Well, since I have been reminicing about childhood things lately. I figured I would start from the beginning. I think about my life sometimes and how I think about the early things that have shaped my references and points of origins. The images that come to mind are the first that I remember that are still with me today – but in no particular order.
1) First address – 1462 Gaty, East St. Louis
2) First Church – Mt. Siani Baptist Church – Rev. White (A dark black man with a bald head that sweated when he preached.
3) Wrestling at the Chase – with Dick the Bruiser, Nature Boy Rick Flair, Andre’ The Giant
4) Fisher Price Toys – Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down
5) First Easter Suit – a white suit with a red shirt and white tie – and a brim my dad called, “His Godfather hat.”
6) Cardinal games – with my father sitting in the bleachers with the old men who talked much smack!
7) First Heartbreak – Some girl I liked in the first grade named Lisa. But she liked Jerome Malone. One day I saw them walking home from school with his arm around her. Sigh! Jerome was a pretty cool guy. Still is the last time I saw him in the mid 90s.
8) Wanting to run away from home – cause I didn’t want to eat brussel sprouts. My mom told me that I had to eat them before I could leave the table. I sat there horrified, and told my dad that I would run away if I had to eat them. He said, “Well just let me know when you are ready to run away.” When I said I was ready, he tore my ass up!
9) First favorite song – Soul Man, by Sam & Dave. My mom and grandfather say I would go nuts when that song came on and would sing, “I’m a soul man!” everytime the chorus came on.
10) First favorite teacher – Mrs. Jefferson 2nd Grade at Lilly Freeman Elementary School in East. St. Louis
11) My first memory period was sitting in my mothers lap with a bottle in my mouth as she watched the soap opera, “Search for Tomorrow” Believe it or not I was wearing diapers and I was probably 2. We were in my mom’s room. I will never forget that.
And finally my first lesson in subliminal race awareness – one Christmas Eve my dad asked me if I would mind if I had a “Black Santa Clause.” I said, “Heck no! I wanted the “real one” because he had all the “good stuff!” My dad kinda laughed but I can tell he was taken aback. I was only 5, so where did I learn to hate myself so early on? Hmmmm.