She was tall and stylish even on her 90th birthday. A surprise party, family, old friends, church friends. All of us had a story we could have told about a thoughtful word, a gift at just the right time. Maybe younger family members would not be as kind in their thoughts. She could be brusk, speaking her thoughts without softening them. She grew up tall and awkward. Old photographs she scrunches down as her height takes her past older brother Hugh. A dressmaker friend convinced her she was beautiful. Helped her find a style. She piled her hair up on top of her head, draped her clothes so that they softened her. Thinking all the time, but not bookish or academic, she left college after a year to work as receptionist for her doctor father and brother. Lived at home with parents and a house full of siblings. She eloped at the the last minute, before being sucked into a disastrous marriage. The gifts and guests waiting, she was in Toledo marrying a dashing lieutenant. A different kind of disaster. Back home with her newborn son, she never went back. Working for her brothers in doctors office and print shop and the church. In the church clothing factory she helped design clothing made from African fabric. Movied easily into managing the Cultural Center, first one and then three. Made trips to Africa to buy sculptures and see the motherland. She became advisor and helper to a generation of women, giving them confidence to fly. What I remember is the time she told my father to take me to Dr. Louis so he could do something for my awful acne. She tried to get me a summer job working at a grocery store in South West Detroit so I could use my high school Spanish. My mother nixed that one. The maternity clothes she brought up to the Black Conscience Library when I’d left home and was a revolutionary librarian, pregnant with my first child. The way she looked out for my uncle Henry, sending him new sheets and asking us to clean up for him because he was too nice a person not to. And he was. Once we were both in Detroit staying at the Training Center, housing for church members. My oldest daughter had a new baby. My father was lived on the 7th floor. Barbara had just come and was in her apartment. My father told me to call her and when I did, she said, in a thoughtful voice, he want’s us to get to know each other. Or be friends. The years blur. The last time I saw her, she wasn’t as sharp, was starting to fade. It was a family gathering at her son’s house. We talked for a little. She said all the boys were dead. She mentioned talking to her mother, who had been gone for years and years. And told me I had always been nice.