|Dad's birthday celebration 2014|
|Shared DNA Matches between myself and dad's cousin, Sam Cimino.|
I wrote about Aunt Millie and her decline from dementia three years ago in this space. As these words are written, I’m preparing to go to Chicago to bury her. And thinking about what it means when a generation dies.
I have no more blood aunts and uncles. Not on either side. My sisters and brother and cousins and I, we are it. We are the "grownups" now. We are the family.
It is a sobering realization familiar to many of us of a certain age. Firsthand memory of the Depression, the war, the Holocaust, is dwindling at a sobering pace, disappearing one heart attack, cancer diagnosis and stroke at a time. But those of us who are of a certain age and also African American are losing those things, and other things specific to us.
We are losing firsthand memory of you can’t walk here, and you can’t eat there, of you can’t try that on and you can’t look that man in the eye. We are losing our exodus, how it felt to flee Greenville, Jacksonville, or Shreveport on the first bus or train heading north or west, toting suitcases tied with rope and cold chicken in grease-stained paper bags.You can read the full column here: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article154174689.html
While you are at it please take a look at Mr. Pitts Recommended Reading list: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article141507489.html
We are losing a unique perspective on history as each generation passes. Make sure that you spend some time listening to the previous generation and recording their oral histories. Then write and reflect on what those memories mean to you.