Mrs. Dinah White (Nana)
October 18, 1921 to May 18, 2013
Today is a sad day for me...My Nana, Mrs. Dinah White, has gone home to be with the LORD (May 18, 2013). She was 92.
Nana was my next door neighbor where I grew up in Roselle, New Jersey; a small town located in Central Jersey. I met Nana and her husband after being chased by their dog on my way to school. It had snowed the night before and by morning the snow had turned to ice. Just imagine running on ice from a dog! Needless to say, we have been friends ever since.
Nana taught me how to cook. She did side jobs catering. And she taught me how to drive. When I was about 16, Nan’s eyesight began to fail. She was advised by her doctor to no longer drive. Mr. White had been passed on so she had to work. So she asked me if she was able to get me a job after school working in the soldering plant with her, would I drive her to work. Of course I said yes! But I quickly told her if my parents knew they would kill me. She said it would be our little secret. So, I drove us to and from work. We would change seats within a block from home so my Father wouldn’t see me on his way to work. I am 50 now, so the secret is out!
Nana has lived a full life but it was not always easy. As a young child in the south she had to hide her brothers & sisters in a ditch and watch the KKK hang her uncle. Some excerpts of her Nana’s story can be found in a book called, Praying in the Moment: Reflections on the Election of President Barack Obama by Shauna Jamieson Carty. The New York Times also did a story about Nana.
I agree with Nana’s grandson that she was a “provider, protector and a teacher". She would give you her last dollar, feed you and give you a place to sleep. She probably has watched over 150 children in her home.” I was one of those kids. I will never forget how she cooked me a big breakfast, made me eat it all right before the recruiter picked me up to put me on a plane to go to Navy boot camp. She told him "don’t you let anything happen to my girl or I am going to come look for you!". As he towered over her 4’10” or so frame, compared to his 6’3” height, without hesitation he replied, “Yes ma’am!”
Nana’s guidance, motherly love and laughter will truly be missed! I am more than I would have been because of who she was. I am very sad, yet happy that she is at peace with her maker.
I thank her daughter Shona (RIP) and Linda and her grandchildren Duane, Cheryl and LaWanda for sharing such a beautiful and extraordinary soul with me!
I love and miss you, Nana!
All the best,