Tuesday, August 31, 2004

And her name is Ophelia

When I was 13 years old, my grandmother pulled me in the kitchen and ordered my mother out of the kitchen. She asked me to look in the dictionary and explain what a malignant tumor means.

I was good with understanding the definitions more than the family members could. So I guess my grandmother relied on me for a clear definition. I read the term and was not happy with the definition. I explained to my grandmother that malignant indicated her tumor will spread.

She stared at me and sighed, "Go and get your mother, please."

From that point, a lot of drama ensued in the next 9 months. She died in late September, 1987. My grandfather was consummated with grief to a point where he got a stroke. Ugh. Like I said, it was such a drama.

Mom was simply hysterical because she was what I'd say, "Mama's Girl". Shortly, Mom said that we needed to head to Winston-Salem, NC to share the news with Ophelia.

I asked her who she is. Her response was, "Oh, Ophelia used to be my mom's maid. She is deaf black woman, who was inseparable with your grandmother. She lives in a nursing home, is now blind as well."

Later, I found out the information that back then, my grandmother was so bad at cleaning and cooking. She decided to bring Ophelia as a maid to do the chores. Things evolve over the time, they became close friends. Ophelia taught my grandmother of southern fried food (bad, bad, bad and bad) which I absolutely loved, even today. Things that you might see in my family's antics probably stemmed from Ophelia. This is odd because at that time, they lived in Raleigh -- a southern city which advocated the segregation. But deafness was the reason they sticked it out together.

Ophelia married but never had children. Mom drove to Winston-Salem, NC and visited Ophelia in a nursing home. Told her the news that my grandmother died. She was heartbroken. She kept on signing, "No, not Virginia! Not her!"

Suffice to say, Ophelia died about a week later as well.

Things like this made our lives mysterious and interesting.

Uncle Sandy and Ophelia


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