As a child, she often came to the “Pipe Room” underneath the bank her father worked at to play. For a long time, she figured this room is how the town got its name somehow. Someone, perhaps famous, perhaps even *infamous*, was trapped in this room with these pipes, she imagined. Witness the bars covering the small windows on the door and the wall.
African-American nudie photo above the lone table. Perhaps someone black, then, she reasoned early on. Maybe Jim A. would know more of the story. But as far as he knew he was the only black that ever lived in Pipersville (he personally preferred “brown”). *And*, he quickly correct, the town was named for an original settler named Piper. Nothing more. “But the room had to have *some* function,” she replied to Jim. “Stop trying to dig up dirt on that place,” he requested, understanding the town powers and what they could do. Something a child shouldn’t know about. She’d learn soon enough, when she was older.
Then, overnight, the town grew a suburb, the aforementioned Sandpiper Court with its three houses. Your Mama’s family moved into the middle of the 3. She began to sing at the local club called The Diamond, owned by this very same Jim. In truth he was trying to distract her from the room and from town mysteries in general. Plus she could really belt out the tunes.
It would be a number of years before she started being called the name she became famous with: Your Mama. Not a child any longer. And she took the name shortly after learning the truth about the room. And Jim.
(to be continued?)