The two most important people in my life were my grandparents, Eula Marie Grinnell, (maiden name) A.K.A. Nana and Clarence Gilbert King, A.K.A. Papa. Nana and Papa were married for over 64 years and were often referred to as, “Pillars in their community.”
My Papa was born February 4, 1927 in Palestine, Arkansas and he was the fifth of twelve children. He was strong physically and in his opinions. Papa lived a hard life as he worked on their farm at a very early age. What I love most about Papa was he was brutally honest, had a strong work ethic and was extremely wise. In 1945 Papa joined the U.S. Navy and when he was discharged he moved to Los Angeles where he met and married Nana. Papa valued God and served on the Usher Board for many years. My favorite memory with Papa is his love of family and supporting each other. Whenever I say I am going to a family reunion please know it is the King-Finger family I am talking about.
Nana was born January 7, 1930 in Natchez, Mississippi and she was the oldest of seven siblings. She was forty-two years old when I was born in 1972; and when I tell you Nana didn’t look a day over 21 years old – please believe me. I learned so much from Nana about life but more importantly about building a strong relationship with God. Nana was COGIC (Church of God and Christ) and she knew the Bible and shared it with me whenever she could. Nana would tell me stories like, “Kimmie we were very poor and for Christmas we would be happy with fruit.” Oh and Nana exuded class through her outfits, decorating and her personality. My favorite memory and please know I have many, was when she gave me two of her St. John dresses, which I still have to this day, after I graduated from College. My goal is to wear the burnt orange St. John dress for an upcoming event once AAA is published.
The dictionary definition of pillar is, “A tall vertical structure of stone, wood, or metal, used as a support for a building, or as an ornament or monument.” I would say both Nana and Papa were made of stone, wood and metal. I did not know what “pillars in the community” really meant until both of my grandparents passed away, Papa in 2014 and Nana in 2016. By calling both of my grandparents “Pillars in their community” I now know Nana and Papa were strong, wise and caring. Nana and Papa shared their knowledge and time with all, especially their family. I want you to know that I am brutally honest like my Papa and yet classy and caring like Nana. Please go to my YouTube Page to view my tribute to both Eula Marie Grinnell and Clarence Gilbert King – “The two most important people in my life.” Therefore, my book Authenticity, Accountability & Ambitions (AAA) – What America is lacking through a Black woman’s eyes?
Nana and Papa at my wedding October 7, 2000