Category Archives: Virginia

Ella Ella Ella

No, I’m not referring to the chorus of Rihanna’s song, “Umbrella.”
This is an homage to the Lady herself, Ella Fitzgerald.

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Ella, The First Lady of Song, is-as far as I’m concerned, THE Lady of Song.

Jones, My Opinion


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Filed under American Masters, Dearly Departed, Ella Fitzgerald, Harlem, Jazz, PBS, Swing, Transcending, Virginia

Celebrating The Life, Ira Braswell, Jr.

My maternal grandfather, Ira Braswell, Jr was born December 6, 1912.

He was the third son born to Ira and Mattie of Norfolk, Virginia.  He studied the priesthood for a time; instead he married my grandmother, the former Virginia Alston.

Together they raised a brood of eight children, six boys and two girls. Though my grandmother had been a beautician, she and the family relied on my grandfather’s job as a US Postman. Even with the tedious walking path of a mail route, my grandfather took the time and care to walk all of his children to church each Sunday, where he served as Deacon at First Baptist Church in Norfolk.

He was a family man’s man and there was a word that was often repeated in the homestead, 714 A Avenue, according to my mother. The word was “thoroughbred.” My grandfather instilled in each of his children that excellence was not only expected, it was mandatory as they were thoroughbreds and Braswells. There could be no dishonoring of the  name or legacy.

I remember my grandfather as a stern but kind man. He asked me what I wanted to eat once. Grandaddy directed my mother loudly, “Get that girl some Kentucky Fried Chicken!”


 I was around two years old, but that memory serves strongly. Precious years of being around my grandfather were lost due to my father’s military duty. Nevertheless, the ties that bind remained then and now.

My grandfather passed to Glory in 1988, around the time of Thanksgiving. We certainly thank the Lord for Ira Braswell and know that he has earned a crown.

All of his children were college educated, he was married for over fifty years, and his shoes are nearly impossible to fill.

In an age where the culture seemingly looks down on traditional family values, my grandfather’s achievements seem even more remarkable.

In complete admiration-

This is Jones, My Opinion

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Filed under Ancestry, Dearly Departed, Family History, Genealogy, Op-Ed, Virginia