MEET MY FAMILY – MATRIARCH – GRANDMOTHER LUCY ANN PAYNE

Grandmother on her way to church.

Grandmother on her way to church.

Grandmother Lucy Payne

Hiding from the camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my dad’s mother, Lucy Ann Payne. One of my sisters is named after her. In the picture with her standing on her way to church, you can see Aunt Lucy Mae in the background. In the picture where she is hiding her face from the camera, that little boy is my older brother. (You’ll meet him, too). So this picture was from about 1950 or 1951.

If Aunt Lucy Mae was born in 1926 or 1927, my grandmother was born approximately 1897. Her husband’s name was Will Payne. I never saw even a picture of my grandfather. And oddly, I never met my grandmother in person before she died in 1963. I only have these pictures of her and what we learned that was passed down by word of mouth. A great woman, she was.

Go with me:

  • Her husband died in his early 40s.
  • She bore and raised at least 11 children
  • She buried many of her children
  • She was beaten by white men more than once
  • She was driven from her farm and land
  • She had to settle somewhere else in Florida so that she and her two children could live
  • She had memories of her dead sons hanging from the end of nooses
  • She never saw all of her grandchildren, just a few of them
  • She smiled in the picture above, anyway

A woman of strength is a formidable person to reckon with.

Also, the Scriptures say in Proverbs 31:30 “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”

I honor you today Grandmother. More tomorrow

Rosa

MEET MY FAMILY – AUNT LUCY MAE ANDERSON (PAYNE)

Aunt Lucy Mae Anderson

Aunt Lucy Mae Anderson

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Aunt Lucy Mae age 86

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my Aunt Lucy Mae Anderson (Payne). She was the youngest of all of my dad’s siblings—the youngest girl and the youngest child. She had to watch and bury everyone else in her family, including my dad and Uncle Amos. She lived in Syracuse, NY with my Uncle Amos. They were funny together. I enjoyed them.

In 1999, she moved from Syracuse, NY to the midwest where my sisters and I live.
She moved one year after Uncle Amos passed away. She just couldn’t stay by herself anymore. As I write this post, I realize that like my dad and Uncle Amos, Aunt Lucy Mae didn’t talk much about their childhood or family. If we asked her about it, then she would talk about it. But if we didn’t ask, she didn’t tell. Those times were difficult and tragic for them.

I do remember that Aunt Lucy Mae buried the last of her mom’s siblings. Her Aunt Rose. (I was named after Aunt Rose). I hear she was a feisty woman, too. Must run in the genes.

It was Aunt Lucy Mae who told us of all the tragic things she remember that happened to her family. She remembered her brother, Uncle Jesse being killed. She was the younger sister who took flight with Uncle Amos and their mom when men came to kill them and take their land. She was the one who settled down somewhere else in Florida after that night of flight. She was beaten along with her mom when they wouldn’t tell cruel men where “Charlie” was. She was the one who told us that “Charlie came in the back door, and Charlie left out the back door.”

She came here to bury her brother in ’87. From time to time she would visit us. When she would visit we all would get together and go someplace. The last trip I remember taking with her as a family was to an apple orchard/cider mill. She moved here permanently in 1999. She never wanted to be alone and so even when my youngest sister got her in a nice senior citizens apartment, age was taking its toll on her and she got real thin, not eating. She would tell me, “I’m drinking my Ensure.” She deliberately went into a nursing home, where others were, so that she’d be surrounded by people. My youngest sister saw to her needs and always cared for her.

June 12, 2012, I believe, is when we got the phone call that she was taken to the hospital. We all got there and she was on life support. The doctors had said that they would come and take her off of the machines. It took them so long to get there. I remember thinking, “Oh no. This is the end of a legacy.” All the children on my dad’s side of the family were gone, once they pulled the plug on Auntie. My mom and I  and one of my sisters left before the doctors finally came. I saw my mom bend and take her sister-in-law’s hand and kiss it, before she left. It was after 11:00 p.m. when we got the official word that she had passed. We had a memorial for her at my home about a few weeks later. We sat and talked about what we knew of the family and vowed to get hold of our cousins, because we didn’t know any of them except cousin Fannie, at that time. Family is important. Don’t take it for granted. More tomorrow.

Rosa

MEET MY FAMILY – MY DAD

Roy Lee Payne, Sr. aka Charlie Leroy Payne

Roy Lee Payne, Sr. aka Charlie Leroy Payne

Say Hello to my dad, Roy Lee Payne Sr. He grew up in Florida and his real name at that time was Charlie Leroy Payne. He changed it after a time.  Daddy passed away on Veterans Day, November 11, 1987 at the age of 66. He had a heart attack and when my mom found him, he was just laying back on the bed.

Growing up in Florida in the early 1920s and 30s was difficult for African-Americans to say the least. My dad, I came to believe, was a victim of those times and it translated into him being a cruel man most of his young life, as a father, and dad. No matter. Maybe if I had seen and experienced the things he did, I might have morphed into someone other than who I am now.

My dad only had a 3rd grade education and could only really write his name. I believe that is why he was so adamant that all of his 7 children complete high school. We all did and went further in our education and careers.

I remember a time when my dad got his first real good paying job, one that could have brought his family up a notch, if his mind had been on them. Like most people, he could do the job masterfully, but because of the 50s and 60s and the lack of rights for black men, the establishment used every tactic to get rid of him and other black men working as skilled tradesmen. It didn’t matter that white men worked as skilled tradesmen during that time and that many of them couldn’t even sign their names. They literally made an “X” on a line and someone who could write witnessed it. These men didn’t have to get their skills validated by reading a detailed text book, about 300 pages long and do the assignments in them and turn them in. Only my dad and others of his “persuasion” had to. My dad couldn’t read well, at all. So when he cursed and threw the book in the floor and stomped away saying he could get another  job, my mom picked up the book and with her 9th grade education she read the lessons, did his homework for him; he copied it down in his own writing and turned the work in. To the chagrin of his superiors, my dad got his skilled trades certificate and license and worked at that job until he retired. Family is important, don’t forget that.

As a teen and young adult, he saw things that made him very private about his life. He never talked about it. My mom and my aunt, his sister would relay things about his family history from those early years. For instance, as a young teen he was on the chain gang. We don’t know why. He was a marine as a young adult and served in the Korean War, a war not many Korean vets talk about. Neither did he.  He and some of his friends were walking home in the evening after working their jobs in the south where they lived. When they separated to go to their various destinations, some white men came and for no reason beat up one of his dear friends, and killed him. They put him on the railroad tracks for the train to run over him, but when the train came, it was moving very slowly and was able to stop before striking his friend’s corpse. Another time, while working for another white boss, the boss’s two sons kept throwing snakes on him. The boss told the sons to leave “Charlie” alone. They didn’t. They kept up this cruel game until my dad had had enough. He beat up both of the boys. Later, of course, a group of “interested parties” came to his mom’s home and wanted to “talk” to him about beating up two white boys. My grandmother didn’t tell them where he was. In traditional manner, during those times, they beat her and my aunt. What they didn’t know was my dad was coming through the back door with his knife. When it was all over, he left out the back door. Nuf said.

Daddy maintained a rough exterior that kept anyone from getting in. That is my one regret. I don’t know anything about being a ‘Daddy’s girl’. More tomorrow.

Rosa