Since I was young I really didn't think to ask why the visits stopped, and eventually I didn't give it much thought anymore. Years later when I developed this interest in our family history, I started asking my mom, dad, and my aunt questions about the family. This was when my aunt told me about her cousin Walter. She said he was very interested in the family history and a very nice man. So my aunt gave me Walter's phone number and I called him.
|Walter Samuel Banks|
Walter said he use to live in Detroit, but he had moved to Arizona sometime after he retired. To think that I use to live in Arizona and could have possibly met him a lot sooner if I had known he was there. Our conversations eventually went to family research, he told me he had done as much as he could with a family tree and he would send me what information he had with a disk and a calendar that he had made up to give to his children, which he has three daughters and one son and he might have given the information to his brothers as well.
Walter wasted no time in sending me the family tree information and that's when I discovered for the first time who my gr grandfather was and that side of the family. My aunt had a photo of my gr grandfather Matthew but we weren't really sure how he was related. Walter solved that mystery for me, and I was able to tell the family that the photo was of my gr grandfather.
This information opened up a whole new family I had never heard of, they were from Mississippi. So I had another state to add to my list of growing locations. The family tree Walter sent was full of not only our side of the family which was the Banks side but he also had his wife's Dew side as well.
The disk had photos ,and there was the calendar with all the family members names in the date area of when they had died with a photo in that section, he really did a super great job putting all that together and without internet.
Every time we would talk on the phone, we talked about family, he would tell me about his grandfather Matthew, and going to Mississippi to visit him. Also he told me about going to Mississippi one time to visit and when he got there he was at the house to visit Mary Rush Matthew's wife and a funeral procession was going on so he asked who died and it was Mary Rush who had died. Interesting how he was guided to be there to say goodbye.
Years later when the DNA test were out and becoming popular, I asked Walter if I bought a DNA kit would he take the test, he was more than happy to do that, so I sent him the kit and he sent it in. He was really excited to see the results and we talked about that for many many more conversations.
He wasn't really into talking for a long time on the phone, so our conversations didn't last more than fifteen minutes but we crammed a lot into that little time. He said that I was funny and made him laugh a lot and he really did get tickled at me sometimes, and he would have the hardiest laugh and long. I enjoyed hearing him laugh.
When he started getting sick, our conversations became fewer and he was also busy helping someone else which took a lot of his personal time away. He was very devoted to his friend even more than I personally thought he should have been, but that was the way Walter was. He was very generous.
We talked so much about family tree information that I didn't learn very much about his life, I know he went to a university and I know he worked in a school as a principal.
When I told Walter that I was working on the family tree he was so excited because he was glad that someone else was carrying on the research, he was pretty much tired of doing it. So when I found out anything new I would send him an update so he would know Plus I was able to go much farther back in the tree so he could see all these ancestors and where they came from, what they did for a living. He was always so grateful and he would alway thank me for doing it.
Even though I didn't ever get to meet Walter in person, I have this deep feeling of loss for him, I miss our phone conversations and when he had his computer working we use to email each other. Now I can't just call him and ask him a question or tell him something new. I may not have known him long but the time we had was a wonderful. He gifted me his knowledge, his humor, and himself. I will treasure the memories the rest of my life.
As I find out more about Walter I will update this post. I will be asking my cousin more questions.
R.I.P : Peaceful Journey Cousin. Love you Always.
Walter Samuel Banks
October 2, 1933 Detroit, Michigan
March 17, 2016 , Sun City, Maricopa, Arizona