Seasoned, Gifted and Black
June 6, 2016
WHAT THE HOOKAH . . . ?
“What is that?” my sixty-something-year-old sister asked during one of our tri-weekly early morning telephone chats. I was sitting in my home office and I had just remarked how I could still smell the yecchy fragrance of hookah pipes a week after I had accompanied my daughter to a hookah bar on one of her entrepreneurial pursuits. Continue Reading
June 20, 2016
THE NEW MATH
My neighborhood is being Gentrified. Is this related to Mummified? Petrified? Absolutely!
For the past 33 years, I have lived in a federal style house – a simple red-brick box, two stories above ground, one below, three bedrooms, one and a half baths. It is semi-detached, attached to one other identical house. For more than five square miles, similar houses make up a moderate-income neighborhood. Until recently! Oh, the boxes look the same. It’s the income numbers that have changed. Continue Reading
July 27, 2016
If I Knew at 60 What I Know Now
I recently attended my Aunt Pearlie’s 94th birthday celebration. Also in attendance were her 88-year-old sister, Geneva, and her other sister who happens to be my 87-year-old mother, Lucille. It was a glorious event. It goes without saying they have marvelous and intriguing stories to tell. Continue reading
August 11, 2016
Dated -- Game Room Celebrations
Do you remember the “game room” of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s? Located in the basement of most houses, teenagers would entertain their friends there and slow drag to the six minutes and 13 seconds of “Stay in My Corner” at red-light-bulb parties. I recently saw a rerun of the television show Roc where Roc’s father called it the “rumpus room”; another antiquated term. Continue reading
September 5, 2016
Lillian Durodola -The New 90
Some say 40 is the new 20, and 60 is the new 40. What is 90? More specifically, what is 92? In the case of Lillian Durodola, it is well-coifed, lucid, alluring, chic and ethereal. These are only a few of her many pleasant attributes I encountered during a recent visit with her. I am not speaking of “visit” in the nursing home/hospital sense. I stopped by her apartment where she lives independently. I hadn’t seen her for a while, but she looked exactly the same as when I met her some 30 years earlier.
September 25, 2016
Dated: The Platform Shoe
Who will ever forget the scene in the movie I’m Gonna Get You Sucka when Doodlebug, sharp as a razor blade, descends a staircase wearing shoes that house aquariums in the platforms? Of course, the platforms burst before he got halfway down the block, spewing fish tank gravel and plastic aquarium plants all over the sidewalk. Those shoes have been replicated but never duplicated since the release of that movie and that scene is a classic. Continue reading
October 14, 2016
Wendy Denise Bridges: Walking in a New Season
I first saw Wendy about three years ago when I became a part of a water aerobics class for senior citizens. My initial thought was she must have been allowed in the class through some sort of waiver because there was no way this woman was over 60; she looked way too young and sprightly. “Perhaps she’s a veteran,” I thought. “Or, maybe a relative or friend of someone who had influence.”
May 28, 2017
On Being A Lady
To say my first encounters with being a “lady” were horrific is an understatement. They involved learning to sit with my knees closed and my ankles crossed in church and keeping my white crinoline slip dress clean. The former seemed an exercise in futility and the latter practically impossible in the soot laden and sulphur smelling air of the 20th century active steel mill town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However, master them I was forced to do -- first to avoid the fiery switches of a mighty taskmaster, my mother; and second to avoid acquiring the label of being “fast,” code for a “loose woman”. Continue Reading
July 14, 2016
What Happened to Happy Endings?
I love happy endings. Which is why I want Olivia to forget about Fitz and run off with Jake to live on the beach. Which is why I wanted Cookie to fall madly in love with the security guy in season one and run off to Las Vegas. Which is why I want Jerrod to marry Maxine and give Loretta Divine and David Alan Grier chubby adorable grandkids. Continue reading
August 8, 2017
Tools for the Next Generation
“We brought you some KCF,” my 7-year-old granddaughter proudly announced as she entered my bedroom.
I had used the time she had been away shopping with my daughter to catch up on a couple of my DVR-ed soaps.* Continue Reading
March 23, 2017
If I Knew at 60 What I Know Now (2)
I recently attended a Black History Month celebration honoring nine octogenarians, five of whom were African American females. It took some effort tracking the ladies down as their schedules left little time for them to talk to me. But eventually, I was able to speak with three of them about their journeys and to ask them the perennial question, “What do you wish you had known at 60 years of age that you know now?” Continue Reading
January 7, 2018
More Than A Number
I recently realized I have lived through major events that occurred before a lot of people today were even born. Kind of eerie! Actually, it was the second Twilight Zone* moment of my life having to do with aging. The first occurred about 30 years ago when a clerk at a Sears catalogue order pickup desk called me “Ma’am.” Not in a being polite to a customer sense, but in an “You’re old enough to be my mother” sense. I wanted to say, “I’m not that old.” But, I was thrown off when I looked at him. He looked barely old enough to be eligible for a Work Permit. Neither did any of the clerks in the department. They looked 12 or 13 years old at the most; but here they were working at Sears delivering my telephone order. (Always the online shopper!) Continue Reading
August 2, 2018
Advice for Your First Kiss
I kissed a dolphin. (Almost!)
Actually, I was the last in a line of about 20 other landlubbers, young and old, each having the goal of kissing a dolphin. But after donning a life jacket, walking down a long pier, entering the water, and trying to defy gravity by remaining still while wearing a life jacket, my excitement waned. I clung to a gate as we watched the well-choreographed jumps, dives, and claps of the sea creature at the behest of the trainer. However, upon viewing the pointy teeth of the mammal (the dolphin, not the trainer) and learning she was pregnant, my enthusiasm further diminished. The trainer also warned not to approach the animal but to let her come to you. I was the last person in line to kiss the slimy lips. When the person before me passed, it made it easier for me to say, “That’s okay. I’m good!” Continue Reading
October 23, 2018
Sunday Morning Shine
When I was a child, my father would cook breakfast for the family every Sunday morning. Canned salmon sauteed in liquid, eggs, green peppers and onions served over rice. Toast with blobs of butter melted and browned under the broiler of the oven. Milk for me and my three sisters and coffee for him and my mother. (Sometime around the time I turned 16, there was a coffee cup set for me at the table when I came down for breakfast.) It was the same breakfast every Sunday morning which was both beautiful and monotonous. Unfortunately as a child, I didn’t appreciate the beauty of it. But I certainly enjoyed the taste of it. Continue Reading
November 6, 2017
Tribute to "Church Ladies"
Last Sunday morning, I was helping my 88-year-old mother pick out jewelry to match the suit, hat, and shoes she would be wearing to church. The band on her hat perfectly matched the color of her blouse which perfectly matched her shoes. Aches and pains aside, when she walked into church, she and her outfit were a testament to the elegance of black women in general and the elegance of black “church ladies” specifically. Pass by most black churches on Sunday morning and you will see outfits that rival those of New York Fashion Week and those of the current potentates of today’s fashion world. Continue Reading
May 29, 2019
I was invited to a wedding recently. It’s been a while. Currently, my friends who aren’t happily married are either widowed, divorced, and/or blissfully single. And almost all of them and their kids are grandparents. So, it was with great delight and gleeful anticipation that I quickly RSVP’d that I would attend. Next consideration – the gift. Well, these days that’s pretty simple, money or gift cards. Easy enough! But that didn’t stop me from reminiscing about when I first started receiving wedding invitations shortly after completing high school in my newly independent days. Continue Reading
September 13, 2019
I grew up in an era where children were seen and not heard. However, just because we were not heard doesn’t mean we couldn't hear. So it was that even though I was sent out of the room or outdoors to play when my mom and her girlfriends got together, I would place myself within earshot of hearing their conversations. After watching “Search for Tomorrow” or “Guiding Light” on television, they would bring out the “home brew” or Iron City beer. Then, the trash talk would begin. They would predict what was going to happen on the “stories,” discuss who in the neighborhood was going with whom, whose son had gotten into trouble and was being sent to the Army (because that’s what happened back then when boys got into trouble), and whatever the latest uproar was in the neighborhood. Some days Mrs. Franklin, the lady who lived two doors down, would send homemade yeast rolls fresh from the oven. I would sit on the stoop, eat rolls, and drink kool-aid while the ladies were inside just “shooting the breeze” and talking trash.
Fast forward 60+ years. I’m sitting on the bottom step in front of my mom’s front porch not because I had been relegated there, but because she was having work done outside her house. I was perched near the workmen to be sure they had access to everything they needed. My mom and one of her girlfriends were sitting on the porch when a friend of theirs drove past the house. She blew her horn, pulled over, and joined them on the porch. The three of them went through the usual pleasantries – what was going on in their churches, who had died, who had moved in with their kids or vice versa. Much to my astonishment, after about a half hour or so, they descended into trash talk and they went deep. I could hardly believe it and even at my “advanced” age, I realized that their experiences far outranked mine. They were out of my league and I could contribute nothing to the conversation and I didn’t dare try. So, as I had done in yesteryear, I sat quietly and listened in amazement. This went on for about 20 minutes with their promising to get together really soon to continue the talk. “I’ll bring the wine,” one said. “I’ll have the beer here,” my mom added. “You know I’ll take a beer,” the third woman interjected.
“I’ll bring the ice,” I tried to jokingly interject as they passed by me while walking their friend to her car. They totally ignored me. Didn’t even hear me.
Seen but not heard feels the same.
November 25, 2016
It wasn’t often, but when I was growing up, occasionally my mother allowed me to spend the night with her mother who lived across town from us. Those times spent with Grandma are among my most fondest and exquisite memories, beginning with her four poster bed. Grandma had two mattresses on top of a box spring appropriately adorned with a dust ruffle, sheets, quilt and a luxurious fruity smell. I always felt like a princess when I mounted the stepstool to get in it. Continue Reading
The most fabulous women I know are African American and over the age of 60. We are feisty, sassy, and our shoes and purses match. We drive the latest model cars, and have well-manicured lawns in front of homes that we own. Some of us are globetrotting and others are still slaying in the corporate world everyday! Whatever the case, we are Seasoned, Gifted and Black! This blog is for and about us! Interested in a specific topic? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org