TRIBUTES

I want to blog about persons in my life who I want to pay tribute to. I want to pay homage to these persons because they have been a positive influence in my own growth and development and somehow they have helped me get where I am today. Some of these people I know very well and love them. Others, I know about and they have also had an impact on my life. Enjoy!

My Brother: Gunnery Sgt. Roy Lee Payne, Jr. (1949 – 1980)

IMG00709-20130527-173406042013_0834Roy was the only brother for many years among five sisters. I am sure that brothers everywhere who only have sisters for siblings can relate to this situation. He was extremely intelligent and excelled at most everything he did. In fact, in 1969 just after graduating from high school he became a manager at the then Bell Telephone Company. That was a rarity for African-Americans during that time. He was an electronics expert, too. 

Roy was a boy, teen and man like any other. It’s just that as he matured he knew the direction he wanted to go in. When I was in college, and he was still in the Marines, he would send a $10.00 allotment check to me and my sister. Now $10.00 may not be a lot today, but in 1973 it bought a lot of treats for us. All of us were proud of him. He lavished my mother and father with gifts while he was stationed in Korea at that time.

He married in 1972 and he and his wife had two children. He remained in the Marines and was raising his family while in the service. Tragic was his end: He was taking a friend to work one regular day and his car was hit by a man driving drunk. My brother was killed instantly. In fact everyone in both cars including the drunk driver  was killed that day, except for one person.

the word tribute

I tell that story not to sadden anyone, but rather to encourage everyone that family and friends are precious and should never be taken for granted. He was generous and doting over his family. Let’s do the same for our family and friends.

Cute story about my brother: He loved to eat scrambled eggs, toast and whatever meat he wanted, ham, bacon, etc. He would make his food and have it on a big plate. He had 4 slices of toast, about 6 scrambled eggs and his meat of choice. He’d also have a soda or something to drink. Roy would come into the living room and sit down, put that plate of his on the arm of the chair and just seconds later we would all hear him yell is dismay. The plate would fall over with all of that delicious food! unashamed, he would pick it all up, put it back in the plate and eat it all! Now,, if that happened only once, it would be an oops story, but it happened 9 out of 10 times, and each time, after he yelled, he would pick all of his food off the floor and eat it. HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU, ROY!

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ROSA

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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 – UNCLE AMOS

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Uncle Amos Payne

This is my dad’s brother, Amos Payne. He is the only uncle that I knew and visited and loved until he passed away in 1998. He was the youngest boy in my dad’s family. I really loved being around him in those later years. He lived in Syracuse, NY with his sister. He was a navy man in his younger years.

Suffice it to say that my Uncle Amos was a lady’s man.

Even though I may have talked to him on the phone from time to time, it was on the occasion of a death in our family that my uncle came and visited us. That was the first time I remember seeing him. He has the distinction of being the first to introduce my 3-year old daughter, Erika to coffee. I came over my mom’s house after work because she baby sat Erika, and Uncle Amos and Erika were sitting at the table talking and drinking coffee, and eating KFC. He had his cup of coffee and Erika had her cup of coffee and they were chatting like two old people. I’ll never forget that.

Here’s a picture of one of his daughters, Cousin Fannie. I just love her and we talk on the phone about once a  month.

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Cousin Fannie

As I’ve already said, my dad and his siblings all were born before the turn of the 20th Century and early into it. During that time my family owned land and it wasn’t looked upon ‘nicely’ at that time. They grew crops, even cotton. They were farmers and the land was fertile. It made people want that land. They didn’t sell their land to those “interested parties.”

Picture a night in the late 30s or early 40s when my young Uncle Amos grabbed his mom and younger sister and ran through the woods, scared and desperate to get away from those “interested parties” who wanted to kill them and take their land from them. Some of those “interested parties” wore white sheets. My family members got to the road and there was a bus coming. It stopped and let them on. My Uncle Amos pulled out his knife and put it to the driver’s throat and said, “Don’t stop ’til I tell ya to.” They made it off their farm with their lives.

Sadly, they never returned to their farm for fear of being killed. They settled in another part of Florida and lived. I am glad my Uncle Amos made it out with Grandma and Auntie. Otherwise, I might not have known him. More tomorrow.