Buried Treasures

My Great grandfather John Johnson (Big Momma’s husband), transitioned in 1972, the year I was born. If I could go back and have a conversation with him, I’d ask what his thoughts were as an 18-year-old black man entering the U.S. Army to fight in WW1, joining a segregated unit to go overseas when he didn’t even have full political or social rights here at home.

My children surprised me this past weekend by flooding me with video and photos from their trip visiting my mom last year. I cried when I saw the photo of my G-son who desperately wanted to see where his ancestors were buried. Being the Griot of the family, he has heard their stories all his life and has also been fortunate having a face to go with those stories thanks to the photos I’ve gathered over the years. He was particularly interested in Big Momma, who would be his Great Great Great grandmother (who’s headstone he’s standing next to). I suppose his curiosity is due to her living 100 years and with his love of history, reflecting on society along with all she witnessed and overcame during her time (like the pandemic in 1918). It occurred to me that this was nothing to be sad about. It is actually quite a blessing for us all to share in this experience. So rather than cry, I decided to celebrate the history of my ancestors with a poem.

Beneath the gravel over a century of fortunes rest, to make you proud, I'll do my best.
Your resilience proved there's strength in numbers, Johnson's working as one, embracing roars of the thunder.
From a time vows were honored, "'til death do us part", side by side headstones reflect your mark.
Descendants now reap rewards of your sacrifice; I thank you for baring seeds that gave me life.
I, a hallmark derived from karats of my ancestors-each unit designed with purity, never taking for granted the value of knowledge passed down to me.
Wars, civil rights, equality-regardless of the cause, I admire the gifts captured in the stories of your scars.
Generations of precious gems-who thrive and shine like diamonds, your legacy remains unmeasured; therefore, I shall not weep for my family of buried treasures!

Published by 5thgenerationgirl

Tammy Wynette is a mother of three and a β€œG-MA” (grandma). Born in Warren, Arkansas, she currently resides in Sacramento, CA and is pursuing an AA degree in English at American River College, with plans to transfer to California State University, Sacramento (Sac State). She is an active leader and role model in her community, she works with teens sharing and teaching poetry, as well as providing insight for young parents to prosper. She has certificate from NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness) and is a trailblazer & Griot, keeper of stories/traditions passed down from her ancestors. As an Author and motivational speaker it’d be an honor to present at your events to inspire, encourage & let our VOICES be heard! She has short stories and poems published in Our Black Mothers Brave, Bold and Beautiful!

80 thoughts on “Buried Treasures

  1. It’s wonderful your children took that trip and recently sent you all those photos. I admire your children and you for your interest in and celebration of your history. The entire history of how people of color have been treated is so tragic, and sadly civil rights, equal rights has still not been achieved. My dedication to the daily work I do is to bring all humanity to that place of Oneness again. Thanks for sharing how you honor your history and have instilled that in your children as well. Your poem is such a loving tribute to them, and your life and work is a loving tribute to them and your children.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is a beautiful poem you wrote, thank you for sharing Tammy.

    And what a wonderful gift your children shared with you through the videos and photos. It’s a wonderful thing they got to connect with their past and ancestors. What an amazing history and it’ll surely help them inform their own future steps ahead. πŸ™

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Well Tammy, I had to have my moment, because this piece is truly heartwarming and inspirational. πŸ€— Thanks so much for those sharing photos of a piece of your family’s history that cannot be erased. I applaud what you and your children and grandson are doing to make an effort to uncover remnants of critical history that your foreparents left to uplift current and future generations. πŸ™πŸΌ

    I am so there with you because after my mother died (the family’s unofficial/official historian), I felt it was my duty to continue to uncover and discover family nuggets. I love and admire your ongoing commitment. And girlfriend, I love your poem. What a beautiful ode and one your ancestors would not only be proud of, but grateful that their efforts have not gone in vain! I see you found out how to embed your video. 😜 I knew you could do it!

    Have a FANtabulous day QT. So proud of you! πŸ₯°πŸ˜ŠπŸ€©

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ok well as for the video, I had it saved in a hundred places, different ways but still couldn’t get it on the page, smh. I was almost there and didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cry when my daughter came in the final hour with to clicks. lol. I told her you were trying to help while I was at the computer & she shook her head at me.
      As for the poem, my brain almost exploded! I thought of you and Grace and pulled from your energies to finish it. I’m just so honored to be a member of the legacy of strength and morals. Thank you Sis!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s an honor for us all Tammy. Without them, where would we be, or would we have even been? πŸ€” Stand on their strength and their morals as you are doing. I think your ancestors would be proud of the jewels you hold in your hands to continue to build a new and uplifting path for generations to come. Continue to stay inspired. There’s no reason for you not to be! πŸ€—πŸ’ͺπŸΌπŸ‘ΈπŸ½πŸ€΄πŸ½βœ¨πŸŒž

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, it is a blessing which is why I was so emotional when talking to him & learning the motivation behind his interest. When I think though looking back, he’s always been huge on knowing his family…. the living & those who’ve passed on. Thanks you dearly.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Genealogy is so fascinating to me! Yet, the young people in our family don’t seem to care. Hopefully, that will change as they get older. When I realized that the older people weren’t going to be around much longer, I was picking everybody’s brain! It’s nice that the young people in your family are so interested and want to keep the family story alive!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that’s why I was so emotional when my granson was sharing his experience with me. I was surprised by his interest. After thinking about it though, he’s always been eager to learn as much as he can about EVERYTHING and because of the dynamics of our family being all over the place, he is especially concerned with knowing exactly who his relatives are. Thank you dearly for reading.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Brought tears to my eyes in the best way. I wish I could talk with them too. What an amazing slice of history they witnessed and endured. You’re indeed fortunate to know of them, to know your heritage and be able to visit the place where they touched the earth. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it’s especially great and perhaps even awe-inspiring to see young people relate to the past. I think it especially comes to life for them when they know they have that connection to specific people that were there. I love that they had the chance to visit the family gravesites. So few people take the time to do that, it seems. It can feel heavy or sad, but usually I come away with a feeling of inspiration and connection. Sounds like he felt that beauty. Best to you! Glad to meet you in the blogosphere! ❀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I think mostly for him it’s curiosity & love of learning in general. He looks at all the black & white photos of them on my wall that sparks a myriad of questions, putting the pieces of the puzzle together after listening to their stories being shared.
        Nice to meet you as well, I’ll be checking in πŸ₯°

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I stay away from politics, but the message I got from reading was your overall positive attitude & optimism.
        Also, it may not be on your end. I’ve noticed that with several sites recently. I’m not savvy w/ technology & I’m on my phone now instead of my PC. I’ve also been experimenting w/ my page trying to learn new features,lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s such a heart touching fascinating post. Your Grandson’s interest in getting to know his ancestors is really very admirable. Your poem is awesome! Loved this post. β™₯️β™₯️

    Liked by 1 person

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