me and my granny on her birthday April 28, 2016 (last year)
GLADYS LOVE EDWARDSMy granny's birthday is April 28th, my little brother's birthday is April 30th, and mines is May 2nd. there is a day in between our birthdays and every year I try to go back to Memphis to be with my granny for our birthdays.. My brother passed away back in 1991 and my grandmother finally passed away this year on March 17th. This is the first time I wont be going home to celebrate our birthdays together.
Today I take a moment to reflect on how important my granny is to me and how thankful and blessed i am to have had her in my life. Both of my grandparents have been the key supporters of my artistic endeavors from the moment i was able to hold a crayon and draw on paper.
She gave me space to be me. I don't know anyone else's family that supported anything myself and my peers to the extremes my granny did. My Granny taught me how to sew when I expressed an interest in fashion design. She gave me this antique sewing machine...it seemed like the 1st portable sewing machine. Grandpa bought me my first camera. They helped me convert my room in their house into a photo studio. She would let me hang wet photos to dry all over the house. She would walk through the house admiring them like she was in a museum.They never complained about the model traffic at all times of the day and night. I would do shoots at 2/3am after I got off work from the late shift at FedEx and before class at The University of Memphis in the mornings. She would let models from out of town stay at her house and treated them like they were family. She loved taking care of people and would cook for them.
Whenever I was doing a photo shoot in my room, she would wait until my door open and she would offer us kool-aid and a plate of whatever she was cooking (usually fried chicken). When the models would leave she would get one of her bar stool chairs and come in my room and sit next to me in front of my computer to look at the images with me.
Anything I was involved in, she made sure she was there. When I use to direct fashion shows in college she was front row center, clapping and cheering for every model on the runway. I tried to get her to sit quietly but she told me that shes clapping because those kids need to know that someone in the audience is there for them and proud of what they are doing. It brought her great joy to be there for us.....
Every person I brought through the front door of her house instantly became an addition to our family. Her support of me was extended to the support of all of us.
A lot of my friends and models who passed thru my Granny's house to work sent me condolences but the text I got from my friend Lisa Jacobs the morning of my Granny's funeral hit the hardest.....
Before she became ill, we talked on the phone every week and every conversation ended with her letting me know how proud she was of me being in New York pursuing my dreams in fashion.
I miss those phone calls and hearing her voice... her great words of wisdom and I miss coming home on her birthday and getting my "granny hugs."