I was raised with cousins like sisters, and aunties that were cousins, I was grown by strong women, women that showed me what motherhood was. Women who leaned on the power of sisterhood and faith. I watched these women take care of themselves while taking care of each other and everyone else. I watched them cook, clean, change tires, garden, farm and make power moves, buying homes, land and starting businesses.
I have always admired these women, from their clothes, to their hair styles and smiles. I remember Sunday mornings sitting in the small quaint building, Andrews Church of Christ in Andrews, SC, and looking at all the beautiful hats, Aunt Bernice, Aunt Rebecca , Aunt Ella , these were some of my grandparents sisters. My grandfather’s sister married my grandmother’s brother (not sure who got married first), that’s how close my family was.
Full of generational love. A love you’d have to be born into to fully understand, but a love you’d feel as soon as you’d enter a room at a family gathering. We are all huggers, lol.
They are Ancestors now, all have returned to the creator but one, the love is still a overwhelming powerful energy. I smiled so hard tears fell from my eyes when my older cousin sent me pictures of her. She stopped in Andrews while celebrating her Anniversary. The text read, “Hey! She said she couldn’t get up, got up on her own and started trucking… She had us laughing.”
This is Aunt Bernice, the last standing, trucking Matriarch. She’s 90 plus years old (93), she taught us songs, while she braided our hair, “Micheal row your boat ashore, Hallelujah“, an old Gullah geechee spiritual. “Don’t throw your hair on the ground, the birds will make a nest out of it, you’ll wake up in the morning bald” she’d say. Her yard was a gathering place, fish fry’s or just cousins sitting under her beautiful crape myrtle tree. One of the first stops we made when we got in town. Those little pink flowers, the ones the pop open when you squeeze the tiny buds, would fall in my hair. I can still smell the fresh air from her front porch, the summer breeze when it was that, to hot inside so you had to sit outside kinda weather. I remember she put barbed wire in front of her flower bed because the children continued to run over her flowers. Guess who ended up with the results of not listening in her thighs? Me,lol. My grandma called me Peter from time to time.
I know grandma is smiling down on us for checking on her sister, I give thanks for memories made. I give thanks for Aunt Bernice , Aka Laura Ann Pope.