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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Summertime: The coolest hot season is upon us!

If I could package the feeling I had when I was in the 5th or 6th grade and Memorial Day came I could become a millionaire. The idea that a looooooonnnnng summer ( it seemed time went by much more slowly in the days) was coming with no school work, even though I loved school, no having to wear a certain kind of clothes, girls were not allowed to wear pants to school, and best of all no having to get up and out at a certain time, was intoxicating. By now we would have either made or planned a trip all the way to Dayton to buy summer clothes for me at Rike’s department store.  I am not sure why my mother thought the clothes from Rike’s were superior, maybe they wore better since we did not have as many clothes in those days and they had to stand up to being played in and washed, but she always bought my school and play clothes from Rike’s. Because, as I have written before, we lived next door to East High and the “colored” part of the Memorial Day parade would be forming basically in front of our house , getting ready to march towards downtown and join up with the white part of the parade at the Fire Station on Main Street, my mother took great care in what I would have on for Memorial Day. It had to be red or blue or red white and blue. Until I was old enough to state my objections clearly the ribbons in my hair had to match.

The day that started off summer was sublime. Not only did it mean the end of school for months, it meant warm days, the  excitement of the parade forming, a picnic, either in our back yard or in Bryan Park, and everyone being in a good mood. My father loved all holidays, my mom, not so much.  Unlike other holidays like Easter and Christmas there was no need to decorate for Memorial Day  beyond maybe a flag and some bunting and because those were outside they were considered male duties. . No need for deep, deep house cleaning either. If we had company they were going to eat outside like the rest of us. The cooking was shared, with the men grilling and the women preparing simple things that could be done in advance like baked beans and potato salad. That meant the moms were in a good mood on a holiday for a change. My mother only seemingly enjoyed two holidays when we were younger, Memorial Day and Fourth of July, the rest of the holidays involved elaborate dinners, polishing silver and lots of work.

When I was small we would simply watch the newly formed black part of the parade go past our house, but later my father decided we should watch the entire parade, not just the black part. We would go down and establish a spot on the courthouse lawn, on more than one occasion I watched the parade from the cannon on the courthouse grounds. My father had seen a couple of white kids sitting on it the year before and decided that it was time for a little social justice, so he hoisted me up to sit and watch. It was not a particularly good seat comfort wise, the barrel of the cannon was not only rather slippery it was also a bit rusty in places, but I was thrilled to be up that high and to be able to claim the cannon as my private viewing post.

Because we lived next to the school and therefore the playground I knew I would have no shortage of playmates for the summer. Unfortunately my neighborhood ( it was unusual to go more than a couple of streets over for friends in those days) was short on females. That meant my summers were mainly spent with either me reading under  a tree or playing baseball, football or some created sport with a bunch of hard ankles. Even in those days of upper level grade school I tended to be a bit aggressive, uh assertive and I think that was another reason I tended to hang out with the boys more than the girls. My three choices were Jimmette who was older, Tootles, whose mother was white and therefore seemed a bit odd to me , she also went to the Catholic school, and Sarah Ann ( for some reason people frequently called girls by two names then, Barbara Jeanne, Sarah Ann,Mary Ester, not sure why) who was a complete and utter wimp. Sarah Ann did nothing physical period. She would not even play jacks, let alone dodge ball. Every evening in the summer she would go into her house, take a bath, put on a dress and sit on the front porch to wait for her daddy, Big Jim to come home from the pool hall he owned and ran. I hated Sarah Ann at one point because her appearance on the front porch was a signal for my mother to begin yelling “Coooookie!” That meant I had to go home. Some of the best games and talks seemed to always start shortly before dusk and that mean the call from my mother cut them off. One did not dare not appear, the consequences would have been dire. I am fascinated sometimes about how some children talk to their mothers. My mother did not hit me, except for that one spanking when I was five for falling in the hole, but let’s not revisit that, but she did not have to anymore than I had to hit my kids to make them mind. When did moms lose their juju?

And what on earth made children get “bored?” If my mother left me alone when I was 11 I could amuse myself all day and this was before computers, iPads, iPods and more than four channels on the television set. If I had ever presented myself to my mother and announced I was bored I would have been given several household chores to fill my time, from dusting to cutting grass. We tried to stay out of the view of our parents during the summer so we could avoid chores. The first time one of my children told me, less than two weeks after school was over, that he was bored i was amazed. I admit that shortly thereafter I fell into the pattern that was the middle class norm. The kids were enrolled in summer camp, lessons, excursions, you name it, they barely had a minute of free time, but then if they did get a lull in the activity they announced they were bored.

My  summers were never boring, they were full of catching lightening bugs, riding your bicycle behind the bug truck that sprayed for mosquitoes, ( wonder we are not all dead) , running, jumping, hitting a ball or dodging a ball, roller skating, bike riding, playing jacks and Mother-May-I? Going to Girl Scout Camp at Camp Greene, trips to the zoo, to Bryan Park, to Glen Helen, to see the fireworks, to go to the County Fair. It was a magical time. If ever I felt tempted to recite Elizabeth Allen’s  poem it would be on the day before Memorial Day. Hope yours is wonderful!

Backward turn backward

O Time, in your flight

Make me a child again just for

Tonight”

 

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Childhood, Race, Xenia

 

The danger of pretense: Are we raising a generation of fakes?

I went to a presentation on ” professionalism” yesterday given to some students by an agency. The entire event was a warning about what not to do if you wanted people to admit you to college, give you a scholarship, or hire you after you finished your education. Do not post controversial ( not defined) things on Facebook, do not dress provocatively or inappropriately, do not use a lot of slang, do not post pictures of yourself that might be offensive online, do not , do not, do not. I realize that I am a dinosaur and perhaps my time the “We are real people, skilled, flawed and all” has past. While it is perfectly logical that one should not take pictures of one’s naughty bits and post them on the internet ( I doubt even the young folks have to be told that if they are of average intelligence) what does what I have on have to do with what I can do? And what the hell does “being professional” mean? I once had a colleague, no longer with us, who spent her time exhorting students ( in what I thought was a most unprofessional manner) to wear suits, be polite, shake hands a certain way, always carry a business card, not share any opinions or make any statements that might offend someone, etc This professional expert was eventually removed from her job for doing some very unprofessional things, some of which bordered on malfeasance. I have to wonder if she thought wearing a suit, refraining from making controversial comments and being polite ( but only to certain people in her case) made up for being basically a dishonest toad.

What happened to American character? Very few people who were admired and famous in previous times were always polite, always non-controversial, always well dressed always cooperative.Are we telling young people that if they keep their mouths shut, do not expose any of their real personality quirks or venture out of other people’s comfort zones they will be successful? We have a new billionaire in the guise of the creator of Facebook this week. Wonder if anyone told him starting something where people can say and post pictures of inappropriate things was unprofessional and would hurt his career? Was it professional of Bill Gates to drop out of college? Was it professional of Lafayette to back an upstart country? Was it professional of Thomas Jefferson a slave holder to write ” All men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights?” , wouldn’t it have been safer to write, “some men are endowed with certain unalienable rights, unless it offends the powerful in which case we can talk about it? ”

Let’s have some fun. Let’s imagine some conversations with some famous people in history and the professional consultants

Good Evening Mr. Washington, I believe your first name is George, it is okay if I call you George? We are delighted to guide you through this etiquette dinner to help you with your career path.

Sure, you can call me George, pass the wine please.

Well, George, when you are having dinner with people for the first time it is not really a good idea to indulge in alcohol consumption of any kind, they might get the wrong idea.

I have no interest in what kind of idea they get. The water around here is bad enough to eat a hole in your stomach, pass the wine now.

Okay George, we can revisit that topic later. What would you like to chat about, so we can critique your dinner chat.

What is on my mind right now is how to handle the fact I need that damn colored scientist Benjamin Banneker to pull my buns out of the fire in DC. I had to fire that little alcoholic frog L”Enfant after he tore down houses and generally mucked up the deal. Banneker is the only one who can complete the project, but as a slave owner I hate to have a blackie get that much power. Maybe I can keep it quiet, and give someone white on the staff the credit. I am really tired of dealing with slaves, if Martha’s money had not been so tied up in them I would be happier, wish she had just had buckets of cash!

Uh, George, Mr. Washington, that is not appropriate dinner conversation! Slavery is a touchy subject. Perhaps you should stick to the weather or renovations at Mount Vernon?

The weather huh, do you think we should attack the British before winter or wait until spring? I want those bastards gone from America.

Oh, my Mr. Washington, I think we are going to have to place you in one of our residential workshops, for at least a week!

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Hello President Lincoln, it was so nice of you to invite us to the White House. I understand you want us to help make sure your speech is professional. Where and when are you giving it?

April 11th. I understand from my generals that that devil Lee is going to surrender and I will need to make a speech. Here is a draft. We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart. The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent army, give hope of a righteous and speedy peace whose joyous expression can not be restrained. In the midst of this, however, He from whom all blessings flow, must not be forgotten. A call for a national thanksgiving is being prepared, and will be duly promulgated. Nor must those whose harder part gives us the cause of rejoicing, be overlooked. Their honors must not be parcelled out with others. I myself was near the front, and had the high pleasure of transmitting much of the good news to you; but no part of the honor, for plan or execution, is mine. To Gen. Grant, his skilful officers, and brave men, all belongs. The gallant Navy stood ready, but was not in reach to take active part.

Well Mr. President, this speech will have to be edited. We do not want to appear to be gloating and mentioning General Grant, who is known to drink too much will link your name with him and I am sure you do not want to have that happen. We are known by the company we keep after all. Can’t you just say the South fought hard and we respect them and let’s be friends now that the recent unpleasantness is over?

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Good Morning Dr. King! I am your personal coach for the speech you are giving in Washington tomorrow. Can you give me the  subject of it so i can see if it is going to cause controversy? I am mainly interested in tone more than language. I expect you will have a very large audience since I believe it is being televised. We do not want you coming off as some kind of radical. And what are you planning on wearing? I mean , I know you are a fan of Mr. Gandhi but we must eschew anything that looks like it could be confused with a diaper. Clothes do make the man you know!

I am planning on wearing a suit. The subject of my talk is  ” I have a dream.”

Well, I am not certain that is appropriate for a public speech. It sounds rather personal and some people may think you are some kind of unprofessional individual if you are going to talk about dreaming. Can we change that to ” I have a vision?”

No, I don’t think so. Here is the draft of the beginning of the speech, perhaps you can see where I am going:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

Dear me Dr. King, this speech is inflammatory! Accusing America of writing a bad check?  Using such divisive language will alienate and upset some people, you have to understand we are trying to make you appear professional and bland so that you do not offend or frighten people. A speech like this will not do you any good in your career, it will make people avoid you. Please let me edit it and put in some more tactful language.

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In the election of 2008 part of the popularity of Sarah Palin with some people  was that she spoke her mind, said what she thought, even if it was a bit nutty.  She was pilloried for it by the media. Although I am certainly not a fan of hers, I considered her a nut to be honest, I could understand the appeal to some of having someone who was just her self, flaws and all. Our leaders today are so packaged, so coached, so bland, so careful, so fake, so shallow in what they are allowed to say and how they are allowed to say it that it is difficult to get excited and want to get behind virtually any of them.

In my own career I have been told repeatedly by colleagues, peers, superiors, friends, most of whom had good intentions, that I needed to watch what I say, to be more careful in expressing my opinion. I have lived at least 5.5 of my 6 decades saying what I want to say and expressing myself freely. I have a very good command of language. I can express myself clearly and when speaking in public always, always have data to back up what I say. If it is my opinion and not a fact supporting my opinion I freely say so, and am prepared to explain why I feel that way with logic and reason. I have been told before that I can be intimidating. Since I cannot fire anyone or discipline anyone I ask the people who tell me that why they find me intimidating. It boils down to my vocabulary and the fact that I state my opinions openly, honestly and firmly. I do not yell at people, I do not bully people, I do not try to make them do things they do not want to do. I simply tell them how I see it, and generally only after they ask. If they choose to ignore what I say, that is fine, I have done my due diligence. But speaking truth to power in 2012 America will not do you well all the time.

Graduation speakers all over America this season are telling students to take chances, be their own person, always speak your mind. I hope they all have trust funds if they take that advice. People who hire you often do not want to know your opinion or even your facts. They want the world to look like they think it looks and because they have the money to hire you they intend for you to share their vision. Many, if not most, employers want you to be like Evilene in the Wiz, don’t bring them no bad news. In other words they want you to be “professional”, fake, duplicitous, dissembling and cooperative. Go along or get in trouble, even if what they are doing is wrong. I hope this is a passing trend and my wonderful country will right itself and begin to value honesty and passion as much as it honors lying and pretense. Fortunately for me I am only a few years from retirement and my garden and my family are used to me being exactly who I am all the time. Still, I can have a dream that America will realize that fake nails, fake hair, fake boobs and fake people are all inferior to the real thing! All I know is that I do not give a damn if people say after I am gone, “she was very professional.” I want them to say, she was a trip, but she got things done, she made a difference, she stood up for what she thought was right and she left a legacy that matters. ”  And do not bury me in a suit!

 
 

Tales of Xenia: High school teachers worth remembering

Going to high school in the 60s was exciting. Because of the newly minted anti-establishment revolution almost all of my classmates were of the opinion that while they might not all like each other we certainly liked each other more than we liked any adult. There was a continual loosely agreed upon conspiracy to do things we thought were right to do whether the teachers and administrators and parents thought so or not. As a matter of fact, the more they disliked it the more attractive it was. This was not normal generational perception differences, this was organized disobedience. It manifested itself in many ways, in dress and grooming to name two major ones. In breaking social mores was another.

When I was a sophomore girls were required to kneel at the request of the counselors to check the length of their skirts. If the skirt did not touch the floor the girl was sent home to change clothes, or her mother was called to bring her something more appropriate to wear. By the time I was a senior girls routinely kept a belt in their lockers, the purpose of which was to provide a method for rolling up your skirt to mid-thigh, the belt would hold the extra fabric you rolled up in place. Required to wear dresses or skirts, we were still able to go against the grain. Our dresses were not shirtwaists, they were shifts, a-lines, mod in other words, much more like the clothes shown in fashion magazines.  Madras plaid had its popular time with its ability to change color each time it was washed. Because there were fewer rules for shoes and accessories wedges and sandals and other trendy shoes began to appear as well. We thought we were very progressive. Of course, by the time I went back to do student teaching four years later there was no dress code at all and I turned into the shocked prude, very depressing evidence that I was no long not only a teenager, but I was no longer hip!

Hair was a real issue for us. It had to be long and straight or short and cut funky.  Even the white girls ironed and straightened their hair, the standard being no waves, no curls, nothing. Since my hair was long and wavy there was no way I was going to be cool, so I wore mine in a bun with a cool crocheted bun cover on it, or I wore two braids.  I was obviously not in style hair wise. The style was the issue with females, but the length was the issue with males. This was the era of the Afro and some of my classmates sported some impressive almost shoulder to shoulder creations. The rules of the school, written before integration and with white boys in mind, said that you hair could not touch your collar. It did not say anything about length. That meant that the black boys could have ten inches of hair because it was going to stand up and not touch their collars, while the white boys would quickly be in violation of the policy with much less hair. To their credit most of the white boys did not hold it against the black boys, they simply violated the policy and complained if they got caught and eventually organized to get the rule slapped down.

Our principal Mr. Benner always struck me as a mythical creature. He rarely came out of his office and when he did he hugged the walls while walking down the hall like he was afraid all of the students were infected with something contagious. Mr. Marshall, the assistant principal was much more outgoing and friendly and accessible. I suspect he did not care about the hair length thing, or the dress length thing and I think Mr. Benner was so busy avoiding us he did not even engage with the discussions.

In the area of social mores, interracial dating was one of the primary ways some of my classmates bucked the system. For some reason this was mainly manifested with white girls and black boys. The girls would sneak into the East End to parties or go to the drive-in, ducking down in the seat until it was full dark so she would not be seen. There were a few white boy-black girl liaisons but they tended to be far fewer. I am not sure why, certainly white boys were attracted to black girls. In those days it was socially acceptable for males to let you know if you made their liver quiver so to speak and they certainly were not shy about expressing their admiration.

One of the characters that taught at XHS was Olive Houston, who at one time was also the Mayor of Xenia. Tall, thin, ghost white, wrinkled and wearing way too much make-up she taught classes like speech and deportment. She was famous for calling students out for public displays of affection. Do not let Ms. Houston catch you holding hands or even touching a member of the opposite sex or she would lope up ( later she had an injury and would limp up) and chastise you loudly.” Young lady, decent girls do not indulge in displays of public affection, it simply is not done!”  More than one student opined that someone needed to take one for the team and take the aging old maid to bed so she would quit trying to keep the boys and girls apart.I think part of the fun of the relationship was probably the sneaking. Again, it was going against the societal norms grain and that was our bread and butter at the time.

Mr Conrad, our Chemistry teacher made a habit of throwing beakers at students and telling them to catch, at the same time shouting how much the beaker cost if you failed to catch it. He also would throw chalk at you if you missed a question or failed to pay attention in class. Nothing like getting pegged with a piece of chalk because you were daydreaming! I am not sure he threw at girls, as I remember it was only boys who got hit. Gender discrimination. When I was in his class ( I was a lab aide in my senior year) we had an incident that required my father to visit the school, something parents did not do except under dire circumstances in those days. Mr. Conrad announced one day that we were having a pop quiz and that the reason we were having the pop quiz was that “one of your classmates” had asked him to help move a wooden bridge from the storage room downstairs to a truck so that it could be used as decoration for the prom and he had hurt his back during the process. Now my classmates knew I was the only person in the room on the Prom Decorating Committee, a fairly prestigious position, and that was me.

The young man behind me who I will call Hank, a large white boy, was not a good student. He was teetering between a C- and a D+ and being an athlete he had to have a C to continue to play football. “Can I push her down the stairs for that?” he asked the teacher. “Sure”, Mr. Conrad answered, no doubt presuming that Hank was kidding. He was not. I jumped out of the desk before he pushed it over and sent it crashing down the stairs. I was shaken up and went back to the class expecting some punishment for Hank. Instead Mr. Conrad, who was no doubt shaken up himself ( the noise had been impressive) told me it was my fault and instructed me to bring the desk back upstairs.  Shocked, I refused. He told me I had to. Instead I marched into the counselor’s office and told her I wanted to drop chemistry. Mrs. Haines ( I had been changed from the hateful Mrs. Hasty) was a calm , motherly white woman and she talked calmly to me and went to visit Mr. Conrad. I went home and told my father what had happened and assured him I was positive that if I had not jumped Hank would have truly pushed me down the stairs with the desk. My father did not take kindly to that and met with the principal and Mr. Conrad the next day. I received an apology from both Hank and Mr. Conrad.

Mr. Conrad was a good guy, we became good friends in my adult years and I am sure he was as amazed as anyone that Hank actually pushed the chair down the stairs.He liked to joke a lot but did not understand that some adolescents do not have good decision making capabilities.

Some of our teachers had the bad habit of getting romantically involved with students. When I was in school it was all male teacher/female student, this evolved ( or devolved) later to include female teacher/male students. Unlike today anyone 16 or older was considered to be able to give informed consent. I suppose there were laws on the books even then about statutory rape, but they must have been ignored, a music teacher, an English teacher and an administrator all dated and eventually married girls while the girls were still in high school. I do not remember any outrage, we kind of thought it was cute that those authority figures could be captured by one of our peers. Times were different.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Education, Xenia

 

Life milestones: Losing your mother

My mother died on Monday, April 30th. She was 94 years old. She had a stroke on the 29th, but clung to life  long enough for me to get to her bedside from NC.  When she died my husband, son, daughter, and daughter-in-law were by her bed. She was fiercely independent, intelligent , loved her family and friends and was deeply religious, in other words we were very much alike, except for the deeply religious part. Right up to Sunday the 29th of April she could see, hear, think and lived in her own home by herself, the way she liked it.Losing your mother has to be one of the most dreaded and yet most expected things in the life of any child. My mother’s death was a blow, but her life and how long we had her helped temper our grief.

Mom was married twice, to my father in 1936, to my step-father in 1971, ( my father died in 1966) and had a boyfriend several years older than her until his death about 8 years ago. Mom was a generally healthy and active person until the past few years when arthritis began to take its toll on her mobility. She had her illnesses, but had them earlier in life, including a brain tumor in 1959. She had brain surgery, which was successful and she made a complete recovery.

She was a resourceful woman, having been widowed suddenly in 1966 when my father died of a heart attack at work. She was not working at the time, there was virtually no insurance and my father owned his own business, and did not have a retirement plan.  She went to work at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and worked there until she retired in the mid-70s to watch my two small children. She was a devoted grandmother. She was also hilarious at times.

She had strong opinions about certain things. Going to church was a requirement and being “moral” was not up for debate. Once when her 90 year old boyfriend, Hercules Horatio Hensley ( yes that really was his name) came up to watch television and eat dinner with her as they did most evenings ( he asked her to marry him repeatedly, but she said she was not going to bury another husband, my step-father having died in 1983) it started to snow. By the time Herc was ready to leave and they looked out the snow was quite deep. Now Mom’s house has four bedrooms in it and a couch in the family room that pulls out into a bed. Herc was driving a big conversion van he had purchased after Mom had admired one owned by one of her church members. He was hesitant to drive that big van home in the deep snow and asked if he could use one of the spare bedrooms. My mother drew herself up and informed him that she did not care how much snow was out there, there was no way his van was going to be seen in front of her house all night.

Poor Herc had to slip slide home, fortunately he made it unscathed. When my mother told me the story I told her at their age the neighbors would have applauded them rather than censured them, but she assured me she was not thinking about letting anyone believe he was spending nights with her for any reason.

My mother and I had a number of differences, she loved babies, I do not like children under 5, they are just noise and body functions until you can carry on a conversation with them. She was very, very thrifty. She liked good clothes as I do, but she did not spend money on anything as freely as I do. The result being that she had enough money just in her checking account to pay for her funeral at least five times over, and we did not skimp on the funeral. When I die my kids may have to sell something to cremate me and buy the urn!  As I mentioned before she was very religious, she loved going to church and was a member of Zion Baptist for almost 70 years. They are putting a plaque on her pew this week. Her favorite hymn was ” How Great Thou Art“, which we sang at her funeral, along with a couple of my favorites ( I went through a bit of a religious fanatic period from age 12-22 myself) , ” We’ll Understand it Better By and By” and Soon and Very Soon”, the recessional was to the old black spiritual ” I’ll Fly Away.”

Her funeral was quite an affair, with everyone from the Mayor to my former students attending either the funeral or the wake or both. Friends, classmates, church members, all filled the middle section of the large church and in great racial, ethnic, economic , age and status diversity.  The line of cars going to Massie Creek Cemetery stretched for a long, long way and there was a good crowd at the delicious dinner prepared by the ladies of Zion, which included fried chicken, au gratin potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls, ambrosia salad, watermelon slices , pound cake, chocolate cake and pecan pie, all home made. I got tickled when my daughter Nicole said to one of the ladies, ” This chicken is delicious where did you buy it?”  The elderly church sister looked at her with astonishment and said ” We did not buy it, we made it!”

There is nothing like a supper in a church basement following a funeral to bring back memories of Sunday School and pageants past. I believe I could identify the smell of the basement of Zion Church blindfolded.

The funeral was kind of an upbeat affair, which is what I was going for. My mother lived a long, rich, happy life with a certain amount of privilege and she died the way she wanted to with dignity and surrounded by people who loved her. She was sick for less than 24 hours before she died, and she dodged her bogey man, the nursing home completely. It was appropriate  that we have a home going service that had as much laughter in it as tears.  Two different people, one of my sisters in law and another friend, asked if I would plan their funerals when the time comes. I told them this is my last funeral. Everyone from here on out gets cremated and a memorial service. The only reason Mom didn’t was because I wanted her to have the kind of funeral she would have enjoyed attending.

Rest in peace Nana, as most of us called you, you did a good job and deserve your reward.Love you and will miss you, I wish people did not have to die and leave us,  but we’ll understand it better by and by.

	By and by, when the morning comes,
	when all the saints of God are gathered home,
	we'll tell the story of how we've overcome,
	and we'll understand it better by and by.
 

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