Lucille Goins had guts. She moved to DC from small-town West Virginia at 19. She opened Goins Carryout in Petworth when she was 44 in 1963.
She owned the restaurant nearly 45 years. She passed last month at age 98. WUSA9's Delia Gonçalves sat down with her daughter and granddaughter to reflect on Mama Goins' life. She was a hard-working, humble woman who didn't want any accolades or awards, but did it for love.
"She came home one day and said, 'guess what? I'm going to open a restaurant'," her daughter Delores Goins Boyd laughed, "just like that!" Some say Lucille Goins was in the right place at the right time; others call it divine intervention because at Goins Carry Out she found her calling.
"Her specialty was her kind heart. She helped so many people," said Goins Boyd.
Goins didn't just serve soul food; she served love behind the counter for more than four decades. "People called her Mama Goins," said her granddaughter Rhonda Boyd-Henry, "because they respected her since he helped a lot of people."
"Nobody left Goins Carry Out and didn't eat," recalls her daughter, "whether or not they had money. Some people would come back and pay her later...she really helped the community."
Petworth has changed a lot since the restaurant closed in 2007. Mama Goins was 88, and it was about time to retire. Her carryout is now an apartment building. The old address doesn't even exist anymore. Outside of a couple of mainstays like the church and barber shop, Georgia Avenue at Shepherd St. NW looks brand new like the sign outside the apartment building reads.
"Changes are coming, DC is changing," the ladies said, "but even though the loss you feel it...but it's a part of the lie and you adjust to it...life is change, " finished Goins Boyd.
And the family's life is changing too without their matriarch. But Mama Goins' legacy of love and feeding the soul lives on.
"Now that she's gone, it's a void in the house," said her daughter, "but her spirit is with me and the sad time...well I think of all the good times we had together."