In honor of my father for Father's day, I wracked my brain for something special to do that didn't involve a tie, or a new wallet. What I came up with rivals all other gifts that I could have ever imagined.
My father is almost 70 (this November). He was born in Huntsville, AL to very young parents. His mother was only 16 years old when she had him in 1940. My grandfather wasn't much older, and together, within 3 years, they had 2 more children, my uncle, Eddie, and my aunt, Betty. My dad remembers yanking on her skirt while she was cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. She must've been obviously pregnant during the time of this memory, but he doesn't remember the details.
Two weeks after my Aunt Betty was born, my grandmother began hemmorraging. The only hospital in town denied her registration because she was black. She died. She was 19.
I can only imagine how such a young family fared in that time. Men didn't take care of children. That wasn't a man's place.
When my dad was 9, his family (and a new stepmom to boot), moved to Louisville, KY to start a new life with other family.
....I was born in 1978. I share my grandmother's name.
This woman whose name I share, was callously ignored because of her race and my dad still mourns her. It has been evident in every aspect of his life; even to his daughters, over 1/2 a centinneal later.
...Since I've digressed, I will tell you that my father has only had ONE picture to remember his dear mother by for his whole life.
A black and white photo that had many blemishes.
For Father's day, I took this 'one and only' and had it retouched to remove the blemishes. Then I asked the retoucher to add color so that my father can finally envsion his mother the way she would have been when she was lively, young, and full of life.
I will always imagine her with two young boys on her lap, and a baby in her belly; smiling a beautiful smile and feeling content and at peace with whatever life brought her next.
As a mother, I can only guess that if she were here, she'd tell me that although she succumbed, her babies survived, and that was all that ever mattered to her.
Yes, I can definitely dig it.
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