I come from strong women.
My mother was telling me last night, in one of those phenomenal moments when she actually lets something slip about the past, that my great-grandmere, Vi Ella Cauthorn-Lue, took those children left in the home, on to Mexico Missouri in order to give them a better way of life. I assume this was after Sadie died (the beautiful twin, Sadie Lue, who died of cancer in her early 20s and would’ve been one of my many great-aunts) and my grandmere Fern Arlene Lue (married name Gardner) would’ve been born.
Did I, or could I ever have known how much courage that took? In a time when women did NOT separate from their husbands, and most certainly didn’t take their kids (especially after 15) and move off from the country to the “city” in order to make a better life for them — on her own — asthmatic, overweight, but still beautiful and fierce in everyway.
I come from Strong Women. Their stories rest in my mind, like unopened, dusty leatherbound books waiting to be read. The last few nights, they’ve come to me in my dreams, begging to have their stories open and read (OK, not BEGGING — these are my blood i’m talking about, we don’t beg for SHIT!)
I dreamed Vi Ella all night last night. I dream her the most. It’s her voice I hear most, telling me to push forward with this genealogy research. Stop sitting on your heels, gal. Get busy. And busy is what I’ll be tonight.
When I’m in these moods, I think of all those names, on both my mother’s side and father’s side. The names of the strong women on BOTH sides of my tree, that I have met and known and loved and been loved by. Speaking and writing these names make me want to cry out in anger, happiness, pain; boastfully, as a reckoning. You are NOT forgotten, nor are your lessons and cautionary tales. This, through me, I promise you.
Vi Ella Cauthorn – Lue, my maternal great-grandmere — born August 1877, died May 1944
Lula Mae Hamilton – Williams, my paternal grandmere — born August 1920ish, died April 2001ish?
Fern Arlene Lue – Gardner, my maternal grandmere — born November 1920, died January 2001
Mildred Lue – Holland, my maternal great-aunt — birth unknown, death at 99yrs, in 2002…the one that started my genealogy bug, with everything she kepts in her little wooden chest.
Melinda Meadows, mother of Vi Ella, slave, MY maternal great-great-grandmere — birth and death unknown
Lela Pittman Hamilton, mother of Lula, MY paternal great-great-grandmere — birth and death unknown
Fern Fonceile Gardner – Williams, My Mother, and her sisters Garla Sue, Twila Arlyne, and Leta…
All these strong names, strong women, fierce BROADS for lack of a better word. They took on a world that didn’t want them, and men that tried to control them. For better or worse, they are, they were, and they always will be. I don’t say these things to make what they were poetic or describe them as the wilting flower. I say these things because they make me cry tears of joy, in knowing that no matter what I go through, no matter what happens to me at my own hands, or the hands of others or the hands of each of the different men in my life…it’s all up to me, ultimately — who, what, where, how, and WHEN i will be. My time is now. And I won’t waste any of it, regretting what I didn’t do. That’s a promise!
Anyway, time to go be Porsha, unapologetically and without shame. It’s what I do best, confusing as it is to those that both love me and hate me. xoxoxoxoxoxo