Tag Archives: Whitney Houston

Remembering a Life Well Lived

4 Aug

This post has been very difficult to write. I had no idea it would take me this long to share my grandmother’s life. On Sunday, March 11, 2012 my grandmother Marguerite Washington (our family’s rock, my best friend, hero and role model) went home to Jesus after sharing herself for nearly 94 years.  On Saturday, March 17, my family grieved and celebrated as we laid her to rest next to my grandfather Lud “Dee Dee” Washington of whom she was married to for 49 years. Born August 4,1918 in Walsenburg, Colorado, she had one brother (my Great Uncle George, a standup bass player and an original member of the group the Ink Spots) and one sister (my Great Aunt Audrey) who both preceded my Grammy in death.

The month of March was the hardest I’ve had to live. If it hadn’t been for my boyfriend James’ support I don’t think I would have been able to accept it. James is about facts and easily accepted the years of her full life. I’m emotional. I cry at movies, during commercials, listening to songs, looking at babies; I simply drive him nuts with my passion for things.

At her life celebration I wasn’t much of a support system for my mother either. When it came time to walk past the casket, which was the same model as Whitney Houston’s minus being set in platinum and 20+ thousand dollars, I was shaking uncontrollably and almost hyperventilated as my legs started to give out. At that point, my mother resorted to guilt to help me get it together. She glared at me and said, “Your Grammy would not be pleased with you right now. She expects more.” Really?! Mothers have a way about them that make you listen regardless of age. Let’s just say I did not try to climb into the casket like I did when my Dee Dee passed away … but I digress.

On Tuesday, March 20 my lovely mother asked me to join her at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. We see the troupe every time they come to Vegas, and I have to admit, it was good being out in public with my her. I love seeing family traditions passed down (my family at Lion King during Christmas 2011) especially when it involves children and there were many in attendance at Alvin Ailey.

Once REVELATIONS, classic Alvin Ailey portraying the history of black life, all bets were off that I would hold it together. My Grammy was the keeper our family’s legacy with stories of ancestors being house slaves, and as a child how she grew up with oil street lamps, horse and carriages, and how the Lord always directed her path. 

5Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6In all your ways acknowledge him,
And he will direct your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

I hold on to her lessons of faith to continue to guide me through life more so than ever since I am no longer able to pick up the phone and call her. I will forever miss her reciting a verse from the bible during our calls. Nearly 94 years is a long time. I understand clearly now why her favorite Bible verse was:

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.”

(Psalm 91)

 I find peace and comfort knowing my grandmother is where she always wanted to be at the end of her life… with the Lord.

Happy Birthday and I miss you so much.

Love your Adrienne

Why I Appreciate Whitney Houston

11 Feb

Me & Serina circa early 90s in her birthday suite at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino

I remember being able to see Whitney Houston in concert as a gift from my best friend Serina (one of the many cool gifts she always bestowed upon me.) Whitney was headlining the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV which seats nearly 19,000 and she had no opening act. We were so excited. No opening act to us meant she was going to sing for two hours straight! Her show sold out so quickly we almost ended up sitting at the top of the arena.

It was 1987, during her long, blond-half spiral-half crimped-half curly weave phase, clear in the video of her hit song “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” (which was No.1 on the Billboard Music charts for two weeks. Read about all her hits: Whitney Houston’s Biggest Billboard Hits: A Look at Her Legendary Chart Career.) She didn’t dance very well, also obvious in the video, so there was no big dance numbers with a couple dozen backup dancers. Nor did she have a lot of costume changes, pyrotechnics or recorded music. We didn’t get tickets to watch her dance, change clothes and lip-sync.

What she has, a concert experience in the round where she stood center wearing a tight-long metallic dress along a grand piano and she simply sang. At the time we were not very happy because we expected more, but tonight as I remember her music and acting legacy and how it affected me growing up, I appreciate the memory even more.

What is your most fond memory of Whitney Houston?

(August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012)

I am sad.

Thank you for reading.

Adrienne xo

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