Granny, rather Nancy, left Virginia on a train to New York for a job. Her ticket would have cost her half her age in dollars back the ,but the 17 year old rode for free; complements of the new job up north. She took a risk and took a ticket to New York. Eventually her risky ride led her to Wilmington Delaware, a home on fourth street, and a yard where she could prepare her own soil. It’s through our garden, in the wisdom of preparing and having patience, I learned to hold space. With her, alone together, I cultivated my power too.
There are only a few spaces I call home, and they are sadly, all virtual spaces. My home of his life in my people. We bring our soil in our sneakers, so to speak. My first home-home was, and continues to challenge what I know of what’s virtual, and what feels real; what I know to be vital.
My granny is my first home. Her home continue to hold the title of home-place, and she the supreme holder of space. She snd her home was my first classroom and she my first theological mentor and land-teacher.
School had books and lessons, but Granny had family, stories, and communion. By 2nd, maybe 3rd grade, I’m waking—preparing to be tested. With a Granny, at her house I was tended to; I learned with her how to love, and how to love preparation. How to hold space for others with tenderness. Granny taught all of us, my mom included, the meaning of reverence and service.
She nurtured my puppy love affair with nature and taught me the land. My first romance with the earth was in the backyard of the home Granny built. My first home-place was the space she made for me in the dirt. My first lesson in patience and preparation came in the form of her love &the joyous zing of our black berry harvest. She made Edin, she held peace for me and all us. She was my home, and she claimed her space on the block.
To know Granny is to be in the presence of excellence. I’m often struck by a delayed jolt of wisdom, often serve so years removed from the moment of consequence, usually a memory of Granny’s power. Her strength was anything but virtual, it was authentic; it was more than sediment she carried, it was the ore of us all personified.
As a child (and as an adult), even at my most boosterish I was (and continue to be) an opening act. At my my precocious I was still tamed. My family is wild, artistic, and colorful. I was the first baby but we was all young; mom, dad, aunties, and Unc all of us were young. Except Granny, but no one could tell her that. She held us and never held it against us, she never taxed our guilt for needing her.
She owned her house, took in the moms, dads, aunties, and uncles. She’d keep the door unlocked most nights and her alley gate was an aesthetic piece from someone else’s idea of fourth street. Her home was open, she was open, and I’m certain she held/holds gravity place. Yet she’s never failed to make room for herself.