Sarah Tramble and her nephew George Jackson. Photo by Babatunde Harrison.
By Jerri Lange
Sarah Tramble is a lady on the move – not just the way she moves around in her elegant Victorian home in West Oakland, where she lives with her nephew, George Jackson, but the incredible way she moves around in her mind, spirit and intellect.
orn in Good Pine, Louisiana, in 1917, she is 96 years old and sharp as a tack.
She showed up in a gorgeous bright red suit, which fit her personality perfectly. She is a woman on fire!
She showed me her large collection of Black historical items, which she started for the education of her nephew George.
Her wide-ranging, well-organized assemblage of photos, magazines, articles, books and other items were displayed in large scrapbooks on her dining room table. She is also meticulous in her pursuit of knowledge.
“I raised myself,” she said. “My mother, Gertrude Moore, Utility, Louisiana, only completed the 3rd grade. I am the only surviving child of three sisters and two brothers. My father, Martin Green, also from Louisiana, walked away from the family when I was five years old. I made it through the 7th grade.”
In 1952, Sarah moved to Oakland. She attended Laney College for Vocational Nursing and worked at Highland Hospital for 23 years.
Sarah Tramble is alive, healthy, thoughtful, fearless and full of life, because she fought for her right to be “positive” while surrounded by unacceptable “negativity.”
“I’ve always been curious and wanted to know how and why things happened the way they did,” she said, but she feels that people she encounters don’t always think things through.
She said some people dislike her approach of trying to think things through and to ask questions about the information she hears.
Sarah does not like to dwell on or discuss negative news items with her neighbors and friends. She says she trusts her instincts and observations to add to her learning.
She laughed when she said her family often referred to her as being “born strange.”
Known throughout her block for exchanging plants and vegetables with her neighbors, she’s a believer in each person growing, preparing and eating much of their own organically grown produce.
With the assured certainty of 96 years of experience and wisdom, she offered sage advice to all. “We have to change the way we eat because television and radio advertises junk food commercials all day long,” she said.
Because of improper diets and nutrition, Black people and other people of color often suffer high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and other diseases related to poor nutrition and the lack of exercise.
Sarah, who formerly worked at Highland Hospital, says she feels blessed to have survived without these ailments.
She continues to move. She regularly takes walks around her neighborhood and credits her longevity and sound mind to positive thinking, paying attention, eating right, exercising and thinking for herself.
“My strength and survival comes from the supernatural being,” she said. “I must be connected, because anytime I need something — it shows up, right on time.”
Sarah Tramble is moving in the right direction.