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Growing Up In Memphis: Gina Neely

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My fondest memory of growing up in Memphis are my great great grandmother. My Mom was a singe parent so I spent a lot of time with Mama Callie (It still does something to me when I say her name).

As I like to fondly refer to Cella St.,  in Orange Mound as my “Village of Love”; this was back in the time when everyone knew everyone, we also knew what time the ice cream truck would come, and playing dodge ball in the street was fun and everyone looked out for one another. I can honestly tell you that I miss those days. I was the baby of the street and everyone spoiled me.

I was affectionately referred to as “Polly Parrot”

I was the neighborhood reporter and I was paid by fresh baked cookies and sweets and the smell of fresh dishes of Love. I suppose that’s why I look at food as a “service of love.”

Church, Sunday dinners, family togetherness and just being loved. So many teachable moments.

So no matter where I go, no matter what I do.. Memphis will always be my foundation and remain in my heart as that special place of LOVE and those memories keep me SMILING!

Gina Neely

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