Just for Her
Dear Dr. Gates,
My name is Venus Johnson, I am writing on behalf of my 89 year old grandmother, Mrs. Bessie Mae Bell. An outstanding woman, the eldest sibling of I believe close to 10 children. Dr. Gates, the reason I write to you is that she has always wanted to know her history. My grandmother has recently lost her best friend, her husband. She has been so depressed that she has expressed wishing that she would have passed with him. Hearing this broke my heart.
My grandmother lost 3 out of 4 her children, her husband, countless siblings and both parents. This is the loneliest years of her life. I thank God that she is still very active; she drives, works out and she has even sacrificed being the step in “Mother of the Bride” for my August wedding in Nassau Bahamas since my mom is deceased. She has given so much of herself. I can never repay her enough for her sacrifice.
Bessie has a very interesting story as I’m sure most do. She was born in Gary, Indiana. Her mother was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her mother (Alberta Johnson) fled the South in fear while pregnant with her. Bessie was named after her Great Aunt Bessie that raised her mother Alberta. My Grammy believes that her family is of Creole descent and she often wonders about her maternal grandparents which has been such a mystery. My sister and I and a few cousins have tried to do research on Family Tree and have searched various documents and have been unsuccessful.
My grandmother also had a brother that she talks about by the name of Thomas “Deck” Decker that fled because of an interracial relationship never to be seen again. When she speaks about what she has gone through in her life you can hear the laughter, pride and the pain of the present and the past. When I think of all of the wisdom, the history and the strength that is within her it makes me so proud to be a descendant of such greatness. I surely know where my feistiness comes from but most importantly, my ambition. She has never missed a graduation most recently my Masters degree. However, she did say when I graduate with my Doctorate degree make sure they have it in a place that she will not have to walk so far- she has a sense of humor too!
Dr. Gates, you probably receive thousands of letters and email such as this. I am not asking for myself but for her. This would mean the world to her. She doesn’t ask for anything and she is such a giver, I really want to give her something that she can be proud of or at least some questions answered for her. Your assistance is the only way that I can make this dream come true for her. Please, I beg of you to bless her with this gift.
Thank you for your time.