“Beautiful People!”

Yes … it is Monday … all day, too!13194[1]

“How ya doin’?!”, as Wendy Williams, talk show host might say! As September begins it’s trek towards the official beginning of Fall, there is one big event for me … and a few others I know … celebrating a gift of a new bronze plaque for my mother’s grave. My mother, born on May 20th, 1917, Marietta Dolores Watkins, has always been a seriously bright light in my life. Now, I am sure, many of us have “mother stories” that are comparable if not more exciting than mine! You, too, should write about it.

She was born in a country farm in the area of what is now Lake City, FL. She had a brother, Jerry, and a sister, Drucilla, who were also the son and daughter of Sally Taylor. Not too much was ever mentioned of their father though family rumor has it that Sally held down their farm with the aid of my mother, her sister and brother and a few extended family members in the form of cousins, other aunts and uncles, as well. Fast forward to her meeting my father, Isaac Henry Cook, whom she dated and finally married after “Ike” had come to Harlem, NY with his brother David and his wife, my aunt Corlene …. may they ALL rest in peace.

She raised four children with my father after moving to the city of White Plains, NY sometime after the World War II. I am the youngest child of the four. Upon her passing after suffering a brain hemorrhage acquired from falling during the aftermath of lost electricity from Hurricane Wilma, we held two funerals – one in Fort Lauderdale, FL at Mount Olive Baptist Church and a week later, the other in White Plains, NY at her “home church”, Bethel Baptist Church, still located there adjacent to the Projects where I grew up. Unfortunately, a plaque for her grave had been “overlooked” and it wasn’t until two years later – 2007 – that I discovered there wasn’t anything demarcating or memorializing her gravesite there with a family plot that already housed my father’s grave, his mother’s grave, and my sister – Barbara Ann’s grave, which each have bronze plaques created in their memory.

When I mentioned the story to a friend from elementary school in White Plains (Ridgeway Elementary) where I was bussed as a result of the City of White Plains voluntarily desegregating the elementary school – Rochambeau – near the Winbrook Housing Complex aka “The Projects”, he decided to pitch in and lend a huge hand in procuring a plaque for my mother. His name is Robert Andrew Schulman. During our elementary school years, he, and another good friend who recently passed away – Peter Zachary, often visited the apartment complex that I lived in, as much as I visited their homes in the residential Ridgeway section of White Plains. What beautiful people! While many of us have our ups and downs, it is so nice when someone like “Bobby” visited our humble dwelling in the PJ’s and had gotten to know my mother.  It is particularly noteworthy when someone sees you struggling trying to do the right thing and comes to your aid! Thanks “Bobby”!

The plaque is in place and we are gathering this coming Saturday at 11am at the Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, NY to hold a memorial service in honor of my mother and her new plaque. My daughter Ayanna, whom I haven’t seen since my mother’s funeral in New York nearly 8 years ago will be in attendance, as well as Alan and Gail Landauer – the family whom my mother worked as a “domestic engineer” for many many years as well as their mother, Betty Landauer (95 years of age!); hopefully Bobby’s two sons Nev and Ariel (producers of MTV’s “Catfish”) will be on hand to film; my sister Edna and her son Brandon, as well as her grandson (my great nephew) Trent; another long time personal and family friend, Gordon Derouseau, will also be in attendance. We welcome any additional guests!

I will be the host/emcee of the festivities, which I have planned in conjunction with “Bobby” to honor my mother, September 14, 2013, Yom Kippur on the Jewish Calendar, with a bunch of other “beautiful people”! May the Force be with us … Thank you!


John I. Cook, Director

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ken Chiarito
    Sep 09, 2013 @ 16:54:59

    God be with you…

    Sent from my iPhone



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