Thursday, August 04, 2011

Secrets

The best thing about hand made items, is that they are only meant for one person. A personalized label, a little "secret" snap or closure, and embroidered date and initials on a the inside hem of a wedding or christening gown...

If you've been following my blog so far, you know that my grandmother was born in a middle-of-nowhere town in North Carolina in 1913. This was a time when birth certificates for "negroes" weren't really considered important. As far as our government was concerned, she wasn't important. She was raised to become a wife and mother, and practiced the standard domestic duties reluctantly. If you ask my Dad's closest relatives, she married a saint of a man, but would occasionally disappear for days at a time, leaving her kids and husband to fend for themselves, return drunk, ruin things, crash cars... just a "hot mess" in general.

When we had to write an obituary for the local newspaper, I needed some details to put together, so I went on a search. My Dad had died 6 years before she did, and her siblings didn't have much to add, so I knew there was a mystery to solve. My mom directed me to a box she kept beneath the bed.

"I don't have the time to go through this myself," she said, "but, just in case you come across it, I've gotta warn you that you might find something in there that needs explaining."

I had no idea what she meant. I searched through the box, found some facts, but nothing controversial. When I told my Mom this, she sat me down to tell me what she knew about my grandmother.

"You didn't find a letter in there?" She asked.
"Nope. Is this something I even wanna know?" I wondered.

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