Friday, May 04, 2012

Portrait of Wilma Banks Temple

My grandmother was a tall buxom women with copper brown skin,deep dark brown eyes and broad shoulders. She had long black silky hair and her face was splashed with freckles. Although we laughed alot when relaxed she rarely smiled. My grandmother always wore hat and gloves when we went out and mostly made her own clothes. She came from a family of tailors so you would never know even her overcoat was hand sewn. What I remember most was holding her hand when crossing the street as a kid and her constantly telling me to hurry up,"walk in front of me". I often wondered why she wasn't as fascinated by her shadow as I was with mine? If I walked in front of her it seemed to get lost in the crowds of people scurrying past. My grandmother was also my protector and guide. I never worried or thought about getting lost or not knowing where I was as she carefully pointed out every street sign and bus number so that I could navigate our weekly day trips along with her.Moving in and out of stores or museums  I could count on her hand on my shoulder or even simply reach up without looking and clasp her hand always ready to envelope mine.

 I sat with her a long while the Tuesday before she died and held her hand and sang to her trying to comfort myself as much as I felt I was comforting her. I told her,"it's okay to go Grandma".
"We are alright." She died just a few days later and my cousin tells me she saw her brother and sister come to take her home. I'm happy knowing she had someone to lead her this time and that she was not alone.

Painting and drawing her likeness has been difficult but mostly bittersweet and sometimes funny because I'll get a flood of childhood memories and start laughing until I cry. Wilma Banks Temple was one of kind. Here are a few more photos of her painting in-progress.

1 comment:

Cassandra Bromfield's Blogs said...

Very beautiful tribute. She must have loved you very much, because your memories are so authentic and from the heart. Stay blessed