Saturday, February 22, 2014

+Naomi Cleopatra Banks

Naomi 1969
My mother was born Naomi Cleopatra Banks on August 13, 1926 in Chattanooga ,Hamilton Co. Tennessee to, William Thomas Banks, and Lena Margaret Key.

Naomi in Chattanooga TN

Mom had two siblings an older brother William Thomas Banks Jr and a younger sister Lnita Banks.  Naomi's father William was a carpenter, mom said that her father built all the lawn furniture and was always building something, she said that her father loved to work in the yard.  I didn't get to know my grandfather because he died around 1939.
   After her father died her mom had to go to work, and when mom was 10 years old she went to work after school doing odd jobs, she also did sewing for people at a young age. 

Naomi, Lnita and William (Billy)

This photo I call the Banks kids number one, it was pretty cool that they took pictures of the siblings at different stages of their growth. I like Uncle Billy's socks, they remind me of the Little Rascals on television.
Mom said that all her teenage years she wanted to be a violinist and play for an orchestra.  She never did fulfill that dream, but she did learn how to play the piano, not quite the same thing but at least it was an instrument.

Naomi, Billy, Lnita

Here are the Banks Kids number 2, a little more grown up.  They don't seem to like to smile for the camera.

I don't know what grade school mom attended, I do know she attended Howard High School in Chattanooga, she was always an A student.  She told me a few years ago that she loved doing the school plays, and she was in all the drama clubs and participated in everything they had to offer, I would never have thought that she would have liked that in a million years. 

Naomi, High School
This is my mom during her high school days, she said that she worked in her brothers photography shop after school developing film and colorizing the photos to earn money so she could buy material to make her clothes, she said that she made this dress ( on the left)  for a school dance.
Naomi High School Prom

This next photo is another dress my mom made for her High School prom.
She really loved to sew.  When my brother and I were born, she even made our winter coats and dress coats for special occasions, they looked like they were bought in a department store. She put the linings in and everything. 

Naomi at College
After high school mom went to Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia which is now Clark Atlanta University.  She was in a Sorority but at the moment I can't think of the name of it. Something with three words and I know it had Sigma in it.  I have her sorority pin packed away so will have to get it and then update this later.
In 1945 while at Clark College she contracted tuberculosis, and had to leave and be put in a sanitarium, she was in there a little over a year.  I think she said that she only got to stay in the college 3 years.  There was a new drug that they gave my mom called streptomycin which really saved her life, and shortened her stay in the facility.

A little history about my mother and father, their families knew each other while my mom and dad were children.  My mom's mother use to shop at the grocery store that my father's grandfather owned.  While my dad was overseas in World War 2, my mom was in the hospital and wrote him quite a bit.  My dad was released from the service on January 6, 1946 and in March 20, 1946 my mom married  Shantung Edingburg Zuber in Rossville, Walker Co, Georgia.

I have a photo of the sanitarium where my mom stayed while getting treatment for TB, but I never did find out the name of the facility.  Mom didn't like to talk about having TB so it was like pulling teeth to get anything out of her.  When I would try to talk about it she would always change the subject.  She acted like it was shameful, she wouldn't even tell her new doctors that she had TB when she moved in with us, I had to tell them why her one lung was collapsed and we don't know why they didn't inflate her lung back then.  

After she moved in with us in 2009, I started really asking her questions but the TB subject never did get anywhere.  I remember when I was in school, and they would give TB test in , I would get my test and she was a nervous wreck until it was clear that I didn't have it. She would look at those four marks on my arm every day until they said I was okay.  I think we did those test every year and she went through the same thing every time, or just worrying herself into a frenzy.  I started calling mom a worry wart after that, she worried about everything.  I'm very happy that I didn't get the worry bug from her, she use to tell me that she wished that she wouldn't worry like my dad and I, we saw now sense in worrying about something that couldn't  be prevented. I use to tell her she had worrying down to an art, she could give lessons in it.

Billy, Lnita, Naomi
Here are the Banks kids number 3,  This was taken in Vallejo, California, I'm not sure of the year, could be around 1960.

My mom and dad also had a son named Shantung Edingburg Zuber born 1959.  

Mom went back to college through out the years,  She attended New York City College while she worked.  She worked at a brokerage firm called Bache and Company on Wall Street NY.  She worked there for many years then moved to Merrill Lynch also in NY.  Then she totally went for a complete change of work and quit, moved to NJ and started her own doll business. She kept the doll business going for many years, my father actually quit his job and they both did the business until he died.. After that my mom went back to school again, and was then hired by Boy Scouts of America, and worked there until she retired  in 2005.

Naomi with JoJo
My mom worked full time went to school so I didn't get to spend a lot of time with her.   She loved working much better than staying home.  We were very well taken care of, she was a good mother, very generous person, and she was always happy when something good happened to someone else, she was never jealous or envious of anyone.  She had a nice smile and loved to laugh.  Also the other side of her was a demanding type person in a way and was a bit on the fussy side.  I always said she took her fussy way from her mother.

The Banks Kids Number 4, California
Lnita, William, Naomi

Here again are the three siblings together in California.

Naomi  High School TN.

This photos of mom was almost destroyed, another photo was stuck to it for many years.  

Naomi  TN.

This is mom in Chattanooga, TN.  In 2009 my mom's health was deteriorating so we went out to New Jersey and moved her into our home,  She was happy to come here, but she really never got over having to retire because of her health.  She had asthma but after moving here the asthma never became an issue.   She lived with us until April 31 2012 where she passed away in her sleep from natural causes at the age of 85.

Having my mom living with us was nice at times, a nightmare other times but that seems to go with the territory of having someone else living with you that has to depend on you for things.  She was always able to get around on her own with a walker, she never became bedridden or anything like that.   Putting my mom in a nursing home was never an option, I knew it was going to be hard on all of us but now looking back on it, I'm glad that I did it.  Now she's happy I'm sure, with my dad, probably traveling to see all the sights.

Update: 3/9/2014

 I just received this certificate through a Random Act of Kindness from Boyd J, Holdaway. He found my mom and dad's marriage certificate. Thank you Boyd.


  1. You are fortunate to have the great pictures to document your family's history as well and I love Naomi's middle name.

  2. Thank you, I loved my mom's middle name also, she didn't like it at all, she said too many people liked to call her Cleo and she didn't like to shorten names...LOL..She wouldn't tell people her middle name after a while because of all the teasing she received.

  3. What a beautiful tribute to your mother. I love her name it is as beautiful as she was beautiful. So sorry to hear about her passing but I know there is comfort in getting to spend the time with her that you did. The pictures of the Banks kids are great and really enhance your story.

    1. Thank you Bernita, I was really happy to have all the photos of the Banks Kids, just to see them growing up and showing it together,

  4. She was so beautiful! Great tribute to her!

    1. Thank you, she was quite a character.

  5. You were lucky to have that time with her, even though it was rough at times. That's a lovely photo that was glued under the other one.

    1. Thank you Kristin, I was really happy to find that photo. even if it was messed up some. Sometimes while on the internet I look at old photos that people share hoping to maybe find some photos of my family they went to either auction or antique shops. especially I have one that the top portion of the photo is cut off and If i had the entire photo i would show some family that I don't have any photos of and never had.

  6. I would like to share the last time I spent time with her down at Xzanthia's house. My sons and I came down, Auntie was telling Xzanthia I was coming before she knew I was coming. So we arrive and Xzanthia and I always discussed the fact I made a Cream Cheese pound cake from scratch. So after lunch, Xzanthia, Malcum and I are in the kitchen preparing. We finished baking, we had one large and a small one for Auntie. We made sure she ate some right out of the oven a cool but she received the first piece. Later that evening after supper, cousin Malcum makes Ice Cream to eat with the Cake we all have desert. Then Auntie says I didn't get any of that cake may I have some. So Xzanthia says you had desert Mom. She started fussing and says no I didnt' we tried to get her to remember. So after she has the third piece of this cake she says. Well it must have been good because I don't remember having the first piece. So everyone just begins to chuckle because it was so funny how she responded. This is a lasting memory we have to share for a life time.

    1. Yes little cuz, that was so funny how she kept insisting that we didn't give her any cake..when she had it right out of the oven's nice that you and I can share that memory and laugh about it. Thanks for sharing it Preston. Hope you add any other comments and memories to any of my stories so future generations will know about our ancestors. Yes mom kept insisting telling me that Preston was coming down, I hadn't even heard from him telling me that he was and for about a week she kept saying that he's coming down..then he called and said he was coming. When he got here mom said I told you he was coming. I think she really wanted to see the Preston and the boys one more time because two weeks later she passed away.

    2. Preston, it's interesting that you wrote this on Feb 24, my grandmother and your great aunt, Georgia Edingburg- Zuber's birthday.

  7. A lovely story about your beautiful mother,may your memories always bring you great joy....