Leroy.

There IS a REASON for my middle name.

This is quite the revelation! Yesterday while catching up with long lost relatives at the “wake” of my Aunt, a cousin twice removed blurted out why the name “Leroy” was chosen as my middle name. Keep in mind that I am a “Jr.” to my Dad (Sr.) who the middle name was actually chosen for.

I can’t believe how publicly I’m sharing this very private fact. I used to guard this bit of information like some sort of secret inbred child who lives in a closet under the cellar stairs. It was as if sharing this tidbit would expose the fact that I had a family tree so twisted that even the longest branches could not find the sky.

Throughout my life, I sort of always entertained the fantasy that I had been the product of a lineage that included a love child from one of my pretend past family Irish plantation owners and a beautiful slave field hand; a couple who had found “forbidden love” at a time where they truly couldn’t be. Wouldn’t that give reason to my detailed knowledge of African American history and my lifelong love affair with Motown music? How else would you explain that I cry every single time while watching the end of The Color Purple?

I had hoped that there was an explanation for my seemingly innate dancing ability. I could never quite grasp the fact that growing up, all the ladies grabbed me to dance on the dance floor. I had rhythm. I could always “bust a move.” I even liked some Rap music. I thought that I MUST have a drop or two of dark blood within my lily white skin.

Edwin Leroy Williams, Jr.

It just HAD to be fact that I was a “brotha” trapped in the skin of a Saltine! I KNEW the secret handshake instinctively. I could recite each word to “Lift Every Voice.” I EVEN liked the taste of Fried Chicken and collard greens, not to mention what I have goin’ on below the waist. It was a sure thing!

Or was it.

Sigh. I discovered that the name Leroy was selected for my Dad as a “remembrance” for a child my Great Grandmother had that had passed in infancy. Bless this child of course, but now I got to thinkin’ that perhaps I should delve further into the Williams heritage to see why HE was named Leroy.

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