Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Spending extended time with my family this past month and a half has allowed me to learn more about my family history. In my poem "Homage," I talk about getting my gift and love for words and my teaching ability "from my mama"; she's been teaching since before I was born. But I learned that the gene is even deeper than that. My grandmother, Cleo Handy Simpson, and her sister Jennie both had teaching degrees (Jennie's was to teach English), but back then, their degrees weren't recognized/accepted here in California (they were from Georgia), so they both ended up doing jobs totally unrelated to their true passions. 

Knowing this crucial piece of my history gave me such a sense of pride, and it also made me that much more determined to succeed on an even higher level in all that I do, in honor of my grandmother and her sister and their thwarted efforts to pursue their desired careers in the educational realm. 

My mother picked up where they left off, and I'm determined to continue carrying out the dream and tradition in my own unique way, and leave an unmistakable mark in this world that will make up for all that my ancestors weren't allowed to do.

What great information is hidden in your family history that's tied to your passions, talents, and special gifts? When you discover your gift(s), will you be brave enough to share them with the world?

I invite you to listen to the poem below: