December 11, 2010

In My Father's House

...are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:2

Mary Long Avery passed on November 30. With her death, the remnants of the Powe/Drake family (my maternal line) shrunk even more. I believe there are less than 15 of us remaining, including offspring. Sistee was my cousin--not a compatriot, being closer in age to my mother. I remember stories of how she, my mother, and her older brothers, of whom only one is alive, used to play together in Cheraw, S.C.

But those are not my memories. It was years before I even knew that her name was Mary. Mary was the legal name; Sistee was her "real" name. My first memory of her was as a very young child visiting S.C., for a few weeks in the summer. She was getting dressed to go out. Going to the "juke joint," as her mother called it. And was she sharp? Believe it. Shortly before my aunt, Irma, passed, she related that it was owned by Peg Leg Bates. Don't know whether that was true. Guess it was possible.

My next memory is that of visiting her in Baltimore, MD, where I believe she lived on or near Reisterstown Road, in the 1950s. Her daughter, Gloria, and I had been promised a trip to Druid Hill Park. This also meant the opportunity to go to the zoo. Going to Druid Hill was so much more interesting than listening to the aunts chatter.

Then there is the memory of her at Aunt Sister's repast, calmly removing her teeth, so that she could eat. A diminutive woman, as most of the Powe/Drake women were, she had a sharp wit and pulled no punches in her observations.

I thought about calling her a few weekends ago. I had questions about our grandmother, whom I did not know, and thought that she might have some of the answers. I put off the call and then received notice that she had passed.

Her memorial will be held at the end of the month. I will be there in spirit. Love ya, Gloria. It will get better in time.

Be safe. Be Blessed.

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