“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage – to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness. ” –Alex Haley This quote explained to me the importance of my grandparent’s legacy and their history. A long twisting family tree inspires one who does not know where their roots originated.
My grandfather Frank Douglas and my grandmother Delores Jones gave me a reason to find out where our legacy started.
My grandfather Frank Kelow was adopted into a four person white family, which gave him the last name of Douglas. My grandfather was born on February 12, 1902. Frank was raised in Greenville, Mississippi with dozens of cousins, which gave him comfort. Frank’s biological parents did not attend college; in fact, they didn’t even graduate from high school.
In Mississippi, “I was surrounded by racism, slavery, and poverty, which gave me the inspiration to give my father a better life” (Douglas). As a young kid Frank often hung out in the streets with his friends and partied a lot.
He was a heavy smoker with a tiny taste for alcohol. “Growing up in a poor neighborhood I was introduced to a lot of bad things such as drugs, gambling, and fighting” (Douglas). Around the house, Frank was responsible for mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, and cleaning the pool.
At the age of 21 my grandfather entered the army and decided to fight in World War II. After the war concluded, my grandfather married and moved to Queens, New York. Frank and his wife made history that day because they were the first black couple to move into the neighborhood, which they lived.
This was the birthplace of my father Lance Douglas Sr. My grandmother Delores Jones was born on December 14, 1906, into a family of four. She was also raised through poverty, but with the help of her brother and cousins she found a way to stick it out. She was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana where her parents worked several jobs to maintain the tiny shack she was raised in. “Back in my day society consisted of smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, and partying heavily” (Jones).
At the age of 13, she was required to work to earn extra money around the house. Some chores my grandmother had around the house was to clean the house, wash the dishes, wash clothes, and pull weeds from the lawn. The relationship between my grandmother and her parents was quite the opposite of mine with my parents. “After completing my chores, I was allowed to do basically whatever, as long as I was in the house at a reasonable hour” (Jones). Delores was a very social person. “I rarely spent time with my grandparents” (Jones).
During her high school years she was often looked at as beautiful, ambitious, and persistent. At the age of 18 she was elected as prom queen for her senior dance. Although she was often free to do what she wanted, she was also held responsible. Delores was sometimes whooped and grounded for disobeying curfew rules and not completing her chores. This gave her everlasting the mentality of you must work for everything you want in life. I was born in Mississauga, Canada on the date of February 23, 1993. The name Kobie was given to me by my mother, it means warrior.
Raised in a family with both parents, one-brother, and one sister, I was surrounded by people who loved me. My brother, Lance Douglas, was born four years earlier than me. Likewise, my sister was born two years prior of my birth. At the age of two, my parents decided to move to Plano, Texas, a beautiful city with the population of about 700,0000 people. As usual, around five I attended Kindergarten at the local school where my brother and sister attended elementary school. Being the youngest in the family provided both advantages and disadvantages.
My brother and sister inherited my father’s gene of aggravating me to the point of physical confrontation, which later led to me getting beat up. Although women are usually on the feminine side, my sister was completely different. When my teenage years came around that’s when my siblings began to lighten up on the bullying. During my high school years I was considered the man on campus. I was an all-star at basketball, football, and baseball. During my senior year I only participated in football and was offered a scholarship to play for the Louisiana Lafayette, Ragin Cajuns.
Now, as a freshman at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette I am living the life I once dreamed about; experiencing things I never thought I would. For example, going to the club on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. A student athlete who is enrolled in 17 hours and is also committed to football. Waking up at five a. m to workout on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Most of all, living the dream people told me wasn’t meant. All across the world there are families who have their own original legacies. In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage – to know who we are and where we came from.
Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness (Haley page 1). Its up to one to figure out how and where their family started. My grandfather Frank Douglas and my grandmother Delores Jones gave me a reason to find out where our legacy started. My grandparents have told me many things I never thought I would know about which has expanded my knowledge for the better.