An ode to my Irish heritage…
In keeping with my 2017 goal of reconnecting to my heritage (on both sides), I dedicate this dish to (Great)Grandma LaVeta “Veta” Fry. While I just recently learned of our extensive Irish roots, I have always felt a warm connection to Grandma Fry. Memories of her blue eye shadow and perfectly coiffed red hair. (It had to be done EVERY week) Her pulling up to pick me up from Kindergarten in her rain bonnet with lipstick poppin. Her style and grace would surely put the cast of Mad Men to shame.
Growing up as a mixed race, black girl in the heart of the KKK bread basket (cough cough… Indiana), a few folks on this side of the family tree were… well… generally opposed to my existence. Thankfully, their cold disposition and ignorance was outwitted and out loved by her warmth, joy, and sass. Living proof that doing what is right eclipses the demands of doing what society expects. She loved my siblings, both of my mothers, and I relentlessly, and that barely touches the love she had for my father’s family. While the way she treated us in itself deserves no special recognition, that’s just common decency, her refusal to go with the prevailing social dialogue at the time and her willingness to be an ally amongst blood relatives who vehemently disagreed, is more than honorable. Were she alive now, I have no doubt that she would be actively working to move from “ally” status to that of an “accomplice” in the fight for racial justice.
In the past few years, I’ve reconnected and connected for the first time with many on this side of the family and have been overjoyed by the wealth of information regarding our Irish lineage, compiled by my Great Aunt. I hope to visit Ireland one day to really connect to our family history and in reverence say “I love you” to my favorite redheaded matriarch.