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Most Joyful Day

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 29, 2019

But we all about the same, you know, my two sons, that date. And I was like her, I wanted girls too, but I didn’t have girls, so I had grand-girls, granddaughters. And like she say, giving birth, I gave birth down South, so I didn’t have a doctor. I had a midwife. I had a lady that gave birth on my son, so that was a, it’s a pride, it’s something that you go through as far as came out your body that you gave life to- and your grandkids, it’s a love that’s part of you too. And you can kind of spoil them an extra little bit because you can send them home, but yours…you could do a lot of things with them that you probably didn’t do with your own kids a lot of times, give more attention, a little bit more because a lot of us had kids behind kids, so that took a lot of energy and stuff. And a lot of us older now we can take time with our granddaughter and listen.

Getting my own apartment, that was a joyful day. Getting my first apartment on my own by myself with my two sons. Stole the milestones there, yes I did. Oh, I was so happy, I didn’t know what to do. Because I could do the dishes when I got ready, I can clean up when I get ready, nobody got to tell me what to do. I was on my own… My own responsibility, but I was already responsible anyway because I’ve been on my own since I was young. Trying to take care of things because we was raised down South, you had to take care of things as a girl anyway. So that’s all we knew how to take care of kids and survive. So I know how to survive and I know how to take care of a family.

So I took care of the foster kids, took care of 17 foster kids out of my life. And they all- I remember her too. And they all went home to their parents. So thank God I never had one come back in the system again. So, out of my life.

So why did you choose to be a foster parent?

My son, they was going to the classes and I always liked to take care of kids anyway, because I used to take care of my girlfriend, her kids, while they work. You work, I take care of the kids, you move on, you grab the next person and they didn’t charge you that much for you to better your life. That’s how we did. So when I became a foster mom, I knew that was my calling. So I would never separate a kid. I always took their sisters and their brothers. So out of my 67 years of life, I had 17 altogether. So I retired three years ago. My last two kids and that was it.

They stayed with me. They visited they mom, to the system, but I was working too. I was a home attendant, so I took care of sick patients too. So I’d foster mom, home attendant and all that. But they saw they mom, but I had to keep them until they mom got well because a lot of them are drug addicts. Some of them was abused, all the kids coming to you abuse or on drugs or something. So you have to do a lot of running, a lot of special doctors you have to take them to. But I did a good job, I took good care of the kids. They came, I took care of them before I took care of myself. And everybody knows me around here know that I always took care of those foster kids.

Do those 17 kids come back to visit you?

Some of them does, some of them you have to let go because it’s interfere, you know and you don’t want to interfere…Right. You get attached. But one that Betty helped me with is Ashley, she was mentally delayed. So I had to get the proper help for her to open that brain up, unlock that mental attitude like she had. So I had her for nine years and today she can speak, run, talk, everything else. But I promised God that I would make her talk before she leave me because I didn’t want nobody to abuse her and she couldn’t say nothing. But before she left, she was talking, walking, tell somebody to touch her, anything. So, I did my job.

Love Changes

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 29, 2019

Well, my first love back up was 17 and like Ms. Brown say you, you’re fascinated with it. You know, and somebody tell you they love you besides your parents. You think that’s the world, you know. And then gradually later on in life, we all went the same high school, junior high school together. He was my friend, you know, we used to sing together and travel together and we went to the football game together. He was a football player and I was always to the game, cheer them on with my family, my brother and everybody. And then later on in life I thought I was in love, what I thought love was supposed to feel like. And we produced two kids, my two sons, and it was the best thing that happened to me, my two sons. And as I got older I wanted something different, cause I was raised down South.

So I took my kids and came to New York with my grandmother when I was 18 years old. And I’d been in New York ever since. And I made a life for me and my two kids, my two sons. And to make their life a little different. And I raised them in New York to be young men’s try not to be in no trouble. You know, I did the best I could, what I knew at that time, you know? So I think I did a pretty good job. And for the love of my kids, that’s part of they father. So I’ll always love him, but I fell out in love with him. You know, we became friends, but I never felt love like that no more. That particular, young part of my life. You get older, it’s a different type of experience you go through… it don’t balance out.

You know, you get older, you’re learning different, your growth, loves amazing thing. Sometimes it’s so close between your hate and love, so you get confused because you think somebody today love you, then they go out and mess with other women’s and they come back, Oh, I still love you… in an up and down. But the respect and all of that is part of love for me. Right? I know long as you treat me right and respect me, then that’s love to me. Because that feeling you get, it could go away. Trying to hate, but they didn’t respect me, you respect my kids you got to take care of my kids, bruh you mess with my kids then you mess with me.

And you didn’t feel like you had that respect?

Not as being a woman cause I was… me and Ms. Brown, we was raised different. No matter what, you stood there with your kid, you raise your kid with that particular person. That’s the way he was raised. But I had respect, but I was young, like she said, I was young and I wanted something different and something better. So, I moved from where I was at to New York on my own.

And did the relationship remain friendly at least?

Yeah, I have two kids by him. So that was my, my love story.

I had to grow up early cause I had my baby when I was 16 and then I had my next son when I was 18 so I had to get out and work. I had to provide. I had to get a babysitter. I had to do all of that as a single mother. Cause see I’m not longer down…I’m my own in New York. But thank God I had my family around.

So they can help me as I go along. And then I had Ms, my neighbor was Betty and all my neighbors. I’ve been here over 40 some years. Yeah. I raised my kids here, so always had good neighbors to bounce back on. So these are my extended family, Paul and all those, we know each other. Yeah. So I loved them. Yeah. I really do love them.

That’s true love. That’s the true love.

Right. And I love the ladies in the center too. You might not see them all the time, but you can feel it. Like we respected y’all. And that’s part of the love I like cause we all have a different age now and we need each other. So, that was my story.

My First Date

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 22, 2019

There’s two parts to this story. What was your first date like? First date, I was in junior high school. My girlfriend brought that met. I was shy and very introverted, like, I didn’t talk a lot until I got to know you, you know? But he made me feel… respected me and we used to go out to movies and baseball games and so it was like that because my mother, but like hers, like they were very strict back in the days. You had to meet your mom before you go out. We went together for a couple of years and I left Florida, moved to Georgia and that was my first date. And it was a very lovable. A puppy love. like you won’t come, but the other half of your life that deep. So that was the first date.

You know we all got a deeper story. But the first date… Some people still with their first date. I’m not still with my first date. It’s always another story I’ll add on to it. But it was pleasant.

I was probably 13-14. Why I call puppy love. You better been a puppy. But it was fun. You didn’t know no better. You know, get that feeling you get inside. I’m so in love and you go crazy. That was the first time.

Infatuation.

Yeah.

Extraordinary Day at Work

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 15, 2019

I was young, I worked at a sewing machine factory on Canal street. But my girlfriend had me do the most important part of the whole job, and me and my boss had a big argument and we couldn’t get no breaks and we wasn’t getting enough money. So, material, something happened to the material. I told them I would do it over again. He said, “No, you don’t.” The chair fell. He said to pick up his chair. I said, “I’m not picking up a goddarn thing. You ain’t paying me enough.” So I left. But the union people call me back. So what happened was, I said, “I’ll only come back if you give us a break in the morning and a break in the afternoon, and you give us a raise.” And that’s what happened. 

My rewarding job, I was a foster parent for 17 years. 

My last job, I was a home health aid and I retired from that. So, that’s it.

Did you find home health aid rewarding?

Yeah, it was rewarding. Yeah. Different types of people. Some bad stories. Right. You get used to some. But I did that for a long time and I did the foster thing for a long time. I’ve been pretty busy.

Historical Event

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 15, 2019

All right. What would the greatest historical event you lived through? Well, I was born and raised in Georgia. The greatest historic event with me with the civil rights movement, because we had to protest, we had the Klu Klux Klans on our back, and we had curfew hours, just like they do in third world country. Although we was in the United States, we still didn’t have no rights. We had a color barrier. We had the land you couldn’t cross, and we couldn’t drink out of the white people water fountain when I was growing up. And I didn’t never want my kids to go through that. So we had to protest, march, be in the house at a certain time, killing your kids, killing your brother. So the neighborhood had to stick together. And we did it for white people, and black people, and any other color, because it started from us down south first.

It was hell, because the Klu Klux Klan had their sheets on in their head, and you didn’t know who was behind it. It was policeman, it was the judges, it was everybody. And you didn’t know who was up behind that white sheet. So that was terrorizing, you know? But we marched and we protest so hard. We took that sign, the color sign, off that fountain, nigger. And it was full of people. And if people wanted to drink out of that fountain. We started drinking out of that fountain. We couldn’t go to the same movie they went to, we had to go the black movie. They went in the white movie. And we couldn’t ride the same bus. You had to stand outside and wait for the bus. So these kids here just don’t know what our ancestor had to do to carry you on their shoulders. Women, especially. Women too. Women didn’t have no rights, but we fought.

My ancestor fought like hell for us to have a better life today. We did things that third world countries are still doing it, but we was right here in America. And they talked about sending us back. Sending us back to where? We built this. We built this country. And you know? I just wanted to let my kids and the generation know, your ancestors was powerful, strong people. We stood together as a unit, and I will never forget that. That was my hope that we will overcome. I met Martin Luther King Jr. And we was young people protesting. We was out there with signs. School, you know. And so they got beat up with the dogs, the water fountain. But one thing we had on our side. We protested not spending our money on the white people stores. We protested. You hit it in their pocketbook.

We walked to work. My grandmother and Aunt Olive, they walked to work. They didn’t ride the buses, or my Aunt Nell, they walk. And when they didn’t have that money coming in the stores, then they started negotiating. They started talking to King, they started talking to people. And then they spread it on up, Atlanta on north, and stuff like that. But it started way before all that. Yeah, way before King came. It was Parker, Miss Parker sitting on the bus. You got to go in the back of the bus. That’s real. That wasn’t fake. That was reality. So that’s my historical history. Yeah.

Talents

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 8, 2019

I was in love with every little thing. I was a singer, I used to travel a lot for competition in high school. I was a dancer, I used to do talent shows. I started cooking when I was 6 years old. My father and my aunt learnt me how to cook.

I was a good caregiver. I used to like to play with a lot of kids. So what I had what they had. We had a big old farm, with a lot of animals and we had cantalopes, blackberries. We had a big old farm so we shared with the neighbors. And I had a good time raising my 2 sons. I love sharing with neighbors. I love dancing also. That’s why I come here, to be involved. I care about people. I’m into a variety of things, a lot of things I can do.

The farm was in Georgia. My great grandfather had property in Atlanta. And my aunt, a lot of them went to college. Back in the day a lot of people couldn’t go to college because they couldn’t afford it. So I was surrounded by books and things like that, and showing basketball…I always liked to participate. When I was growing, I was partying, and block partying, dancing all over. I like to discover, to do a lot of different things.

Young Trouble

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 8, 2019

I wasn’t too bad. You know, my childhood was just like, there were certain things we didn’t do. That’s just the way we were raised. But I did play hooky from school one day, and I paid for that. I got punished real bad. Not doing the dishes on time, it was unfair because I was the oldest girl. Then… smoking. I sneaked a smoke. I called myself being grown. And choked. I never, ever wanted to ever put another cigarette because the tobacco tasted so awful. What happened was, your friend said “Let’s try it.” But I knew deep inside of me it was wrong. But you know, peer pressure and your friends with you, I caught myself in it. But I puffed and got choked and got sick, went to the bathroom to throw up…so I learned my lesson from that. But growing up wasn’t bad at all. It was our family. I didn’t argue with my sisters because I was the oldest girl, I was like a role model. I cooked a lot. I knew how to cook when I was 6 years old. My great grandfather had a big old barn, so I had raised animals and stuff. My childhood wasn’t that bad, it was good times. And then my mother moved to Florida, and I lived in Georgia, that separation was probably about the biggest thing. Overall, it wasn’t too bad at all. I had a pretty good childhood. Now when you got older that’s a whole ‘nother ball game…but so far so good.

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