Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Story of Ms.Lillian Dabney : She is really an amazing and inspirational person.

Dear Somayya,

I was the first person in my family to go to and complete college. I come from an 'extended' family of aunts uncles and cousins. I had alluded before that my family history is complicated from the generally perceived concept of a family in the US, but totally 'classic' in the African American culture.

I am the oldest of three daughters and none of us grew up together. My mother never married and indeed it is quite possible that all three of us have different fathers. When I was born I had a great aunt who knew my mother (who had schizophrenia) was not fit to raise me. I was taken away from my mother to be with my great aunt. She died when I was around 6 or 7 and another aunt took on the responsibility of raising me. She never married either. The only 'males' in my childhood were uncles who did
not live with us.

As I child I was obedient, a loner and a reader. I made friends easily, loved to laugh and was always interested in the 'different' in order to learn and grow. I preferred to be around the Caucasian people and listened to music from the UK (The Beatles etc). I stayed pretty much away from my own culture. It was somewhat of an extreme but I did things the best way I knew how. I did not have much 'guidance' and was left to figure things out on my own.

I cannot recall any one in my family who influenced me other than my cousin who was outgoing, had a lot of friends and seemed very happy. In time this same cousin suffered from depression, still suffers from depression and is now the total opposite of her own youth; she secludes herself at home (with the TV), has no friends, doesn't go exploring and doesn't read.

One of my skills is organizing groups. It is something I enjoy doing! I have started book groups, book making groups and have gathered people together for fundraisers, lectures, workshops etc. I love organizing activities where people can learn, grow and share.

Friendship to me is the most important relationship of them all. Far
more important than marriage, romantic encounters and perhaps even family. Because everything starts there. Friendship comes first. In my friend I would like someone with whom I can be totally at ease, someone I can say 'anything' to, someone who is a deep listener and seeks to understand before wanting to be understood. I love people with a sense of humor. It is also good to have a compliment as well as common

My friends are generally the opposite of me; I'm organized their home is in disorder, I am slow and quiet, they are high strung and talkative. Yet we have a lot of common interests as well. As with everything, a balance is important. Generally what I display most when people visit my home is music. It is the universal language and reaches everyone where speech may not. I always plan the music I intend to play when people visit and make sure my CD's are readily seen (as well as heard).

Please tell me what my grade is when next you write. :-)

With love,

Our Dear Nana,

I read Lillian's mail about her life, she is really amazing and inspirational person.Very impressive. Thanks for making her a friend of us.

Loving Son

Our Dear Amma and Nana: Good morning.

Nana, it is very touching to see Lillian's story. And happy to read Basith sir's e-mail. Nice to see Usha's email too.

We are happy that you are communicating with various people. Every person’s life and their experiences are worth of several books. Isn't it, Naana?.

My work is going well. This week we are having good weather.

Have a nice day. With love, yours Aparna

* It's really amazing when two strangers become the best of friends.

Thank you and your beautiful children, Aparna and Ajay for all their kind words regarding my life.
With Love,