My grandmother (on my mother’s side) was born in Richmond, Virginia. Her maiden name was Walker. My grandfather (on my mother’s side) was born in Washington D.C.
Outside of my relationship with my great-grandmother, my relationships with my mother’s parents were my closest adult relationships during my childhood. I believe I would be a very different person today had I not had their influence while growing up.
Mama Zee was a very warm, caring, and compassionate person. She loved to collect clothes. I believe she kept every item of clothing she ever bought for herself during her lifetime. I used to look forward to going into her basement to “shop” for treasures after I became old enough to wear her vintage clothes. I would spend hours looking at and trying on clothes whenever I visited her. She shared my love for treasure hunting, and would make time to explore thrift stores (there were quite a few near of her home in Philadelphia) whenever I came to visit (after I graduated H.S. and left home). She was a petite woman; she was about 4’9” tall.
She loved to talk and cook. I would keep her company while she prepared meals when we came to visit her. She prepared enough food to feed an army, and made sure everyone was satisfied by the time they finished eating. She would change the theme of her decorations in her house often; she was constantly rearranging, painting, or sewing something to change the look of something in her house. She had many people around her who genuinely cared about her. It was not unusual for her neighbors to stop by to “chat” or invite her to their homes. She also had a “silly” streak, at times she would dance around the house and sing at the top of her lungs when a song came on the radio that she liked.
PaPa Frankie was like a big, warm, fuzzy teddy bear when I was younger. He was an introverted, calm, and quiet person. He had an ailment that affected his short-term memory. As a result, he would repeat himself numerous times when he communicated with anyone. My siblings and I would snuggle with him whenever he was around; he loved the attention. Whenever we came to visit, he would walk to the park with us, and watch us play for hours. He was hardworking; he was a postal worker for 33 years. He doted on Mama Zee.