On April 16, 1918, my grandmother, Helen Mary Wilks, was born in Springfield, Mo.
Today, on what would have been her 103rd birthday, I celebrate the lady who inspired me to travel the world (she traveled to Asia, Canada, Central America and more), appreciate the arts as a patron and actor, seamstress, could type faster than just about anyone I know, use “both sides of my brain” and never waste a crisis.
I learned much, much later that Mama Helen was a “Hidden Figure” in reference to the popular revelation of black women being human “brains” on the campus of NASA prior to and during the historic space flights. Mama Helen was such at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. It is the home to the nation’s underground city for U.S. presidents such as George Bush, Jr., who utilized it during the 9/11 attacks.
Mama Helen had style, beauty, grace, charm and intellect. What a role model, this mother of six children, grandmother of 18 and lots of great-great and great-great-great grandchildren. Her only brother was a popular dancer and he lost his life during the TB outbreak.
Happy birthday with the angels, Mama Helen!