بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I miss Mother-Dear’s house.
– And my Grandfather.
It was his house too. 😀
“This a-way, Valerie, Valerie, Valerie…“
“Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack…“
“Down the dusty road…”
And “Punchanella 47“
I wish I could find an “adult-sized” “SIT N SPIN”
I would ride it until it made me sick!
That thing was so fun!!!
It sat in the same backyard where Granddaddy wrung that bird around by its neck
Then put it back down on the ground, with its neck broken and head hanging off to the side but still running around!!!
Christmas and Easter
And whenever Uncle Ted came to town
Or just any old day of the week
Uncle Mike with the DJ Equip and the crates full of records
(And “Playboy” magazines under the bed)
Thought nobody knew about those, huh, Uncle Mike?
So musically, inclined,
– The whole family
I had a trombone lesson where I learned how to play with my foot
Because I was too little to reach the notes with my hand.
Uncle Mike with his cloud for an afro and platform shoes
“I love my nieces to pieces!” He would say, in reference to the cartoon we used to watch
I love you too, Uncle Mike!
There was always company
And Ice Cream
(Mother-Dear just called it, “Cream“)
And Cinnamon Toast
Nico, Kim and Danielle
Eric, Lyndon, Jr. and Rachel
And sometimes, Little Mike…
Having to read the Bible
When we got in trouble
Big cousins “speed-reading” LOL
“Open your mouth and close your eyes and I’ll give you something to make you wise.”
– DOG FOOD
Putting the burned (“sterilized” 😀 ) ends of broomstick sticks in our ears to keep the holes from closing #ghettofabulous
“Che, Che, Cool-ay”
Boys running barefoot in the street, racing cars…
(I wonder if the slang term, “juicin'” came from O.J.???)
Homemade Go-Carts from shopping cart wheels
Anita Ward ringing in my ears all night after hearing it all day
Sitting on the tire in the bed of Grandaddy’s Big Red Truck
Before it was illegal to ride in the back
Walking to the corner store to trade bottles for candy
Using a bottle opener to open RC Colas before you left the store
Granddaddy always had peanut brittle
And Mother-Dear always had Saltines and that gross-looking peanut butter from 32nd Street Market that you had to stir to mix the oil back into it
They’re both gone now
– Mother-Dear and 32nd Street Market
You had better not leave a toy there
At Mother-Dear’s house
Because it was sure to be broken
When you went back to get it.
PONG from Cal Worthington
Forced to watch the news with the grown-ups
And constantly reminded that my father was not a glass-maker
“Let’s see who can be quiet the longest!!!”
– Never won that game
Mannish little next-door neighbor
Always tryna do “The Grown-up”
Grandaddy’s Big Red Leather Recliner
That you had to get out of
As soon as you saw him coming
He had a song for everything you said
Called me “Grandma Moses” when I was four-years-old
Could raise his ears up and down
But they called him, “Poke”
Short for “Slow-Poke”
At least I had it honest
Don’t have that problem anymore, now that I’m a Muslim
They said children weren’t allowed to visit in the hospital
I still don’t understand that rule.
We want to see our loved one too!
But they wouldn’t let me see him
July 4, I think, 1979, maybe
We cleaned the whole house,
“I need the Fantastik!”
It went downhill from there.
Mother-Dear used to get up in the middle of the night and drink apple cider vinegar
With her feet in the oven
And she would say how Poke would love to have seen whatever it was we were doing
Trying to find “elbow grease” under the kitchen sink
Mother-Dear’s Mother calling our jeans, “britches” and our earrings, “ear-screws” and asking us, why were we running around in our “stocking-feet?“
You had to take your shoes off at Mother-Dear’s house. We weren’t even Muslims yet either. You just had to do it. It felt right.
But try finding that one shoe or sock when it was time to go home!
Plastic-covered furniture that used to stick to your legs in the Summer and that big dinosaur against the wall that used to play 8-tracks once upon a time…
Adults doing certain dances to certain songs
I had to live a little before I figured that one out!
The big TV with the little TV on top
With a hanger for an antenna
And a pair of pliers in lieu of a knob
ALWAYS on Channel 40
Kneeling around the bed for “The Lord’s Prayer”
Asking Mother-Dear’s Mother (who was born in 1901) if she remembered Marcus Garvey and his “Back To Africa” Movement
She didn’t. Even though his movement was global and she was in her twenties at its height. Go figure. I guess I didn’t get my political activism from her.
But she did remember when they first got electricity; “Everything just got better,” she said.
She told me she knew a man who used to turn on his light just so he could light his candle.
She also told me she remembered when they started eating pigs.”She said the barn burned down and it smelled edible. Before that pigs were just used for medicine.
I miss those days at Mother-Dear’s house. That’s it in the picture. But it was pink when Mother-Dear lived in it. And there was no tree in the front
Sitting on the front porch, getting your hair combed
Spending the night with your cousins when the grown-ups went out
And trying to stay up all night, which was easy after watching “Night of the Living Dead”
Nico getting OUT the sofabed to brush out the crumbs from the crackers we had been eating and I’m trying to be low-key knowing for sure we were going to get in trouble.
She didn’t care though. I’m pretty sure Grandaddy was right there sleep in his “Big Chair” but she taught me how to make it do what it do!
Seems like so long ago now
We all have children of our own and Mother-Dear’s house has long been sold.
I think it’s a shelter now, which is very apropos considering how many people lodged there
I lived there in my twenties, as did much of my family and family friends
Mother-Dear always said it was a “Stepping-Stone”
pffffff America and her individualistic nature has babies moving out of the home, whereas in other cultures, the same family has lived in the same house for hundreds of years
But, I’m grateful because I got to finish college
Then I had a nervous breakdown
And Mother-Dear’s house was no longer sufficient as a shelter against the cruel world
They took me to my mother’s house
She told them to take me to my father’s house
He took me to the hospital
And nobody’s house was ever the same.
Time for the birdie to fly free
And find her own way….