My Gratitude Journal – March 2017

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As I write this post, I feel relaxed and at peace.

A 45-minute early morning walk, joined only by a self-shadow, opened up space to reflect on what has been GIFTED in this season of my life.

This is the first in a series of planned monthly posts for 2017, where I express GRATITUDE for the GOOD in my life, which I failed to acknowledge and appreciate for far too many years.

Gratitude Journal – March 2017

Thus far this month, I have been  abundantly gifted with the GOOD and I am, especially GRATEFUL for:

  • FaceTime with my 8-year-old granddaughter. This is our special time to talk, laugh, listen share and bond.  Despite  being physically separated by more than 2,000 miles for the past seven years, FaceTime keeps us connected face-to-face for the entire year.

  • Dining Room Table which was an unused piece of furniture in our home for more than  seven years.  When the youngest daughter relocated to Florida last summer she:  (1) purchased the house next door; (2) moved from an on-site business office to an off-site home office; and (3) decided our dining room was the perfect workplace because there were too many distractions in her home.  So glad she made this decision for my days are happier and brighter when I walk by the Dining Room Table and know THIS IS WHERE SHE SITS.

  • Healing Garden and it has been my nurturing place for more than five years.  It is now the  learning, sharing, healing, working and bonding place that I, happily, share with the eldest granddaughter.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Blog-A-Versary

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January 12, 2013, after weeks of struggling to set up this blog website, I published the first post, “My Final Season: How I Choose to Live It.”

Today, I began this post with what I wrote three years ago:

“As a 70-year-old, I faced reality.  Approaching my final season, it’s time to make a choice.  My final season, as defined by ME, is the time to focus on ME.  My inner voice spoke to ME.  I listened.   God wants to direct me down a new path. A new journey. A new venture.  A time to explore and discover ME.  In this final season of life, I plan to open new doors.”

Beginning this blog opened my space up to new people, places and things.  I have gone far beyond my own expectations in this discovery of ME.

Blogging took ME down a path to connect with other bloggers who, many without knowing, inspired ME to expand my world.  With confidence, I went outside of my comfort zone, explored and discovered:

Yoga

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Photography

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Container Gardening

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Mindfulness – Adult Coloring Books for Stress Relief

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Ancestry Research – Maternal Family History

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I also want to express gratitude to those bloggers who shared information and thoughts about:

  • meditation;
  • mindfulness;
  • positive affirmations;
  • random acts of kindness;
  • expressions of gratitude and thankfulness;
  • exercise;
  • spiritual uplifting; and
  • healthy eating.

Motivated by these bloggers, I expanded and/or incorporated healthy practices into my lifestyle.  This has improved the overall quality of my life; and, I am on a path to build a healthy mind, body and spirit.

As I continue down this journey to define ME, expressing gratitude for the doors that have opened and the new doors to open.

Happy Blog-A-Versary to ME

 

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From Whence I Came: Gilbert and Mary

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Thus far, in searching out information to learn more about “From Whence I Came,” I have relied on records from the United States Federal Census, Illinois Death Records, U.S. Social Security Death Index, and U.S. World War I Draft Registration forms.

I am not sure what, if anything, I will find out about my ancestors who were born into, married and/or died during slavery.  Since enslaved African-American men, women, and children were not recorded in Census Reports until 1870.  My enslaved family, though identified in Census Reports, were recorded under their slaveholders’ name.  They were listed by their first name or nameless along with race, height, and weight.

At this stage in my research, I have not been able to find out when my great-great-grandparents, Gilbert and Mary Shegog, married.  However, I feel confident they were married for more than forty years given the:

  • 1900 Census report their oldest children as twins, Thomas and Minerva, age 13.
  • 1990 Census report Gilbert’s and Mary’s age as 34 and 25, respectively.
  • 1930 Census report the youngest child, Josie, is living in the home with her two young children.

It appears that Mary passed away sometime after the 1930 Census Report as the:

  • 1940 Census reports Gilbert living in the home of his youngest, son, Robert and wife, Edna.  His marital status was recorded as widowed.

Since I found the record of Gilbert’s death in the Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths, Index, I assume he was either visiting or living with his children who migrated from Mississippi to Chicago, Illinois, in the late 1930s or early 1940s.  Gilbert was laid to rest in his hometown, Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Mississippi on November 30, 1947.

 

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Gilbert Shegog – Born About 1866

Gilbert and Mary’s children were the great-grand aunts and uncles who loved and embraced me from my childhood until their death.  A strong family commitment brought them together to fill the void left by my grandmother and great-grandmother who died before I was born.

There is no doubt “From Whence I Came — 

“I am the descendent of a slave family.  We were captured and lost our identity.  Yet, we have survived and thrived despite the obstacles placed in our paths.”

In coming weeks, I hope to uncover information and write about my great, great-grandmother, Mary, as well as the 13 children born into this union.