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Most Joyful Day

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 29, 2019

I guess, like I say, the day I become a mom, and a mom, and a grandmother, and a great auntie. Because I helped reared all… Some of them were born around the time my son was born, my nieces and nephews. And I helped reared them. So, I helped reared most of them in the family. All of them is big now. I don’t have no babies to take care.

Do you miss the babies?

Yeah. I like them when they little, but see they grow up and they grew up fast around me.

So, my joy help rearing some of the members of the family and they still remember me doing things for them to this day even though they bigger now.

You’re a good aunt, though. They call you Auntie Paula? What do they call you?

Yes, Auntie Pauldie. They used to say when they were little, “Auntie Pauldie,” and I used to get mad, but I like it now. It doesn’t bother me now.

As an aunt, can you also give them ice cream and then send them home?

I tried to not to spoil them too much. I try to teach them the right thing to do. That’s what I was trying to do. I wasn’t trying to spoil them or supplying them with food and candy and stuff, because I didn’t want them to think I was that kind of auntie. I wanted to be that kind of auntie they come to when they need that help or wisdom for something. That’s the kind of auntie I am. Steer them the right way if they going wrong. That’s what I do.

How do you build that open communication?

Communication, you just watch them grow up and you listen and you learn from them what they likes or dislikes. And you help get involved when they have school activities. You go there just like you’re a mom and listen to their plays or whatever talent shows they’re involved in. That’s what I did.

Talents

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 8, 2019

I like doing a lot of different things, I do cooking, I do cleaning. But my favorite thing is sports. I’m a competitive sports person. I participated in a lot of sports when I was growing up. I did soccer, table hockey. But my favorite thing was handball. I would play handball all day long, from sunset to sundown. Because I was competing with people, and they said, “Oh I can beat you.” And I would say, “Oh yeah?” So you know, I was just competitive. Any sport I would participate in I would be competitive. Volleyball, anything, I was on teams in school. Bowling, all of that stuff. I was very active with that.

Now I’m not doing that much, but now I’m into several activist groups.5th avenue committee, I’m worried about the community, global warming, climate change, I’ve been involved in all those protests. I’ve been to Albany about three times, last year and the year before last, we complain about different things to for these organizations and we want the governor and all these people to get involved. We met last week with Lydia Vasquez and Joanne Simon, our congresswoman and our representative. This was about housing. What they can do to save NYC housing, what part they can play in this. They are in support of us, so we’re trying to partner with different people to help us save where we live. So I’m involved in that. That’s what we’re doing, trying to save where we live. They can build millions of buildings, but don’t take away from what we have. We human beings, we live here too. Don’t forget about us. That’s my motto – do whatever you want, but don’t forget about us, because we’re still here.

Young Trouble

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 8, 2019

I got into quite a few things because I was always following my younger brother. I was always climbing. My mother would tell me “don’t climb because you’re a girl.” One time she found me on a darn fence. She caught me one time climbing, you know, telephone poles and stuff. I went half way because I got scared.

But then another time we really got into trouble. We used to go to, my mother would send us to Sunday school. On a Sunday we went to Browns Memorial Baptist Church. She would send us there. We lived on the corner of Bushwick and Decatur and we had to take the J train to the A train to get off at Washington Avenue. My brother said “Let’s not go” one day, let’s do this, and so we rode the subway system the whole time. We didn’t know that the teacher was going to tell on us and some of her friends from church. She told them we weren’t there. When we got home she asked, “What did you learn in school?” We both made up lies, and she knew we were lying because we didn’t collaborate. She knew we wasn’t there. But we lied anyway. And we got into trouble for that. So pretty much after that I said, I’m not following him because I’m getting into trouble because of him. So, I tried not to get into things anymore after that. But it was fun. We did a lot of things together. We stayed out past the curfew, we would lie about that. We were supposed to watch our younger sister. We had a younger sister and we were supposed to watch her. And I came home without her, and my brother came home he had left her in the park. We said he was supposed to watch her, we got into trouble for that too! It mostly that, I grew up in a house of 6 children. 3 boys and 3 girls. It was me and my younger brother that would be the closest because we were born 13 months apart. He was a middle brother and I was a middle sister. Yeah, we got spanked! That’s putting it mildly. We were the two devils when we were younger.

A family tradition

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 1, 2019

I would have to Thanksgiving, because I remember holidays, especially the ones where we get together and cook. It would be my older sister, I, and sometimes my aunt, my mother’s sister, would come over. But they made me the sous chef. I’d have to chop up all the onions and celery, and saute it to make the stuffing. I was crying from the onions! I know how to prep things before the dinner. I’d have to do that in my kitchen, we’d all work together. An assembly line! I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters. Most of the girls would do the prepping. My mother loved to cook, and my favorite thing that she would make was the mac & cheese. And she’d like to make the sweet potato fries. I can still taste it!

My neighborhood

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 1, 2019

One of the neighborhoods I grew up in before I moved here was Bushwick. Bushwick is where I grew up mostly, until I moved here in 1969. I went to junior high school there, public school there. But you know, it was a fun block because I lived on a private block, and you know, everybody knew everybody on the block. Summertime, I liked that we had block parties like that, we’d party and all of that with the neighbors. That’s what one thing I liked, it was more community-oriented at that time – that was in the 60’s.

I moved here in 1969, April the 24th, right down Wyckoff – 185 Nevins Street. I’ve been here 50-something years. I know I don’t look it, but I’ve been here since I was 16, when we moved down here, and I”ve been in these projects for 50 years. So I’ve seen a lot of things come and go, a lot of changes in the neighborhood, and I still see it. It was quiet, it wasn’t crazy like it is now. It was very nice, it didn’t look like a project, it looked like a co-op when I first moved here. That’s another story…well over time, you change things. They had different things happen, drugs, violence, all of that stuff. That a lot of the projects have, that I’m sick of lookin’ at, but what can I do about it, I’m just one person… But otherwise, I still like this neighborhood, I don’t care how they change it around. I like this area. It’s convenient, you can get to Manhattan because you’re near all the subway stations, all the transportation and it’s easy for you to commute from here anywhere. We’re going through regentrification, where they buying out the people, and they tryin’ to put it in for the rich… A lot of people moved away because of violence, a lot of people passed away. A lot of people moved down south because they thought it would be much better because the rents here are gettin’ too darn high. They move to places where it would be cheaper, affordable, it’s not affordable here anymore. That’s my story, I sound like I’m complaining. But I just want to stay here in this area where I am because I like it so much. So I have to fight the powers that be here. The rich..

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