A few minutes ago as I was watching my morning news I found out that Elizabeth Taylor has died at 79, due to congestive heart failure. Although she lived a very full life, she touched a lot of people that spanned several generations and she will be deeply missed.
There is always a certain connectedness we feel with an iconic celebrity when they pass away. It’s as if we really knew them and they were a part of our lives. I feel this way I feel with Elizabeth Taylor, but it just occurred to me why. She makes me think of my own grandmother who died of congestive heart failure 10 years ago. Ernestine Morris was one of those people if you met her you would never forget her. She did what she wanted to do and said what was on her mind. She was generous and frivolous at the same time. I just knew I was the only kid in Harlem traveling to Maryland by limo to stay at the Hyatt for the weekend and eat crabs. Ernestine or “Tina baby” as she referred to herself was a former jazz singer who told stories about rubbing shoulders with the likes of Patty Labelle and ayoung Natalie Cole. She also had her share of trysts, including one marriage and a long term relationship with my grandfather. Being around my grandmother meant accepting the highs and lows, the drama and the ceremony. She was wildly passionate about life and when she died, she left no page unturned.