6.23.2009

her name was mattie

...my maternal great-great grandmother.

i saw a picture of mama mattie over the weekend and i've been thinking about it ever since.

she looked like pictures i've seen of jamaican maroons and sojourner truth. of harriet tubman and delia.

no one in my family looks like her now, although my aunt, her children and one of her granddaughters have milk-to-dark chocolate skin tones.

she was also one of the last in my mother's line to have many children:

gussie (my great grandmother)
clayton
leslie
emma todd
bubba (bertha)
madeline

now i'm wondering what her parents looked like, what kinds of stories they told.

did they know about their last african ancestor?

did she know about herbs and spells? dreaming? divination?

what did she look like at my age?

and on and on...

and then i thought, i probably never would have known her name if i hadn't asked my mother about her when i started on this path.

the practice of calling on my ancestors made it necessary to clear up the relationships behind the names i heard bantered around in family stories.

for many of us, this is when the pain of the maafa arises, since to many this information is lost. but it is also the power in returning to the veneration of our ancestors.

even if we do not know their names at first, when we call, they come and tell us. they can help us heal relationships with other family members, guide our steps and offer countless blessings.

iba egungun idile mi
ase

4 comments:

vyzion360 said...

You write so beautifully, and your posts brings up so many memories for me ... some very painful, but all of them very real and worthy of acceptance and recognition.

Please, please ... keep writing ...

ms. bliss honeycomb said...

thank you for the compliment...and for reading. :-)

Cheron L. Hall said...

this is wonderful sis. i need to go through my mother's photographs (she keeps them tucked away in a closet!) and see if I can put some names on the faces...

beautiful.

ms. bliss honeycomb said...

word...i think we can forget to do that when the folks who can still remember are in their right minds & such. but it's important.