I often think of my childhood school days,
They were neatly divided in three sections...
First through Fifth grades...nice Negro School...
Seventh through Twelfth grade...nice Majority school...
And then there was Sixth grade...the year I could have gone either way,
But thanks to God, my mama, my relatives and those who love and valued me I chose the right way,
For some reason we lived on the Ave that year, attended what by any definition would be called,
An Inner City School today,
It was quite a year, I can vividly see myself,
All hair, eyes, legs and attitude...
Surrounded by kids who loved me one day, not so much the next day,
They didn't know what to do with me, making grades, speaking the King's English,
And running her own candied apple and peanut butter cookie business at eleven...
I was too much for my own self...
But I really wanted to be down with them,
Would hike my skirt up when I left my mama's eyes,
And pull those braids loose, wetting them so I had ringlets,
Would even dance in the cafeteria like my butt had a motor in it,
I was proving myself...
Trying to fit in and never quite making it...
Somedays it was so much fun, talking trash, flirting with boys older than me, pretending I was going to show up at the youth center, knowing full well Ora wasn't even going to get with that...
Other days it was hell, not fitting in anywhere...having to defend being different...
Acting like I could fight if someone were to hit me...
I remember my best friend from those days, a beautiful girl without enough love,
Who looked for love in all the wrong places and is no longer here...S, I still think of you...
Remembering how people thought we were sisters, with our brown faces and curly hair, and birthdays two days apart, so much alike and so different...
I also remember leaving her at twelve, hugging her so tight, you would have thought i was goig to Mars when actually it was just a few miles,
I would see her ocassionally, we would chat and say happy early or late birthday and move on,
I remember the last time I saw her she was sick, real sick, I hugged her and she cried, saying,
"It's been a long time since someone hugged me..."
I saw a few other people ocassionally, who weren't trying to holla at me, or I them,
Because even then we knew we were on different paths...
A couple of weeks ago, I was in the hometown, after leaving the bookstore,
I drove down state road forty...I came up on the Ave and turned left,
Nothing had changed and everything had changed...
That green stone house was still on the corner lot across from the little white church,
But if felt different, many buildings were gone and some houses were boarded up, didn't feel like a family neighborhood any longer,
After parking my car, I sat there watching people for a minute, sipping over-priced coffee,
A vaguely familiar face came up to my car, saying,
"Hey, Angi is that you?"
Smiling I said yes, I remembered the voice,
She told me I looked great and that she had been hearing about me and my books and how good things were,
I giggled, saying, 'It ain't nothing...'
She then asked if I had kids, I told her yes,
'What about grandkids?"
'No, not yet...'
She asked what was I waiting for...I told her my kids...we laughed together a bit more...
I loved the fact that she looked straight in my face, her look saying, 'It is what it is.'
She then told me she had kids, grandkids and was a great-grandmother....
I didn't say anything...
Looking into my car, she saw my books and asked if I would give her one,
I signed it, handing it to her,
Smiling at me again, she said, 'You was always in them books.'
Again, I said nothing,
Finally she walked off smiling and waving, a young kid running up to her, I suspect a great-grandchild...
I nodded, sitting there for a bit longer,
Finally I pulled off into traffic,
Getting back onto sr forty,
Going back home...FREE...
Angelia Vernon Menchan
Angelia Vernon Menchan is an author, publisher and public speaker who owns two publishing companies, MAMM Productions and Honorable Menchan Media. Mrs. Menchan is also a Budget Officer and former Job Corps Counselor. To date she has published twenty-three books of her own work, both fiction and non-fiction and more than eighty ebook novellas on amazon.com. You can access her bibliography on www.amazon.com search words: Angelia Vernon Menchan
Phone numbers: 904 714 2272 904 303 2679
Phone numbers: 904 714 2272 904 303 2679