This be the Tell for Aunt Gloria, the wife of my father's brother, a fine woman who knowed me not too well, and not for a long time before she died.
This be the Tell for her children's children, who knows me even less, and for their children, who only knows her from the Tell.
(Photo: Gloria W. Harrod & Dennette A. Harrod, Jr. - Nov. 23, 1978)
Oral tradition ... family stories told at holiday gatherings, passed down from generation to generation. Families are so scattered these days that it is a dead form of communciation, like smoke signals and heliographs (sunlight & mirrors).
I was over forty when I started shaving my head daily, and it was another year before I learned that it was an affectation I shared with my great-grandfather, Arthur Albert Harrod - he died decades before I was born. There's so much about him that I'll never know. <Heavy Sigh!> I do, however, have two of his straight razors.
This is the Digital Age, so close upon the Atomic Age and so momentous as to make it simply a foot-note to this century. The stories may survive longer now, but only if we tell them.
In the Spring of 1993, I found out that my Aunt Gloria was dying of cancer. She was not expected to see the next Christmas - she didn't even survive until Halloween. This is the story of my saying good-bye to her.
In an episode of Northern Exposure aired last Fall, Fleischman's Uncle Moe died. He told his aunt that he could not come to the funeral, but he promised to say kodish for him.
In order to keep his promise, he needed a minyon - ten adult Jewish males. Maurice offered a $200 bounty, plus transportation, food, and lodging, for any Jewish men in Alaska to make the minyon.
I watched that episode while I was waiting for Aunt Gloria to die. My sister had called to tell me that the end was near so that I could make my travel plans. She had less than a week to live. I was thinking about death, and how we say goodbye to people ... how it's usually after they're gone. I was glad that I had the chance to let Aunt Gloria hear mine.
Aunt Gloria refused all vistors after the diagnosis was made, and closed herself off from the world with her family until the end. I decided to say goodbye to her with a long letter and pictures of where I lived and what I was doing with my life. This is the letter, along with my diary entries from the week of her funeral and pictures from the funeral. I have also included other pictures that she never saw, because I couldn't find them at the time.
I think that's enough to explain what this Tell is about. Here are some pictures from the 1970s - Aunt Gloria and her daughters, Lynda and Lisa, and some of their children. Some of these pictures were taken by my mother, the rest by me.
A lot of these pictures were taken 15 years ago. They are from Thanksgiving suppers (1976, 78, & 79), either at Uncle LeRoy's home, or at Donna's, the place on Kenyon Street that Pop originally bought in 1950 because my impending arrival made the apartment too small.
Footnote to history ... as soon as they could afford it, my parents moved away from the U Street apartment that had been "home" during World War II. The Cardoza stop of the DC subway expansion is near the location ... it's where I have them drop me to take the Metro to the airport.
I have to comment on the picture of the Harrod women ... Donna (Viola Carter Harrod), the matriarch (my paternal grandmother), her daughter-in-law, Gloria Williams Harrod, and Lisa Ann Harrod, her grandaughter.
I cropped this image to focus attention, but in the lower left-hand corner of the original is just enough of a head and face to recognize my maternal grandmother, Thelma Jones Greenfield. This is the only photograph I have found that has both of them, although I have pictures of me with both of them individually at the same gathering.
-=DAH=- (January 16, 1994)
-=DAH=- (February 28, 1995)