I’ve been trying to write the greatest love story ever told since I was divorced. I am sure I’ve written this story at least 20 times. Each time showing the heroine saving the damsel and loving her for the rest of their lives. The problem with that story is, it’s too unrealistic for me to imagine, let alone write. It wasn’t until this month that I realized the Greatest love story ever told shouldn’t be about romantic love but just Love in general.
Let me tell you a story about a young foster child that had to learn what love is. I was taken out of the home a few times through out my adolescence for Child abuse. My father had been raised in a corporal punishment household and mimicked what he had been taught. The punishment for indiscretions in our household was a whipping. The unfortunate part is, my daddy wasn’t aware of his strength and many times, went too far. At 43 I still have battle scars from those whippings on my body and in my mind. That abuse made me Leary of fatherly love. I didn’t trust that men could love me unless I was being obedient and submissive.
I didn’t have an engaged grandfather, just a Godfather, Uncles and Cousins. These are the men that decided that who I was and who I was intended to be, was important enough to be available to “save me.”
My Godfather the Late Willie J. Wynn was the First man to be my Hero. We were in Reno, NV and it was the first time I was taken out of the home for an excessive whipping. I was already in the Washoe County Department of Family Services system. My Godfather was a Reverend and sat on the Governors cabinet. He was what the kids would now call “The Real Deal!” The story goes, my mom called my Godfather and told him I was in the system and would he PLEASE go get me.
I was 6 at the time but I remember my God daddy showing up and telling me, “get your stuff!” “You’re coming home with me!” The ride to his house was quiet. I was worried because I knew he had 9 children and I would make 10. How on EARTH was he going to be able to care for ONE MORE CHILD? I was concerned I wouldn’t be a good girl enough and they would have to send me back to the group home. On that ride to his house, I remember making a pact with myself. I would be a SUPER GOOD GIRL and they would let me stay.
I wasn’t a super good girl. I wasn’t disobedient just a little more “rambunctious” than my God mother was used to from a girl. I stayed with them for over 18 months. During that time, I managed to put a hole in the wall by running in the house and skinned my knee open bad enough that I needed 13 stitches. Nevertheless, my God daddy NEVER yelled at me. When it came time to go back home my Godfather prayed over me and told me, “you will be greater because of your resilience” I did not know what that meant but I held on to that. He showed me a different type of love from a father to a child.
My Uncle Hodge (His last Name) was more my Grandfather than My Uncle. As a child I spent most of my Summers with him, his wife Aunt Lois and my cousin. He was Militant but a loving man. Like My God daddy, Uncle Hodge was also a Pastor and highly regarded in his Community. Uncle Hodge passed away when I was 27 but he will always be one of the wisest men I EVER KNEW.
When I think about the time I had with my Uncle I always smile. He supported EVERY idea my cousin and I would come up with. I honestly don’t remember a time when he told us no. One summer we decided we wanted to sell rocks (from the ground). My supportive Uncle went out and purchased “special rock wash” to ensure we had the “cleanest stones” to sale.
Uncle Hodge was supportive and aware of what I was going through. One time, he took me for a ride in his BIG Lincoln. Just Him and I. On this ride we stopped and picked oranges from a local Orchid. As we picked oranges he whistled and directed me how to pull the oranges from the tree. He finally broke the silence by saying, “you know your daddy is ill.” He continued, “He loves you and your mom.” “he will be better one day.” He explained something to me that changed the way I dealt with my daddy. He said, “Your daddy did a lot of drugs when he was young and because of them, he has residual behavior.” He said, “One day, he will be ok.” “I promise”
Then there was My Uncle Frank. I was 9 years old when I met Uncle Frank and Aunt Mae. He was a peculiar and loving man. He was funny and wise all at once. I can’t remember a time when mu Uncle didn’t make me smile.
MY Uncle and Aunt were the First entrepreneurs I had ever met. They had a Wedding/portrait studio on the African-American side of Las Vegas Nevada called New Dawn. I remember the first time my daddy took me to that studio. It was weird seeing all my family in different poses on the walls. Looking through my Aunt Mae wedding album, EVERY married person I knew was in that book. I remember thinking, “ They know EVERYBODY!”
At 13 I was taken out of the home again for Child abuse. My foster parents house was on my Uncles route. Monday through Saturday, My Uncle Frank would stop and see me on his route. Everyday for a year, he would take a few minutes to check on me. Make me laugh, encourage me, and just genuinely love me. I needed him during that time. I was lonely, lost, and afraid EVERYDAY up until I saw him. Every day mu Uncle would remind me that I was “K-Mart Special” and loved. He would remind me who and WHOM I was.
A couple of years ago I was struggling with coming out as a Cannabis patient and advocate. It truly was a tormenting scenario for me. I couldn’t sleep or think of anything else. HOW could I do this? What would my family think of me? Who would I be to my community? How could I come out as a patient? But I knew I needed to.
One day I went to visit my Aunt. She wasn’t home, so I sat outside and waited with my uncle. As we enjoyed the Vegas weather he asked me the same questions he always does; How’s my son, how’s church, how’s work?
When I answered the, “How’s work” question, I began to cry. He listened and just let me cry. I explained all that I was feeling and thinking. I probably cried for about 20 min before he said anything. What he said, changed my life. He said, “ Scoody Doo, you spend too much time worrying about making other people happy.” “You are not in Foster care anymore.” He continued, “be happy and stop waiting for other people’s approval to be great.”
His words woke me up and gave me permission to be great.
I lost my Uncle Frank this month.
As I sit here writing, smoking, and crying. I realize I am at peace.
I am honored and blessed to have been loved by the greatest black men in the world!
This is my tribute to the Patriarchs in my life. Their strength love and wisdom will ALWAYS be a part of me and I will change the world in honor of them!