My dad Clayton, left his wife Ann, in Roseau, Dominica with five children whilst he, his two brothers and his best friend James travelled to England to look for work. That was in 1960. And after a year he sent for his wife and us kids. He told my mum" Leave the kids and come to England, I've set up home in Bradford and I'll send you the money to pay for your ticket on the boat to get here". I didn't know until recently that my mum refused to come without me and my siblings. "I'm not coming to England without the children," She told him. Although he didn't agree straight away he eventually gave in and agreed to send enough money for us all to travel. All except my eldest sister, she decided that she didn't want to come, so grandma looked after her. The rest of us, especially me, the youngest, at five didn't really have a choice. Mum made all the arrangements for us to journey there by ship, which would take us just over three weeks to get there. Once docked we travelled by train to meet up with our dad in Bradford.
My fondest memories of my days at Cathedral School are in the Boys’ Choir during my 6th through 8th grade years. Being one of the only Black students in the school (including my younger brother) made me feel like an outsider, in both pedigree and skin color. So music and singing allowed me to connect with the school by bringing a gift that I had inherited from my great-uncle and dad, both professional jazz musicians. I was immediately drawn to learning treble and bass clefs, wearing the robes and ruff I had seen in the hallowed walls of choirs past. My fascination of this new world seemed like a sanctuary from the world I lived across the bridge in one of East Oakland’s poorest neighborhoods. And as my single mother strove to raise two young boys and give them a better life, I was slowly adapting to a culture that I had not yet understood nor even visualized for myself at that time. I was simply surviving.
I stood tall in the middle of Maize's back yard garden of her Victorian home in Chandon Nagar ,India.My sturdy trunk supported a foliage of luscious green leaves on very shapely branches with supple stems that stretched out over a wide circumference, enough to shade a good area of soft grass beneath me in the hot summer days.I was taken back in time to how I got to be so healthy and beautiful.
I was born in 1971 and grew up in Central Islip. NY good ole CI. . Average middle class in a diversified neighborhood where depending on what side of the tracks your on watch out not to mention the psychiatric ward across the street on Lowell Ave. can remember to this day riding down to the local supermarket and seeing the patients just wandering around in the streets. But don't worry for us Lowell Ave kids this was quite normal and an everyday event. I can remember as a teenager having my walk man, yes I am old and blasting tunes as I jogged through the psychiatric hospital and made it my route became so everyday you lose the fear and let's face it they were on so much medication and lost they meant no harm. Most of them sat and tried to fix the railroad tracks that ran along the hospital. Funny as we get older things that scared as a child become so conditioned and normal that we begin to believe doesn't everyone do this. Everyone has a different story, different background, different life and normal. I realize we are all part of this world big and small, rich and poor. We have all become accustomed to one thing or another that may make someone else think we are insane or crazy. We all have our own failures we deal with and our own insecurities we fight daily. In the whole this entire world struggles daily with something everyday. I personally always take everything with a grain of salt and if someone is rude for no reason I just assume they having a bad day and I hope their day gets better. Right now everything is becoming so crazy and upside down and believe me it was a gradual curve and pandemic did not bring it to its knees. I left New York and moved to Virginia the city Newport News, I laugh not a city just a safer Long Island in my world City means Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn. But in Virginia city is Newport News and very suburbs to me but I felt much safer raising a family and having my children go to public school. All was fairly safe but eventually the crime got closer and closer. By the time my children got to High School there were shooting and bomb threats. They had lock downs and it unfortunately became normal. My son love him is my what do I do I'm leaving so I would tell him if you can safely get out go home. My daughter on the other hand would tell me he's over reacting its not that bad and I'm staying to take my test. Even my own two children who are from the same home have two separate perspectives. Where I'm proud my daughter wants to take her test and be brave, I'm also proud my son took off and went home. This world did not become this way overnight and definitely did not blow up due to pandemic. I do believe it was already coming a mile away even in the safe communities. Its almost like no where is safe anymore. Something definitely needs to be tipped in the other direction. We need to all come together for mankind, Everyone now is just voicing their very strong opinions and not one person is giving an inch to even consider the other side. I saw it myself with a peaceful debate about racism. Believe me we all see racism and no one will ever say it does not exist. Problem is racism comes in all directions and if no one will give an inch and change it will remain. Me personally always love the under dog stories like "Remember the Titans" which is Hollywood version but again there is also "American History X" and "Colors" there is more racisms than just black and white as well and has been around since I was born in 1971. Crazy wondering when it will truly end and grudges let go and people just start living to humanity and kindness and giving a hand to those in need regardless being that we are Americans. Funny how we even state our nationalities these days because as long as I could remember I am from the USA. I have my last child which will be venturing off to start school this year. Me personally coming from CI have always had faith in the public schools and fells in itself it teaches us to blend and have diversity and to integrate and learn each others cultures but I must say in all honesty I believe I will home school and lock my baby away from this society that is going to do more harm to her than ever. Its becoming toxic and evil no matter which side you take. Everyone is just stating facts and making excellent points but no one on the other side of the agenda is even listening. What kind of world as adults are we going to leave to our innocent children and further more what is going to become normal to them. Where I stand I want more daughter, my baby, to give a dollar to the man standing at Walmart, I teach her now to donate her toys to goodwill I want her to not fear this world and remain in the house with the doors locked. I pray a solution comes quickly and hope that everyone does there part to find a middle ground a true breaking point , a compromise. Our children need this world and its is not our to destroy but ours to build and provide for the future generations that will walk our path. At least that's what I was taught back in the day. I pray for everyone and pray for our country. I got one left who means the world to me and I would love to see her go to school and enjoy the journey I had and to make her own decisions and to do what is right always without any judgement. Change is inevitable starts with one person and ends with majority but never all. Everything going on today is the same as always and media now has just created such a hype that it became global and scary. Life still goes on ,years go by and we still are stuck in the same war with each other of the Left and Right or however you want to word it but always a wall that has gotten thicker over time . This world has truly gone crazy with social media and with morals and conduct being misplaced everywhere. Unfortunately the few do mess up the whole bunch which is never fair. Again like children if you part of the crowd you get the same punishment. In the end we are all wanting the same justice and peace. I ask how , how can those who won't listen and change and see both sides and agree that this world is becoming evil but not realize that it is within us. We are this world everyone, we make up this world, our children who we raise are our future. How can we continue everyday teaching the same lessons we were taught then expect life to change. I just wonder when all will stop and everyone just pause take a break and accept that anyone can change anytime. Nobody in this world was built one way we are all built different, we are all different, we are individuals and have our own choices and our own minds and we need to use them with better judgement. I may not have any effect at all in this world just one voice, but tired of hearing one side and getting caught in the middle of something so much bigger than all of us. Just praying one day my own children live in a world of justice and peace. A world we can all live in with gratitude and understanding. Give a helping hand to those in need , learn to lean when needed, we are never alone in this world. We isolate when we do not grow, lets all grow and come as one already. I remember Michael Jackson "Man in the Mirror" what 90's screaming for all to change. Listen to the lyrics so many have tried and asked for all to change. We had so many leaders begging all to stop and listen. Lets all take one day to listen and not be biased and not judge or ignore but hear each other and learn from each other so we can all make this world a better place.
Rape seemed like an insane concept. I was intrigued with the power dynamic she spoke of when describing it all to me. It had never occurred to me that a man was more powerful than a woman, or could be. If you were to ask me, the fact that the power dynamic was my first thought about it all meant that Mama was doing something very right. I'm proud to look back and remember thinking more about the fact that men felt they could do this, then about the fact that men do, do this. She told me to warn me. So that when I was approached by odd men or creepy pedophiles, I'd know the risk and stay far away. Do not take candy from strangers. She didn't just want to save my teeth from sugar; she wanted to make sure I didn't have my “candy” stolen either.
Since my main goal in my short 6 years of life was to laugh and make others laugh as well, I was simply fascinated with sex. It was everywhere and it was hilarious. Everyone on TV was making sexual innuendoes and listening to adults (when they don't think your listening) gave me the giggles. I needed to know more about sex, why it was so funny, and how to get in on the jokes and understand why I was laughing instead of just seeing others start to laugh and join in along with them. I decided then, it was time for me to lose my virginity. Who needs it, right?
A POT OF GRITS AND A POT OF RICE
At a glance, to the unsuspecting, this outdoor photo is simply an image of two African American men standing in front of a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There is so much more, however, to why this picture was taken and what it represents to me. The men you see are my husband, and oldest son. I aimed the Iphone camera purposefully so that their faces could be seen and Dr. King’s image is in sillouette. The area where the statue resides used to be called Henry Street and was nicknamed “ The yard.” This was the center of activity the black community in past decades and the area used to be booming with all black businesses.
That's right, I was kidnapped by my father.
We had just got back from Sunday Mass and I thought I would enjoy some quick chips and salsa before going upstairs to get changed. Snack time for me, however, rarely meant something actually “quick”. Rather, it really meant lazy relaxation by the standing bar and a chance to chat with mom.
I’ll Always Hate Zucchini
This image of a bird nest is a deception, as one might assume it is located in a tree or a bush. That’s only natural, because after all, where else would you expect the fowls of the air to produce a lair to hatch eggs? There is an interesting story that led me to capture this image and I will now tell it from the very beginning. In February of 2018 I purchased a pothos plant that was barely over the edges of the pot it was in. I hung it from it’s basket near the ceiling in my living room which is about 7 feet high. In time the plant began to grow until this past May, the foliage was sprawled across the floor but I did not want to trim it. Unable to secure a place inside my home that would allow more growth, I had my six foot tall brother to hang the plant on a hook in the ceiling of the front porch which is about nine feet high.