Friday, October 16th, 2009
“I have lived in Washington since 1948. In the 1960′s, we were transfered to Southwest by the government because of the riots as our house burned down. I have been living in James Creek housing ever since. I raised my family here.
“Now, I have quite a few children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. There are five generations of Cookes in D.C. I was saying to my daughter the other day that I need to take the time to sit down and write all of their names down! Don’t remember how many of us there are off-hand, but I reckon there are about 35 or 40 all together. We just had a family reunion a couple of weeks ago and I am now the oldest Cooke. But, I haven’t gotten too old to watch out after my kids, though. My daughter comes around to help me out, but she won’t let me do nothing. She always says, ‘You sit down, Ma! Where you going, Ma? But, I am still young, even though I don’t hear so good and want to look after my grandkids, especially because there is a lot of violence with the young people in the neighborhood.
“Sometimes, my little ones get to fighting, so I keep them close where I can keep an eye on them. They don’t like it because they want to run around, but it helps keep them away from the violence. The children now want to pick fights all of the time. I tell my kids to avoid fighting, but at the same time, not to let kids hit on you. You got to learn how to protect yourself.
“I hope that when I die, my family will remember me for having taught them to respect one another and to stay out of trouble.”
Ms. Cooke is pictured with her grandson, Jeremiah.