Archived Story

Write Again … Just say a prayer of thanks

Published 5:44pm Monday, October 21, 2013

Some years ago, I read in a professional journal that “letters are the true heart-talkers.”

Most certainly the following sentiments expressed in a letter I received back in August are straight from the heart.

“Dear Bartow,

“I had the privilege of seeing ‘The Butler’ over the weekend. I was absolutely enthralled to see my life story on film. I wanted to write you this note to say ‘Thank you’ to your mother for all the encouragement and wonderful ways she enabled my mother (Lillie Grace) to be the best possible person she could be.

“Always reminding her that she was just as good as anyone else.  Lillie passed this down to me and all my cousins and various other people she encountered during her life.

“She often told the story about how your parents gave her permission to discipline you. So one day after she had, you told her, ‘Wickie Wace, sometimes you make me so mad I wish you weren’t my sister!’

“What fine people your parents must have been and some might say on the planet before their time. I choose to think they were put here at exactly the right time by God to help a 16 year old African-American (young) woman.

“If you haven’t seen ‘The Butler’ I encourage you to see it.

“I hope this note makes some sense and if your Mom has passed on (Sept. 18, 1989) just say a prayer of thanks for me.



“My” Lillie and my mother were my two first loves.

The days when Lillie was a real part of my life have long since passed. That was a long time ago, the 1940s.

My mother has been gone over 24 years, now.

I hope we’ll all meet again.

And … although I have never actually met Marie, I feel she is a part of my family, too.

After all, we are all brothers and sisters, are we not?

APROPOS — “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s’ future. And we are all mortal.” — John F. Kennedy (June 10, 1963)

  • gayle88fan

    I must say how much I look forward to reading this column… which I stumbled across quite by accident. Imagine my delight when I discovered the writer was my favorite high school teacher from Manteo High wayyyy back in the early 80s. I recognized his writing immediately mostly due to the APROPOS at the end. That was his trademark back in the day. Thanks Mr. Houston
    Gayle Beasley Grubbs

    (Report comment)

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