Ancestors born before 1900

Ancestors born before 1900
Frances Simpkins, Leah Foote, Emmaline Foote, Rosetta Foote

Sunday, January 5, 2014

They Were Smiling, too.

Sylvia Lee Easley
15 Feb. 1903 SC - 3 July 2004 NY
For weeks I've been asking my ancestors what they would send to me for the AAGSAR Blogfest. I kept smiling as I thought about Aunt Sylvia and Gram. Those sisters could fuss, but never really stayed mad at each other. They embodied the stubborn nature of the Lees, and that feisty nature isn't such a bad thing. I think if Gram had kept arguing with "Aunt Sivey" a bit more, it might have staved off the Alzheimer's. Throughout this Christmas season, the sisters probably have been going and back and forth over this and that up in Heaven, just to make sure their descendants down here were laughing and smiling together. I think they were smiling, too.

Lucille Lee Stokes
20 Jan. 1905 SC - 6 Dec. 2006 NY
The two sisters were just about inseparable here on earth. They both fibbed about their ages, but I'm reasonably sure of 1903 and 1905. They were the babies, the youngest of 10 known and named. Gram thought her Mom might have had a set of triplets who didn't live, but we don't have any proof. Their mom, Grandma Leah Foote Lee passed in 1908 and their Dad, Grandpa David Lee in 1911. Raised by their older siblings, Uncle General and Aunt Georgie, they were tough, proud women. Aunt Sylvia and Uncle General moved to Buffalo in 1923. Aunt Sylvia married Uncle Ernest Easley in 1924, and Gram moved up to Buffalo with Mom that same year. Of course they lived together, or down the street, or a few blocks away from each other throughout their lives. Many friends and family members have stories of coaxing 90+ year old independently stubborn Gram into the car as they found her walking up the hill on West Ferry, going to see her "little sister" in the nursing home. They spent just about one hundred years together on this earth.

Mom is Gram's only child, but her first cousins Mary, Ernest, Dorothy, Edward, Eleanor, David, and Lucille Easley were her sisters and brothers. She was living with them on the 1925 NYS census and the 1930 Federal census. After church this Christmas Eve, Mom and I ran by Cousin Dorothy's. They're the only two remaining. For three hours we sat laughing as they talked about the old times. I heard some stories for the first time, and still feel a twinge pulling at my heart strings for the stories I've missed because those who knew them best are already in Heaven.

Oh they had me rolling. Christmas 1950 and Aunt Sylvia is cooking dinner. Cousin Mary calls Cousin Dorothy into the bathroom, exclaiming that something is definitely wrong. "See, they didn't tell us anything about babies," Cousin Dorothy tells me. "I look down and tell Mary, That's a head! Close your legs! I run out and tell Momma that she needs to take Mary to the hospital because the babies are coming." Aunt Sylvia told them that Cousin Mary couldn't have the twins because she was cooking dinner. Of course, Gram had to chime in, telling her to shut up and take Cousin Mary on to the hospital. She would finish the dinner. I'll bet that set off a fussing period between the two. Mom and Cousin Dorothy laughed about Gram's biscuits. Imagine, remembering biscuits some 60+ years later! Aunt Sylvia's kids liked flat biscuits, but Gram made big fluffy biscuits. Cousin Dorothy had to "pull out the cotton in Aunt Lucille's biscuits." Yes Mom, I, too, wish Keith and Zion's mom, Cousin Eleanor had written the stories. Gram, Aunt Sylvia, and all the rest of the Easley kids were probably smiling, too.

Lucille Easley
29 Jan. 1934 - 5 Feb. 2002
New Years Eve afternoon brought Little Edward and his daughter Megan over to sit and chat. Each time Mom sees Megan, she exclaims, "Oh you look just like your grandmother Lucille. You know she was named after my mother." So fun to sit and laugh and create new memories as Mom recalls stories of downed Christmas trees at lively family parties of days gone by - days long before Megan, Edward, or I were born!

Georgie Stokes Walker & Danica
Habari gani? Imani. Mom and I went over to Keith and Antoniette's to celebrate the last day of Kwanzaa. Faith in our God, our family's past, and in its future. There, Mom held Danica. That initial wave of tears welled up and subsided because Lee women don't often let them fall. But in that moment, I could feel her wish that they were with us, celebrating. I'm sure Cousin Eleanor was smiling down at her granddaughter, Jackie, a beautiful new mother, and her precious great granddaughter. 

Jade, Adia, Alicia,
Maya, Asma
Hope and happiness rang strong as I watched the children of our extended family teach us of the Nguzo Saba. I'm sure that Cousin Mary, Mom's closest age-mate sister-cousin, watched and smiled down on her daughter Sylvia, granddaughters Adia and Asma, and great-grands, Maya, Alicia, and Jade. I know Gram and Aunt Sylvia had to smile as Danica, and sister-cousins Jackie and Asma spoke and lit the candle for Imani.

Asma, Jackie, Danica, &

And so we usher in a New Year. Sometimes, our ancestors just may be nudging us to tell a story as it is happening, just as Luckie Daniels has nudged us to take our research to the net through blogging. 

In about a hundred years, may the family historians of our African American Genealogy and Slave Ancestral Research Community savor the juices of the sweet stories we found of the past and shared of our present. Welcome to the "New Kids on the Blog." 

If we leave them this record, I'm sure they will be smiling, too.

One Love,