My Aunt Willie is the cool aunt, the cultured aunt. When my mother passed away when I was seventeen, Aunt Willie became the closest thing to a mother I had. She never forgot my birthday, to this very day. I can, at the very least, expect a call from her on my Born Day.
My Aunt Willie married my mother’s brother. In thinking about this penultimate post for Women’s History Month, I thought about my Uncle Mike (Micah). I was 10 years of age when he passed away. I don’t remember his death, but I remember him taking me and his son Jeffrey “crabbing” at Coney Island. We didn’t catch anything but seaweed, but it was still a memorable occasion. From this simple outing, I learned a lifelong lesson about “presence,” about being present in the life of your children, of young people, of the people with whom you are connected. This lesson informs how I move in the world, personally and professionally, which I call “the ministry of presence.”
It seems like my Aunt Willie has always been present, in one way or another, in my life, in the life of her family, in the life of our family. She is the true Matriarch of our larger family.
At 91, my aunt is still sharp, as sharp as when she was a public school teacher and had to deal with the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and she has an incredible sense of humor.
Aunt Willie has been blessed with a long life, and we have been blessed by having her in our life.
Aunt Willie and her Daughters