Oh baby, baby

BY JOYCE NANETTE JOHNSON, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Amid lavender and pink balloons, glorious floral decorations, and over 60 well-wishers, a fairytale baby shower was given for Jessica and Trayon Harris Saturday, July 30 at the home of Vel Thompson, Jessica’s mother.

Jessica attended Lakewood High School and Florida A & M University where she met her future husband Trayon. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in sociology, while Trayvon obtained a bachelor’s in business with a minor in political science.

This fall the happy couple is expecting their first child together, Blake I. Harris.

Baby gifts of every description and type tumbled from an oversized heirloom bassinette and onto the surrounding area.  Buffet tables positioned both inside and around the pool held favorites such as shrimp and grits, deviled eggs, pulled pork, spaghetti salad, Jamaican rice with chicken and shrimp, meatballs, designer cupcakes and fruit trays.  A six-layer signature cake bulging with mixed berries and glazed vanilla was created by Jessica’s aunt Joan Reed.

 The occasion was not only a welcome celebration for the expected baby, but an opportunity for friends and family to share and reminisce about their personal memories of Jessica. There was a poignant moment when Jessica thanked everyone and paid homage to the memories of her dad, the late Dr. Robert Swain, community dentist and civil rights activist and her maternal grandmother, the late Henrietta Thompson.

 “I miss them both so much,” Jessica said softly as tears started to fall.

She explained that her grandmother was the griot of the family and told each new mother how she thought the baby’s personality or characteristics was going to develop. Sadly, her newborn would sadly not be part of that long-standing family tradition.

Little Blake’s legacy also includes her maternal great-grandfather, Copperknee Thompson, who played baseball in the late 1930s for the Cincinnati Clowns and early 1940s for the Kansas City Monarchs. He played with Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson as a utility player, which meant he could play all positions.

The entire family is ecstatic about the impending birth due later this year. The look of euphoria on new grandmother Vel’s face is evident as she anxiously awaits the arrival of her first grandchild. Blake will be part of a blended family as she has an older sister, Anila, who has already claimed her right as the older sister referring to Blake as “my baby sister.”

To show their appreciation for the love and support the young couple received, Vel and her husband, Tony Howard, gave a bounty of favors to their guests that included Myya Powell, Ann McDowell, Gwen Reese, Vernell Carroll, Anila Harris, Irene Pridgen, Dr. T. Williams, Sharon Dunbar, Dharvett and Anthony Barwick, Shawna Swain, Kimberly Williams, Terry and Bre’onna Edwards.

Ms. Blake I. Harris is expected to make her debut in mid-October.

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