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Life Story Club Contributor

Well one time I was home in Georgia, home the summer my great Uncle. He came from Augusta to visit the family because he had a business up in there, a barber shop, no a tailor. So he came home and he got in the living room. We have a big baby grand piano. It’s two of us. So he had something else to do, you know, but he said, “Well, you’re going to play the piano today,” one sat at the right and one sat at the left and he the middle way from where I had to sit. And he played it. He said, “Oh, your hands look beautiful.” He turned to me and said “Your hands look beautiful. Come on, we’re going to play.” And he played Rock of Ages and Glory to God and whatnot. And then he played many other verses and whatnot.

Because we’re all religious and all, when we left there and came back to New York, I think I was already 13 then, I was already baptized and what not there. And I came back to rehearsal. You know, you sing in the choir and this and that You had to practice. And they had a big organ and what not.

Then when we had the anniversary you know for the youth. Everybody gets a gift and even some don’t get a gift. And then after that, oh you might rehearse, say for Palm Sunday. But you had to practice. And we had to study for certain verses and everything. When you’ve got to give a recital to the audience and to this and that and whatnot.

And school and the seminary in Brooklyn, you sing in the choir and at the last semester, you know, from the last semester to the seminary where you come in and out, to have a big ordinance and who have a part here and who have a part here. And I had most of the parts. Yeah, what is this? You know? This is a surprise! When the principal give away, you know do the sermon, you know, in this world, you know you’re leaving here but you’re going to a different world of mankind and womankind… this language is the best.

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Greatest Adventure

Life Story Club Contributor

Feb 24, 2020

We went on a visit and it was nice and whatnot, but I’d say the best boat is Exile United States. Exile. Then I brought back a lot of things from that, from another nation. So one day I got a big pearl, orange pearl. I was surprised that the immigration let me through with it. I put it on. So when I went on a visit to my home, he said, “Don’t ever throw that away”.

Yeah. And the countries are different. So one day my aunt, she asked me, “You stopped traveling already or no?” Well I’m not settled down yet. I told her. I said, “You know what? Right here in Exile is the best”. She said, “Really?” I said, “Yes”. And then next thing, when I left my home in Georgia. I always got a home there that is mine. Then when I left from there, I come to New York. Brooklyn. It was a long trip. It was in the war and my sister, she said, “I don’t want to go.”

She’s like cutting the gas at the train station. I don’t want to go. I want to stay here. So they, my big mama, she says, Llisten, the two of you are going to take care of one another and you don’t like it, come back home here.” It was a long trip. We got to Savannah, the train met on time. We had to get up about four o’clock in the morning, but they meet on time. You take the car and go in, Debbie, going into Savannah and then the train from Florida right there. I would travel in the war.

I lived with my father and uncle in Brooklyn. I would pass up in D.C. It’s a long trip. We pass up in D.C. Before we got to Savannah, as we were headed for Savannah, the mountains look beautiful. There was the tobacco there. They were the mountains of, like, shining gold. And then when we reached New York, we got a taxi cab. The guy must be about a hundred years old. He’s very nice. He says, “I will take you to Brooklyn.” He asked, “Are new to New York?” and this and that. I said, “No, from down South.” He was European, very nice. He took us to Brooklyn. Half a mile, Williamsburg. Very nice person. And I don’t think it was a dollar. It’s coming from Manhattan, from the train station, 34th you know.. So, I got used to it and this and that. But the country is still in you.

Most Memorable Celebration Pt. 2

Life Story Club Contributor

Feb 17, 2020

It was on Brooklyn Day in Brooklyn, in Westboro on Bedford. All the churches come together and whatnot and there’d be the youth, the older ones and the boys and the girls, and then with the pastor and whatnot. And they had their celebration and did some parades and this and that. And we go back to the church. They have food, like dessert, cake, pies and whatnot. Kool-Aid, this and that and whatnot. And that’s one of them. It was back in the 50s. Not the Bedford in Flatbush, the Bedford in Winsburg. And it was nice.

Another one was the United Nations, a League of Nations. And then the principal got everything together, they do social work, they got everything together. About eight of us, and went in. Your head would get big. “My lady this is where the president sit at.” This is for different nations and whatnot and one of them was still at war and whatnot.

It was back in about three or four more nations, 400 nations that come in to the different parts. That was our lesson. My lady this is where so and so sit and this and that and whatnot. You’ll never forget it. They had a guard at the door. The guard at the door and whatnot, you ain’t going to get in, it just like they get the invitation. Your pictures be taken. It was a nice experience though.

And then, we have another one in Savannah, another one where we hold the Met. Go to the structures, the world governments and everything comes there. Made it. For Israel, all of them. We took it in and it stayed like that. We take everything in. I don’t care if you got young or old, you’re going to remember all of the whatnot.

We had to go to college to get that one, you know? For public school. Probably when I was 18. It was nice. It was a high energy room. We didn’t go together, strike out one another. We was like this.

And this and that. Kids were bragging, smart. That was in the war back there and whatnot. Then the other book I had, I’d got ahold of, it was the Constitution of the United States. How many governments, how many in the White House and this and this and that. But you wasn’t allowed to bring that book home. It stayed in the library in the school.

There are things you can’t take out the library. In the south, the same thing. You were not allowed to bring that book home. That book stayed. But, it stayed in that classroom, in the library like. You weren’t allowed to bring that book home. But, one day I got it as a gift. And I kept it and studied from it. Got to be a bookworm. That’s right.

Most Memorable Celebration

Life Story Club Contributor

Feb 17, 2020

Well when I went to the other side of exile, I was in company. And they were very nice people, Europeans and mixed company. When they ready to have their parties, they had the bridge game, one week this house, next week the other one’s house. And then they’re ready to have a family party with some of their friends, big weddings and what not. They cater. And so, they will say, to me and the other girl she said, “Well we going to make a part, make the frankfurters in blankets and beer.”

So they roll it, the dough, into the blanket. You put the franks in the beer, then wrap it. Pigs in blanket. That’s going to be the hors d’oeuvres, the simple platter and with early on, what you’re going to serve to them.

And sloppy joes. And they have their liquor. It was champagne or scotch. I had to order flowers and make the house look nice. And then, the big dinner. And then, wine and dining. But there was a different folks. Different folks than I. And when they ready to come to New York, they need a car home, fly, nightlife, theater world and what not.

People were coming from the different parts of the United States. They come to New York, they go to the nightlife, maybe a theater, a theater show, live theater. And then, might go partying and they might have a nice dinner.

They were paying them money. This is after the Seder. They have all this big, big supper.

They have their big party. Their friends. Some of the family but mostly their friends. They have their big party but faded. And it turned out to be nice.

Yes, the Seder, we had, everything had to be done perfectly. Tablecloths, silver, ironed the left side to the right side, everything had to be done perfect. The silverware: take out, clean with a cream. Everything had to be done so. Sometimes it’d work out nice. I served the Seder. I catered it.

And cake. Strawberry shortcake. You weren’t allowed to buy that, but they’d get the fresh strawberries and you get the plain layer of cake and the whipped cream. You’d make it yourself and serve it nice. And then the prayer and the prayer books. And they favored turkey. Roast beef was rare, but it worked out nice.

But it’s hard work. You had to get it together. And then, after that the little girl. She nice and has a mind though. She, what do you call, she was set in her ways. Spoiled. Set in her ways, only child. What are you going to do? Maybe their child would go next door, play with the Italian children. It was too darned quiet for me, countryside, the mountains.

And then, they used to go to New York, come to New York. Look, they bring the money. New York gets richer from the other state.

An Unexpected Storm

Life Story Club Contributor

Feb 10, 2020

For the other disaster, storms come up from the Caribbean. And now we had two or three lightning rods on top of the roof of the house. So that hold down that storm from destroying their house. When the rainstorms come up from the Caribbeans and whatnot. And one day I was home, the earthquake hit. I thought somebody was banging tin the door down. Pa-yah! And they hit everybody’s door. So my neighbor hollered said, “Liz, get down!” The earthquake. Pa-yah! Outside the door like somebody was breaking in, and I said, “What was it?” And hit our door, wham and hit the rest of the doors and everything. And the door went like this and whatnot. And that happened in Brook Glen.

And it was stronger that and that went on. I had to do some business the next day and it rumbled all night long.

Pa-yah! The door is steel and y’all thought somebody be breaking in. No, it was the Mighty One. Bumped the doors real hard, pull a little in, whatnot. And the elevator moved back and forth.

But on top of the roof of the building and complex, they have a certain lightning rods, certain rods for the planes, and certain for earthquakes and whatnot. But that day, pa-yah, and the sun was wide open. It was a sunny day, it went off.

It was about, I think it was on that ’90s something like that, between that ’90, I was home. And tore up… But the trees got pa-yah, break up and whatnot. And it went on all night long.

So I wasn’t going to leave my house and go to no shelter. It’s going to be worse. I stayed home. And they kept, went and do my business the next day and the guys said he had to jump out of the car because of the vibration and whatnot.

A Paradise

Life Story Club Contributor

Feb 10, 2020

Me? I’m just south of whatnot. It’s a paradise. You’ve got a little bit of this. You’ve got pecans. You’ve got Sima. If you ever eat that green, it’ll lock you up like anesthesia, so you had to drink a whole lot of water to get loose from that. You pick what you want to pick out on the field. Teenagers will be mischievous, but you bite it. It’s bitter, but it will lock you up.

Then we had sugarcane. Beautiful. We had cotton. We grow that. Then we had, what do you call it, apple field? And anything you’d grow. You could grow coconuts and what not. It was warm; you would grow watermelons. We have a nut, it was a native nut, you had to use the axe to crack through it. You don’t crack it in your mouth, you’re going to have no teeth.

Then we have the fishing creek. One day a pasture, or the hole was so big, just like that, and the beautiful gold fish come through. They have everything to your heart’s desire. Turkeys, chickens and all of this. Native corn and this and that.

When I travel overseas they have, when you exile, you blessed. It is beautiful. Exile is United States, you blessed. I see them.

Coming back on one trip, I look up to the elements, the moon look beautiful. The other stuff look beautiful, but down below you like little ants. There they have big ants. There we have big ants. We have big ants here. We have lady bugs. We have the beautiful birds in Georgia. One place I met was a most beautiful parrot, but that parrot tormented everybody. It was in your business.

One day I come across a crocodile. Their daddy and momma wasn’t far away, so my sister says, oh, look at that croc. The croc was no more about like that. In Georgia you have friendly crocodiles, and then you have most beautiful snakes. The snakes are poisonous. That’s where you get the venom from the snake. They make Heparin, the medicine to stop a person having blood clots. Heparin will thin it out. The blood units are different, but once the heparin’s in… You only could get small doses in the needle. You could buy pills, then the doctor give it to you. When you go to the lab that number has to come out right, and then you’re free. Sometimes you give an overdoes? Bye-bye.

One day I run across a snake. She was about that darn long, and big and just getting across the dirt road. The car hit it and he or she was going across into the jungle.

It’s a paradise. One older person said, “What you got now? You going to come home and live?”

I said, “Yeah, I’ll come home and live, all right.

She said, “Where is it?”

I said, ‘Right here.”

This is it: Exile. You see?

Work Story

Life Story Club Contributor

Feb 3, 2020

When I leave from the nursing career, I went to the longshoremen. Plus I had others that I apprenticed and what not. But there was an Italian there. He was the floor man. So he welcomed me in. There always was dirty windows, that was the job then. And he welcomed me in. He said, “You’re going to start today.”

I said “I get near at home, for closing.”

He said, “Well, promise me you’ll be there tomorrow.”

And then I met my boss. They was Jewish, not all the way Jewish, they was more modern to me.

I met them, the head one, the woman. She made a remark to the other ones and all, she said, “Now you see what I got now? I got somebody to boss you.” And I said, “Wait a minute. You are the boss. You the one doing the payroll. Everything we carry out all right.” The floor worker, the weaver, just about everything. The floor, way it goes, everything had to be checked. But on their minds what going to be done by the hour, not by the piecework. It was a factory. We were paid hourly.

Then I got in. It was like 37 hours a week.

I keep going to the office. And shift all the way around the floor. They have their holidays, but I let them rock. I would train. So one morning I came in, this girl was standing. I said, “You tell her that I said…” There’s two 8:00 shifts. So I told him to tell her that she don’t do enough work. I said this to this guy who spoke Thai. So he told her.

She said, “What’s the matter, you don’t like me?” I said, “It’s your conscience bothering you. Nobody’s going to get fired today”. You had to do the work fast. And then they had to go back to the high powers. And so, when the boss came in the morning, she come to me and I said, “I told her she wasn’t working fast enough and there’s nothing else I could do. You go ahead and tell her.”

She wasn’t working fast enough. She came 7:00, she’s supposed to meet the qualifications of it. Listen, when I come in eight, on the other shift I look, she don’t do nothing. So I told her, “Look you got to work a little faster, because when the boss come in here, the boss going to fire you, and nobody going to get fired today.”

I didn’t curse or nothing like that, because I knew, looking at her, she’s looking like she’s not used to that. But I didn’t curse her or nothing like that. So I said, “This is your conscience bothering you.”

And so, when the boss come in and looked, and she had to get somebody to help her out.

No rights on others’ lives

Life Story Club Contributor

Jan 27, 2020

One time, I was home in Georgia on a visit. It was about four of us. We went to the movie house, minding our business. And when we come out, there was a KKK standing outside. He had on his pin, he had on his gowns and what not. That’s right, not joyful. I don’t wish it on nobody. Nobody’s children. Even though I came from a wealthy family. But he was outside. And then with the train station there. What me and my sister and cousin did, we crossed over that third rail. He done get shot.

He had to come for forward, he’d have been dead. And even though my other family lived in Augusta. And it’s not a nice thing for to be seen by a child from a native, a white, what do you want to call it? Colored descendent, it’s not nice for them to see and what not.

To this day, we bring them down from our door with that weapon. They have no rights. They own nobody’s land, they have no rights to take nobody’s life. I don’t care if it’s just straight up mafia, you have no rights to it.

Then I saw another one day… the family find out. One day I was got off work, around the East River. I was sitting on the car and what not. I looked at the lights at plate. I said, “Oh, the KKK from Texas.” So my boss says, “what you see?” I told him. I said, “They have no rights grab the other people life.” We’re equal and what not.

We live a different life and what not. And this and that. But you’re going to find that every place you go.

Yeah, that summer was in Georgia And I came back. But my family is out there, they’re masons and what not. They will bring down. You come in and you think you go take their life? Then you’d as well as be dead.

This was in the 50’s. That’s only a short time home and what not. You’re going to find that in east states too, you’re going to find what not. You’ll find it in New York state too.


Life Story Club Contributor

Jan 13, 2020

Well, number one, I had to good to school, taking everything and whatnot, what was labor for me, to sew, make your own blouses, skirts. And everything. It was school in World War II. And I went to school with mixed company, whatnot. Everybody was good. Yeah. If they played hooky, they’re going to get caught up with.

But it come down to, what is that, church. I was ordained and baptized, south, and then Brooklyn, and then I had to go to Sunday School, and then go practice on a Wednesday night, and then who going to do the praying, and then what was it that, probably they had a … We had to sing in the choir. Go to Canal Street, where the archdiocese, they buy their robes and all that, on Canal. Yeah, where they buy their religious robes and all that and whatnot. And then the usher, the youth, and the adult, the men and women, serve on Palm Sunday and this and that, and then pass the communion, whatnot. In the South they had the same thing, but only a little different.

Then we had anniversaries for the youth. They’d give us this and that, and then we’d come to … Everybody had a part, a poem, poems which you had to say, this and that. At the program, the church services.

And then in the South, I come up in the religious background, and European, that’s the same thing. What they have, a youth, the adult choir, the men, and the women, and this and that, and sometime or another they might leave and go off, be teachers and lawyers, nurses and doctors. What other people do, different walks of life, as they’ve been and whatnot.

And then as you get a little older, you might show up now and then, if you’re going to carry it on, and this and that. But the other part, I met a physicist, this guy, much older than me, who’s European. He was a physics teacher. Physics, to weapons. Yes. And he’d always tell me, “He says, hold my hand. You are good. Remember, you are the boss,” and whatnot and this and that. He lived down the street from me. He had a wife, one daughter, and whatever it is, physics, he taught people from different walks of life.

This piece on here, he taught to us that, you know, the astronauts to go up and whatnot, but that piece, I know somebody that served there. It was my coworker I worked for, and he, his brother worked there as an astronaut. But they go up, you know, and this and that. But that whole earth, Georgia, Florida, it shake when they’re going up, going into it.

Favorite Family Tradition

Life Story Club Contributor

Dec 9, 2019

But every year we have a favorite family traditional things. You might have, what do you call? Easter. And you might find different religious groups Judaists , they might celebrate their own different, and what not.

But we went to school. The principal just said, you’re going to have Thanksgiving thing. You know? A Party. Whatever it is, they give it to us, and what not.

I mean, you go home … my home, where I come from, we might have everything. A light Christmas tree, ornaments made by hand. There’d be a certain light for the trees. Long blue, greens, and what not.

And they bring it in their house and we finished with it and what not. We take it back after the holiday, before the new years come in. We plant it again, and what not.

Many people, they have their own traditional things. I know, you just don’t come in this land and take over what is theirs, and what not.

And for the new years? Oh, we might take the shotgun out, they going to shoot up to the elements for the new years. Christmas in the south. You can’t do that in the north, really. But, take it out and shoot up to the elements. For the old year to the new year to come in.

Everybody have their own tables, and what not. Natives have their Christmas, too, their own tradition, what not, at certain times, certain day, and what not. And then, sit down. Let’s sit and eat, and what not.

And then, some people at that time, it was in the 40s, when Pearl Harbor. I remember that, and this and that, but I leave home at 43, because I had a home to go to. Home out there and everything, and what not. Like the girl who mentioned to me this morning, back then this country had beautiful paradise. Elephants, buffalo, everything and what not. Those who come abroad have no right to come in and take over somebody’s life, and take over somebody’s possession, and what not. You see? They have no rights, and what not. Because you go out there, take something, then they want to destroy you, and what not.

I had met other people over the Christmas and the holidays and what not, in New York. Oh, you decorate this. You decorate that. You go the trees, you got the big, rosy, bell, and what not. You got this.You got the food. You could buy who you want to buy, and what not. You got the toys, and this and that. You got clothes, and this and that. You don’t have to wait till the holiday to get all that. You got it, and what not.

And then, in the school they had … wherever they were going to give, you going to take it and make good of it, and what not. I met a lot of people with different walks of life, and what not.

And then as it go on, yes, some people come to Europe. They poor, and what not. And yes, you going to find in the tradition of Judaist and what not. They have their food, and this and that. Some might have turkeys. What they want for their holiday. A real steak, and this and that. But I met a lot in school, and where I come from we teach the doctors and lawyers and the nurses, and this and that.

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