Other Documents, Photographs

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 6. So far away.

I thought first about this week’s challenge in a spatial sense. Who was so far away? My grandmother in Philadelphia, to whose home we voyaged every summer from North Carolina? My New York relatives? My Chicago cousins? And then I remembered this, an “autobiography” I wrote as a class assignment in fifth grade. Forty years ago. So far away indeed.



by Lisa Henderson 

This Autobiography is dedicated to: my parents for providing me with memories

Table of Contents:

Preface i Autobiography 1 Time Line 7 Family Tree 8 Book List 9


This autobiography was written by me as a project. I hope it will be a success to me.

The Autobiography of Lisa Henderson

I guess I have a good sense of timing. June 26 in the late [meaning ‘upper,’ as in temperature] 90’s was when I was born. Just in time for a tan. I was born at 4:50 P.M. at Mercy Hospital. I weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and was 22 inches long. When I was about six months old, I came down with bronchitis. It was one of my few very serious childhood diseases. I moved from 706 Ward Boulevard to 1401 Carolina St., at about 8½ months. I lived on Carolina St. until a little more than a year ago when I moved again. At 14 months I started walking. I was at my Uncle J____’s house. I took my first steps at home though. From ages 1½ to 3 years I stayed with Mrs. Speight while my parents worked. I played with my cousin M____. We had wood blocks to play with. Sometimes we went on walks with A____ and B____ her two [grand]sons. Once, going to her house I fell in the street and busted my knee. I know I had a fit. We went to the Philadelphia and I went to the Philadelphia Zoo for the first time when I was about two. When I was three my sister was born. Mama and Daddy named her K____. She got meningitis when she was about 6 months old and stayed in the hospital 21 days. At age four I entered nursery school at Kiddie Kollege of Knowledge. Most of my immediate friends and cousins in Wilson who were of age were there, too. My teachers were Mrs. H___ and Mrs. P___. At 4½ I broke my fingernail in half in a 2-inch door. I was taken to the emergency room at the clinic. I got it all plastered up. T____ and I used to slide off the cast and look at my black, blue, purple and green finger. When I was five I entered kindergarten at Kiddie Kollege of Knowledge. All my friends and cousins except four people were gone to the first grade. Kindergarten wasn’t very exciting. I guess the most exciting thing was graduation. At graduation I got a Timex Cinderella watch. During the summer between kindergarten and first grade I got my [smallpox] vaccination. I got it on my back because in order to please complainers they were putting it back there instead of on your arm. In that same summer I got cellulitis. A mosquito bit me and I scratched it and scratched it and scratched it, until it got infected and ate my first layer of cells. I came back to Wilson from Virginia and went to the doctor. He said I had to go to the hospital. I stayed there 6 days. I went to B.O. Barnes School when I was in first grade. My teacher’s name was Mrs. B____. It was in the first grade that I met V___ and J____. She came from Mrs. H____’s room. In the second grade I met another good friend J____ and B____. I was in Mrs. M____s room. In January we had Mrs. F___ because Mrs. M____ had to go to the hospital. I got my first dog when I was in the second grade. His name was Tiger. When he got run over I had a fit. Also, when I was in the second grade my father had an accident. He was playing volleyball when a boy threw the ball and hit his finger. The ball flew with such force that the finger was broken. He said he could see the bone and flesh when it happened. Were it healed is still a big knot. Upon entering third grade I realized something. Of all my three years in elementary school I had been in the same homeroom as B____ and M____. I was named secretary of the class by my teacher, Mrs. P____. In fourth grade I went to Vinson-Bynum from B.O. Barnes. My teacher was Mrs. E____. In fourth grade I rode a bus to school for the first time. It was Bus 73. In the later part of fourth grade I moved to 2___ Bel Air Avenue. I rode Bus 70 when I moved to Bel-Air. I met W____ in the 4th grade.


And, yes, that’s The End. I don’t know what else to say about this pithy summary of my first 10 years, except I seemed to have lots of fits and had a very narrow notion of what aspects of life and people in it warranted memorialization.  I got an A, though. And that family tree in the table of contents? It marks the first time I ever asked questions about my ancestors.

Lisa 5th grade



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