Dolly Parton is a singer, songwriter, actor, and author who has never been shy about telling it like it is. The Queen of Country has always been like an open book as well when it comes to discussing what her life was like before she became famous, and one story she told was quite jaw-dropping.
Here’s what Parton said about a time her mother had to sew her toes back on her foot with the same needle she used to make quilts.
Money was tight for Parton’s family growing up
Parton was born and raised in the rural Appalachia region of Tennesse. Biography noted that she and her 11 siblings lived with their parents in a small cabin and money was pretty tight.
Her parents were sharecroppers planting beans, corn, potatoes, and turnips. Her father hunted for much of their food and the family would turn to other no-cost ingredients for their meals, including rocks.
Parton recalled that when she was little her mother, Avie Lee Parton, made a Stone Soup with rocks that she and her brothers and sisters would collect. Each child would go into the garden and fetch a small rock. When they all returned with their rocks they would wash and scrub it while telling their mom about their day. Whichever one of the children needed a little boost of confidence, their stone would get added to the pot along with vegetables.
“We always made jokes and said we didn’t even know we were poor till some smart-aleck up and told us,” the singer told TODAY in 2015. “We didn’t have any money, but we were rich in things that money don’t buy. You know, like love and kindness and understanding.”
She said her mama sewed her toes back on
In 2017, Parton revealed another story about her childhood during an appearance on the Dr. Oz Show. She explained that she hurt herself when she was a child and since the family didn’t have the means to pay for a doctor, it was her mother to the rescue.
“I was probably about 6 or 7. I had jumped across the fence, onto a broken Mason jar and cut three of my toes,” the “Jolene” artist told Dr. Mehmet Oz. “Just my little toes on my right foot — almost off. And they were just kind of hanging there. So they grabbed me up and all. My dad and my brothers, they had to hold me down.
“Mama, she put cornmeal — now, you’re a doctor, you might know — I think the cornmeal was to absorb the blood,” she said to which Dr.Oz nodded and agreed.
Parton continued, “They put kerosene on it for antiseptic and mama took her sewing needles — she used to make our quilts and stuff — and she literally had to sew my toes back on. But they worked, and they healed, and I’m still walking on them!”
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