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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Birthday Flashback

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

By: Donald V. Watkins

©Copyrighted and Published on September 8, 2018

Lillian Bernice Varnado Watkins and her husband, Levi Watkins, Sr., brought me into the world 70 years ago today in Parsons, Kansas. My father was the principal of Parson's Douglas Junior High School for "colored" students in 1948.

Many decades ago, my mother wrote this commentary about me (the fifth of her six children) in her family scrapbook:

"To The Middle Child

I've always loved you best because you drew a dumb spot in the family and it made you stronger for it.

You cried less, had more patience, wore faded clothes, and never in your life did anything "first", but it only made you more special. You are the one we relaxed with and realized a dog could kiss you and you would not get sick. You could cross a street by yourself long before you were old enough to get married, and the world wouldn't come to an end if you went to bed with dirty feet.

You were the child of our busy, ambitious years. Without you, we would never have survived the job changes, the houses we couldn't afford and the tedium and the routine that is marriage.

You were the continuance."

Over the course of my life, I discovered that Lillian Bernice Varnado Watkins was right about everything. This is why I have so much admiration and respect for my mother and the women of the world.

PHOTO: Lillian Bernice Varnado Watkins with 18-month-old Donald, her fifth child and second son.

PHOTO: Levi Watkins, Sr., with two-year-old Donald.


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