Cousin Clara is 92 years young. She is my father’s 1st cousin. I think it is amazing that I know someone who actually changed my father’s diapers other than my grandmother. She was raised during a time where it was not socially acceptable for Black Americans to speak out. “A white person’s word out weighed a black person’s word during my time,” she said.
When she told me she was born in Oklahoma it was surprising to learn. Clara replied, “My Dad had to get out of town and my mother followed him”. She would not speak about what happened, but would only say it was a mess. Unlike today, when you can learn everything about anything via social media. She does not know about the internet nor texting. She lives a very simple life.
Being born premature, she could fit in the palm of her Dad’s hand. “I was a sickly baby,” she said. “When I was six months old my mom left my Dad to return home to our family in Louisiana. My Dad’s sister helped my mom get as close as she could to home before she returned to Oklahoma. That should tell you a lot about my Dad. My mom left with three babies and came back with four.” I asked what did you do when you were growing up? “I worked and helped my Mom cook and clean.” In her early adult years, she would rise at 3 a.m. so she could be at work by 7 a.m. She walked to work. “I had to quit that job. It was to much. I had to find work closer to home”.
Cousin Clara is known for her egg custard pie. At the age of 92, she is still a great cook. She rises at 5 am and starts breakfast and supper at the same time. She said I don’t use measurements. I eyeball it. My oldest sister was in the kitchen with her recently and she told her, “hush” just watch.
She has been a caretaker to many. Two people that I know of was her Aunt who never had children and her only son. Her mom went home to be with the Lord at the age of 60. I was told by my grandmother that Cousin Clara laid down in the casket with her. Often, she talks about how she has outlived everyone. There is no one left to share the experiences that she has gone through. When my Mom was called home to be with the Lord. I called her. She said, “You will be all right”. “You thought you knew but now you know”. I believe that was the truest statement anyone has every made to me. Our imagination cannot grasp what the heart feels when someone dear is called home. Yet, with people like Cousin Clara in my life I know its going to be all right.