On this Mother’s Day, remembering my grandmother Margaret Colvert Allen and her sisters Launie Colvert Jones and Louise Colvert Renwick.
Thankful for the love, past and present, of my mother and all the other mothers in my life.
Cousin Onra and her brother, Johnnie D. Henderson, 1940s.
Wishing my first cousin twice removed, Onra Henderson Camp Dillard, the happiest 98th birthday!
Cousin Onra and I at her home in Washington, D.C., 2016.
Louise Holt Tisdale (27 April 1925-5 April 2018)
My great-aunt Mamie‘s eldest daughter, Louise Holt Tisdale, passed peacefully earlier this month after a short illness. Her memorial was held yesterday, on what would have been her 93rd birthday. The family’s great beauty, “Sister” was as lovely within as without, always ready with a warm smile, a hearty laugh and an open door.
High school graduation, circa 1943.
My favorite photo of Sister.
Unless it’s this one.
Sister with her mother, left, and aunt, my grandmother.
My grandmother worked as a dietician at Dorie Miller Recreation Center in Newport News, Virginia. The organizers of a teen beauty contest were looking for more contestants, and my 13 year-old mother casually entered.
“And the winner is … Beverly Allen!”
Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 15 August 1951.
New Journal and Guide (Norfolk, Virginia), 25 August 1951.
The summer after high school, to while away the hours until enrollment at Hampton Institute, she entered the Fancy Pants and Sport Shirt Ball at the city of Hampton’s African-American beach resort, the Bay Shore Hotel. In a midriff-baring genie outfit whipped up by my grandmother, she took second. (But really? You be the judge….)
New Journal and Guide (Norfolk, Virginia), 30 June 1956.
Sixty-two years later, she’s still beautiful … inside and out.
Happy 80th birthday to this abiding blessing, my mother, with love.
Just before dawn on Sunday, August 27, as Hurricane Harvey raged across coastal Texas, my cousin B. gave birth at a Houston hospital to the first of our family’s next generation. Welcome to the world, Brooklyn Jade!
Cousin Zeke in 2013, age 93.
I happened to be in Wilson when the news came. Cousin Zeke had passed peacefully at the age of 97.
Cousin Zeke at right, with sister Bessie and their father Jack, circa late 1920s.
Alice “Zeke” Henderson Mabin was born 22 January 1920 in Wilson to Jesse “Jack” Henderson and Pauline Artis Henderson. Despite their ten-year age gap, she and my grandmother were close pals in the years before Zeke relocated to Norfolk, Virginia — where she met husband Joseph W. Mabin — and eventually Baltimore, Maryland.
Cousin Zeke in front of the family’s home on East Vance Street in the early 1940s, with sister Doris Henderson Ward behind.
Cousin Zeke returned to Wilson four years ago as her health began to fail. She had no children, but was well-loved by her many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Right to left: Cousin Zeke, her husband Joe, and her sisters Bessie Henderson Smith and Mildred Henderson Hall in Mildred’s den on Queen Street in Wilson.
Sisters Zeke and Bessie on their sister Mildred’s porch, 1986.
Sixty-five years later …
Wilson Daily Times, 29 May 1952.
When I was home earlier this month, my dad and I did a count. About one-third of his graduating class of 75 has lived to see this anniversary. The Class of 1952 included parents of several of my close childhood friends. Though none of us attended, we were blessed to grow up under the Darden umbrella.
Best wishes to the ’52 Trojans! May you celebrate many more!