Growing up, I always felt like the black sheep in my family...because literally I was...a black girl (mixed black and white, if you must know) adopted into a white family. I had 3 brothers who were the biological children of my parents. Anyway...I was very close with my grandparents on my mother's side, but not my father's. Even at a young age I sensed tension.
I remember once stopping by their house unexpectedly and noticing some candy she had on the mantle. When I asked if I could have a piece she said "No, it's for my grandchildren." I remember feeling confused. But too young to really catch that.
One year on my birthday I overheard my mom telling my dad how it was wrong that they always sent my brothers' birthday cards with birthday money, and mine empty or with much less.
As I got older I became resentful. What I gathered over the years was that it was her, my "grandfather's" second wife that was behind it all, but honestly I wrote them both off. He accepted her behavior so to me it didn't matter where it originated.
Then one day in November 1993 he died. And I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. I mean, I felt bad for my dad, but that's about it. I was even a bit annoyed because it meant an unexpected trip home, about a week before I was going home for Thanksgiving, anyway. At the wake/funeral I remember staring at the back of her head from the row behind her filled with venom. When she died I didn't even bother. A few years back my parents and grandma were chuckling it up about some memories involving her and it took every ounce of tact not to sarcastically add to the discussion with a "remember that time when her racist ass....." coupled with a fake laugh, "oh that crazy, wily Grandma Bea."
All this popped into my head because his birthday was on or around May 1st--May Day. If you ever heard about May Day, back in the day it was some US tradition to leave flowers on the doorstep of (whoever?) on May Day. Every year before i "knew the score," I used to get excited and plan for his May Day birthday flowers. Hmmph.
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