I thought right now would be the optimal time to write about my grandmother. Well to be honest I really don't have a choice, I am learning to always go with my gut, instincts, spirit. Therefore, here I am typing. Before I get started I want to say that it is my intention that publishing this information will lead someone to something better since this is the impact she has on me.
My earliest memory of my granny Reba "Blessy" Lockhart Wingfield is of her braiding my kitchen. For those of you not familiar with the phrase "braiding my kitchen" it is the term that describes the braiding of the small hairs at the nape of the neck. I learned the phrase earlier than she had stated it that moment but I do remember laughing about her mentioning it. I remember being in a long white t-shirt laying across her lap sometime before the age of 6 and being prepped for bed.
My grandmother, my mother's mother was a private person but she was also warm, caring and strong.
My fondest memory of her was of watching a Fantasy Island episode together. There was a woman in a sequined outfit was lifted in the air above dancing men. She quickly said without missing a beat. "Wooh, I betcha its funky up there." My sister and I laughed hysterically and she smiled but then went on about her business. She was funny and lively and I could always count on her to be doing a number of things meaning she was always busy.
While my mother and sister taught me how to pray it was my grandmother who showed me by pure example how to "be one with God". She was a prayer warrior. Whenever anyone needed or wanted anything they would always solicit Sister/Mother Wingfield to pray for them. These prayers were solicited by friends of church members neighbors and of course her family. Grandma Reba also nurtured in me my love of all things Southern especially food. This love stirs in me every time I research my geneaology and because of this she was my first call on my geneaology journey. I started when I was 8. I asked her about her father Tom Lockhart and she offered that she didn't know her father. When I told my mother later that day my mom laughed and said "Mama is lying, she was a daddy's girl."
I later found out that she grew up with her father and lived within walking distance up until she moved to Atlanta sometime after 1940. I also found out she attended his funeral when he passed some 16 years later. From an oral account from a cousin that attended the funeral. They stated "When she sat on the front row it was like seeing a woman with Tom's face sit down, kinda spooky."
I am not certain why she wasn't honest about these facts but I can imagine that some things just aren't my business.
She raised most of her grandchildren if not all of them even having my cousin Jody in her home until he was old enough to live as an adult on his own. Out of her 6 children (Willie, John, Annie Mae, Linda, Joe & Marsha) only 2 had children live from birth on their own. My mother had 3 girls from her first marriage and brought in 3 kids from her second marriage. My uncle Joe had 2 sons and one daughter Yiddish Wingfield who is now in Heaven. She was also a grandmother even if in name only to my cousins from my Uncles last marriage to Aunt Deborah. There were other children she raised as grandchildren but I am not certain as to how they enter the picture.
By raised I don't mean to diminish the roles our parents played however failing to mention my grandmother's strong parental influence (dinners every Tuesday, graduations, plays, phone conversations, letters and postcards, our pre-pre school, the one who picked us up from school, sat with us while mama sang in the choir, who showed us how to cook, our main babysitter) would almost render this depiction as false. In any case I am starting to get a little misty eyed so for now I will load up her obituary in hopes that it will fill in the gaps I have failed to fill.