Sunday, September 10, 2006

Grandparent's Day occurs during a bittersweet month

Happy Grandparent's Day. As of 1978, President Carter designated the second Sunday in September National Grandparents Day. For me, it's a good day to reminisce, fondly, about my two great grandmothers, three grandparents and my parents (who, thanks to my nephews, are grandparents, too).

I am particularly blessed, as a descendant of African American slaves, to have known so many ancestors first-hand and to learn about others and their experiences through the family griots. As many historians have documented, numerous families of kidnapped Africans and of African American slaves were purposely broken up. Moreover, explains the Oxford University Press description for Brenda E. Stevenson's Life in Black and White: Family and Community in the Slave South:
the harsh realities of slavery, even for those who belonged to such attentive masters as George Washington, allowed little possibility of a nuclear family.
Septembers, for me, are bittersweet. I'm sorry to see summer go, but love the scenic seasonal transition and back-to-school buzz. I also enjoy collaborating with WEVR-MRC to promote and celebrate National Preparedness Month online (at Emergency Preparedness & Safety Tips) and on air (on the Lisa Tolliver Show). Of course, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and their evil sisters who hit the American Gulf Coast in September 2005 illustrated, painfully, why preparedness can make the difference between life and death during a disaster or emergency.

September 9, as explained in Why September 9 is a bodacious Bonza Bottler Day, is triply momentous. My maternal grandmother was born September 9 almost a century ago. She died about 10 years ago to the day. And the ninth day of the ninth month is a Bonza Bottler Day.

September 11, in 2001, became a day of infamy. My Aunt Violet, who was in a hospital in Brooklyn Heights recuperating from cardiac surgery, saw both planes hit the World Trade Towers and the aftermath. I'm sure the shocking scene contributed to her death several days later. Incidentally, the minister who presided over her funeral was the Chief Medical Examiner responsible for identifying body parts found at "The Pile."

And September 17 is the anniversary of my father's death. I spent most of late May through that date in 2005 at his bedside. Oftentimes, I'd tie up his hospital phone line (since cellulars and wireless Internet connections interfere with certain lifesaving hospital equipment) conducting conference calls, working online, and interacting with students and clients. After he died, I wrapped his bathrobes in plastic to preserve his scent and left his alarm clocks set to ring, as he had them, at approximatley 6:30 a.m. daily. (That is the time when, before being hospitalized, Dad took morning treatments for emphysema so he could breathe).

Lots of other things happen in September, but for me, the remainder of the month is but a blur and will remain so for quite some time.###