Wednesday, November 21, 2012
The Ancestors Told; The Elders Listened; We Passed It On!
Bernice Alexander Bennett
My mother was always sharing a childhood memory! So, one day we were driving to the grocery store and she saw some ladies standing on the street. She immediately began to talk about her Cousins Josephine, Minerva, Pinky, Myrtle and Augustine. Mom did not have any sisters and those cousins meant a lot to her!
She told me that they were always there for each other! Helping out when necessary, visiting and celebrating a birthday, church event, you name it!
Mardi Gras was always a special time for the family to get together and we could always count on a bunch of relatives showing up at Aunt Hester’s house on Thalia Street in New Orleans because the truck floats would stop in front of her house. My grandmother lived in a small apartment unit owned by her Aunt Hester and the mother of all of those cousins. She had a balcony and we would stand on the balcony hollering like crazy, “ hey mister, throw me something”! Well, those were the good old days. Lots’ of food – gumbo, red beans and rice, fried chicken (not the KFC) but the real deal - okay – a typical New Orleans style spread of food for all to eat. When mom was amazed at something special, she would simply say” Wow”! That’s the way it was on Mardi Gras! Fun, food, family and WOW!
Well, the cousins slowly passed away and mama would say – “we are just passing through”.
It wasn’t until my mother passed away in 2010 that I realized how much her cousins meant to her. Following her funeral, we went to the cemetery for that final goodbye. Cousins attended the funeral from all over New Orleans, and I could see from the side of my eye that they were slowly migrating to other gravesites. Of course, I wondered, what’s going on?
I then realized that the descendants of Josephine, Minerva, Pinky and Augustine were also paying homage to their parents, grandparents and great grandparents. I also learned something new – in 1955 – the cousins decided to purchase cemetery plots to be near each other in death.
Wow! “We Are Just Passing Through”
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