“Three Times A Lady” (Happy Birthday To You!!!)


Today she would have been 81. It doesn’t seem like it has been a whole year since I saw her last.  We threw her  a grand surprise party, and I will have memories of it…of her, for the rest of my life.  For some reason I thought she would live forever.  She was 80 years young, and even sick she could run circles around me.  She had a quick wit, and a come back for everything. She was hilarious too!! I will never forget the conversation about “German Shepard Cake”, or my mom having a “Blue Bird” phone.  I remember a conversation she and I had just a week or so before she passed.  My mom is often hard to get a hold of.  I would call and leave messages and sometimes won’t hear from her until 2 weeks later.  She was having the same problem.  She said she was going to have someone call her and tell her that she missed her funeral.  She was the best with the dry sarcastic humor.

Vegas was her playground. She could hang with the best.  It seemed like she turned into the Energizer Bunny. She didn’t need a reason to go, and turned every holiday into a Vegas Holiday.  If it wasn’t Vegas, it was a Morango holiday.  You wouldn’t even know she was gone until she would roll into the house early in the morning.

She loved her family very much!! Though she may not have said it, her actions showed it.  She left behind a legacy, 4 daughters,  26 grand children, 40 great grandchildren and one great great grandchildren.  She will be missed but never forgotten. Happy Birthday Grandma Constance!!! Can’t wait to see you at the SAVIOR’S feet.  Oh what a reunion that will be!!!

One Great Day

Yet we must not forget
we believe in an everlasting hope.
One that conquers all pain,
And heals all wounds.
He raised Lazarus from the dead
And himself from the tomb.
With all power he rose again,
Proclaiming his promise of return.

Oh will you be ready,
When he returns and cracks the sky,
When demons are stifled and death itself will die?
Where hurts will be forgotten
And disappointments will be no more.
Loved one’s will be reunited
Some day on that distant shore.
His promises will all be reviled,
No more sorrow, loss, no more worry or pain,
With a loud cry,
The dead in Christ will rise
And the rest will meet them in the sky.

Oh what a joyous day,
When we all see him face to face.
Yes, we have hope to see our loved one’s again,
On that earth made new time will never end.

Until then I am getting ready,
For that wonderful place beyond the sky,
When years are but an instance,
With him forever we will abide
His grace was sufficient,

His promises were true
His glories I see,
His mercies anew.
One day we will all be with him
Oh what a reunion that will be“When we all get to heaven ,
We will sing and shout the victory”.

-Brandi Watts

Copyright © 2012, All rights reserved by author

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Constance Marie Clark-Daniels-Clemons

April 29, 1931-September 24, 2011

“Grandma’s Hands”

Every Black History Month, there are children studying great American’s such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and more recently President Barack Obama.  I remember these lessons when I was a child.  I looked forward to talking about someone who looked just like me in a classroom where I was surrounded on all corners by white boys and girls.  I learned of great men and women who made a difference despite being mistreated because of the color of their skin.  While I loved to hear these stories about the people who looked just like me, I couldn’t relate to them.  They seemed like these great mythical creatures or super heroes.  I never thought that I would be able to ever meet anyone who was apart of this “great black royalty” that we heard about every January, and most in February. Even still, I was happy to learn about them since most of the American history I learned about was geared more towards  Euro centric history.

For some reason this years of Black History hasn’t been the same as the past 32 have been.  I don’t know if it is because I  have lost family members recently or what.  I have become more interested in my lineage, my ancestors, who make up the 20,000-25,000 genes that I possess and whose experiences influenced my life.. Because of this, I began to  ask questions from the matriarchs, and patriarchs of the family to begin to research my family tree.  From this information I began to build a history of the “great black royalty” in my own family.

My grandmother Constance Clark, married at a young age, and had 7 children.  After she raised her children, she went back to school for her GED, and then later to Nursing School, proving that it is never to late to follow your dreams. My grandfather Delbert Daniels grew up in Oklahoma, later relocating to Southern California where he was  the first black supervisor at the San Bernardino County Post Office.  My great-grandfather, Eugene Marks owned a very succesful sanitation business.  He would always tell the story of how Berry Gordy of Motown wanted to buy his property, and how he turned him down.  He always cared for his family and took time out of his busy schedule to talk with his grandchildren and tell us stories from “back in his day”.My grandmother Katie B Merriman served in the Air Force at a time when it was not popular to be black in the military, let alone a women. Her great-great grandmother Clarissa Murphy was born into slavery and was a single mother to 7 children in a time when it was hard enough to take care of yourself.  My grandfather Eddie King who grew up in a small town of Lower Peach tree Alabama, has always been an example to me of a hard worker, and an example of how a man should treat a women. He absolutely adores my grandmother.You can see it every time he looks at her. He is the great-grandchild of Leonard King that was the older brother of Martin Luther King Sr.

I was blessed to fine information through great oral history about my 4th great grandfather Elijah Daniel. Both he and his mother were from Ethiopia and enslaved on the Russel Daniel plantation.  Russel Daniel was a father of 4 sons, and 1 daughter that he had with a Native American woman..  Her name was Adeline.  Elijah worked in the big house because he was a rather small man.  It was there that Elijah and Adeline fell in love.  Adeline begged her father to allow them to marry.  He would not allow it until Adeline told him she would kill herself is she could not marry Elijah.  This was unheard of at this time in history.  This could not only be embarrassing for Russel’s family, it was also against the law.  Together Elijah and Adeline moved to the Indian territory and bore 8 children together.  One of his son’s was named Elijah Aaron who coincidentally is also the name of my oldest son.  I was not aware of this until I started researching my family tree.  After Adeline’s death he married another women by the name of Mary King and bore 2 more children.

All of these people, named and unnamed are all a part of me.  They may not be in all the history books, but  to me they are as important as those who are.   Without their pain and perseverance, trials and triumphs I wouldn’t be here.  It is upon their sacrifices I stand.  I realized I don’t have to wait until February or crack open a book to learn about important people in history.  I can see through my ancestors eyes, feel with their hands, walk where they trod, and sing and pray with their voice.  They are not mythical creatures, or untouchable super heroes.  They are all apart of me.  You posses a whole new strength when you know who you are and where you have come from.  I encourage you to learn as much as you can about your family history.  It has changed my perspective.  I hope it will do the same for you.

This Black History month I honor my ancestors. You will not be forgotten.

Brandi 🙂

“It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye”

Written Oct. 11. 2011

Grandma passed away last week so all of the aunts are starting to go through her things to decide who wants what or where such and such will go.  As I look around I notice a lifetime of belongings.  You can learn so much from someone’s things.  I have known Grandma for almost 33 years yet I have found out things I have never known about my grams by just looking at her stuff.  When I say stuff, I mean a LOT of stuff.  I was looking through her hope chest trying to find family pictures and found her elementary school work form when she was learning how to write sentences. THAT SCHOOL WORK WAS OVER 70 YEARS OLD!!!! I was scared to touch it fearing it would disintegrate in my hands!!  What I also found was that she really loves her family.  Grams wasn’t the touchy feely type. Like my cousin Josh said at the funeral. Grandma didn’t always show her love by hugging and kissing us. She showed it in other way’s like his example of “Go in that kitchen and get you some food.” Lol! That was my Grandmother.  When you look back on it you realize that she loved us all so much.  Who else would pay you 5 times what you were really due to pick weeds or water plants on the patio.  Only Grandma Constance.  Also by going through her things I realized she held on to so many mementos of her mother, her uncle,  and my grandfathers, who have all passed away.  At first I didn’t understand it, but now I think I know why. It helps to keep the memories some how in your grasp so that you never will forget. I get it.

This has been a hard trip back home.  I always come home knowing that I am going to go by and see her.  I have been here for almost 2 weeks and haven’t heard her voice telling me there is food in there.  It all seems very weird. It’s like she is out-of-town.  I can’t get my mind to realize that she’s gone.  I went to her funeral. (Might I add the shortest funeral in all of history.  She never liked long church services, “with all of that singing!”)  She looked great by the way. Only thing was the mortuary made her smile to big! Lol!… I saw her in that casket.  I heard the eulogy, so I know that it happened.  I guess my heart won’t let me believe it.

My sister and my niece lived with Grandma the past few years.  Every time she would get mad at her mom she would run in the room and tell Grandma.  She did it a few times since she has died.  She say’s at the oddest times that “Grandma Constance is in the hospital and she died.”  She is only 3 so I know she doesn’t know the finality of death.  It’s like she know’s Grandma is not home now, but at some point she will be in her room for her to tell all that has been going on.  That’s about how I feel.  I can’t comprehend the finality of it.  I can’t comprehend that we will never see each other again…on this earth.  I know that we will someday be reunited in heaven, but the sting is still there.  The pain and the tears are still there.  The statement of “Why are you crying? You will see each other again.”, sometimes is not so comforting.  I know this, yet my heart hurts, my tears flow and the pain has not yet subsided.  I’m sure the day will come when the pain doesn’t cut so deep, but I am not there yet.  I really miss my Grandma!

“It’s a Family Affair”

I have taken on the endeavor of researching my family tree. It has been a rewarding experience. I have always wished to have known more about my family, but the importance of finding out wasn’t pressing enough to take the energy and time.  Now that I am getting older and have began to realize that  the patriarchs and matriarchs of the family are aging and may someday not be around anymore, it is important to get the information while I can, not only for myself, but my children as well.

Due to a great oral history on my maternal side I finished my grandfather’s side very quickly. My grandfather died when I was 8 years old yet I vividly remember going to see my ” Grandpa Delbert”.  Going to see him rivaled Disneyland. I believe all the grandchildren would agree to this.  We did everything with Grandpa.  When he mowed the yard, we would sit on top of the riding mower.  When he was on the tractor we road on his lap.  When he would take us fishing we would dig out the worms in his “worm farm” with no fear at all.  When we got back he would let us scale the fish and help clean them.  This by itself does not seem like a fun activity but with Grandpa it was.  We loved going to the store with him. He would drive us to the convenience store in Bell Town and buy us all the candy and sweets we could carry.  He was our best friend and we wanted to be everywhere and anywhere he was.  I have so many great memories of him.  I can still remember his face and voice.  I was talking to my sister the other day, and I asked her what it would have been like if he had not died.  I could only speculate, but I knew there would have been many more great memories to be had.

There is a great story on “Grandpa Delbert’s side of the family. Jerry David Daniel, (before the “s” was put at the end) born in 1844,was an Ethiopian Slave on the Russel Daniel plantation.. His mother was also on the same plantation but I was unable to find information on her.  Russel Daniel had four son’s, but his wife wanted a little girl so he  had a little girl with an unknown Native American woman and brought her home to his wife.  While growing up on the plantation, Adaline, Russel’s daughter, fell in love with Jerry, the Ethiopian slave.  Her father disagreed with their relationship as any plantation owner would.  Adaline told her father she would kill herself if she was not allowed to marry him. They eventually married and had 7 children.  One of their children, born in 1874, was named Elijah Aaron which coincidentally  is our direct relative and also is the name of my oldest son.  I loved hearing about this story.  Without even knowing I was honoring one of my ancestors.

In recent years I have felt the urge to find out who I am and what my purpose is on this earth.  I am not sure yet of my purpose but I am beginning to find out who I am. I am the wife of Cornell Henry Watts, the mother of Elijah Aaron Watts and Brandon Alexander Watts.   I am the daughter of Randy  Darnell Wingate and Denise  Alice Daniels, the granddaughter of Delbert Everett Daniels, Constance Marie Clark,  Arlee Wingate, Eddie King and Katie B. Mcmillan.  I am because they were.

Brandi Nichell Wingate Watts  🙂

 

Check out my fb page at: www.facebook.com/thebutterflystitcher

“What a man what a man what a mighty good man! (Yes he is!)”

As I scrolled through Facebook  reading all the Father’s Day statuses it caused me to think of my own childhood.  I didn’t have anyone to give my paper crayola marker bowties, or my crayon scribbled homemade cards too.  There were those I could have given them too but they weren’t the picture fathers that Hallmark greeting cards were talking about.  The positive thing that came out of those memories was I knew what characteristics I didn’t want to have in my husband and father to my children.  It wasn’t until I was in my teenage years I realized that I had the best example of a father and a man in my great-grandfather, Eugene Marks affectionaly known as “Grandpa Bubba”.

When I was a child Grandpa Bubba owned a garbage collection business next door to our house. Ever morning before dawn I would hear his trucks running preparing for the days work.  Grandpa Bubba was at work which meant that our donuts were waiting for us in his pea green beat up pick up truck .  Every morning without fail he would leave us a dozen donuts, minus one or two on the seat of his truck.  If we happened to run into him on the way to school or church or on his way home from a hard days work he always had some change for us.  His idea of change was in paper form and he always padded our pockets with a few dollars each.  Man, we loved our great-grandpa.

When I got a little older and the pressures of home life began to be to much  me and my sister moved into Grandpa Bubbas house.  He was older and retired now and his health wasn’t the best but he still rose early every morning to make sure we had enough lunch money and bus fare to get to school.  He always wanted to make sure we were taking care of.  He made sure the refrigerator was full and if it wasn’t he would find someone who could go to the store to fill it up.  All he would ask for was a 2 piece Church’s chicken meal. Lol. He would eat that everyday.  As long as I knew him he had his chicken for dinner.

He was a proud man and even in his advanced age he would still try to do as much as he could for his family.  He was in his 80’s trying to go down our steep driveway to bring in the 5 gallon bottle of water.  It was too heavy for him to carry up the hill but he would still try even though we would tell him we got it.  He was a perfect picture of what a man is, a hardworker, a provider, a person that loved his family and would do anything for them.

He has been gone about 10 years now, but I miss and think of him often.  I wish my kids would have been able to have known him.  He was a great man that I loved dearly. Happy Father’s Day Grandpa Bubba!!

There’s no place like home!

Recently I was blessed to be able to take a trip home to visit my family in California and celebrate my Grandma Constance’s Surprise 80th Birthday Party.   It’s very rare for all of us (me and my sisters) to all be together at the same time.  It has been years actually. It was good to be together again.  We have all grown, became mothers and moved away from one another, but when we got together nothing much had changed.

It was also a blessing to get a chance to spend time with my grandparents.  Sometimes I wish that time could stand still but unfortunately it can not, so it is always good to get home to see them.

This trip will always be a great memory for me. I thank God I was able to share it with my husband.  This was our first trip without our kids.  We enjoyed the break!!

brandi 🙂