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We celebrated my Mom’s birthday on 29 Aug 2015. It was one of the most emotional, precious and memorable experiences I have ever had in my entire life! Our family is truly blessed! We all met in Tampa, FL 27-30 Aug 2015, stayed at a hotel in Ybor, the historic district of Tampa, and celebrated my Mom’s birthday on Saturday night.
Our plans for the weekend were to enjoy our family, reconnect, reminisce and celebrate Alice’s birthday. We had five generations represented in person, and with our stories, we had up to eight generations! It was truly amazing! We had a nice turnout, from our newest member that is 11 weeks old (Andrea Jenea or AJ) to our oldest member, Inell who is 82 years old! We used to have family reunions every other year, but with all the competing priorities in our lives, we stopped having them years ago. In the past, when we got together, we were the kids in my generation, and now most of us are the grandparents!
This event takes place in Mobile, AL around 1948. Alice (my mother) was 13 years old, and Eva Jasper (my grandmother – Mom’s side) was 51 years old. Eva worked for a white family as a house keeper. During this time, Jim Crow laws were still in effect and the civil rights movement was not officially active (check out the history section at the end of this post). In Mobile, Negroes worked low paying jobs, and one of the primary sources of income for Negro women was cleaning the house and keeping the children of white people.
On this day, Alice went to visit her grandmother. However, this day was different because when she arrived at Eva’s house, she had a bandana tied around her head. Alice asked, “Momma Eva, what’s wrong?”
Eva responded with her head hung low, “I’ve got a real bad headache. This bandana will help it go away. Only problem is I have to go to work today.” Without hesitation, Alice said, “What if I go for you today? I don’t mind!”
The kids always made fun of Alice, my Mother, when she was younger, around 12 years old. No matter how much Alice tried to be nice and friendly, it didn’t matter. She was not part of the pack.
One day Alice was walking home from school with her best friend and cousin, Yanetta. They walked past the homes they normally did each day. But today was different. Today there were a group of the girls from school following behind them. Alice wondered what they wanted. Perhaps they wanted to be friends, Alice hoped.
The girls finally called Alice who turned to greet them. The girls were laughing and looking mischievous. They seemed to be making fun of her.
One of the girls came up to Alice and pushed her. Alice was hesitant to do anything until the girl pushed her in the ditch with a dead dog!
Alice became angry. So angry she found the courage to fight back. The dog must have been there for days because of the odor, flies and maggots swarming around and on it! Alice came out of the ditch swinging her fists with accuracy!
The girl who initiated the fight had a bloody nose making the other girls have second thoughts about approaching Alice. Th girls grabbed their friend and ran in the opposite direction! They were actually afraid of Alice!
From that day on, Alice and Yanetta looked for fights! They became the bullies in the neighborhood with their new-found courage!