My Mother was a Shaw. She was a daddy’s girl. She was not so much of a mama’s girl, but in the end she was there to help take care of her mother. I remember her instructions to me to go to the hospital when Grandma Shaw was sick and in a coma. She said, “Go see her and talk to her.” I questioned what I should I say to someone who was non communicative. Mama said go, and I went.
Grandma Shaw had taken care of my oldest son at some point while his mother went to work. I knew the stories of how my father, Albert Hopkins, had rescued my mother, Christine, from Grandma Shaw’s house and married her when she was the age of sixteen. He was eighteen and a hard working guy who loved that little girl. They stayed together 51 years until he died at 69 years old.
He took care of her and she took care of him, as recited in traditional wedding vows which say, “In sickness and in health.” And as far as I know there are no little Albert Hopkins running around. And if so, who cares at this point in life. They came together and took care of us, their four children. We grew up. Three of us got degrees. We got married and had children. All I can say to my parents is, “Well done”!
I never heard my father or mother curse, take a drink, or use drugs, except those prescribed by a medical doctor. They were good role models. My children are likewise well behaved and sober family leaders. I’d like to think that’s because of the role models my wife and I were to them. Like all families, there are some cousins who are not well adjusted. I even heard that one of them cursed their parents. That was a capital crime in my family. Furthermore, I believe the Bible when it says, “Honor thy father and Mother that thy days shall be long upon this earth.” I am well into my 70s and I still honor this teaching though my mother and father are gone from this earth.
My three sons are the pride of my life. One is a blues singer carrying on the history of Black America’s music. He tells about how he heard recordings by Sister Rosetta Tharpe sing and play her church house songs with a blues tinge at his grandmother’s house in Bakersﬁeld.
Another son is a teacher and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ who has preached and communicated with the likes of Bishop Charles Blake, T.D. Jakes, and trained and licensed by Bishop Benjamin Crouch, the father of music legend Andrae Crouch.
My middle son is in a career position with the County of Los Angeles. Previously, he worked as a paralegal under a business he established, Obrien’s Attorney Services. As a sales representative for The Journal, he also developed and headed distribution.
My job is to keep them inspired and lay up something for their later days and I have done that.
I thought I knew my
family’s history and then my sister told me that our mother had a second hand store in Oklahoma, in addition to a café where she made and sold burgers, sandwiches and her famous sweet potato pies. When we moved to California she became a maid to help daddy keep it together ﬁnancially. She later took the hand-me-downs and started a second hand store. We lived very good in Bakersﬁeld. The store was a source of additional income for the family and a source of work for the children.
We learned to Thank God at O Street Church of God In Christ for how good He had been to us. We also learned to disseminate between God and some preachers that “many answered, but few were called.”