in her six grandchildren to raise in a 2-bedroom apartment in Harlem. She worked as a presser at a dry-cleaning shop with very little pay and long hours. Food was meager; clothes were mended and handed down. The rules were simple, “We eat together, pray together and you will respect others. I will love you and take care of you no matter the cost. But if you step out of line, I will whoop your ass.”
The approach the grandchildren took for this tribute was to invite readers to sit at the table with Pappie and have a chat. Pappie could have you laughing, crying, while at the same time passed on words of wisdom to live by. Everyone was fair game for her. She also made you realize that as a society and family we have lost our way, and that includes traditions and values.
Throughout all the good times and bad times, Pappie endured. She was called the good soldier-regardless of what obstacles came her way she charged forward with grace and love. Anyone who knew Pappie would say she had character, dignity and a great love for God. One of her goals was that each child graduate from high school and become a productive, responsible, loving adult. All her grandchildren will say Pappie wasn’t easy to get along with all the time, and they often didn’t understand her thoughts or actions. But at the same time, they will say it made them who they are today.
The book is well written with passion and love. It will capture you from the first page and as you sit with Pappie you will get a firsthand look at the true meaning of family. There are not enough words to describe the feeling you have when finishing this “Cornbread In Buttermilk” by the Buntyn family. This is one story that will stay with readers long after they have finished reading.