Monthly Archives: April 2010

FLASHBACK: 2nd Edition ~ Carnival of African-American Genealogy: Grandma’s Hand ~ A Bridge Over Troubled Water, Memories of Fannie Louella JACKSON BARWICK {4.13.10}

Fannie Louella JACKSON BARWICKInteresting that as I began to pen my memories of Fannie Louella JACKSON BARWICK {1920 – 1992}, my beloved Maternal Grandmother, Stevie Wonder’s rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water began to play.

My Lord, without a doubt there is no single person who had a greater impact on my life than Anbownes. There is no person’s absence, that I miss more.

She was a firm, honest, no-nonsense straight-shooter. She was everything you dislike as a child and everything you come to respect and admire as an adult.

She was the personification of honor. People spoke of her with reverence.

My Grandmother was regal in appearance, always impeccably dressed, with the most beautiful, pecan hued hands and fingernails I’ve ever seen. There are moments when I seem to catch a hint of her gardenia scent. There are MANY days when I miss the sound of her deep, husky voice singed from many years of smoking.

Her love and loyalty were the rock we all –especially my Mom– held on to and truth be told, Mom started leaving us the day Anbownes transitioned.

I know now, what I didn’t quite understand then… watching a good Mother leave you is the hardest life challenge any child will face. It is impossible to sustain this kind of separation (not loss) and not be permanently changed.

By example, Anbownes and Mom taught a scared (and clueless) child how to Mother her Son. And though hurt by my circumstance, she never faltered in support. Because she stood by me, I am the woman I am today.

Once during her daily bath, she told me […]

Wordy Wednesday: Annie, Minnie & Fannie, The JACKSON Ladies

Jacksons ~ Annie, Minnie, FannieI love this picture of my Great-Grandmother, Annie CARTER JACKSON {1898 – 1981} with her Daughters, my Great Aunt Minnie (still living) and my Grandmother, Fannie Louella aka Anbownes {1920 – 1992}.

I adore the Church Sister hats, and Aunt Minnie’s diva pose (that’s so her!:-). They are standing in Winton Terrace, the housing projects where my Grandma lived and where I have many a sweet memory from. Grandma was my babysitter until I began Kindergarten!:-)

What’s the occasion? I have no clue. Easter Sunday? Church service at Allen Temple AME? Eastern Star gathering?

Each of these JACKSON SHEros holds a special place in my heart and I miss them more than a dozen Wordy Wednesdays can capture.


FLASHBACK: Better Days. {4.6.10}

I have much on my mind these days, but at the top of my list, summoning the strength to walk with my Mom through her journey of living with Alzheimer’s Disease.

I have to believe my Grandmothers — Allie, Catie, Marrie, Annie F., Annie C., Fannie, Lena, Ella, Laura, Hastey, Ann and Jane are looking over us… holding us up… praying us forward.

I have to believe we have our own Heavenly Cheering Squad that knows, better than I, that it will all be okay.

I can hear them saying, Geraldine will be alright… God has a plan!

So I turn often to Dianne Reeves, Grandma Tribute — Better Days for comfort. It gives me hope and makes me remember how sweet life was when I had the presence of my Grandmothers. There is nothing like a good one.

I share Better Days with you my friends today. Enjoy.


FLASHBACK: 2nd Edition ~ Carnival of African-American Genealogy: Grandma’s Hand ~ Memories of Lena Mae McKENZIE BARWICK {4.4.10}

Lena McKENZIE BARIWCKTo this day, My Great Grandmother, Lena Mae McKENZIE BARWICK is the gentlest, sweetest woman I’ve ever known.

Born 9 March 1902 in Lewisville, Alabama to Ella Mae MARTIN and Joseph James McKENZIE, I remember most her deep faith in God and her ability to quote biblical scripture at will.

I still chuckle at the thought of returning to Cincinnati in 1995 with a severe Caesar cut (yes — I’d shaved all the curls down to a barely visible shadow), and being informed by my Grandma that there was no shame in a wig — God would respect my crown anyway he could get it!:-)

I still marvel at the strength both of my Great Grandmothers possessed. Both survived poverty and less than easy Husbands, yet remained steadfast in God and Family. Never appearing to waiver.

Like most of the Barwick/McKenzie women, Grandma was blessed with long-life, transitioning on 11 March 2002, at the age of 100 years old.

The poem below, was written by my older Brother, William, for her 100th Birthday and was read at her Home Going Service.

How timely that it would be presented here today on this Sentimental Easter Sunday 2010, as my Barwick timestamp for Grandma’s Hand…

I think about my Grandma
and I think of loving hands,
Two hands that do their best
to carry out the Lord’s commands…
Two hands that clap in joy fullness
while she joins in a song,
Two hands that hug and comfort,
as she passes love along…
Two hands that are my Grandma’s
that have always done their part
To spread the love of Jesus,
so abiding in her heart.
I think about you. Grandma,
and I see a gentle model of the kind
of […]

FLASHBACK: 2nd Edition ~ Carnival of African-American Genealogy: Grandma’s Hand ~ I’ll Fly Away, Memories of Annie CARTER JACKSON {4.2.10}

Annie CARTER JACKSONIt was only after the 1981 passing of my Great Grandmother, Annie CARTER JACKSON (1898-1981), that I came to understand the depth of her presence in our family — she was truly the glue that held everyone and everything in place.

Grandma Jackson was everything a Grandmother should be ~ patient, wise, sweet and nurturing. Part of the reason I’ve been challenged in the quest to overcome my java-habit, is because as a child, Grandma Jackson would prepare me a very weak cup of hot tea with milk to make me think I was sharing a cup of coffee with her!

To this day, when I need comfort, I retreat to a cup of coffee and it pulls me back to a time when life was much simpler and I was surrounded by a clan of loving women.

Grandma Jackson was also known for her infamous Washington-Wilkes sayings, that though funny on the surface, carried very true meanings. Ironic how I still find myself quoting these in my daily life! My favorite Annie Saying is “A cow will need his tail to fan flies for more than one summer.”, which meant – don’t worry if someone does you wrong, they will soon need you again!

I can still remember Grandma’s long silver hair that she allowed me to style endlessly, hanging clothes on the line in her backyard in one of her favorite house-coats, wrapping her hand around my neck, with her tongue between her teeth, to braid my hair and bathing a tiny me in her kitchen sink.

The hymns she hummed constantly — at the most unexpected […]