Cheers to Wanda – Her 49th Birthday this Month
Welcome to the new and updated website. Dec 2018 marked the 5th year of Wanda’s passing. This month would have been her 49th birthday. So, it’s my pleasure to refresh her site, start the new year off as this month’s blogger, and share my views on Wanda. I’m Mona Ewing Yaeger, Wanda’s older sister.
As I started to think about what I wanted to share with all you, it became hard for me to think about things you didn’t know about her or what great memories I had from our childhood or what she meant to me. So, I’m going to try to do a little of all 3. First our childhood, Wanda, Clarence (our brother), and I were pretty close as kids. We played together with our stuffed animals every day. Wanda had a pink dinosaur, Dino, Clarence had a koala bear, Koala and I had a green and white gingham cow, Cowie (I know, original names from a 7 year old, a 5 year old, and a 4 year old). We loved making up games and scenarios and acting out these adventures. This most likely was the start of Wanda’s creativity.
As we grew older and found other interests, Wanda’s grew with art and music. This was the start of MTV and the 3 of us were hooked. During this time, Fleetwood Mac had a great song called “Hold Me.” In the video, there was a scene that was pretty cool; it was a little boy dancing with a man above a clock next to a stairwell. I’m not giving it any justice, because it reminded me of Salvador Dali painting. Wanda was able to memorize this scene from the video and recreated it in pencil. That is when I knew Wanda had talent.
Art was her outlet, her voice, and how she saw herself in the world. She also knew that she was not a “normal” black kid or woman living in middle America. Both of us knew we were different as we moved from elementary school to junior high to high school. Most people don’t know this, but we were both bullied during this time by other black girls because of our hair, our size, how we spoke, and acted. If you knew Wanda during this time period, she used her art to express her feelings, understanding of how the world viewed her, and her own thoughts about how it made her feel.
I still miss her every day. We didn’t talk all the time or live close by, but when she because sick I think we both realized how important our friendship and sisterhood meant. I have many pieces of her work in my home, photos of her, and when I hear a really great new wave /alternative song from the 80’s (not the pop crap) it reminds me of those days when we would watch MTV from the time we came home from school and until we went to bed. I love how our brother Clarence who DJ’s on Sunday afternoon from CHIRP.com radio will always play a song from that time bringing back those memories.
So, simply put, Wanda was a complex, special, and fun woman who left our lives WAY too soon. We all know that there will never be another spirit quite like her.
Happy Birthday, little sis!