In today's episode we consider the blessings that spring forth when we remember to connect with our elders and connect them with our youth. Families that connect, heal, and grow together are much better in the long run.
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Be blessed. Not stressed. Why?
Because yours and their lives depend on it.
Aminah Amarachi- Your host
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2021-2022 © JITMOIA Podcast by All Paths Lead Home, LLC/SLE (TM) – All Rights Reserved
S1E14- “Let’s Go for a Visit: The Power of Knowing from Whence We Came" (Those Elders Who Came Before Us)
Intro Music: Royalty Free
Promo: BuzzSprout Services
Grand risings and runnings, family, and welcome back to our Joy in the Midst of It All podcast show. I am your host - Aminah Amarachi.
Family, I pray that you have taken moments out of your scheduled lives to just be present in the presence of another loved one, you know the one you may not see everyday, yet either have a connection to or may need to establish a connection with. I am speaking about the lost art of visiting elder family members that may not be in your age group or generational line’s sphere.
Now, let’s continue our journey…
Have you ever wondered, from whence we came? No, I do NOT mean the current day, state, city or community that you were born in, or the one that you may have always resided, attended school, or church in. I am speaking of your multiple lineages which may have begun in other states or countries, unbeknownst to you, for which the distance between your location of birth and your ancestral origin, both in travel and time, are far less (or more) than you might think.
Have you ever wondered why you do things a certain way, have a certain personality trait, or why you or other family members all gravitate to similar career paths, interests, or behavioral patterns? You know, when you pause for a moment to look around and notice that regardless of which generational line you represent, most of your folks are ministers, teachers, singers, musicians, politicians, lawyers, doctors, or artists, OR that many of your women and/or men in your family experience a similar life's challenge, sometimes labeled generational curses, that continue to pop up in each line or generation...You ever wonder why that is? Those challenges are calling out for individual and collective family healing, from ancestors to future descendants, and all in between.
Have you noticed that you don’t like eating certain foods, or you don't prefer to eat with utensils? Instead, you prefer to pinch off, pick up, and enjoy your food with your fingers, yet have no idea why this is your preferred way of eating. When someone asks you why you do this, you respond,”I don't know why, I just do.”
Well, maybe the time has come for you to do some research in order to better understand the wheres from which you originated (people and places) and the whys that make you uniquely you.
Today’s Episode: "Let’s Connect: The Power of Knowing Ourselves by Getting to Know Each Other (Those Who Came Before Us)"
The year:There have been many - 1990s, 2010, and 2015 just to name a few…
These were the years that I connected with, and was blessed by our Great Aunt Millie Sue Jester, Great Uncle Dave Jester, 3rd Great cousin Neerma Ponder-Williams, and 4th great cousin Willa Mae Reese. Thank you all, so much, for the knowledge, stories, and wisdom that you shared with me. Keep on singing, traveling hula-hooping, storytelling and trailblazing, in heaven. Rest in Peace-filled Power, family. Additionally, I have stayed in touch with cousins Walter and Leila (AKA our families Encyclopedia Browns), and Cousin Sarah Pearl.
The dates: Each and every time that I was blessed to sit at the feet “metaphorically,” of my elders, some who are now ascended ancestors, to listen, learn, and better understand where we collectively came from, which wonderfully revealed, for me individually, and our families, collectively, who, how, and why we are who we are.
The scenes:Each one of these snippets occurred in our hometown, either before, during, or after I returned to care for our Dede.
The Snippets(AKA Story Summaries - Knowledge My Elders & Ancestors Blessed Me With):
Let me preface these story snippets with I was blessed to have the opportunity to connect with my elders because, FIRST and FOREMOST, Haha, I am my Mama’s child who can start up a conversation with anyone AND I am also my Dede’s child who is a people observer, SECOND, I was raised on a) there are no stupid questions, b) if someone doesn’t know the answer, go find it for myself, and c) keep my contemplative AKA thinking cap on every day, and THIRD, I was born to be the “BUT, WHY?” child, who has grown into being the family historian, researcher and storyteller for the past, almost 40 years, and counting.
1990s - During one of our family reunions, I had the opportunity to sit down with Great Aunt Sue (She was another renaissance traveling, hula-hooping, trailblazing woman) to learn more about our Dede’s Mama’s family. A future blessing that came out of that day was that Great Aunt Sue shared many more stories, photos, notes, and other great history with me that supported me in expanding that particular line of our family tree history . Let’s just say that well into Great Aunt Sue's seasoned years, she could hula-hoop with the best of them. Smile.
2010 - Upon returning to our hometown, to care for our Dede, I connected with our Great Uncle Dave, who was Great Aunt Sue and our Grandma Fannie’s younger brother. On one of our first, of many, road trips, Great Uncle Dave invited Dede and me, and cousin Walter, to attend a note-singing performance, at their local community senior citizen’s center. FIRST, let’s start with I’d never heard of note-singing, and thoroughly enjoyed watching the group perform, which turned out to consist MOSTLY of our own extended family members. I watched as they livened up the place in a way I’d never seen done musically before, and SECOND, to learn the history and depth of involvement that both our Dede’s Mama and Daddy’s families have had, and still have with this musical tradition. Priceless.
2010 - In this same year, I met our 2nd cousin Sarah Pearl. In a word, a trailblazing independent spirit. She moved to the big city, almost sixty years ago, and attended a faith center that actually gave her access to more information regarding our family history. She was one of two cousins to share with me that one of our family line’s originated from our ancestors being brought to this country, to be enslaved, on a ship that departed out of non-other than “THE HOLY LAND.” I know what you may be thinking, and Nope, it's not the one in Florida. This was way back in the 1800s. AND< Yes, it was the one in Israel. Can we all say, “WOW!”...as my nephew would exclaim. What a wonderful addition to the research I’d been doing. It is one that I have been piecing together, with the help of some of our other family lines’ historians, ever since.
Stay tuned for more right after our first spotlight moment.
Now, for our first spotlight moment...
Spotlight Moment #1:
Today we honor of one of Dede's good friends, and my elder - Mr Edluie D. Walker. Brother Edulie blessed our family in many ways over the years. And, as his friend, our Dede, began his journey through Alzheimer’s, both at our home, and each time Dede was hospitalized, at rehab, or once he resided at the nursing home, Edluie would be there visiting with Dad. They would enjoy each others company, which was truly a blessing for our Dede as he journeyed through Alzheimer's.
You know, as a family caregiver, and for the person you are caring for, it’s disheartening to realize that those whom you thought would visit you, family members, co-workers, loved ones, friends, etc., over an almost seven year period, didn’t do so for whatever reason, and for whichever season they found themselves in. Yet, it was inspiring to be visited by those who did, expected and unexpected. All of those visits were spirit lifting salve for our Dede’s soul. Thanks Brother Edluie. Rest in Peace filled power.
Now, back to our show…
Welcome Back Family
2015 - In this year, I was blessed to connect with our 3rd Great cousin Neerma, who is our Cousin Sarah Pearl’s first cousin, and one of our Grandma Fannie, Great Uncle Dave, and Great Aunt Sue's nieces. Yeah, try that one for a tongue twister. Not only did Cousin Neerma confirm what Cousin Sarah Pearl had told me, which their grandma Hannah, who was my great-great grandma, had told them both about the origins of that line of our family – i.e. being brought here straight out of the Holy Land - Interestingly enough, she also shared with me the another closely connected story about my Great Grandpa Steve's paternal family line was not originally known by the ONLY name we descendants have ever known.
This family line's original surname was Bucholz (Buchotz, Bucholts), came most recently out of S.C. Additionally, how Big Papa Steve's Dede, Great-Great Grandpa John arrived in the hometown we'd always known him to be from actually occurred when he followed a person that came up to the area, who I am still researching, that was affiliated with the movie, “Gone with the Wind © “ You know, that big white house down home> It was in the movie. More on that later.
I have also learned how they preserved foods in the winter, the history of note-sang (i.e. even at cousin Neerma’s awesome home-going, her descendants, AKA our family, note-sang her onward along her heaven bound journey), which ancestors performed with the Wings Over Jordan gospel group (That's on our Mama's side), our ancestor blessing his beloved and children with land within exactly just two months before he became an ascended ancestor, on Valentine's Day to boot, and many more eye-opening, uplifting, soul stirring, funny, and relevant stories.
2015 – As an adult, I connected with Cousin Willa Mae. Now, when I say that we could be on the farm from 2, 4, 6 or 8 hours. That's cousin Willa Mae, who hung out with Cousin Barbara. Cousin Barbara lived to be 105 years seasoned. When I was a kid running around at family reunions, she lived out of state, and was 35+ years more seasoned than me, yet as the Universe would have it, we connected, and from then until her ascension recently, she blessed with stories that informed me of not only our ancestor’s original name being Uhlfelder, (YEP, that's another Jewish ancestor in different family line, and our Grandpa's first name was Cohen, which is traditionally used by the Jewish Levite's Priestly line) which was changed to the name our line currently knows and uses. Hmm
She also shared with me her travels to the Holy Land, YEP that makes three of our trailblazing renaissance women in our family who have visited Israel and Africa because of family history stories that their their elders shared with them. Cousin Willa Mae then shared with me how her auntie, my great grandma, and her cousins, who were my great-great aunts and uncles used to roast a hog in the front yard, play instruments, drum, sing, and dance, just like if they were back home in Africa.
She shared how my triple great grandparents purchased their land [That's a whole number story], and how her younger cousin, Great Aunt Rosa Bea, my Grandma's sister, used to eat only with her fingers, by choice, yet didn't know why she did so. Lo and Behold when Cousin Willa Mae visited various countries in Africa – Ghana Sierra Leone, Nigeria and others - , she witnessed people on the continent using the same style of eating as Great Aunt Rosa Bea [AKA Baby Sis]. She immediately informed her of what she'd witnessed and her revelations.
She even shared how she was blessed to meet Dr. Mary McCleod Bethune as a teenager, and so much more way back when she lived in Florida.
So, as you can see these are some examples of how getting to know our elders became a powerfully connective way to better know myself, individually, and our family collectively. As well, their stories offer us the opportunity to realized that our family history didn't begin nor end in the current county, city, state, nor nation we have always known ourselves to have been born.
Additionally, our existence does not occur in a vacuum. Just as our the history and stories of our ancestors lives have informed and transformed our own individual and collective existence, they have also, and continue to inform and transform the broader history of the world...i.e. National and World history would not exist without them.
So, bless them with their flowers, now if you can, and posthumously if you can't...Why? Because Ashes to Ashe'(s) has always been our mother continent's indigenous way...not, the let the dead bury the dead (and we forget them)...way. This is my personal side note.
How we frame ourselves, within ourselves, plays an important and empowering part of how we frame or allow others to frame us, pun not intended, yet it did come to mind, by others view of who we are, both individually, communally, and collectively.
By taking a few moments out of our overly-scheduled days to a) connect with an elder, b) acknowledge that it is a privilege to be the one the entrust with their stories, c) show a genuine interest in the lives they've lived, d) be patiently willing to sit down (at their feet), hush up now huna chile, to listen to their stories, and d) neatly and accurately transcribe their stories just as they shared them with you,
[On a side note: Leave the technology at home, unless you ask their permission to use an old fashioned tape recorder as a backup to your CLEAR HANDWRITTEN NOTES. You may be wondering “Why not go all tech on our seasoned elders?” Well, take a moment to consider the journeys they’ve traveled and survived historically, and you'll have your answer]. Do not interrupt except to ask clarifying questions.
Elders will only share information with loved ones who they intuitively know will do with their stories that which is most honorable and healing, for the collective family.
At the family reunions, select some sharable stories [as some stories will be entrusted to your to hold, and or share with specific members of the family, for specific reasons, at an ordained time] to present that will bring clarity to our ENTIRE CIRCLE of LIFE – From our origins up until now - Why? Because long after you, too, become an ascended ancestor you would have been able to pass down the family history torch with honor and reverence just as it was passed on to you…for the greater good of your family, and the world.
“Our BOOKENDS ARE OUR BOUNTY (™)” [I will say it again, “Our BOOKENDS ARE OUR BLESSINGS]- You may ask me why I coined this phrase. Well, it is because in the years that I have been researching, listening, connecting, and observing, with my thinking cap full on, I realized that just like with the “ALPHA” and the “OMEGA,” our “ELDERS,” and our “YOUTH” are both our beginning and ending. However, I dare offer that it’s not an ending as it tends to be portrayed way, yet a continuation…i.e. LET OUR CIRCLE - FAMILIES - BE UNBROKEN.”
Ask yourself, in all of your seasoned years, how have you actively and reverently ensured that the circle remains unbroken – or if need be, become fully healed, healthy, happy, and whole, not only for those of us living in the now, yet also for our descendants, who will live in the nows beyond now?
Now, it’s time for our next Spotlight moment…
Spotlight Moment #2:
...Is full of thanks, with gratitude, for every elder that I am still blessed to be in touch with in the now, and every ascended ancestor I was blessed to be in touch with physically, and spiritually. I thank each of you for every visit, phone call, nuggets of wisdom, new lead, and their willingness to open up a window into the from whence we came before now that supports me it getting our family histories to where they are intended to be...a FULL circle. There will never be enough words to express the depth of my gratitude to God, and my ancestors,' for their faith in me to bring forth the knowledge and history and stories of our families. Medase Pa.
Now, back to our show…
Here are my take-away, tip, tool, and toss.
Every time an elder loved one transitions, we lose not only a temple of a living God, yet an entire library of familial knowledge, in the form of family history. And, that doesn't include folks disrespecting their ancestors by tossing out their home-going programs, photos, notes, letters, yearbooks...MEMORIES, which should be passed along to all of the family historians. That's important to me. Understand that for me the tree is just the outline, or skeleton if you will. It is in the stories that connections made become the leaves, blossoms, fruit, and healing harvest for generations to come.
Begin connecting with an elder more seasoned than you, by ten or fifteen years, and also, a youth that is ten years less seasoned than you, in order to be the bridge that connects all three of you, so that when the torches are passed, there is someone ready, willing, and able to receive them, and pass them on for eternity. Don’t let those flames burn out in vain.
A simple, ole' school transcription kit that includes a notebook, notebook paper, Avery sleeves, a 4” “D” Ring Binder[You may need one for every line your research], or two, pens, pencils, white out, tabletop tape recorder, microphone, batteries, and cassette tapes. When you don't use it – like your printed and cursive writing skills, or inductive and deductive reasoning skills, you lose them. And, with regards to handwriting and cursive writing signatures, not knowing how is a “slap” in the face to all our ancestor's whose language was suppressed, such that they had to use an “X” as their signature because they were not availed to the language of the soil they'd been brought to either. Hmm. Chew on that. Yet, they fought for us to gain education in the only language we had access to, even if it's not in our native language, so that we may rise. They went down to register to vote, in 1865, right after the Civil War ended, So, let not over dependence on technology carry us more backwards than we assume it will take us forward. Just food for thought.
Instead of always sitting back waiting for someone else to plan the family reunion, spend their money to print off 200 copies of the family tree or ask you to financially support their global efforts in finding out the tribe your family came from, try making a donation to the family researchers’ [plural – more than one researcher] paper and ink fund, or the tribal origins research fund…Why? Because though they are called to do the major portions of this divine purpose, each member of the family has a responsibility to our ancestors to care about where they came from, in order to individually and collectively get to the grandest expression of ourselves in life, our lives, and legacy.
Go ahead and find out the African community that your family originated from, research your families' trailblazers, midwives, healers, crafts people, veterans, artisans, and more. Stop making excuses and be about the business of getting the COLLECTIVE work done. It takes a village…to put all the pieces of the village's history back together, to be more healed, whole and complete, as our ancestors desire and intended from the moment they found themselves on unknown soil. Let this be one way to show our gratitude for the lives given to us, by God, through our ancestors' lives – their trials, tribulations, mistakes, wisdom, and triumphs. It's all in the pot for a divine purpose. You know, those whose bones we walk upon…that came before us…So, if you are not doing something to give thanks for all they have come through for us to be here, then you may have other introspective questions to ask yourself. Don't believe me, go research whose ancestors are buried under Wall Street, and the origin of statute of the bull whose tush is disrespectfully facing downward towards those who are buried beneath there.
In closing, I’d like to take this time to thank you all, both my seasoned and new followers, for spending your time with me on today’s Joy in the Midst of It All journey. Now, take a moment to tap the button on your favorite podcast streaming platform to tune in, follow, subscribe and rate the show. You may have to log into the platform, depending on the service you use in order to rate the show.
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I am your host Aminah, and I want you to be blessed and less stressed...Why?, because yours and their lives depend on it. Have a great day.
Outro Music: Royalty Free
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