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FEATURES Sep 17 2012 9:56PM
Lisa Price visits her father in Jackson, Mississippi

Getting Back to My Roots

My family on my Mother's side is originally from the West Indies. Nana and Gramps, Mommy's parents, came here in the 1920's from Trinidad. They settled in Brooklyn, NY, where I have lived pretty much my whole life. My Dad's mom was also from Trinidad, and she married an American whose family was originally from Virginia. Daddy was also raised in New York, in the Bronx. 
When Mommy and Daddy brought me home from the hospital they lived in an apartment on Van Buren Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Down the street is where Nana and Gramps lived along with Aunt Ruby (Carol's Sister) and Uncle Stan. Their house was number 280 and it was the center of my life. That is where we went for Christmas and Thanksgiving and Easter. Most of my significant birthday parties were held at Nana's house. We were a tight, close-knit family. My cousins are like my brothers and sisters more than cousins. 
Now, as an adult, raising my own children, my family is spread out across the country. I miss the closeness and not being able to see everyone on a regular basis.
Recently, I had the opportunity to travel south for business and was able to visit with family. In Atlanta, I stayed with Aunt Sylvia (another of Carol's sisters) and Uncle Robbie. Being with them in their home brought up so many emotions and memories. Aunt Syl and Uncle Robbie were like second parents to my brother Philip and me. When Mommy was too ill to take care of us and Daddy was working, Philip and I stayed with them. They are and have been my rock and not just my rock, many of my cousins would describe them the same way. 
When I entered the guest bedroom I suddenly saw my mother, sitting on the bed. She was laughing and talking and looked so happy. I wondered why I was seeing this image and I realized that while I have visited their home over the years, I had not slept there since January 2003, three weeks before my Mother's death. Mommy went to visit with her sisters and I joined her for the latter part of her stay and this room was Mommy's room. Instantly, I could smell her and feel her and when I went to bed that night it was as if she were sleeping with me. It was so good to feel that and also to feel the love from my aunt and uncle. 
At home, I am wife and mother. I am in charge. I am the organizer and I ALWAYS have work to do. But here, I was Lisa, the niece. They made sure I had Cream of Wheat in the morning and a healthy dinner at night. I went home with clean clothes in my suitcase and yes, even some extra money in my pocket. It was like being a child again but with the benefit of the knowledge of being an adult. It was absolutely one of the best business trips I have ever been on and I know that I am so blessed to be able to have that kind of love in my life. 
Next stop after Atlanta was Memphis. I had a speaking engagement their and was met by Brother Philip and he drove me to his hometown, Jackson, MIssissippi. Jackson is also where my Daddy and some of my other siblings live. The last time I saw Daddy was a little over a year ago and he had just had surgery. It was so good to see him healthy and strong. And, once again, I was a little girl again, hugging my daddy. Thanks to the travels of Hurricane Isaac got to spend more time with Daddy, his wife, Kaaren, and my siblings: Autumn, Meredith, Tselane, and Philip, my sister-in-law, Paula and niece and nephews: Joshua, Daniel, Rachel and Matthew. 


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