The Memories of Those You Are Remembering

Yesterday, I finally received my photocopies from Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture located in Harlem, New York. I took off of work for the remainder of the day and started my research back up. It is a beautiful thing when a researcher is reunited with her researcher. I had no idea where to start. As I was glancing through the various documents I decided to start off with a writing by Geraldine Wilson entitled, “A Family Recollection of a Not so “Positive” Person”. I was bless to find this writing. In this piece, Geraldine spends a great amount of time writing about her memories of her family—this truly is an incredible piece of history.

It was difficult to select someone in my family who had some negative characteristics, not that they don’t abound in about the same proportions as in any other family, but because they “meaning those who were perceived to be or experienced by other family members as unpleasant or intolerable” in one way or another were always loving to me. As the children of youngest children—my mother and father were both the youngest children in their families. I was the first of the youngest grandchildren, nieces, and cousins. My brothers and I all benefitted by that position. I really discovered those facts about a year ago when I was trying to sort out a family problem. But it does need to be clear that we had some winners. My father and my mother each had a sister named Gladys. My mother’s sister was distinguished by the fact that she spelled her name with a “ce” instead of an “s”. I thought she was beautiful, she was gray when I first saw her yet she was only in her late twenties when I was born. She was 5’2’’ and I came to know, when I was older that she was built like a BRICK! which translated means a marvelously voluptuous figure. Her skin was dark like early…and eyes sloped and lifted at the corners, speaking eloquently to the genes of her pure blooded African father (my grandfather) and her Cherokee grandmother. According to my mother, who rarely discussed my sister’s shortcomings (My mother was finally “fed up” at my aunt when I was fifteen and they stopped speaking altogether…) she needed to treat her own daughter better. To dress them well and give her piano lessons was not enough, Aunt Gladyce was mean to her oldest child, a girl born in the same December as I was, only a week earlier. Arnita and I were good friends as children. My mother was a safe harbor for ‘Nita when she would sail into our house to escape her mother’s vengeance and anger which seem always to be out of proportion to the deed—if there had ever been “a deed”. According to my father, my aunt flirted too much and was therefore disrespectful to her husband. My father was a very propitious and proper man in ways that one probably had to be as a member of a family who lived as Black people in one of United States most notorious—we might say well-known—Anglo-Saxon cities saved from ultimate meanness by the Quaker presence. When my aunt, the “CE” Gladyce swept in with her cigarette (the only woman in the family—on either side who smoked) in her expression hands and said, “How are you my dear.” My father cleared his throat and looked disapproving and alarmed. She scandalized both sides of the family by letting her son’s hair grow long and leaving it and additional by putting out/breaking up with/bearing and/or being left by her husband, Steve, a very tall man full of fear. In an objective sense she was mean, did dreadful thing to my cousin but I still am in touch with her, the most glamorous woman in her 70’s you would ever want to see. My “S” aunt, my father’s sister Gladys, was also a meanie, again though not to me. She was considered bossy and intolerant by almost everyone in my father’s family, particularly by a groups of cousins who were children of my father’s oldest brother. There were ten of them. My father’s mother and his two sisters never got over the fact that my Uncle Maurice married a woman who had (for my uncle, you must remember) ten children an unheard of number of children in the Wilson family.

She then continues on to the next family member, her uncle.

My uncle died a fairly young man leaving his wife and then children. My aunt Gladys and her husband had no children. Aunt Gladys took the two oldest girls of my uncles (it is said without permission of my uncle’s wife) to raise them. My aunt says her brother gave her permission before he died so the girls would have a “better life.” Gladys is a liar, counter other members of the family…All this went on, that the Jersey WIlson’s her brother’s children, and their children’s children now beginning to be born, were not quite as good as the Philadelphia Wilson’s. Have mercy! In addition, she nagged her husband—not that Jarvis (my Aunt Gladys’ husband) ever listened to a thing she had to say, quipped my Aunt Gladyce with a e00my mother’s sister.”


Also within the documents were two photocopies of Herbert’s and Hilda’s death certificates.


Herbert died suddenly from a heart attack in 1962. The article noting his death is below.

He died from an arteriosclerotic heart disease. From this document, it was reaffirmed that the Wilsons lived in two different homes. His mother’s maiden name was Evelina Augustas and his death was listed as natural.


Hilda as well died from arteriosclerosis. She was 65 years old. She is buried at Pineville Cemetery in Wayne County, Mississippi. A new fact I received from this document was her father’s middle name—Florence. Harry Florence Flowers was his name. Let the research begin…again.

Until the next post,


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