Fannie Mae’s mom and dad traveled on the Trail of Tears from North Carolina, were they reached Oklahoma in a covered wagon to settle on land. Before they could settle they were forced to register as Cherokee Indians and in order to stay safe from murder most Cherokee’s claimed Irish heritage in their blood even though this may or may not have been the case with my family. I am just starting my journey on writing and when I have the time I will do more ancestral background work. My sweet granny Fannie, laugh if you will, was the sweetest grandma that any child could hope for. I would call her when I was a little girl and talk to her for hours and hours to hear about being in a covered wagon, about owning 1 dress and one new pair of shoes per year, and riding to school on horseback.
I listened to the stories of discipline in school because I thought it was funny, strange, and cruel all the same time. The teachers would make the children stand in front of the classroom on a stage for an entire day if she felt her student was being out of hand or a little bit rebellious. She would tell me stories of the teacher smacking her on the hand with a ruler and that the teacher would go by each student’s desk; and if she didn’t like something, they would get smacked on the hand. Not only did you get smacked on the hand with a ruler but when you got home you got a good whippin’ from your ma and pa.
I loved sitting beside her and learning Amazing Grace on the piano and how sweet her crackled little 89 year old voice sounded like angels to me. I would call her three times a week and I would just let her repeat her stories over and over because I loved her so much. So basically they walked from school uphill both ways in the snow. It was quite dramatic.
My great Granny, who was the best at playing Amazing Grace at the piano, crocheting,and reading the word of God out loud to us, lived a fulfilling life, she had several children one of them was named Robert which of whom is my grandfather. He was a beautiful man and he had dark dark Cherokee skin, strong high cheekbones, and a sweet disposition. I’ll tell you more about him another time.
My sweet great grandma Fannie, and was partially blind at the age of 89. She lived in an apartment on a really oppressed side of town in Tulsa Oklahoma because that’s all that she could afford. One day two young men who had been watching her knocked on her door and said that they were from her church so my sweet great Grandma who couldn’t see very well through the peephole let them in. They brutally beat her, raped her, and burglarized her. My sweet 89 year old 100 lb great Grandma had to have reconstructive vaginal surgery and reconstructive bowel surgery. She never made it out of that with a full recovery and ended up passing away due to her injuries of murder.I’ll never forget how grief stricken my entire family was, the men that were never recaptured, and what a legacy she left behind as a Cherokee God fearing woman. These stories are hard for me, so if they seem short lived, it is because in my mind, I can only talk about them for a short time then I have to “sign out” mentally.
To be continued…