Tag Archives: moving

rural me

ruralstreets

Ors Jacques was my paternal great grandfather.  He was half African and half French/Canadian and somehow made his way down south and fell in love with my paternal great grandmother from Birmingham, Al., Willa Mae.  Together they had six children and found their way to Omaha, Nebraska where they reared them and the majority of their families still reside.  She was his second wife.

I’ve always had this strong fetter with the south and have been fascinated with the simplistic beauty of rural life.  Us city folk buy nicely crafted flower pots and arrange them for balance in our yards and porches.  We re-fresh our curio cabinets with the seasons new symmetrically cut vases and treasured memoirs from recent travels.  And we call it home.

The homes on the rural back road yards are decorated with rotary mowers that stopped in that very spot some 40 years ago and now house the annual bloom of black eyed susans in April.  A garden of fall vegetables grow in the back yard near the separated garage every year.  The porch houses coffee cans of “particularly” favorite flowers such as tulips and mums.  The chipped paint on the homes reveal their age just as the rings on an oak tree.  And then there are the songs, and sometimes screams, that command the wind.  These and the trees.  Church bakes and the lakes.  Wooded water pales and old wives tales.  I’m finding pleasure in tracing my family tree.

ruralporches

My great grandfathers’ family has been traced from Wivelsfield, England to Canada to Iowa to Alabama to Nebraska.  And it was easy to go back as far as the 1700’s to find them.  I look forward to finding when the name changed from Jacques to Jakes.  It appears to have happened somewhere from Iowa to Alabama.  Now my great grandmother… I can’t get past her mother in 1892.  Where does she come from?  Did she know?  That is why that rural part of me loves the south.  Because there is so much to learn and hear.  And imagine.  Turning the dirt is like shaking a bag of bones to tell your fortune or in most cases, explain your past.

I have a covenant to write of the south to encourage people of color to speak a resolve within themselves of not knowing where and who.  While many probably don’t even think of it, I believe this is a part of our psychological warfare that effects our mental health.  While I will continue to trace my family in England, I will also continue my love for the rural south and listen for the voices of my families names of Nash, Michaels, Browns, Clays, Curtles and Mills.

zero to five in 32 hours

I always knew the day would come.  From his entrance in 1993.  His in 1998.  Then she came in 2001.  2004.  And 2006.

2008, I packed up my single life in Los Angeles and made my trek to Atlanta to get custody of my sister’s children.  Her five children. 

I made this privy decision after the second girl was born in 2004.  When “it” was now apparent in my mother.  I could hear “it” in her voice.  But “it” was loudest in her silence.  The flat breath that would catch happiness and linger trapped between her sighs.  My mother not being able to enjoy the fruits of being a grandmother because she was in a position of subordination to being a mother all over again.   Her angered disappointment, which is different from both anger and disappointment.  Her thanksgiving needing to be a holiday of receiving.  Our conversations gave guilt to the quiet jazz filled afternoons in my LA apartment.  Our conversations consistently robbed Roy Hargrove and I of the enjoyment of our new bottle of chilled riesling.  I needed to resolve.  The options: the kids become wards of the state or raised by my mother, who had become quite lenient with her home rules and expectations.  Foster care had already been in the picture.  The kids had already been split up before.  The boys stayed together but the oldest girl, only five months old, was sent to be cared for by another family.  Stories formed with the youngest boy being mistreated by another child in a foster home.  Stories of the kids crying at the end of visitations upon not being satisfied with the answers they received to their inquisitons, “can I come home yet?” 

I wanted to create another story.  Help write another ending for them.  After all, intergenerational family rearing is nothing new to most cultures.  Even my grandparents’ modest three bedroom home had ever revolving doors to their nine children and 17+ grandchildren so this decision seemed natural for me too.  But like most, I presume, who choose this, we do not see the stories that await us.  The stories of the hard adjustment to living in a new city, the demands of your time (or what used to be), the depression, the anxiety, creating a personal/social life with five kids, dating, finding the “mommy button” and the arduous task of re-membering who I am and re-inventing my self as a woman, artist and active aunt of five.  Some stories are funny and some are serious.  From journal entries to day to day tales, this blog is about me going from zero to five in 32 hours.