Tell about the family in which you mother grew up. Do you know what her childhood was like? Do you remember any stories she told you about it?

My mother didn’t talk much about her childhood while I was growing up. At the time, I didn’t see anything wrong with her secrecy, but now I find it interesting. She mentioned that she went to boarding school, and had a hard time making friends. She attributed her lack of friendships to being homesick the entire time she attended the school. There were never any extended versions of any stories from her, only simple answers to any questions I might ask. I also remember her mentioning that some of the girls used to pick fights with her (for no apparent reason).

She also mentioned that she had a close relationship with her great grandmother, who passed away while she was away at school. Big Nanny and Mama Zee didn’t tell her about the passing of her great grandmother until she arrived home for the summer four months later. Mama Zee told me that she felt they should have told her sooner because my mother changed after that happened; she became head strong, and difficult to discipline.

Mama Zee had my mother when she was 16; my mother was her only child. No one ever mentioned who her biological father was, or if they knew him. Mama Zee told me that she had to move to NY (from Virginia) to find work. She ended up cleaning homes for a living. She once told me that my mother went to boarding school because they didn’t have a permanent home at that time. Eventually, Mama Zee met Papa Frankie and they got married. After their marriage, my mother came home (permanently) from boarding school.

My mother had my older sister when she was 16. Neither she nor my father graduated from high school.

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