This is my Mama. As you can see, she was beautiful. There is not enough room on this blog or time to tell her influence on me. She truly possessed the "Fruits of the Spirit". She was patient, kind, loving, and giving. She never spanked me or yelled at me. She had a deep love for children and the elderly. She was a Geriatric Nurse. She used to say, "You get them young and I get them old but basically they are the same". She enjoyed telling and hearing a good joke. She taught me how to love children, good work ethics and sacrifice. She worked on the same job for 44 years, rarely missing a day and was commended, when she retired for never being late! I speak of her in the past tense because she died January 17, 2001. I miss her deeply.
This is my Daddy. He taught me how a man is supposed to treat a lady. He would be the only Father at school functions that didn't involve sports. Many of my friends had absentee fathers, so seeing mine was amazing to them. He would take me on Father/Daughter dates, he would open the car door for me, he would pay for our dinner, he would buy me flowers and candy and he would say,"If a man can't treat you as good as me, you don't need him". He taught me my work ethics too. Daddy had to quit college because he had a family to care for and he felt, at that time, his decision was for the best. He worked 2 full-time jobs where he was rarely absent or late. He taught me the importance of a good education.He never spanked me and yelled at me once when I said that I was going to drop out of school because I hated doing math. He said, in a very loud voice,"That is a stupid thing to say, I don't work as hard as I do for you to give up when things get hard". I cried for 2 days because I thought he called me stupid. I speak of him in the past tense because he died when I was 14 years old. He pampered me like a Princess and it took many years for me to get over his death. I have always remembered what he said and I married a man that treats me and our daughters, like he did.
This is my Maternal Grandmother, better known as Nana. I always said I was going to write a book about her and title it The Architect of My Dysfunction. Nana didn't play. This is where I got spanked and cursed out if things didn't go as she demanded. Nana got pregnant early and had my Mother at 15 years of age. So always felt guilty about leaving her with my Great Grandmother to move from Kentucky to Ohio. She didn't get my mother back with her until Mama was 16. Nana took care of us. She was an instructor at a culinary school until she retired. Nana had a GED and felt education was the ticket to success so she encouraged me to get mine. I learned to cook from her and to "cuss" as I was growing up. Nana would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it but if you crossed her she'd tear the shirt off your back. Like I said, she didn't play. I speak about her in the past tense because she died January 19, 2001. As tough as she was, I had a special loving relationship with her and I miss her deeply.
This is my Paternal Grandmother better known as Granny Sanford. She was gentle, sweet and nurturing. I could always go to her for comfort. She never spanked me nor did she raise her voice. She taught me to persevere, never give up on what I wanted in life. She would always ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I would say, "Granny Sanford, I want to be just like you" and she would smile and tell me that I needed to be better than her. I didn't think there was anything better than a Granny who loved you unconditionally. She was a single mom raising 5 children because my Grandfather died before I was born. She never remarried and she lived in the "projects". She also taught me to love church and working in it for the Lord. I speak of her in the past tense because she died in 1975. Her sweet, sweet spirit lives on in all of her living children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. She, too, is deeply missed.
This is my aunt Ginny. When I came home from a summer trip, I asked Nana what present she had gotten me. Nana pulled a blanket she was hold back and exposed a little red baby (she was 6 days old on my birthday). I told Nana I didn't want that and to take it back where she had gotten it from. I was 4 years older than Ginny. She taught me how to live with a sister. I called her my sister/aunt. We argued and fought like sisters. We confided in each other like sisters. We dressed alike, she followed me everywhere. She was my Mother's sister but she seemed more like mine. I speak of her in the past tense because she died January 17, 2001. She left 2 children of her own who I call my nephew and niece not my cousins. She was so young when she died and she is deeply missed.
This is the little baby that would grow up to be me. All of the previous pictures are not all who had an influence in who I am today. My Daddy and Granny Sanford both died of natural causes. They both had strokes. My Dad was only 36 when he passed away and Granny Sanford had a stroke in her 30's and died at 75 from a massive stroke. I have also had a stroke. I was 24 when it happened. My doctor said that if I had been 30 I probably would not have survived.
My Mama and Aunt Ginny were killed in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, who also died. When Nana got the news that her only children were dead, she had a heart attack and also died.
The biggest lesson I learned through all this tragedy is that God is no respecter of age or station in life but He has always been there to help me weather the storms. Through each and everyone I've introduced in this blog I learned how to love, laugh, cry, respect, cuss, cook, worship, pray, how to exercise faith ,choose and know. I love and miss them all.