Charlie Mayo No. 26 Winston-Salem State University
I don’t know about you, but this Christmas Day was a 5 minute ride or walk for me. I woke up on Christmas day at the age of 80 with my wife Hattie of 50 years lying by my side. December 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of our first Kids In Trouble toy party for needy children and it was my younger brother’s birthday.
My plans were to have dinner at my life time friend Clayton Robert’s home with him and his wife Gloria at 3 pm. They live only a 5 minute drive from where we now lived in Suitland, Md. My Plan for the day, No. 1 was to visit my long time friend Roland ‘Tiny’ Grimes in a nursing home on Nannie Helen Bouroughs’ Ave.in NE DC a 5 minute drive from where the Mayos once lived. The Grimes, the Roberts and Bells all grew up in this old NE neighborhood and it was a 5 minute walk from our Burville Elementary school where we all attended. Next stop my cousin Margie Billingsley home, she lives in Upper Marlboro, but grew up in NE Eastland Gardens and a 5 minute drive from the nursing home.
Margie has been bed-ridden for well over a decade, but she has been an inspiration to me, a complaint is never heard still I had not visited her home as much as I would have liked. Next stop, I would travel 5 minutes from her house to Veteran’s Cemetery to lay a birthday wreath on my brother’s grave, Sgt. Earl K. Bell (aka Bull) and then we would head on over to Clayton and Gloria’s for the 3 pm dinner (arriving on CP time around 4 pm), but as many of you know today’s best laid plans can change at the blink of an eye and it has nothing to do with how old you are. We still must remember that Christmas day is God’s Day. I received a wake-up call the week before Christmas, that my first cousin Margie’s 77 year old caretaker was discovered dead in her home which they shared.
So instead of going to visit Margie in Upper Marlboro she would be having dinner at her sister Charlita’s home in Eastland Gardens—God had already mapped out my Christmas Day without my permission—which proved I was not in charge! It would turn out to be a blessing in disguise, My 99 year old cousin Elaine from Columbia, Md. was in the house in Eastland Gardens. I had been promising to visit her for the past 10 years. Her first words to me were, “I bet you don’t know who I am” she won the bet! After several hugs and picture taking I started my next journey with a 5 minute ride to the nursing home on Nannie Helen Bourough’s Avenue to see Roland Grimes.
I was standing in the hallway waiting to visit Grimes while an attendant was changing his bed. I received a call from my old friend Doc Burke telling me that Charlie had made his transition on Christmas morning. I shared the bad news with Grimes and we finally made our way to Clayton and Gloria’s home around 6 pm (CPT). There was a Merry Christmas and welcome by his ex-wife Dolly (Parkside), Clayton and Gloria greeted us with open arms and a Merry Christmas shoutout.
We then sat down to eat and 5 minutes later I eased down the steps to watch NBA basketball. The next thing I knew 5 minutes later one of Clayton’s grandchildren’ came down to tell me my wife wanted to see me upstairs immediately (NBA OT). I was not a happy camper.
I went upstairs to see her holding this beautiful 4 month old little baby boy in her arms and he would not stop smiling which we found amazing. The father stood up and said “If you like him I have another one I want you to meet”. He went to the back bedroom and 5 minutes later he came back with an identical twin boy and he would not stop smiling either.
My brother Earl was born on Christmas Day, Charlie died on Christmas Day and we were in the company of the old and young in our family circle on Christmas Day. My 99 year old cousin Elaine and 4 month old twin boys, Clayton IIII and Cory. The Mayos, the Roberts, the Grimes, the Billingsleys and the Bells are all connected. All the glory goes to God for not allowing us not to forget who we were and where we came from.
Top photo: the twins Clayton IIII and Cory
Cousin Elaine 99 years young with cousins Hattie and Harold
Charlie Mayo No. 35 my high school, (Spingarn), college (Winston-Salem State U) and minor league football teammate (Virginia Sailors).
This was truly “The Greatest 5 Minutes of Christmas I have ever known–RIP my friend and my brother”.
The Home Going Services:
Friday, January 4, 2019
Holy Family Parish
2200 Callaway Street
Hillcrest Hgts, MD 20748
10 a.m. – 11:00 Viewing
11:00 a.m. Funeral
4308 Suitland Road
Repast following interment:
Allen Drury Room