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About

About me? Let’s start with some adjectives. I am black, female, a woman of a certain age ( as the French say) I have been married for 43 years to my high school sweetheart. I have three grown children, four grandchildren. My mother is 93 and still lives on her own ( hope I have her genes!) I started my career as a high school teacher, went back to grad school in my forties and took a left turn and ended up in higher education. I have, since 1994 been an assistant professor, an administrator, a newspaper columnist and a general pain in the rear of any conservative who comes within range. Oh, did I mention that I put the L in Liberal?

The main group I simply cannot stand is the one made up of hypocrites, followed closely by the dumb–not the uneducated, the dumb. Those clueless and determined to stay that way people. Some of the indications that you have encountered one of this ilk is that they believe things rational people know better than to believe!

I am generally an optimist and am almost (not quite) universally loved by my friends and colleagues and family! I have had a good life so far, just hope my luck holds out! πŸ™‚

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16 responses to “About

  1. Joshua Long

    November 8, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    I was drawn to your blog today from a friends post on Facebook. The stories captivated my attention, about you growing in the the same town I have, but in a much different time. It’s a blessing to read and I will continue to follow up on your blog. I could not stop until I read through most the post about Xenia. Thank you again! ~Josh

     
  2. richard

    November 29, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Cousin, although we have never met in person and only through the wonders of the internet we do share ancestors.I am a little older and grew up in the most Urban environment exisiting in the US. Before your blog I had a certain viewpoint of you,so when you announced your blog about growing up in a small rural environment i was anxious to read it. Your memoirs, stories have given me a different perspective about you(I always loved you my cousin, even though I wore no “kid gloves”,when I held a different view) and about America in general and how very fortunate in some ways I was in growing up in the NorthEast and ,sheltered,misled, by that experience.

     
  3. Bill Smalley

    January 28, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I enjoy reading some of the things you have written about Xenia and your life adventures. I greq up in Xenia and have since retired from the Air Force and moved to Durham. The story about the Wake County Jurory duty is the one that tipped off that you are now in Raleigh. There are several us in the local area from Xenia and we try to get together for picnics and lunches as often as we can. We have a picnic coming up on April 23rd and would love to have another person from up home come. If you are interested, please let me know. It will at Blue Jay Point Park off of Six Forks Road.

    Have a great day and keep on writing, love to read the stories of home.

     
    • minerva5

      January 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Bill!
      I live in Cary! The picnic sounds like a great idea, please keep me informed about details. πŸ™‚

       
  4. Sallie

    May 16, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Hi,

    I happened onto your blog through Facebook.

    I see that you put the “L” in Liberal and although I am not conservative enough to say that I put the “C” in the word, our politics do differ. However, that is what makes the world go round, isn’t it?

    Can’t wait to have time to read more and more of your blog – so far what I have read has been delightful!!!!

    Thanks for all your local knowledge.

    Sallie

     
  5. Deb

    January 9, 2012 at 3:35 am

    I think you are my twin in some ways! I just found you through this post:

    Unwed Mothers: Having a baby by someone does not make them your fiance

    I am so glad to finally have found someone who agrees with me on this topic!

    Have you heard of this?
    http://noweddingnowomb.com/

     
  6. highcalypso

    May 25, 2013 at 3:48 am

    How I found your blog is unreal. I was reading something online this evening and the name “Rollie” was in the copy. Something compelled me to Google “Rollie Barton” as the name Rollie is unusual and I thought I’d see if the old coach was still around somewhere. Up pops your blog and the bit you wrote about Bill Kaylor, a coach I do remember. I have some vague memory of a game XHS played at UD arena—is it possible XHS played Roosevelt HS in 64 or 65?

    I am not sure who just who you are but I do relate to and appreciate your writing on these subjects. I graduated from XHS in 1968 having come through Central Jr. High. I grew up in the north end of Xenia. Considering it was Xenia, my parents were quite progressive and in our home the “n” word was never used. I heard it in other homes and it always upset me. My mother once took me to Antioch in 1962 or ’63 to hear Dr. King speak (as you know Coretta Scott graduated from there). I found your perspectives about race quite fascinating because I often look back at Xenia through the prism of race. The undercurrents were there but, like the Vietnam War, the forces of the civil rights movement had not been fully realized yet.

    The closest we got to it was witnessing the sit-in in Yellow Springs of Louis Gegner’s barbershop–a day I recall because sirens screamed up and down Detroit Street all day. Seems Sherriff Russell Bradley called out his possy to fire hose those black men who wouldn’t take no for an answer when it came to Mr. Gegner’s refusal to cut their hair. He hauled a bunch of them down to the Greene County jail and because of all the sirens I found myself riding my bicycle down near city hall to see whazzup and I found the jailhouse windows in the back of the building were open. I saw a man yelling out the window for someone to get his medication. I later overheard a man in my neighborhood say, “I hope they throw the book at those damn communists!”

    I did have Mrs. Corley for government and to this day I recall being surprised when she told the class that she wasn’t going to vote for Hubert Humphrey. She even mocked his name, saying “Can you imagine a President Uuuuumfree?” I wondered even then how she couldn’t be for someone so stalwart on civil rights as Hubert Humphrey, but then it was Xenia and people there loved Nixon.

    I also had Olive Huston. Yes she was something else but for some reason she took a liking to me. She liked the boys, hated the girls. One day a girl in my class brought a pet kitten to class and Miss Huston exploded. “THIS IS NOT A MENAGERIE YOUNG LADY! OUT OUT OUT! And with that she threw the poor crying girl and the kitten out of her class! She tried to teach me speech and debate and got me the job of reading the announcements every day on the school’s public address system (which may have led to my 27 year career in broadcasting). I would have to go into Mr. McNeal’s office every day where he would present the daily scripture for me to read before the announcements. Anyway, I will always be grateful to Miss Huston for giving me much needed “A’s” as those were few and far between for me.

    I also had the Whitakers–art and math. I was terrible in math and the only one who seemed to help me at all was dumb ole Roy Whitaker. As for Walter Whitaker, he was one of those teachers who found his pet students and I was one of them. We got invited over to his house and he gave us wine. Can you imagine?

    For years I couldn’t get far enough away from Xenia. I went away and got my college education and became a bit of a Xenia snob–always told people I was from Ohio but for some reason didn’t want to mention Xenia. I really don’t know why I felt that way… I have since come more than full circle and now embrace my roots proudly. Xenia was basically a working middle class town. Sure, there were haves and have nots, the town had its geographic class and racial lines, etc. But we all went to one high school. Our parents bought our clothes at Rikes! We all had the same teachers. Some of us went to church and some didn’t but I don’t remember it mattering either way. By today’s standards of what defines wealth, nobody in Xenia was wealthy nor was anyone so poor they had no food. Xenia was good for all of us.

    My experience of living in Xenia ultimately made me a better adult–for the experience of having lived among some semblance of diversity, I am better for it today.

    Sorry for rambling so long.Thank you for your good writing.

    Larry Landaker
    XHS class of 1968

     
    • minerva5

      May 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Larry! Thanks for your comment. I graduated in 1966. Growing up in Xenia I knew about race frequently of course, all people of color think about race daily, but it was not pivotal to my upbringing in most ways. I remember small slights and at least one or two ugly incidents, but nothing on the scale to truly traumatize. My name is Melva Mann Newsom, but I have been called Cookie for almost my entire life, my publications ( I am a recently retired academic) are even attributed to Dr. M. Cookie Newsom. I love Xenia, that is why I am back in the are after retiring from the Univerity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am sure many, if not most,people think their hometown is special and I am sure part of my fondness for Xenia is due to euphoric recall and pleasant real memories, but there is a certain uniqueness, a diversity of thought, opinion, type, economics, race, politics here that does not, even in these contentious times, cause us to dislike each other. It is kind of like being in a very big sorority or fraternity. ” Yes he is a right wing asshole, ( or a leftie Communist) but he is from Xenia.” πŸ™‚

       
  7. highcalypso

    May 25, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Nice to hear back from you Cookie. I remember a Morris Newsome–are you kin to him? I think we called him “Moose” because he was a big kid.

    I have lived in the south for most of my adult life–Nashville, Florida and now the amazingly liberal Austin,Texas. My late inlaws lived in Raleigh and I have traveled to the Triangle countless times. Like you I have lived the southern experience which we might wish to chat about sometime–as you know attitudes toward race down here are complex but much different from the stereotype northerners (including me) always had toward southerners. For all the happy southern talk about race however (“I haven’t got a racist bone in my body” or “many of my best friends are black”) the south still cannot handle a black man in the White House. They would not be any happier with a woman and if they get Bill Clinton as first lady their heads will explode!

    I think it is good to write about one’s hometown and I am glad you are doing so in a thoughtful way. For kicks you might want to look up the Facebook page called, “name one thing you remember about Xenia…” or something to that effect. Alan King started it. Lots of nostalgic photos and comments about the place.

    Thanks for your reply.

    Larry

     
  8. Ginger

    June 24, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I was sending out a book “Wench” from our library to another library when I stopped to look up Tawawa, found the connection to Wilberforce and then found your blog. I found your blog delightful to read. I went to college in Yellow Springs (many years ago) & my first child was born in Xenia.

     
    • minerva5

      June 24, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks Ginger! πŸ™‚

       
  9. PJ

    February 10, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    I, too, dropped bye and read a lot of your blog. Thank you! I love learning.
    Just starting to learn about our area and desire to understand dynamics.

     
  10. DAWN

    June 16, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Like Ginger, I just stumbled onto your blog through a search about Tawawa Springs near Xenia, after hearing about Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s book Wench…thinking at first that it was set in Yellow Springs. I have read a couple of your posts now and plan on indulging more. Thanks for your work.

     
  11. Tony Bonanno

    June 30, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Conservative as it gets, liberals are outta touch with the obvious!

     
    • minerva5

      June 30, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      Trump vs Hillary, conservatives are out of touch with reality.

       
  12. Paul N. Buford, Jr.

    August 15, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    minerva5, I don’t know who you are but reading your blog entries for me was like reliving the past. First of all you gradated in 66 and I in 67 from XHS and you probably shared some of the same classrooms I had at Lincoln Elementary. What I want to say to you is thank you for having such a vivid pictorial memory of life in Xenia during the time we were growing up and for being able to write about it accurately in such wonderful detail. For example when you wrote about the stores in downtown I could picture myself walking around downtown and going into those stores. It brought back memories of going to the Bandbox to buy 45’s or take piano lessons, taking the bus to Dayton for 50 cents, and moments like waiting for the new car reveals in the fall on a Friday evening when all the dealers would take down the window coverings that hid the new cars until that moment. So many memory you had about that time were right on and sparked many more for me. For that I thank you.
    What drew me to your blog was a search I was making on Google about why the high school at the O.S.and S.O. Home was called Woodrow Wilson H.S. And though I didn’t find the answer, I luckily did fid your blog. It is a fascinating work of literature that many would find most interesting. When I am finished writing this I will be bookmarking your blog for future exploration. At the beginning of my first paragraph I stated that I don’t know who you are but it is a certainty that we know each other coming from the east end and only a year apart in school age. My name is Paul N. Buford, Jr. and I look forward to reading more of your writing!

     

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