A Study in Tenacity: My Son, the Graduate

With degree
My Son with his Degree from Emory University in Atlanta Georgia
When he left for college…

We prayed for him.

We encouraged him.

We guided him.

We supported him.

We cheered for him.

We consoled him.

We pushed him.

We pulled him.

We LOVED him…

But the one thing that we could not do was go to school for him.

 

Nevertheless, we did all that we could.

And now…

After enduring any number of set backs, this young man soldiered on and did the DAMN thang!

He NEVER gave up!

And we expected nothing less.

So, please join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of my beloved son.

First, a word about his alma mater, Emory University.

Emory is a private university, nestled within the tony Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, GA–actually it’s more so Decatur but anyway….. 🙂

The University was ranked by The Wall Street Journal as number 17 of 500 US national private and public universities.

It is the only University in Georgia to make the top 20.

Some notable alumni include, Robert W. Woodruff of Coca-Cola fame.  In fact, Mr. Woodruff’s family and charitable foundation remain huge supporters of the University.

Other notable alumni include:

Dr. Bernice King (Daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Robert Jones (Professional Golfer and Father of The Masters Golf Tournament)

Kenneth Cole (Famous Designer)

Notable Faculty include:

39th U.S. President, James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr.

19th U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

It is also important to note that Emory University Hospital accepted and cared for American physician and Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly back in 2014.

So….

I’d say, this kid was in good company huh?

But seriously, I am so proud of my sweet boy—now young man!

That said, we don’t get to celebrate the accomplishments of African-American men very often, so please indulge me as I do that here.

Here is a short video and a collage of pics.

First, a 30 second video of the Graduation Processional.

The music was provided by Atlanta Pipe Band.

Bag Pipes!  YAAAAAYYY!!!

 

Additional program music was provided by The Atlanta Symphony Brass Quintet.

 

 

Mama loves you Rod!  And in the words of the great Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss, “Oh the places you’ll go!”

Oh the places

Thanks for allowing me to share this with you.  Please be sure to comment and offer any words of advice to my son as he starts a new chapter in his life!

Love and light to you all!

Lady G

😘💋

 

 

 

 

The Flowering Vine: Stardate, 1981

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The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory- 1 Corinthians 15:41 (NLT)

 

Today was a beautiful day!

A celebration of our 50th Wedding Anniversary, and all of our children and their children converged from everywhere to spend this occasion with us.

Of course, we missed the older boys who have all grown up and moved forward on their separate journeys.

Ronnie and Eric are in the military and Angelo is teaching out of state.

We know they would have been here if they could have.

But isn’t that what the whole thing is about?

You have your babies, hope and pray over them, raise them and give them wings to fly.

Bittersweet–that’s exactly what it is.

But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We’ve been blessed and we know it.

All of our children are healthy and have gone on to do great things.

And when we look at the grandchildren we see bits and pieces of Ma Lula, Ma Allie, Ma Hallie, Pa Babe, Alberta, Aunt Elvy and, believe it or not, those Hatfields.

Quite naturally, they favor one another physically– but their individual glory differs just like the stars that sparkle and glimmer at night.

All in all, despite the hard times and hurt feelings, we did it!

We did exactly what God wanted and His grace has been our strength to see it through.

And now…

We rest.

“Good night Leroy.”

“Good night Annie.”

 

And thus ended the series…but not the story.  Both Ron and I will continue to weave tales about our family between the two blogs.

Thank you so much for all of your support and for reading “The Flowering Vine.”

Love and light to you all!

Lady G

😘💋

 

 

The Flowering Vine: More To The Story

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Our Grandparents:  Leroy and Annie aka ‘Mother’ with Lady G’s Son

 

I thought I’d take a second to thank all of the readers who have supported “The Flowering Vine Series.”

Both Ron and I really appreciate your kind comments about our family.

I inserted this picture of our Grandparents, Leroy (Daddy) and Annie (Mother) so that you can see them as they were in later years.

This picture was taken ONE MONTH prior to our Grandfather’s death.

Here’s the story behind the photo.

Basically, my son had just been born a few months prior and something urged me to go visit my Grandparents and take pictures.

While I can’t say that I had a premonition, I can say that I clearly remember my Grandfather saying to me, as he struggled with his cane to rise from his seat, “Whew Bay, Granddaddy can’t haaaardly get around no more.”

 

His rich baritone voice wrapped itself so closely around my heart and I tearfully responded, “I know Granddaddy….I know.”

The next month, he was gone.

Friends, I can’t tell you how much we all miss him.  He was one of the kindest people I have EVER known and he sincerely loved us all so much.

I distinctly remember how he would wait until EVERYBODY, including all of his children, their spouses and his grandchildren had eaten before he would eat.

He’d say, “Did everybody eat? Did everybody have enough?”

Then, he’d pile the leftovers along with some home grown tomatoes and peppers into his favorite bowl.

Boy let me tell you! That bowl of food looked so GOOOOOD!

God knows they don’t make them like our Granddaddy anymore.

Frankly, there is so much more that can be said about both of our Grandparents, and, as long as you’re interested, we hope to continue sharing those stories here.

Anyway, below is a family tree that includes some of the people that you all have come to know and love.

Because our story includes so much information about our biracial heritage, I decided to include a bit of a descriptor under each person’s name.

Note:  The term “mixed race” applies where there is some interracial heritage but the specifics are unknown.  “Recent mixed race” indicates that this person had at least one confirmed white parent.

On a related note, both Ron and I would like to offer a special thanks to two Caucasian cousins who were kind enough to share DNA and Family records in order to help us to confirm information on our Grandfather’s side.  Had they not been willing to step forward a few more of these boxes would have been marked “unknown.”

Also, a BIG thanks to Ron’s Mom (Jet) and my Dad (Jim) for sharing their memories.

Now, let me stop rambling!

Here’s the Tree!

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The Flowering Vine: Notice that there should be a Mr. H and a Mrs. H (LOL!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary My Jams!

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Diva of Soul, the official “My Jams” mascot!

 

Message from Lady G

In the event that you were unable to listen to the audio, I’d like to encourage you to please select and share your favorite jam (song) from years 1966, 1976, 1986, and 1996 in the comment section.

Although the “My Jams” series was exclusively focused on Soul and R&B, I urge you to link jams from ANY genre!

***Be aware that certain “My Jams” posts contain adult language and situations.  Also, song dates may vary.  For example, I might have been jamming a song in 1986 that was actually released in 1984.

LOL!  I do that all of the time 🙂

Feel free to use songs from the posts below:

That’s My Jam (Introductory Post )

My Jams ’66-67

My Jams ’76

My Jams ’86

My Jams ’96

Meet me in comments!

Love and light to you all

Lady G 😘💋

For: Gloria, Sandra, Sir R and Lady J for believing that I could do THIS!  YAAASSSS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flowering Vine: Thank You

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In today’s installment of The Flowering Vine, we find Ma Hallie (Mother’s maternal Aunt) talking about a situation that she and her brother Babe had encountered earlier that day.  

Note:  Mother’s side of the family would often add the terms “Ma” or “Pa” to the first names of older relatives.  

Here, Ma Hallie refers to her brother as Babe, but, Mother would have referred to him as Pa Babe just as she referred to her aunt Hallie as Ma Hallie.

 

Lord, y’all….. me an’ Babe done had us a day to-DAY!

Whew!

You know we had to go out Clayton way this mornin’?

Well when we was comin’ out from out there we run up on this l’il White boy in the woods lookin’ for somebody to help his granmamma.

He say they was in a accident an’ his granmamma done hurt her leg an’ can’t move.

Cos’ Babe told the boy to get on up in the Buggy so he could lead us to her.

Allie, I tell you, this li’l boy warn’t no older than Annie Maude and Ted but he led us right on through them woods to where his granmamma was.

Chile, Babe hadn’t even stopped good when that po’ creeter jumped down out that buggy an’ ran over to a colored ‘oman layed out on the ground wit’ another  li’l boy huddled up ‘gainst her.

The other li’l boy was colored too!

God….Y’all…that thang know it confounded the devil outta me!

I couldn’t make no sense out it!

Cos’ I didn’t say nothin’…..that warn’t the time.

I jus’ wonder where she got da li’l White boy from?

Uhmm!

Jesus!

Anyway, she looked to be pretty bad off an’ we ain’t had no time to waste.

So, I looked at Babe an’ told him to go ‘head on an’ take dem boys to get help cause I knew this was gon’ be mo’ than a notion.

By time Babe pulled off, I looked up to the sky an’ said, “Lord, this ‘oman in a bad way, she got li’l chillun an’ she need you Jesus.”

Then I got on my knees …right ‘side her…put ma hands on her leg and said my scriptures:

By His stripes, you are healed.

By His stripes, you are healed.

By His stripes, you are healed.

Y’all I done that near ’bout the whole time.

Next thang I know, Babe done pulled up wit’ somebody….say he gon’ take care of everything.

Elvy…Allie…y’all…when I went to get up, that ‘oman grabbed hold my hand an’ look me dead in my eyes Jesus!

She held me there for the longest time…

Jus’ lookin’!

Ain’t said a word!

Then… she went on an’ let me go.

Babe say it seem like she done that to tell me “Thank you.”

I thought ’bout what he said.

So I whispered– where only God could hear me–

“You welcome.”

 

 

The Flowering Vine: A Letter to Our White Great-Grandfather

black and white me

Dear Robert,

My name is Gwin and I am one of your great-grandchildren.  Today, I am writing to you in hopes that your soul has ascended to an elevated level of understanding and empathy-having left your dark and dense material world many years ago.

As you can see, I am not exactly what you might have expected.
I am not Caucasian.
I am a strong and beautiful brown-skinned girl.
I am Black.
We are Black.
You see, I am one of many.
We are the grandchildren of your son, Leroy.
From what I have been told, our grandfather spent quite a bit of time at your home with you and your other children.
In fact, he once showed me a knee injury that he sustained while playing on your farm.
So there’s no doubt in my mind that you knew him and he knew you.
But, do you know us?
Did you notice that he married a beautiful and educated black woman?
Did you see their babies?
Did you see their baby’s babies?
Would you have recognized us as YOUR children?
Or would you have been horrified?
Terrified?
Based on historical documents, I know that your family is deeply rooted in the South.
I know that many of them fought and died for the Confederacy-their cold dead fingers still wrapped around that flag.
I also know that they vigorously worked to maintain white supremacy and dominance well after The Civil War.
History tells me that it is very likely that you and some of your kin gathered up the women and children, put on your best suit of clothes, packed a picnic and gleefully watched as one, or more of my black ancestors was beaten to death and hung from a tree.
You and your kin normalized the murder and torture of black folks because, in your Earthly simple mind, we were less than human.
Yet, you wouldn’t have dared watch someone hang a horse.
There is no justifying that.
But, as I write this letter, I have hope that God’s grace has brought you to a higher level of awareness and you now know just how sick you were.  I pray that you have boldly accepted whatever karma came your way and released your hatred.
However, having said that, I must inform you that your inability to repent for your sins while on Earth has led to the creation of a very ugly wound on our current society that never healed.
 In fact, it’s beginning to fester and without an immediate intervention, it will become septic—which is, indeed, fatal.
If you don’t believe what I am saying, I give you this post written by your Great-Grandson, my cousin, Ronald.
Here’s the thing Great-Granddaddy, I want to forgive you and yours for your trespasses, but it is hard as hell when the worst of you continue to uproot any amount of progress that is made.
Therefore, I’d ask that you send prayers of enlightenment and love down to all of those who are working so hard to dominate and oppress people who do not resemble them.
I’ll join you in those prayers.  Maybe, between me and you, we can initiate healing and change.
Peace, love and light to you!
-Gwin.
PS:  You can reach me in my Alternate Universe version of 1982 :).
Also I am enclosing a picture of your son (Leroy) and your Grandson (My Daddy).
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The Flowering Vine: To Mary !

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Greetings:

This is the most recent addition to our family’s story, as told through “The Flowering Vine” series.  If you haven’t already, please be sure to read:

The Flowering Vine:  A Family Story

The Flowering Vine:  Mother Speaks

Today’s story, written by Ron, is about our Great-Great Grandmother Mary, our Great-Grandmother Lula, and our Grandfather Leroy (Mother’s husband).

Enjoy!

Lady G 😘💋

_________________

 

Let other bards of angels sing, 

Bright suns without a spot; 

But thou art no such perfect thing: 

Rejoice that thou art not!

-William Wordsworth

The year is 1910, but 1910 is not where the story began, but it is where the story is; like an old, sepia-colored photograph that has somehow rumbled magically to life and has shaken off its sepia suit to don a cloak of many colors; a multi-colored cloak rivaling the one which inspired so much treachery and envy amongst Joseph’s brothers; a cloak in “living color”.

At one of the countless crossroads in time, an old buckboard wagon; drawn by two tired, black mules, rolled bumpily down the dusty, winding way, which went from the “big house”—where old Marse Hatfield lived and where he sold goods from the plantation’s “store”—down the gently sloping hill towards the patchwork of parcels on Hatfield’s ample acreage; down to the battered barns on failing farms, occupied by the down-trodden denizens who sharecropped there.

The wagon, heavily laden with sundry dry goods and various vitals, purchased at the “store”, carried an even more precious cargo than the farm life fundamentals. It also toted life on board, for the black mules were driven to tow the toddling wagon, by the firm brown hands and booming voice of the formidable “head-of-household”, Miss Mary!

Heed not tho’ none should call thee fair; 

So, Mary, let it be 

If nought in loveliness compare 

With what thou art to me.

Riding shotgun for Miss Mary, was her good friend and widowed sister-in-law, Ella; while sitting, squatting, laying, dangling, and napping, on the rear of the wagon, were six of the seven children of the immutable matron and her sister-friend Ella. Mary’s oldest son, Jim, had stayed home on the farm, for there was always a mountain of work to be done for a sharecropper and he, by default, was the man of the house.

Mary’s second oldest—her golden skinned, mulatto daughter Lula—sat with her back to the others and her shapely, cream-colored legs, dangling from the open-ended back of the wagon and her pretty, bare-feet, barely brushing along the top of the dirt road passing slowly beneath her. A light trail of dust marked her passing, as it lifted from the road then whirled briefly, before becoming intermingled with the larger cloud, whipped up by the weighty wagon’s wooden wheels.

She had been charged by Mary to; “Keep an eye on the little ones Lula!” but the cool feel of the dust beneath her toes and the wiggling and giggling of the ten-month-old boy sitting in her lap, with his head full of straight, jet-black hair blowing in the gentle breeze, demanded all of her attention. His name was Leroy, and he was simultaneously; sweet, irresistible, and a whole, big handful, for he was a bundle of energy; always moving, grabbing, pulling, and trying to escape his young mother’s loving arms.

Also on the back of the wagon was Mary’s youngest son, the quiet, and sometimes sullen eight-year-old, Coley, and Ella’s rambunctious crew consisting of: seven-year-old Eddie, five-year-old Jesse, three-year-old Willie, and Ella’s baby boy; bad-assed little Pleas, at a squirming, one and a half, but going on twenty-years-old!

These four boys were Ella’s love—and Ella’s curse! A constant reminder that their father had been killed, while serving in the post-Civil War Army. However, he didn’t die in battle, for no battle had been fought during his lifetime. The army sent Ella a letter—along with his body which was contained within a pine box marked in bold, black letters, “PROPERTY OF US ARMY: FRAGILE” and that was it.

However, many—who swam regularly in “Rumor Mill Pond”—circulated a different story. They said that Ella’s husband had been killed by grown-assed White men dressed as “ghosts”, who variably called themselves; “Ghost Riders”, “Night Riders”, or “Knight Riders”, but knights, in the true sense of the word, they most certainly were not!

True beauty dwells in deep retreats, 

Whose veil is unremoved 

Till heart with heart in concord beats, 

And the lover is beloved. 

William Wordsworth

…to be continued