Letters of an Abiding Faith:
Legacy of a Slave's GrandDaughter to
written by Ella Lewis to her Son
* * * *
February 19, 1976
Received your letter was indeed a pleasure as always.
It's just that they don't come often enough.
Everyone here is fair I guess except for colds and
backache for myself. Bunk is doing fine but she still have to see the
I'm very proud you're beginning to face all the joys
and disappointments in life and my appreciation goes to your tutor for
helping you so much.
You are so right about your coming home since '65.*
Try to make it more often before it's all too late. You know tomorrow is
promised to no one.
I sent you some things by Lucinda when they were down
to see Bunk but she said she hadn't seen you or heard from you since
she'd been back. She said she hate to come over to your house and you
I guess you remember Foodie, Arthur's daughter in
Philadelphia.** She had a heart attack Tues. Susie called last night and
it seems she's doing better but she'll be on medication for the rest of
her life, every 4 hrs.
Jr. is still stationed at Fort Belvoir and his wife
is down here. You know Peter graduates from high school in June. He's
planning to go to Norfolk State.***
Mac is still doing the same old things chasing girls
and getting high. I guess you've heard Jenny and Jessie have moved down
here with her Daddy.****
The entire family joins in sending you their love and
Bunk says hurry home we're still here.
* * * *
Ella and William Lewis
had five daughters: Virginia, Susie, Lucinda, Edith, and Annie
(called Bunk)--each has children. My birth mother was Lucinda
but I was raised as the son of my maternal grandparents. At the
writing of this letter was sixty-four and I was living in
Baltimore finishing up my undergraduate degree at University of
Maryland College Park.
*I graduated from high school in
1965 at sixteen years old and went to Baltimore to attend Morgan State
College. Arthur Lewis, who contributed to that education, was one of the
seven of Ella’s brothers-in-law, a year or so younger than her
husband William Lewis (born 25 December 1905), who died in January 1970,
less than a month after his sixty fourth birthday.
**Uncle Arthur had three
children: Martha, Mary (called Phoodie), and Herbert. Phoodie
(or "Foodie") and Martha have lived in Philadelphia
since leaving the countryside.
***Annie’s oldest son David
Williams is often called Junior (Jr.). His brother Clarence was
nicknamed "Peter" when he was a boy. Mac is one of her
grandsons, the youngest son of her daughter Susie, who lives
across the field in hollering distance.
****Jesse and Jenny are the
daughters of Mama’s only living brother at the time, Sam
Jackson. Jenny's husband was Jessie Green, now deceased.
* * * * *