Iola Luvenia Everett Jones
From the personal collection of the owner of this blog
This is my second post for the second edition of the Carnival of African-American Genealogy. As mentioned in my post about my maternal grandmother, this carnival has been a tough one for me. As previously noted, it’s not that I never knew my grandmothers but that I really didn’t get an opportunity to know them.
I was a bit older, 8 to be exact, when my paternal grandmother died. While I had her a bit longer, as fate would have it, father time had mentally taken her away from me a few years before. Even so, while no single moment sticks out for me the way the last visit with my maternal grandmother does, I know that my paternal grandmother and I had our special moments.
For the first few years of my life, Grandmomma Jones stayed in Winston-Salem, NC, where she and granddaddy settled after leaving their home county in the eastern part of the state. While I always seemed to get sick off the fumes that seeped through the floor of daddy’s old Ford, I always enjoyed and looked forward to the trips to my grandmother’s house. However, I must admit that the house itself always seem to terrify me. I always had a problem with basements, so the cellar of the Big House was especially terrifying.
From what I know about my grandmother, she was a resourceful and strong woman who like Jesus fed the masses with very little. Unlike my maternal grandparents who farmed, my paternal grandparents were more city folks. However, that doesn’t mean they struggled any less. In fact, it seems like they may have struggled more. Grandmomma’s small garden provided just enough for her to feed her family. Grandmomma Jones could make practically anything from greens and squash and that’s how she and her family survived.
Grandmomma Jones endured the death of her first born who drowned while away at grad school and her youngest who only lived a few short months. She also survived having cancer in not one but both breast, which was totally unheard of at that time, the survival that is.
Grandmom was definitely proud to be a grandmother and was proud of her grandkids. My mother tells the story of one summer, when most of Grandmomma Jones’ grandkids had descended on her. My cousin Valerie and I were still babies and I think my cousin Lafrieda was there and maybe even cousins Jay and Claudius. We were all outside, and grandmom was holding me. One of her neighbors came by asking where all these babies came from and Grandmom proudly proclaimed these are my grandbabies.
Eventually Grandmomma Jones’ health started to fail. Around this time, her daughter, Aunt Martha, who lived in my hometown, decided to build a house and have grandmom move in with her. So, the last years of her life were spent in my hometown. Given the fact Aunt Martha’s house was < 2 miles from our house, for awhile I had the double pleasure of having both of my grandmother’s near. Even though at this point in time there was little interaction due to her health, I still enjoyed spending time with grandmom and always went bounding into Aunt Martha’s house with a hey grandma and plopping down beside her for a awhile.
Grandmomma Jones departed this world on April 5, 1969. It occurred over Easter break while Cousin Valerie and Aunt Emmanuline were visiting. Grandmom stumbled, lost her balance, and struck her head. Eerily, Aunt Martha’s death, which occurred almost exactly 31 years later, happened in the same manner.
As with my maternal grandmother, I wish we had had more time but I will always be grateful for the time that we did have together. I still feel the pride that she exuded in having me / us as her grandkids and would like to think that if she were here that she would be proud of the work that I’ve done on her ancestral line.