Happy Birthday Grandma

grandma and grandpa, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

I’m not sure which of my cousins my grandma is holding in this picture, but I love it. Just the whole scene. Grandma with the baby, grandpa reading the paper. I’m not sure who took it, though I suspect it was my uncle Tom.

Today is my grandmother’s birthday, so… Happy birthday grandma. We love you, we miss you, and we think of you… all the time.

In a sort of related twist of events, I received a very special letter today. It had international postage on it and no return address. I love getting air mail letters. I love getting letters of any kind actually, and I rarely get them, except for the little missives my grandpa and I exchange (Speaking of which, grandpa, I owe you a letter). So it came as a surprise to me that I would get a letter at all, let alone a letter from far away. I opened it, totally lost in the mystery of it all, and was greatly surprised, and totally psyched, to find that it was from Legson. Yes, Legson… as in Legson Kayira, as in “I Will Try”, as in the man who, as a boy, walked across Africa so he could get to the states to get an education. The man who, as a young man, finally ended up living with my grandparents, my mother, and her siblings in Washington State while he attended college there. So I opened the letter and couldn’t quite believe it. Here was a letter, in my hands, that had traveled from London from the hands of a man I’ve heard so much about. A man who’s history had intertwined with our family history. Just spectacular.

Seems someone in Iowa read my blog entry about Legson, and that person was related to a person who helped Legson on an earlier part of his journey… before he came to the states. The relative of that early supporter read my blog and sent my post to Legson, who then guessed I must be my mother’s daughter and contacted my grandfather for my name and address. This letter I received today itself went on it’s own much smaller, yet still amazing, journey to get to me. Quite a circle life is…. it’s awe inspiring.

So today, on my grandmother’s birthday, I’m the one who received a gift. A gift only made possible by my grandma and grandpa’s presence in this incredible man’s life. I’m shaking my head in wonder right now… wow.

Legson Kayira

Families have many stories. One of ours involves a man named Legson Kayira. Giving Legson a home during the 60’s is something my family is proud of, and should be. They took him in, which was probably not really as easy as they let on, and then proceeded to make a life long connection with him. In fact, during my mom’s wedding last summer one of the events we have pictures of was a phone call to London, where Legson and his wife have lived for several years. In the photos my mom and all of her siblings who were present are lined up along the side of the house talking on the phone, or waiting to talk on the phone, to Legson.

Today I was looking around for info on Legson Kayira because, I think, I’m facinated by the story of a man who would walk across Africa to get an American education, and I’m proud of the part my family played in his journey. Legson later wrote a book called “I Will Try” about his experience and has written others since. My grandparents had a copy of that book and I remember as a young child being told the story of Legson’s journey and how he stayed with my family (grandparents, mom, and her siblings) after arriving in the states, during the time he attended Skagit Valley College. At the time several articles were written about his journey and experience and during my search I happened to find the article from Time Magazine called Destination: Skagit Valley. Amazing what can be found online.   My favorite part of this particular article, of course, is the quote by my grandmother. It’s classic Martha. As for our family’s part of the story, it’s classic for them. They took in a man who valued education because they could appreciate that aim, and because they felt they had something to offer him, which, for my part, I can testify to. It’s an amazing family, who has, throughout the years, touched many lives in such a postive and great way. They’ve left, and are still leaving, an incredible legacy, of which Legson Kayira is a small, yet amazing part.