Saturday, June 04, 2005

Dick and Betty Nelson so reminded me of my Uncle Lawrence, and she especially of my AUnt Vernetta-- the classy socialite wife, beautiful and with depth. Ohh what a sight. Alas, I really enjoyed myself tonight and today. The heat was intense, but it was beautiful. I enjoyed Wafaa and his friend Luis, and I enjoyed all of the art. What a beautiful day. Charles is a gift too. Thanks for him.

Talk About Queer

One of my favorite Hymnals from when I was little and we attended Coppin Chapel was,

We will break bread together on our knees, on our knees
we will break bread together on our knees, on our knees
when I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun
oh lord have mercy on me.
The House by the Side of the Road
by Sam Walter Foss

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the place of their self-content;
There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,
in a fellowship firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran----
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road,

Where the race of men go by--
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I,
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban----
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road,

By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears,
Both part of an infinite plan---
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead

And moutains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road---

It's here the race of men go by.
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish---so am I;
Then why should I sit in the scorners seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I have read a lot of autobiographies. I will talk about that later.
I remember seeing a lot of hospitals when I was young. A lot of death scenes. Not a lot, but it was a few. They were always grim, important, and very grave. Aunt Sadie's when I was three( she died of cancer, this one I dont remember much at all, but I was there), Aunt Bertie's there in Chicago, she died at Michael Reese, and Uncle Archie, who was at the Mayo Clinic. A lot of waiting rooms. I would sit in the waiting room.., and then finally would be lead back into the room where they lay and I could feel their hand or talk to them). It was grim, and I didnt always get to go. I remmember Uncle Archie's soo very vividly. My mother took his death hard. He was my grandmother's youngest sibling and the closest to my mother in age. In a way, they grew up together. She was his sidekick and he taught her what she knew. My mother cried for years after his death. The mention of his name would set her off in torrents. It always seemed like those of my relatives knew that their time was near. My uncle Archie sobbed with my mother for days. My Aunt Bertie knew, My Uncle Lawrence knew. I hope he is at peace. My grandmother was at his side when he died. Ah me.
I dont know how much I will write at this moment, but I want to write about my early childhood.On my days off from school (during that wonderous period when my mother would come in in the mornings and ask me "Brandon, do you want to go to school today?") and I would answer no, I got to stay at home with my Aunt Bertie, who had just taken an early retirement to deal with her cancer that was slowly eating away at her and that would claim her in 1985, when I was on the other end of my fourth year of living. I used to get to stay home with her, at her house (that I, not knowingly called "Aunt Johnnie's house"-- how I would learn about that later) while my mother and Aunt Johnnie, and Aunt Betty when she was there, would pack off to their respective schools and work in the mornings. We would set out on our day.

Days usually began, after they left, with a call from Uncle Lawrence from Alabama( I would cheeringly answer the phone to speak to my beloved Uncle) to check up on my Aunt Bertie ( he was still working for the government then, not retired yet). This followed with me finding things around the house to do while they were on the phone, which might include watching the television ( I don't remember doing that too much) or making up a story, or playing with the beautiful stuff that decorated my aunts house. My Aunt Bertie moved to Chicago in the early sixties and bought that house, after Fess' death, and my Aunt Johnnie moved in--and took over, which is why I called this house Aunt Johnnie's when I came along.

After the phone call, we would then embark on the kitchen where we would delve into making the most glorious things imaginable as my Aunt was an excellent cook and could bake with the best of them. We would make gingerbread houses, and gingerbread men, and gingerbread women ( I got to decide what we would make out of the gingerbread. I didnt like gingerbread so much to eat as I did to make) and cakes, and cookies, and god knows what else we cooked up in that kitchen-- and we made several things in one day. Then my Aunt would go in her room and busy herself around. I remember quite vividly her taking off her wigs and placing others on, or just sitting their looking at herself in the mirror. I thought it was odd and interesting, and I used to watch her while she did these things. We got along very well, my aunt loved me and I loved my aunt. I only remember her chastising me one time, and I didnt know why then, and it still puzzles me, but once we were walking towards the church- our church there in Chicago, Coppin A.M.E, the church I was baptized in by eh I can't remember his name right now, but it wasn't Farrell Duncombe it was.... Anyway, I was playing "step on the crack, you break your mother's back" something not out of the ordinary, but she pulled my hand and told me to stop, I shouldnt play that game talking about my mother. I never understood that one.

On the days I did go to school, I would take Aunt Johnnie's hand and after we dropped off Aunt Betty at the school where she taught (where there was a mean Doberman at the door), and my mother at Robert Taylor, we would make our way to Price where we would go into our classroom and she would let me set up her film projector and pop popcorn if we were doing anything that day. I was soo spoiled and it was wonderful, all of the teachers doted on me and I remember very vividly when Mrs. Wright( I think that was her name, eh I am forgetting people's names ) a very attractive woman, young and a teacher there at Price, made me so mad-- not really, but I acted mad. She pinched my cheek and told me "Oh Brandon, everytime I see you, you make my heart skip a beat." She was always flirting with me, and I would get so red. That time I told her I was going to call the police. Everybody laughed. What beautiful days.

There were such beautiful people at Price and there names are slowly fading--I will have to ask my mother. Mrs. Bull, the white lady who was my first grade teacher ( I had Aunt Johnnie for headstart and Kindergarten-- we were a bit upset when they didnt put me in her first grade class), who was a great friend to Aunt Johnnie; Mrs. Barrett( her daughters China and Tye ( think that was what it was) were so much fun and interesting older children, teenagers, and I liked to visit their house; the music and arts and crafts teacher whose rich, chocolate face I remember, Bernard- who lives right across the street from Aunt Joyce; and Aunt Joyce herself when she would walk over from the Lincoln Center to take me home with her sometimes in the evenings when Aunt Johnnie had to do something. There was also Big Marie and Little Marie, grandmother and grand daughter, Big Marie was one of Aunt Johnnie's teacher's aides and little Marie was in my class.

I remember Aunt Bertie's retirement tea very well, I remember it was a very elegant affair and I got to meet and see all of the teachers and the principal from her school, it was held somewhere, I dont remember. When Aunt Bertie died, I learned not to fear death, and I believe I was quite imbued with a special blessing as she told me before she passed that she was going to die. It was her preparing me for her end. When my mother and Freda ( I remember them as being the one's who approached me) came to tell me that Aunt Bertie was dead, I told them I already knew. I was quite calm and at peace, my mind was full of questions though. I remember asking if she would get enough to eat in heaven. My Aunt's funeral was a grand and morose affair, Reverend Duncombe preached her funeral ( it was Reverend Spivey that baptized me, and what I took from it, I have remembered always-- and everybody, especially my mother and Freda, would comment about how I always remembered and recited the poem that was read at her funeral. "Let me live in a house by the side of the road to be a friend to men." Apparently, it was a poem that she loved and recited many times over.

When my Aunt Bertie and my grandmother were girls, their hobby was to memorize and recite poetry. It is something my grandmother still does. My grandmother also writes plays and poems, and other little things-- mostly what I knew was from when she was active with her Senior Citizen's council and she would write plays for them. She also writes poems and plays for the church.

I had my first seizure no more than about a year after Aunt Bertie died, because I was still at Price. I remember. sometimes in the mornings, when we would just get to school, I would pretend to be asleep in the car so that Aunt Johnnie would have to drag me out of the car and then we would go in the school. That day, I wasn't pretending. I was sitting in the back, as I normally did-- in between Aunt Betty and Nikki(when we had to drop her off at St. Ambrose) or whomever was in the car. I was out. My aunt woke me up, and I walked from the parking lot to the school in a drunken stupor. I went to class, as she thought I was perhaps playing or just needed to wake up, and then after a while she took me to the office and they called for an ambulance. I was not asleep, but I was in a daze and I couldnt remember who I was or where I was and my head hurt. The next thing I remember I was lying in a hospital bed and they had a needle in my arm and it hurt. My mother was standing there with her hand on my forehead, and they had my arms down,unmovable. I then went on a regiment of tegretol and some other pill, but tegretol stayed with me until 92. At that point, I hadn't had a seizure in a few years.

For a while, it was me and my cousin Brooke (whom I adored, loved, and cherished) who had seizures ( Brooke is mentally handicapped)and who took tegretol. Brooke took about twenty pills twice a day-- it seemed to me, some of them big horse pills. We used to share our tegretol sometimes. Brooke had seizures all of the time. Mine were rare. We were at the Lincoln Park Zoo one time( on one of our splendid outings) when Brooke had a seizure and fell over into the animal pit. Someone had to go in and get her.f Another time, she had one and fell over the railings on my mother's front porch. She broke her arm then, I do believe I remember. We were special children. I remember my mother telling me at one point when I was little that people who were sick were special.

I so remember my doctors when I was little. The nice jewish man who was the dentist, and the other one who prescribed my glasses. Then there was Earnestine Willis, that most wonderful black woman who was my pediatrician. I wanted to be a pediatrician when I was three years old. Since then I have wanted to be a writer. Then there was Henda Sack, the incredible Jewish woman, my psychologist, who made no small effort to spoil me. She used to call me her lammchen. She had a wonderfully thick German-Yiddish accent. I loved going to the University of Chicago Hospital. My mental image of me when I was young is me as Yentl. Ha. Oh my childhood was beautiful...... I'll continue later.
I am now reading Jane Fonda's autobiography, which I picked up today at Von's. I love Jane Fonda, I dont know why I didnt remember until moments ago that I have previously read another account of her life ( I believe a biography or perhaps it was an autobiography). She is a beautiful creature. I have always been attracted to her and she possesses a gamine-like quality that just captivates. She has the stunning allure of a well-keeled black woman, with the likes of Diahann Carroll. There has only been one scene if a film involving someone using the bathroom that I have thought was done well, and that was Jane Fonda sitting on the toilet in Fun with Dick and Jane. I just thought, god, how sexy is that scene. Anyway, her book is quite captivating.
I have spent most of my life trying to escape oppressive heat. From Chicago summers (which were bad, but bearable), to Alabama's intensity and now to Indiana. I don't know wi heat affects me the way it does. It is so debilitating. Perhaps it has to do with my epilepsy. I want to find a comfortable climate/environment.
Milk is not my friend. Never has been.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Today the exhumed Emmet Till's body. God, Mamie Till was STRENGTH. This countyr has a lot to pay for.
I dont know why, but I was thinking about the accumulation of wealth and power, and property.... and I then thought of the jews leaving all of their stuff behind in Germany and Central Europe....and the Nazis and other beneficiary Germans getting their houses, furs,chandeliers, jewelry. "Hard Work" really is a myth.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

This is the beginning of week two since we really did anything(not counting a little in...). I want charles to deflower me!
To add to my thoughts about white male appropriation of nonwestern cultures....and interracial/interethnic marriage, I think it is interesting to look at examples of interracial/interethnic marriages. Those that come to mind right off of the top include Alice Walker and Mel Rosenthal (a jewish man), June Jordan and her first husband, another jewish man,Nina Simone and the white man she married,and Lorraine Hansberry and Robert Nemiroff (another jewish man). It is interesting that all of these ended in divorce and that three of these four later became lesbians. Im not making any correlations, its just an interesting observation. Alas, there have been some beautiful marriages as well. I can't think of any right now, but there are some. To think of another interracial/interethnic marriage--my brain hasnt stopped processing them-Diahann Carroll and Vic Damone,which also ended in divorce. Its interesting that these are all women too. I would like to look further into this one.
I wanted to blog something this morning, but I dont remember what. Perhaps I need to work on my screenplay.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

dating white men is good in and of itself.... I have been involved with a few and am attracted to them. I think the best kind though, are those that acknowledge and realize their positions as white men.....with hope they might over come it......The most well intentioned still needs to realize (very complicated issue of course)what positions they hold in this society...but I think relationships with white men can be a beautiful thing...and have seen and witnessed some that are very beautiful. There is still hope.
An Asian woman sits , a pissed look on her face, irate and highly sensitive to the irony of her white husband sitting next to her, whom she can't stand to touch. With knowledge that she is married to her oppressor.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Ella Fitzgerald Nina Simone Nancy Wilson Barbra Streisand Abbey Lincoln Billie Holiday

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I wrote a good omelet this morning;-) With tomatoes and onions. It is a very pleasant day outside. Bob Schieffer is a good man.