Lily, my mother
We called her Muddie (which was my oldest sister’s toddler attempt to say Mother Dear). She had a lot of struggles after Daddy died including raising her 2 youngest children by herself, going back to school and then becoming an elementary school teacher. I didn’t learn to appreciate those struggles until after it was too late to tell her “I’m sorry.” She died in 1973.
Lee B. Sr., my father
We called him Daddy and he was Waterloo’s first black physician and he used to take me with him on hospital rounds and house calls and he taught me to ride a bike. Unfortunately, most of my memories of him are static. He died in 1948 and his absence created a great chasm in my life.
And this is me (with Lee), who never knew what she wanted to be when she grew up…
Lee B. Jr., my only brother
My favorite nickname for him is Electric Lee because he loved all things electronic. He also loved to torment me when we were kids but most times I deserved it because I was a great tattle-tale. We grew up to be good friends. He married Penny Thomas in 1960 and they raised 3 wonderful sons. He died in 1998, way too soon.
Martha Ann, sister #1
She was a typical oldest child and knew more about most things than anybody else. I used to call her LOUIE (Library of Useless Information, Etc) just to make her mad. She married Warren Nash in 1948 and raised 7 fantastic kids. He died in 1979 and she died in 2000. If she were still here, I wouldn’t try to make her mad anymore.
BJ, sister #2
If I could be anyone but me, I’d want to be BJ. Formerly an introvert, she went on to create a great life for herself and has made important contributions to the world in which she lives. She was also an amazing artist (oil painting, pottery, jewelry & etchings) but she pursued politics and social justice instead. All who know her love her. All who don’t are missing out.
Lileah, sister #3
The name Lileah is a combination of Lily and Lee. Lileah is the musician in the family and played piano beautifully. I say “played” because she suffered a stroke in 2011 and has been semi-comatose ever since. She can’t communicate but I hope she still hears music in her heart. She married Percy Harris in 1950 and they raised 12 talented kids.
Angela, my Daughter.
The light of my life and the motivation behind most things I do…or don’t do. There’s not much I can say about her that she would let me put in print but suffice it to say, she’s my daughter but she’s also my best friend. She’s been the main supporter of everything I’ve done, tried to do or want to do. She’s my muse.
The 5 of Us plus 3
Taken when I was about seven, this is us plus Muddie & Daddy & Mama Williams, Muddie’s mother.
The 5 of Us
Taken at the 1998 Family Reunion, this was the last time we were all together before Lee died.
Family Reunion 2011, Austin Texas
Angela and I didn’t make it to this historic reunion in the city where my dad was raised but the photo is one of my most treasured keepsakes.