Did you have any favorite relatives? How were they important to you?

My favorite relative was my great grandmother (Big Nanny). She was a very strong person; I admired that about her. We had a very close relationship until the day she died. Although people seemed impatient with her stutter when she spoke, it never bothered me when she stuttered.

She made sure I stayed with her, or my grandmother (her daughter – MaMa Zee) for at least 1 week every summer while I grew up. During my visits to her house, she would ask questions to assess what was going on at home, and gave me advice; She was my strength. She regularly exerted her seniority over my father to keep the abuse at a minimum when she was present; he rarely beat or verbally abused us when she was present. I loved the fact that I could talk to her about ANYTHING.

I spent many summer breaks at her apartment listening to her stories and advice. We would lay awake most of the night and talk about all kinds of things. She believed in me, and looked out for me. She couldn’t do anything about the abuse I was going through at home, but she let me know that she was there for me, and everything would eventually be alright.

Me and Big Nanny
Big Nanny and Me (after I chopped all of my hair off!)
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