Maternal Family Memories – The House on Wentworth Avenue

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I chose my blog as the platform to write about memories of my maternal family to preserve our African-American history after 1870.

Memories

For most of my childhood, I lived in a House on Wentworth Avenue on the Southside of Chicago.  My great-great-grandparents, Gilbert and Mary Shegog’s two sons, Uncle Buddy and Uncle Robert jointly purchased the home in the mid-1940s.

I lived in this house with my mother and an extended family of great-grand uncles and aunts:

      • BasementAunt Sallie and Aunt Willie;
      • First FloorUncle Robert and Aunt Edna;
      • Second FloorUncle Buddy and Aunt L.D.;
      • AtticMama and ME.

Uncle Robert was highly regarded by everyone in our family, neighborhood and church.  It might have been because of his non-domestic work status as an airport skycap who wore an official looking uniform.

Uncle Buddy and all the aunts worked as live-in domestic workers.  As live-in domestics, they left home every Sunday evening and returned on Thursday night.  One, or more, often returned home with barely used toys, games and clothing items for me.  My mother earned a minimum wage as a factory worker. I wore clothing bearing labels from some of the most expensive stores in Chicago.  They told me not to tell anyone what the “white folks.” gave me .  I believed the “white folks” would harm me for wearing “white folks” clothes.  It never occurred to me that I didn’t know any “white folks.”  Years later, I realized they were not concerned about the “white folks.” They didn’t want the “black folks” to know someone in their family wore second-hand clothes.

I am not exactly sure when my great, grand-aunts and uncles, the first generation born after the Emancipation Proclamation, left the Mississippi plantation and migrated north in search of a better life.

What I do know is these children of Gilbert and Mary Shegog, relocated to an unknown city, pooled their resources, and remained self-sufficient until they departed this life.  What they were able to achieve, as the first generation to migrate north, led to the next generation joining them to build upon what they started.

I will share further memories of the House on Wentworth Avenue in my next post.

 

 

 

Week 6: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

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Week 6:  INTENTIONS

Thank you, Colleen, for hosting Mindful Monday – Healthy Living.   I begin each week with the INTENTION to mindfully move outside of my comfort zone to explore healthy living options.


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Week 5:  8 CREATION Health Principles

CHOICE

I made the  CHOICE, several weeks ago, to  Stop, Think, Observe and Proceed before acting.  When I take time to STOP, I make healthier decisions in all areas of my life.

REST

For more than a year,  I have fulfilled my INTENTION to get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly.  I slept 11+hours on Sunday and Thursday night.  Was this a healthy night’s sleep?

Seeking an answer, I went to WebMD, Sleep Disorders Health Center and read the  “7 Myths About Sleep”

Here’s what I found out:

MYTH:  If you can get it, more sleep is always healthier.

“FACT: …Some studies have found that people who slept more than eight hours a night died younger than people who got between six and eight hours.  What scientist don’t know yet:  Whether sleeping longer causes poor health or is a symptom of  it …. Long sleepers may suffer from problems such as sleep apnea, depression, or uncontrolled diabetes that makes them spend more time in bed.”

I believed the MYTH.  Even though I am being treated with overnight oxygen for sleep apnea, I am not concerned about the FACT.  If I begin to routinely sleep more than eight hours, I will check in with my pulmonologist.

ENVIRONMENT

I struggled through congestion and a cough that kept me housebound for most of the week, but I was able to connect with nature’s ENVIRONMENT.  I looked at photos taken during past mindfulness walks through my neighborhood; and felt as though I was in the presence of nature.

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ACTIVITY

I began the week taking care of a sick husband with a cold.  Several days later, I came down with a cold. I wasn’t able to follow my normal weekly ACTIVITY routine; but, I was able to go upstairs to my relaxation room to exercise the:

  • body — physical therapy exercises, leg stretches, yoga belt and plank poses for 30 minutes x 3 days.; and
  • mind – mindfulness and meditation practices for 11-30 minutes x 7 days.

TRUST

This week, I went online looking for reading materials to address my SELF-TRUST issues.   The one that drew my attention,  “3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust,” written by Ms. Margaret Tartakovsky, M.S., Associate Editor, Word of Psychology who states:

“Everyone in your life has the potential of betraying you.  They may leave.  They may pass away. They may make a rude comment. They may cheat. They may lie. They may disappoint you in many different way.  We can’t count on anybody 100%.”

To develop SELF-TRUST, Ms. Tartakovsky recommends:

  1. Avoid people who undermine your SELF-TRUST.
  2. Keep promises to yourself.
  3. Speak kindly to yourself.

Having lived for more than 73 years, I have been hurt and abandoned by people who I loved and trusted.  In most cases, it was short-lived and temporary.  Other times permanent — Like my mother passing away, almost 48 years ago, I am just beginning to deal with the hurt and pain of that.

Also, I am still reading the book by Tara Brach, “True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart.”   It is bringing me closer to understanding that SELF-TRUST will come when I am able to unconditionally love and nurture ME.

INTERPERSONAL

While building SELF-TRUST, I do not want to compromise developing strong  INTERPERSONAL relationships.  

Searching for guidance, I found this book written by Cynthia Lynn Wall, “The Courage to Trust:  A Guide to Building Deep and Lasting Relationships.”  She writes:

“The person you need to trust first is yourself.  No one can be consistently supportive of you as you can learn to be.  Being kind to yourself increases self-confidence and lessens your need for approval.  Loving and caring for yourself not only increases SELF-TRUST, it also deepens your connection with others.

Inspired by this quote, I purchased the Kindle version and look forward to beginning this new learning experience.

OUTLOOK

Feeling under the weather and out of sorts this week with a cold, I tried to maintain a positive OUTLOOK.   

For the entire week, I connected with The Meditation Podcast to uplift the mind and spirit.  I was able to let go of the negative and embrace the positive by practicing the following meditations:

  • Power of Kindness
  • Emotional Clearing
  • Positive Thoughts
  • Peace
  • The Healing Smile

NUTRITION

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Luckily, I found all the ingredients for this Turkey Vegetable Soup in the fridge and pantry,

  • Chicken Broth
  • Dry Onion Soup
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables
  • Frozen Okra
  • Turkey Legs

I dumped everything into the slow-cooker and ended up with enough soup to carry Hubby and I through the week.  When I have a cold, a hot cup of soup makes everything better.

 

 

 

Remembering Clarksville-The Hezikiah Haskell House

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Thanks to, Damita over at Ujima Magazine for sharing this Black History fact.

Ujima Magazine

Austin 3 100_3008Imagine a beautiful sunny day in Austin Texas enjoying a photo walk in the Historic Clarksville District. Have you visited this area of town lately?

As a native Austinite, I have visited Clarksville on several occasions but not to specifically become aware of, or to learn about the Black community that once thrived right here in my backyard.

The History of Clarksville

Clarksville Marker IMG_4304

During the photo walk, you are surrounded by a great story of our local history.

Charles Clark founded Clarksville in 1871. Clarksville is the oldest surviving freedom-town ‒ the original post-civil war settlement founded by former Black slaves west of the Mississippi river.

The historic district was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 in recognition of its unique and valuable history.

At least six communities of emancipated slaves existed around Austin including Wheatville (founded by celebrated Austin black leader Rev. Jacob Fontaine, Pleasant Hill, and Clarksville. In 1968 Clarksville residents unsuccessfully protested a state and local plan…

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Maternal Family Ancestry Search – The Children of Gilbert and Mary Shegog

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Last year, I started a journey in search of “from whence I came.”   I uncovered new information since writing the first two posts, “From Whence I Came:  Gilbert and Mary” and “Family History: New Information-New Questions”.

New Information

A review of the Census Reports from 1900-1920 revealed new information about the eleven children of my great-great-grandparents, Gilbert and Mary Shegog.   According to the:

1900 Census Report there were seven (7) children in the household:

  1. Minerva (13-years-old) – My Great-Grandmother
  2. Tommie (13-years-old) – Uncle Buddy
  3. Abbie (9-years-old) – ????
  4. Lily (8-years-old) – ???
  5. Roxie  –  (4-years-old) – Aunt Roxie
  6. Willie – (8-years-old) – Aunt Willie
  7. Johnnie – Uncle Johnnie

1910 Census Report there were four (4) new children in the household.

  1. Sallie (6-years-old) – Aunt Sallie
  2. Walter (5-years-old) – ?????
  3. Josie (3-years-old) – Aunt Josie
  4. Robert (0 years old) – Uncle Robert

New Questions

  1. I didn’t know about, Abbie, Lily and Walter.  What happened to them.
  2. What was my Great-Grandmother Minerva’s first husband’s name?
  3. What was my Great-Great-Grandmother Mary’s maiden name?

 Dead End

I reached a dead-end searching through Census Reports because:

  • I could not find verifiable matches for Gilbert Shegog in the Census Report for 1870, 1880 or 1890;
  • The name of slaves were not recorded on Census Reports until 1870.  Only their age, gender, race, and the slaveholder’s name were recorded.

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I hope to find more information about those who came before when I visit my cousin this summer.  She is the keeper of our family Bible and photo album.

In the meantime, I plan to:

  • write of times spent with the children of Gilbert and Mary ShegogUncle Buddy, Aunt Roxie, Aunt Willie, Uncle Johnnie, Aunt Sallie, Aunt Josie, and Uncle Robert.
  • search for information in public records and other documents.

I began this journey to find out from “Whence I Came.” for me, my children, grandchildren, future generations as well as others who may have an interest in following me on this journey.

 

Week 5: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

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INTENTIONS – Week 5

CHOICE

I am pleased with the healthy lifestyles changes made to improve the quality of my life since beginning Mindful Monday-Healthy Living.  My INTENTION for Week 5 is to stay positive, committed and focused on making healthy choices to uplift my mind, body and spirit.

 REST

Last week, I used my Fitbit device to track my nightly sleep patterns.

  • Sunday, 02/07 – 8 hrs 27 min
  • Monday, 02/08 – 7 hrs 43 min
  • Tuesday, 02/09 – 4 hrs 54 min
  • Wednesday, 02/10 – 5 hrs 45 min
  • Thursday, 02/11 – 7 hrs 36 min
  • Friday, 02/12 – 10 hrs
  • Saturday, 02/13 – 10 hrs 12 min

Tuesday and Wednesday night I didn’t sleep well.  Hubby wanted to watch TV in bed.  When I woke up, the TV was on, he was sleeping soundly, and I tossed and turned all night.  In a kind way, I told Hubby how much the TV had disrupted my sleep.  He understood and agreed that watching TV in the bedroom was not a good idea.

Overall pacing my activities went well.  However pacing while blogging is a problem.  When blogging, I become so self-absorbed pacing is the farthest thing from my mind.

ENVIRONMENT

I went on two mindful walks through my neighborhood.  One of the benefits of mindful walking is the opportunity to  connect with the ENVIRONMENT.  As a mindful walker, I totally agree with the  “9 Reasons to Try Mindful Walking,” by Adam Brady.

Sharing a few photos captured on the mindful walks.

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ACTIVITY

Very surprised to receive this email report from Fitbit on the number of steps I walked in 2015:

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Can’t believe my step and mile counts in 2015 exceeded the average total distance in miles and steps for Americans as well as globally.

These numbers did not include other daily ACTIVITIES  (yoga, plank poses, physical therapy home exercises, and circuit weights).  I plan to convert those ACTIVITIES into steps, in 2016, using one or more of the following charts:

TRUST

I found two new resources and TRUST they will address some of my SELF-TRUST issues.

  1. I am reading  (Kindle version) and listening to the (Audio version) of  “True Refuge, Finding Peace in Your Own Awakened Heart,” by Tara Brach, Ph.D.
  2. I am practicing a new 11-minute podcast meditation guided by Tara Brach, “The RAIN of Self-Compassion.”

I TRUST that SELF-TRUST is evolving as I begin to look within non-judgmentally and in a self-compassionate way.

INTERPERSONAL

I am not the best communicator.  So, while on this journey to build a healthy, mind and spirit , I wanted to address self-identified INTERPERSONAL weaknesses.  Using Hubby as the INTERPERSONAL relationship guinea pig, I tried a few of the steps recommended in “How to Develop Interpersonal Skills: 13 Steps.” 

Throughout the week, I made an effort to:

  • notice my facial expressions and body language
  • listen attentively
  • avoid presuming or assuming things

Though I still have work to do, I feel good about the progress made.

OUTLOOK

I strive everyday to have a positive OUTLOOK.  Allowing the negative energy of others to diminish or destroy my positive OUTLOOK is unhealthy.   I walked away from negativity remembering the tips shared in “Have A Good Outlook On Life”   I  added the article to my Self-Management-Healthy Living Toolbox for future reference.

NUTRITION

I knew there would be NUTRITION challenges because of Valentine’s Day.  But, I made the CHOICE, without guilt, to enjoy more than one piece of the turtle candy gifted by Hubby as well as one slice of lemon meringue pie that I gifted to myself.  Both are my favorites.

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