It had been more than 25 years since my mom last saw her, and I had never seen her. We had been to Boston many times, but this trip was different.
My mother is white, and my father is black, and her family didn’t approve of their marriage. So I’ve grown up really knowing only my mom’s three cousins. I was 14 that summer and meeting my Great-Aunt Virginia for the first time. We had a nice lunch on Cape Cod. At first it was a bit awkward, as she was talking about other family members I didn’t know. As we spent more time talking, I became more and more interested in the stories she was telling. Afterward, we went to her house for dessert. My mom and great-aunt reminisced, but for my mom it became a reminder of all the lost years. While they were talking, my brother and I ventured into the basement. She was getting ready to move, and there wasn’t much down there, but an old, green metal box caught my attention. Aunt Virginia told me I could have whatever I wanted. She said the first-aid kit was her late husband’s, that he had been a World War II veteran. When I opened the box, all the original medical tools and bandages were intact.
Many years ago it was used to treat wounds on the battlefield; now it stays in my room. I’d like to think that it’s playing some part in my family ties starting to heal.
Elias Lindsey, 16, Oak Hill, Va., student at Oakton High School
original article can be found here