When I created the "Women's History Tribute" to my mother, I was reminded of the saying that "the apple does not fall far from the tree." I kept seeing through my reflections how much of the tribute could apply to my sister Jean Ford-Lawrence. So if some of this seems familiar, it's because it is. Notably the lesson I referred to like being taught "the wherewithall to survive racially charged high school experiences, years of profiling in Corporate America, and the 'frog in the barrel' mentality of those intent on pulling others down".
Being taught lessons and benefiting from them are two separate things. So while my mother taught lessons, Jean actually received, benefited from, and built upon them. Those lessons helped to create a high level of caring and compassion for others. Imagine attending a State University on the day after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the incident not even being mentioned. Despite the lack of "higher" learning or understanding available at that university, what had been taught at home won out. Together, the lessons, along with this and other indifference helped to form the foundation of Jean's outstanding career in Human Resources, and provide a building block against future adversities.
As I was on my way from Sam's Club this morning, and listening to the song "If I Had a Hammer," it occurred to me that even if a message is "hammered home", it must be received and acted upon for it to be beneficial. Jean has turned lessons learned into good, by being an example to many family, friends, and others.
In 1997, when our family reunion had no one willing to host the 1998 Family Reunion, Jean single-handedly stepped forward so that the long-standing and much loved tradition would continue. She followed Annie Tinsley who had stepped forward the year before to save the Reunion. So in two consecutive years it was women in the family who insured there would be a continuity of "history" to reflect upon.
Because of what I've shared, and a lot that I haven't shared, don't be surprised if you see Facebook Posts from nieces, nephews or others that refer to Jean as "mom". There are many reasons for it.