Chattahoochee Child


PART TWO

The headlines in the newspaper caught my attention. Bibb Manufacturing Company becomes a ghost town. I stared at the caption with a tight bewildered look on my face, reading it again, picturing the desolate hope filled community of Bibb City, Georgia, the destitute textile community of my youth. Bibb City was the small cotton mill town where my footprints were imprinted within the clay riverbeds. Bibb City was the only place I had roots established. Bibb City was Home to me.

The richness of life in a mill town is disappearing now while the little town called Bibb slowly becomes extinct. Bibb Manufacturing Company abandoned the area in 1998, closing the mill, leaving a graveyard of homes, failing businesses, broken families and memories behind. The hunger for better jobs, civil rights, and the race for modern technology prevailed, leaving the Town of Bibb City devastated.

I poured another cup of coffee, reading the article again. The years of working as a reporter filled my mind with curiosities and questions about the dying communities of mill workers. I scribbled notes on a pad. My mind rushed back to my youth, playing a mental continuous loop video of memories from the small town of Bibb City, Georgia.

Why was the little town  called Bibb City distressing me? Years ago, I drove away from the Village without looking back, embarrassed to be associated with people who judged others by the colors of skin, religion, sexual preference, or political choice. Sipping a hot cup of coffee, I realized my perspective about Bibb City was changing.

Reading the article again, my body was shaking. If the mill is no longer in business, what will the residents of this precious mill village do for survival? Bibb Mill provided housing and when the Mill decided to sell those homes to mill workers, many of the hard working employees took their first steps to independence and the American dream — a home — a brick and mortar foundation where roots could remain.  My grandparents became homeowners, buying a tiny brick home on Walnut Street. Grammy  insisted on buying a home so Mom could have a place to live.

After Grammy’s death, Mom had other ideas. She sold the house, wasting away all of the money. What about the historical value of the Bibb Mill? Couldn’t the politicians see the potential for historical recording? Was everything in the corporate world about the potential for a profit? What about the families who lived in the Village?

A whirlpool of mixed emotions churned inside me. As I read the article about the abolishment of the town I knew so well, I discovered childhood feelings resurfacing. I debated my anger for a few moments, realizing I could do nothing to stop the bureaucracy of developers, who had no comprehension of the premise of life in a mill town. The one thing I could do was to write about the rise and fall of Bibb Manufacturing Company. As my grandfather reminded me, “You work for the Mill, you’ll always have a job.” Papa died before the Mill closed.

I called my editor, leaving a voice mail, expressing interest in a story about mill workers. Bibb City would be the focal point. When he returned my call, I pitched the idea.

“We have to do this story,” I said. “It isn’t just about life in a mill town. It’s a story about relationships, civil rights, bigotry, and so much more. It’s a feature, maybe even a series. We’ll start with The Rise and Fall of The Bibb Manufacturing Company.”

I waited for his response.

“Let me think about it.”

“I need a commitment now,” I pushed aggressively. “I’m packing my bags. There’s a story there and I’m going to get it,” I said. “My mother lives there. She’s had a stroke.”

“Sounds like you have some issues,” Garrett groaned.

“A few. If you’re not interested in the story, I’ll find someone else.”

Garrett laughed. “That’s what I like about you, Rebecca. You always push to the limit.”

“I’ll call you later,” Garrett breathed into the phone.

I hung up.

 

 

Special Words and Goals for 2016


Dearest Readers:

The new year of 2016 is here, and here with this new year, I am somewhat behind. Behind??? Yes, definitely. As an active blogger and writer, I like to be on ‘top of things…’ ‘Ahead of the game.’ And I do not like to procrastinate. Here it is — Friday, January 8, and I am finally writing and wishing all “Happy New Year.” So sorry to be ‘behind the times.’

For this year, I have decided not to set a goal for 2016 — I am starting the year off with one seven-letter-word. BELIEVE! While I was at lunch today with two of my dearest friends locally, I shared my word, after Tammy shared her word for this year. “Simplicity,” she said. I snickered saying, “Funny, we are a lot alike. I’ve decided not to establish ‘goals’ for this year, but to fulfill 2016 with one word — “Believe…” Or perhaps, I should say — BELIEF — in myself. In my abilities to express myself and to share my stories with the world.

I have the tendency  not to believe in my writing skills or talents. I have received several writing awards for screenwriting, novel writing, non-fiction and photography awards plastered on my wall across from my desk. I was hopeful those awards would encourage me. Alas…They haven’t.

For too many years, I’ve had a story dancing inside my head. A beautiful little Pollyanna ballet dancer is eager to share this story with the world, only — every time I attempt to allow my fingers to dance across the keyboard and write more of this story, I hear words of cruelty – not dancing but pounding inside my brain, laughing at me, screaming, shouting abusive language saying “You stupid child. What makes you think you can write?”

Reluctantly, each time, I walk away from the keyboard. Sometimes to sing since music, dancing and singing are my therapies. Other times, I rush to my bedroom, closing the door, escaping to a place I know just a bit too much. I slide on the bed, curling myself into a fetal position, and there, while all alone, the demons of depression captivate me once again.

Years ago, when I thought of this story, I thought of the title first, only to realize while I might have a ‘catchy’ title, I did not have the plot, characterization and timing down. Reluctantly, I placed the title, story outline and ‘compost files’ inside my computer, inside of files, stashed inside notebooks. Those of you who are writers probably are nodding saying to yourself, ‘Oh Honey…I know just how you feel!’

My readers probably are nodding too — thinking — just what is your problem, Barbie — don’t you know you CAN write?

At times. And then, there are other times — when the monsters dance inside my head, laughing at me — almost hysterically — saying — “What makes you think YOU can write???” I’ve allowed the poisons of my mother’s words to torment me for much too long. Now, in the year of 2016, I recognize, it is time for me to stop allowing the torments of the past to continue poisoning me now.  I must toss the past away, allowing all of these mental aches and pains  to float into the air, or into the darkness of fog, or maybe into the oceans, just to wash them away for the final time in my lifetime. May they never return. I must be accountable and now, I must reach for my stars.

And so, I start this New Year fresher than the ending of 2015. One word which will teach me to bury the past and BELIEVE! I must BELIEVE. I can write this story…and this year, I will!

BELIEVE — According to Dictionary.com, Believe is:

“to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so:

Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully.
verb (used with object), believed, believing.
2.

to have confidence or faith in the truth of (a positive assertion, story, etc.); give credence to.”
Yes, it is time for me to BELIEVE. To write with passion. To allow my fingers to dance across the keyboard…To open those forgotten files I found last week while searching for something else. This file contains the documents I have been searching for so I can get the story written! I was ecstatic when I found this file! BELIEVE! Not just a coincidence, but a belief!
Yes, a seven-letter-word is my word for 2016. I simply Must BELIEVE!
Josh Groban sings a song titled BELIEVE. My favorite lyrics of this song are:
“Believe in what your heart is saying
Hear the melody that’s playing
There’s no time to waste
There’s so much to celebrate
Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need
If you just believe.”
Perhaps this song will be my belief for this year — “You have everything you need IF You just BELIEVE!

Belated Happy Father’s Day From the Holy City, Charleston, SC


Dearest Readers:

I do apologize for not writing a post about Father’s Day yesterday. If you read my posts on a regular basis, you will note, I live in the Holy City, Charleston, SC. Last week was truly a week of grief and shock for us, and when I heard about the church shootings early Thursday morning, I was truly in shock. I ask – “How? How does this happen in a Holy City.

Since the nine murders, I have worked on the events for a news publication and I have prayed…and PRAYED…and PRAYED. Some people believe that prayers do not help us, but I beg to differ. Prayer has always gotten me through the tough, shocking times in life.

Today, I do hope those who celebrated Father’s Day (and I am one of them) shared words of love, and gratitude for fathers. My father died in 1999; nevertheless, I still grieve for him and miss him. I can hear his melodious voice and I laugh when I hear it. Words cannot express how much I miss him. I am thankful that he and I were able to work through difficult times and not look back and on Father’s Day, we spent time together, appreciating and loving the bonding we shared.

So, to all of you who are Fathers, today I would like to say thank you. Thank you for being who you are and thank you for moving through the difficult times while remembering it is the little things in life that make a difference. Little things – like seeing a child born. Not exactly a little thing, but the precious gift of birth is something significant that changes our lives. Little things like awakening in the morning to see a new day…a bright sunshine…the gift of life and love.

I plan to write more in my blog about Charleston – at a later date – after I can decipher my notes and research. For now, I am proud that our Holy City is rising higher than the tallest church steeple to embrace what happened while teaching the world that we are a proud city – not filled with hatred…anger…and such bigotry. We will stand tall and survive.

Belated Father’s Day wishes to all of our precious fathers. Thank you for helping our city to move forward with pride…acceptance…love…and compassion.

If you would like to help the Holy City heal, USA TODAY shared this information:

“People can help in these ways:

• Donate to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund at any Wells Fargo branch across the USA.

• Send a check to Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, c/o City of Charleston, P.O. Box 304, Charleston, S.C. 29402.

• Text ‘prayforcharleston’ to 843-606-5995 or go to http://www.bidr.co/prayforcharleston to donate by credit card.

• Send a check to Lowcountry Ministries, a South Carolina nonprofit that also has established a fund to help Emanuel and support projects for youth and vulnerable populations, at Lowcountry Ministries — the Rev. Pinckney Fund, c/o The Palmetto Project, 6296 Rivers Ave. #100, North Charleston, S.C. 29406.

• Donate to the Pinckney Fund online at palmettoproject.org via major credit card or PayPal.

• Give directly to Emanuel AME Church. You can donate online via major credit card or PayPal.

Donations to both Lowcountry Ministries and Emanuel AME Church are tax deductible.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/18/charleston-church-shooting-donations/28959731/

Backstabbing Friends — What It Is And How To Cope…


Dearest Readers:

All of my life I have experienced situations with — and I USE the term loosely — “Friends.” I consider friendships something to be cherished — the chosen few — the friend we stand by through thick and thin. If you read my blog regularly you will know I have written about friendships many times; nevertheless, never have I discussed backstabbing friends. Not until now. I suppose recent assignments have got me thinking.

Have you ever experienced backstabbing friends? You know the type — in front of a crowd, they hug and kiss and pretend to be such good friends…Turn your back and you can almost feel the knife twisting inside of you. I have always thought backstabbing friends are filled with insecurities. When they criticize you with hurt and discontent, yes, it does hurt — but only for a while. My theory has always been when I am your friend, I am loyal to you. I trust you. I believe we are friends because God has a purpose for us. However, if you become vicious, let’s just say — I have no use for this type of friendship.

I’ve been wrong many times, and now, I am skeptical of friendship relationships. I keep to myself most of the time, simply because I do not need backstabbing friendships — AT ALL! Good friends — we all need good friends, just not the poisonous back stabbers!

You might be curious as to the definition of backstabbing friends. Who they are. What they are…and Why? In a nutshell — backstabbing friends are indeed insecure. Ridiculing you — behind YOUR back makes them feel equal. Powerful — in all reality — they are powerless. Perhaps they do not understand how vindictive, deceitful, conniving and UGLY they really are. They have loose tongues…and when they see you coming…suddenly, they retreat. Yes, they will whisper…Yes, they will pretend and when you turn your back — the game is on.

Backstabbing friends are users. They will pretend to have the upper hand, hoping you will share your secrets with them…and if you do share — trust me — those secrets are spread like a California wildfire!

I’ve dealt with backstabbing friendships in the Corporate World too, finding them the most destructive.

Today, I am proud to say, I do have many friends; nevertheless, only a few close ‘best friends.’ My best friends know who they are so I will not reveal their identity here. Never have I shared secrets with anyone — not even my husband. I suppose I am from the old school – ethics and morals taught to me by my amazing grandmother. She always said I should be pretty on the outside — but beautiful and Godly on the inside. “Never reveal secrets to anyone,” she said…and “NEVER break those secrets shared. Be kind to others and never do unto others what you wouldn’t have done to you.”

My grandmother was an incredible, soft-spoken woman. Living in a mill village, she was the therapist lots of people would come to — to vent — to cry…and sometimes, just to scream. Highly religious, she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School in the Pentecostal churches, and she practiced her beliefs and faith in her daily life. She never turned anyone away and when I asked her why the people came to her she always smiled and said, “She has a burden we needed to lift.” No explanation of what was stewing, just words of wisdom. Many times I was curious as to how nice, caring and angelic my maternal grandmother was, compared to my mother. Now that I am just a bit wiser, I realize my mother chose to be more like my maternal grandfather — backstabbing friends — only these were blood relatives. It is a bit difficult to turn away from them!

Dealing With Backstabbers

How do I deal with backstabbing friends? Normally, I kill them with kindness, and then — I STEP AWAY!  The highest compliment is to prove by your actions and your diplomacy how kind and diplomatic you can be — even when the enemy is nearby. Suppose I forgot to mention — backstabbing friends are enemies…and you’ve probably heard the cliche about enemies… “Keep your friends close — YOUR ENEMIES closer.” And that is how I deal with them. I might speak. I might laugh, and I might compliment — while watching them with a careful eye. Getting close again — not on your life!

I refuse to resort to the destructive tactics of backstabbers. I am cool…calm…and collected… If these backstabbers invite me to an outing, my calendar is always full…after all, I have stories to write, important things to do.

I prefer to keep my private life – PRIVATE! Once betrayed by a backstabber, never do I trust them again.

I simply do not need passive-aggressive, backstabbing people in my inner circle of friends; after all, I lived with a mother who was passive-aggressive, almost bi-polar and meaner than the most vicious snake one could ever meet.

Backstabbers cut like a knife, and I imagine they are extremely lonely people. After all, living well, being happy and complete within yourself — well — to me it is priceless!

Think I’ll continue being a fair weather friend. After all, I am horrified of thunder and lightning. I don’t need all of that drama from untrusting, cruel people.

Backstabber friends — just stay away! I have bridges to cross…journeys to take…and much life to live!

 

http://www.lifescript.com/well-being/articles/b/backstabbing_friends_and_co-workers.aspx

 

 

Happy New Year…2015


Hello Readers and Happy New Year:

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a fresh and Happy New Year, 2015. Today, all of us step into a new journey in our lives…a new year.

What will happen to our world in 2015?

What will we accomplish?

No one has a magical looking-glass to glance into to find out, or predict. Some people have the power to predict what might happen, but none of us truly know.

We must face each morning with a new outlook. A new beginning…A new breath.

I wish all of my readers a Happy and Healthy New Year. May all of us step into our new year with a fresh outlook. A positive attitude. Faith. Belief. And most of all, may we appreciate those we know, and those we will meet this year.

May our lives be blessed just to know, appreciate and love one another! May we all dance to our own music. May we see and appreciate the sunrises and sunsets in our lives and most of all, may we face each day with a new beginning!

Happy New Year, 2015!

Chattahoochee Child — Saga Continues…


Chattahoochee Child
Barbie Perkins-Cooper
Copyright 2014

Walking around the flower displays at the exhibit hall of the Coastal Carolina Fair, I inhaled the aromatic smells of pale orange roses. Garrett touched a rose petal. I tapped his hand.

“You aren’t supposed to touch them,” I scolded. He laughed, stepping back.

“Coral roses are my favorites,” I whispered, my mind rushing back to the first time I received roses. Garrett was in Vietnam. We were celebrating our first anniversary alone while he fought the war. The roses were delivered in a long white box. One dozen beautiful, aromatic coral roses that I would cherish for as long as they lived. I was touched by his thoughtfulness in a war zone, so far from home and so alone.

Our marriage started with everything against us. My family made bets that we would be divorced within six months. We proved them all wrong. Although some family members considered us separated when he left for war, I refused to consider us apart. I wrote letters to him every day, sent monthly care packages and lived only for him. The gesture of one dozen roses on our anniversary meant the world to me. I was stepping into a new journey in my life as a young, married woman and I was determined to make this journey a positive one. Although I was only 18-years-old, I had lived a sad, abusive life. I wanted to close the door and never look back. I prayed God would open a window for me and my marriage when I closed the door of abuse.

Admiring the artistry of the displays of flowers, a familiar song played in the background. I listened, singing the chorus while my mind drifted back in time.

I was about five-years-old when I heard the song, “I’ll Be Loving You Always,” playing on the radio while my mother drove Papa’s fishing car, a 1958 pink and white rambler four door sedan. At our house mom marched around, barking orders, screaming at me, demanding me to hurry up. I was the only child home that morning, so I rushed around, grabbing my activity bag in hopes my mother’s mood would change.

Sitting in the front seat of the car, I turned on the radio. We were driving to my paternal grandmother’s house for a visit. Mom appeared a bit agitated that morning, sharp-tongued and impatient. I turned the volume up, listening to the music. Mom sang the lyrics softly. “I’ll be loving you always. With a love that’s true. Always. When the things you’ve planned need a helping hand, I will understand, Always…”

I looked at my mom as she sang. Never have I heard her singing before. I smiled, enjoying this special moment.

Mom glanced over at me. “What are you looking at?” She asked.

“I’m listening to you singing. I’ve never heard you sing before.”

“Stupid child. It’s just a song.”

“It’s a song you like. I can tell, just by watching you.”

“I like the song,” I said… “And when I grow up, I’ll sing it to you and Daddy when I become a singer.”
Mom laughed, a snickering laughter that made me uncomfortable.

“You’re such a silly, foolish child. Don’t you know that love don’t last. That song is stupid.”

Stupid was my mother’s favorite word.

“I believe in love,” I said, lifting my head to look at the gorgeous sunshine beaming into the car. “When I grow up, I’ll fall in love and I’ll sing that song. You just wait.”

“For a five-year-old you sure have some stupid dreams. You ain’t never gonna be a singer. You’re gonna be just like me…Married to a man who beats you, and having babies again.”

My mother was pregnant again, and not happy about it.

“I’ll get married, and I’ll have a baby, but I’ll never let a man hit me. Never.”

Walking around the displays of flowers at the fair, I listened to the song, wiping a tear from my eyes. This was the first time in many years that I cried over the loss of my mother. I sat on a bench, buried my head in my hands so I could wipe my face. Garrett joined me.

“Why are you crying?” He reached for my hand.

“That song. It brought back memories of my childhood and my mother, on one of her good days. That was her favorite song.”

Garrett wiped a tear from my face.

“She was singing that song in the car as she drove to my paternal grandmother’s house. I was only five-years-old, but I remember her saying she was having another baby again. It was one of her good days. That song changed her demeanor. She actually smiled.”

Later that night, I grabbed Garrett, hugging him tightly, thanking him for having a fun day with me. Our marriage was slowly improving for the better. I sang the song “Always,” over and over in my mind until I fell asleep. The next morning, the song replayed in my mind. I went to the special window in my home, the wide open window next to my desk. The window I sat by listening to fog horns in the distance. The window that beams sunshine on me. I looked up to the sky, curious if my mother was attempting to communicate to me from the grave.

“Are you there, Mom?” Tears fell from my eyes while the lyrics of “Always” continued playing.

There’s a reason for this memory to be replaying again and again, but I don’t know what it could be. Could it be my mother making the attempt to apologize and say that she loved me? Was it just a coincidence that we walked into the flower exhibits as that song started to play? I’d like to believe this happened for a reason. In 1978, I cut the chords between my mother and me, after another verbal dispute where she told my son I was a whore, nothing more. Leaving her filthy home, I chose only to speak to her when there was a funeral or family tragedy.

During her illness, I was caring for my terminally ill father. When my mother died in 2002, I was dreadfully ill and could not attend her funeral.

“I’ll be loving you, always.
Days may not be fair Always.
That’s when I’ll be there, Always.
Not for just an hour.
Not for just a day.
Not for just a year,
But Always.”

The lyrics of “Always” touched me more than I anticipated. It had been over twenty years since I cried over the estrangement and loss of my mother, and today, the tears rushed down my face like an endless waterfall. I’ve always believed that those we have lost can communicate with us again. Today was that day. My psychic abilities were a gift from my maternal grandmother who could predict good and bad things happening to us and others. Repeatedly, I have had dreams about someone dying, only to realize the death had happened. Two days before Benjamin broke our engagement, I dreamed that he was breaking up with me. When the letter arrived, I was not surprised. When Garrett was in Vietnam, I awoke in the middle of the night fearful for his life. I circled the date and time on my calendar, staying awake the rest of the night to write him a letter. Twenty days later, a letter from him arrived confirming that he was involved in a battle where he was in the jungle fighting while struggling to keep the communication lines working. In my dream, I visualized him in a thick jungle going deeper and deeper into battle. The more I strove to get closer to him, the thicker the jungle became and I knew just from this visual dream that he was in trouble. I compared the date of his letter and the date circled on my calendar. They matched perfectly. Another vision was a reality.

Early July 6, 1999, at 3:45 in the morning, I dreamed my dad was dying. I phoned the nursing home to have them check on him, telling them I’d had another dream of his death. By now, the nursing home was accustomed to these phone calls. They reassured me he was fine. That afternoon, at 5:45 pm, I approached the doorway of my dad’s room, only to meet a nurse who was entering with an oxygen tank. “Oh, God no,” I cried. At 6:00, my dad died.

On September 9, 2001, I dreamed about several men dressed in long trench coats, dark-skinned with thick black beards, entering two planes. The planes crashed killing every one on board. Another group of men, armed with weapons, wearing trench coats approached beach crowds, shooting the families and beach bums relaxing on the beach. Two days later, I awoke to the tragedies of 9-11-01. Coincidence? Visions? Perhaps.

Visions were part of my life. Each time I had them, I recognized the psychic abilities I possessed were a reflection and a gift of who I was in life. No doubt, I was a witch.

Yes, my mother was communicating to me. Perhaps she was apologizing and the lyrics of the song, “I’ll Be Loving You Always,” were her way of letting me know that in death she recognized her cruel behaviors were due to the unhappiness she had in her life. Perhaps through the compelling lyrics expressing her love, “Always” she was communicating her love to me. Sitting at my desk, I found the song on YouTube, playing it over and over.

Today was a new day. A day to believe that now, in death, my mother loved me, Always.

Ray Rice…Let’s Just Say…He Isn’t A Role Model…


Dearest Readers:

Yes, it is a true…everyone has an opinion about Ray Rice. Of course you must know, I have an opinion too and my opinion is this story is about Domestic Violence…from both sides.

In the TMZ video, I noticed Janay Palmer (his fiancee at the time) slaps Ray. This appears to start the fight BEFORE the fight intensified after the elevator door closes. I imagine this video is edited, after all, many of those broadcasting sites have the tendency to report, and I quote, “If it bleeds…it leads…”

As an advocate against domestic violence of any type, I believe Ray Rice is finally getting what he and his wife deserves! Reportedly, Ray Rice has been suspended from the NFL. President Obama has spoken out about the suspension stating and I quote, “…Stopping domestic violence is something that’s bigger than football, and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it…”

I am just a bit annoyed at all of these comments. Domestic violence has been happening within the closed doors (or elevators) for generations. Most people have always looked the other way…! “They don’t want to get involved…besides…it is a family matter!” Why is it suddenly coming to the surface, and finally getting the attention of a President — NOW! Because of football???

It is a known fact that domestic violence INCREASES during football season. Maybe it’s the testosterone that gets a man’s blood rushing thru his body while watching his favorite, and violent sport — football! I certainly had opportunities last night to observe this scenario at a football bar and grill locally. Sitting at the bar with a friend while my husband and her husband watched the game, I looked around the bar area. We were the only women sitting at the bar, so it was just a bit easy to listen to these men as they fought over that silly brown ball. During half-time, the discussion of Ray Rice began, so I listened — not to the TV, but to these testosterone overloaded, booze drinking men. Among the words I heard were:

“She got what she deserved…”
“She put herself in a man’s place…”
“Why is the NFL getting involved with a situation between a man and woman who love each other…”

My Julia Sugarbaker demeanor was steaming!

I looked at one guy speaking with another guy. “She started the fight…did you see her slapping at him? She was asking for it.”

“Excuse me, gentlemen,” I interrupted. My husband shook his head and mumbled something. I suppose I was embarrassing my husband, but I didn’t care. I had a message to deliver:

“You gentlemen keep saying she got what she deserved. After all…
“She put herself in a man’s place… Obviously, you are not educated about domestic abuse. While I agree that she shouldn’t take a swing at him, she did not deserve to be knocked down. And IF you saw the video, you will notice HE did not knock her down within public settings…He waited until the elevator doors closed…and THEN the swinging, pushing, and knocking her around began…This IS what happens with domestic violence…The perpetrator waits until the doors close, and then he goes after his prey!”

The two men glared at me, along with my husband. I am certain my husband was livid that I was speaking, but this was my moment to voice what domestic violence is! Let’s just say, my husband knows that when I feel a passion about issues, I definitely attempt to voice my concerns, AND, I will not go quietly into the night!

I continued. Much to my surprise, these men were not interrupting me! “You also questioned, and I quote, “Why is the NFL getting involved with a situation between a man and woman who LOVE each other…”

“All of you need to understand, domestic violence is not about love. It is about control…jealousy…anger…outrage…never is it LOVE. A man who loves a woman, and a woman who loves a man, will not swing out at each other, slapping, hitting, shouting and knocking the partner to the ground.”

The two men glared at me again, ordering another beer. I cannot imagine why, but they got extremely quiet, choosing to gulp the beers and watch the beloved football game. I hope and pray the team they wanted to win — LOST!

I have no compassion for Ray Rice, and I have a limited compassion about his wife. Never do I understand why she married him, but that is for her to decide, and I imagine within a few years there will probably be a divorce…when she gets the courage to say — Enough is enough.” Perhaps money was a deciding factor???

Nevertheless, I do hope the scenario between the violence of Ray and Jayna Rice will open the eyes to the reality that domestic violence occurs daily in America. While there are laws regarding domestic violence, http://www.mincava.umn.edu/documents/ffc/chapter5/chapter5.html, we need shelters, venues and education pertaining to domestic violence. Unfortunately, the State of South Carolina has the highest rate of domestic violence in the nation. My, ain’t we so proud! This state appears to have the tendency to just slap the good ole boy on the wrist while giving him community service, or a night or two in the jail system. Yes, I live in South Carolina — a state — way behind the times!

As for the Rice Family — It is sad that they have a beautiful little girl. Why? Simple. She will grow up observing her parents fighting, sometimes slapping and knocking each other down. I walked in those shoes. Since I served as a referee between my parents when they fought physically and verbally with shouting and boxing matches I fought to end, and I promised myself at the age of five-years-old that I would not treat my family in such a way. It is horrible to watch your parents fighting, shouting, cursing and demonstrating what Love IS NOT! I pray that this precious child will not have to stand between her parents. One thing I did notice in the environment of our home as a child — whenever my parents were around company or family, never did they shout, curse or fight. All of these actions were behind closed doors with exception of when I was five years of age. On that occasion, my dad knocked my mother to the ground — outside, around other women. The other women simply walked away, never saying a word. As for my actions, I stood next to my dad telling him he was a mean man and I never wanted to see him hit my mother again! Never did I SEE him hit her again, but I did see the bruises!

Children need to grow up in a LOVING home, not a home filled with the monster of domestic violence. Regardless, I will still say, Domestic Violence is not LOVE! Love is gentle and kind…not control or violence!

As for Ray Rice, I pray that soon there will be another news story to broadcast, not another tragic story of domestic abuse. Maybe Ray Rice should join another long line — isn’t it called the unemployment line?

Domestic Violence in South Carolina…Will It EVER END???


Dearest Readers:

Yesterday, I posted a story related to the book I am working on: “Chattahoochee Child.” The post I published yesterday was written months ago, revised a bit yesterday and published. I suppose the articles I am reading lately, a series from the Post and Courier newspaper titled, “Till Death Do Us Part,” http://www.postandcourier.com/tilldeath/ has really hit home with me. Why? Simple. My mother was a victim, along with my father. For years, I watched both of them brutalizing each other…sometimes with their fists, slaps, and most especially, with their toxic tongues. As the second born child, I stood up to them…unafraid of another slap. I said to myself, “So what if Mommy or Daddy slaps me…it isn’t the first time.”

Yes, it is true….I grew up in a household where slaps, angry words, and volatile tempers ruled the nest. Instead of praise, we learned at an early age that violence makes a statement. For me, the violence left me cold and alone. There were many times I hovered inside my closet. I covered myself with clothing so no one could find me. When thunder roared from the heavens, I screamed. When lightning flashed, I curled my body tightly into a fetal position, comforting myself because I was so afraid. Never did I share my fears with anyone. After all, the domestic violence brewing inside our home was a ‘family matter.’ No one else wanted to get involved, and so, I remained in the closet. Alone. Afraid. Horrified, especially when I listened to the shouting voices of my mother and father.

When I started dating, I apologized to my boyfriends…if I was late…if I was too quiet…If I didn’t please the boyfriend. I suppose I had stars in my eyes, wanting to please everyone. I am happy to say, I no longer behave in such a manner. Years later, married for fourteen years, I learned to stand up for myself during a fight with my husband. After he used abusive language, calling me disrespectful names I shall not repeat, I turned towards him…tears dancing inside my eyes, I said, “If you really loved me, you would not disrespect me in such a way. I’m tired of you belittling me. Stop it now!”

Dumbfounded, my husband glared at me, then he did something totally out of character. He apologized?!?

I suppose our marriage took a turn for the better on that date, after I finally found the strength to stand tall and not take his verbal abuse any longer. For years, I was blind-sighted to his verbal abuse. After all, when a child grows up with criticism and abuse, that is the only behaviors she expects as an adult.

Today, our marriage is better…stronger…and when the fits of PTSD escape from my husband’s body language and lips, I find myself speaking a little softer…and much wiser, telling him he needs to apologize to me because I am a worthy, decent and special person. I deserve better. I surprise myself at times — by the courage I have now to stand up and become an advocate for domestic violence…domestic abuse…and verbal abuse. I am so proud that I chose to turn my back on domestic violence and child abuse and not repeat that vicious cycle.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or verbal abuse, please — PLEASE find a way to escape. Read the articles on the website, http://www.postandcourier.com/tilldeath/, a series of seven articles worthy of your time. If you are dating someone who is cruel to you, contact – http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/dating-violence-statistics?gclid=CjwKEAjw4PCfBRCz966N9pvJ4GASJAAEdM_KXkD41t_tfyDkHDeVmXwIwmILULyyF6nBN0_atjBskhoCDFXw_wcB or call 1-866-331-9474, text – “loveis” to 22522.

For women, I found this site — http://www.whbw.org/education/the-stages-of-breaking-away/ — call 1-800-abuse95. Hopefully, if you are a victim, you will have family or friends to turn to. That isn’t always the case. As an advocate against domestic abuse of any type, there have been several times I came to the rescue of a victim. On one occasion, the abuser threatened to hit me, if I didn’t shut my mouth. I moved closer to him, daring him to hit me! Much to my surprise “Brutus” turned away, stopping the abuse. Later, this couple divorced.

I suppose these articles touched me in ways I never anticipated. Perhaps bringing back the memories of how I stood between my parents — serving as their referee from the age of five-years-old until I was fifteen. Yes, it is easier to lock those memories away, but I cannot. I have too much passion to do what I can to stop domestic violence…domestic abuse…or whatever titles the ‘good ole boys’ call it. I do not believe that a woman belongs in the home, or two steps behind a man, and I do not believe that a woman is a man’s property. I detest those types of comments and when I hear them — let’s just say — my Julia Sugarbaker charisma kicks in. Just the other evening someone said something demeaning about women and when I heard it — I stood my ground and let him have it! He called me a feminist. I replied, “Yes…thank you for the compliment. I am a feminist and I am proud to stand tall as a feminist. Any questions?”

Please, if you know someone who is dying inside from domestic violence…do not turn away. Encourage them to get help. If you live in South Carolina — well, let’s just say — our state is still behind the times…antiquated. Let us make some noise to get our legislators to awaken — to end domestic violence…Welcome to the State of South Carolina — Number One in Domestic Violence. My…ain’t we proud?!?

Please love yourself by remembering — to love — you must first love yourself!

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a
(New King James Version)
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Excerpt from “CHATTAHOOCHEE CHILD”


Dearest Readers:

Today, while finally gluing my butt to the chair, I am writing again. Today, I would like to share the latest Excerpt from “Chattahoochee Child.”

I hope you will enjoy!

A FAMILY MATTER…

Domestic Violence…Domestic Abuse… Regardless what it is called, it is truly a vicious monster. A wild, destructive monster that roars with such anger and turbulence I vowed never to allow it to knock at my door as a grown up. There were times I felt domestic violence knocking at my door, especially whenever Garrett felt threatened by his green-eyed monster of jealousy. At times I was horrified of my husband, especially on one occasion when we were fighting most of the day. He was in one of his PTSD rages, shouting at me, raising his fist, threatening, and when his anger got the best of him, he thrust his fist through the doorway of the hall. I jumped back.

“Was that directed at me?” I asked him.

He smirked. “No. I’d never hit you.”

I raised a manicured finger at him. “If you ever hit me, our marriage will end. IMMEDIATELY. Domestic violence is something I will never forgive.”

Garrett rubbed his fist. “Whatever,” he said, walking away.

In my marriage I was blind sighted to domestic violence. I made excuses. Always forgiving Garrett’s jealous rages, I tolerated his verbal abuse. Excusing his quick, hot temper as another rage from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I apologized for making him angry. Whenever men looked my way, I quickly glanced away. I did not want Garrett to lose his temper, or to shout at me. I closed myself inside my home, afraid that if he called and I wasn’t home, he would retaliate with another shouting match.
Domestic violence I knew much about as a child, although at the time it did not have the title of domestic abuse or violence. It was labeled a “family matter…” Shunned…Never mentioned. Ignored! As a married woman, never did I consider that my husband might become violent, and on the day that he thrust his fist through the door, I felt the fear that a victim of domestic violence fears and I promised myself that I would not become the next victim.

At the age of five-years-old, I saw domestic violence for the first time. My mother was outside, gossiping with neighborhood women at Joel Chandler Harris Homes in Atlanta, Georgia. I was inside our apartment playing with my doll babies when I heard my daddy shouting, calling in a harsh voice for my mother. I screamed at him, “Daddy, she’s outside talking to the neighbors.”

“Go get her.” My daddy demanded.

I rushed outside. “Mommy. Daddy wants you inside.”

My mother laughed. “He can come get me,” she said. One of the five women she was gossiping with snickered. “Guess you better get inside. Gotta keep the ruler of the house happy!” All of the women roared in unison.

Living in a housing project, the women were not exactly the Donna Reed style of women, dressed in fine clothing and high heels. My mother wore bed room slippers and a dirty house coat. No makeup or lipstick. Two of the women were dressed in raggedy jeans and T-shirts. Their hair was messy and they smelled like a dirty ashtray. I decided on that date that I would always do my best to look my best – to groom myself like a woman and wear makeup and have my hair styled. Never did I want to be ‘frumpy’ or a plain Jane.

“Mommy,” I said, my voice rising a bit. “Daddy’s gonna get angry.”

The back door closed. My daddy rushed outside, waving his fist, shouting.

“Sa-rah!” He roared. “You get in here now.”

My mother did not move. Daddy rushed to her, grabbing her arm. She pushed away from him and he shoved her, knocking her to the ground where she hit her forehead on the concrete curb. The metal trash cans by her fell over. I saw blood on my mother’s forehead. Daddy grabbed her arm. “You get up…Now.” He barked.

My mother struggled to get up. I reached to help her. I touched her forehead. “Are you, Ok, Mommy?”
I stood between my parents, my arms crossed tightly in front of me, daring my daddy to reach for her again. “Daddy, don’t you ever do that again!”

My mother glared at me. “Hush, child.”

Daddy stomped back inside. Never did he show any concern for my mother. Mommy followed. The women standing nearby snickered amongst themselves and I realized I was the only one who came to my mother’s rescue. No one cared. Domestic violence was a family matter at that time. Everyone looked away, with exception of me.

One of the women turned to move away, whispering something about a family matter while blowing smoke from her mouth. I didn’t understand her words, but I did know I didn’t like any of these shabbily dressed women, and I hoped that woman would choke on her cigarette smoke. I wanted to shout at them, asking why they didn’t help my mama. After all, I was a small child. Too young to help, too young to have any rights or say-so. I decided these women were nothing but trouble! ‘Poor white trash,’ I thought to myself…’Nothing but white trash!’ I followed the blood trail from my mother’s forehead back to our apartment.

After Mommy got inside, I got her a cold washcloth, placing it on her forehead.

She rested on the tattered sofa of our apartment, blood still pouring from her forehead. I brought her another washcloth.

“Get me a butter knife,” my mama screamed. I rushed to the kitchen. She placed the blade of the butter knife on her forehead.

“Don’t cut yourself, Mama. Please. You’re still bleeding.”

“The butter knife will make the swelling go away.”

That night when I said my nightly prayers, I prayed that my mama would be all right, and I ask God to make my dad stop hitting and knocking my mother around. After my prayers, I made a promise to myself that I would never allow any man to ever hit me, or knock me down, like my daddy knocked my mother down. At the age of five-years-old, I became the referee to my parents.

Ten years later, I served as the referee for the final time… Arriving home from Russell High School in Atlanta, I rushed inside; anxious to tell my parents I had the lead in a play at school. I knocked on my parent’s door. No answer. I rushed to my room, but something inside my head encouraged me to go back to my parent’s door. I knocked again. I heard the shuffling of feet, and a slap. I opened the door. My mother was standing hunched over, blue in the face, gasping for breath. A hand print was on the side of her face.

“What’s going on in here?” I asked. My mother was getting weaker. I rushed to her side. My dad stood by the bed, cursing and throwing mail at me.

“She’s made all these damned bills. They’re garnishing my wages. I can’t afford this. To Hell with her.”

Moving my mother to a chair, I sat her down and moved closer to my dad. “Don’t you ever hit her again? Do you hear me, Dad? I’ve watched you over and over again hitting my mother, and I’ve watched her hitting you, but this has got to stop! One of you needs to leave this house and marriage. One of you needs to leave before someone gets killed.”

The next day, my dad moved out. My mother told me that from this day forward, I did not have a daddy and I was never to speak about him again. I ignored her. She said my dad was divorcing her and it was my fault. I caused the break-up of my parent’s marriage.

Years later, I became an advocate for domestic violence. I was thankful when laws against domestic violence became a crime and I was thankful that I did not have to be the referee between my parents anymore. In their later years, I became their caregiver, serving as a parent to my abusive, cruel parents.

After their divorce, my dad became a new man. Kinder. Happier. Religious and gentle. I received birthday gifts on birthdays and Dad and I bonded as a father and daughter. Never did we discuss domestic abuse. We focused on happy times. The birth of my child. The home Garrett and I bought in South Carolina. Our strong, happy relationship as father and daughter. Before his death in 1999, we were closer than ever. Dad was fun to be around. Never did he show any anger or hostility at my mother. Reborn inside the body and mind of my father was a man easy to love. So different. So kind. So caring.

My mother? Slowly, she became outraged. Violent. Bi-polar. She died a questionable death after suffering a stroke. The one concern from my youngest sister on the day after her death was, and I quote, “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”

My youngest sister spent the night at the hospital with our mother on the night of her death. Suppose I’ll let this story decide if an autopsy was necessary, although I suspect an autopsy should’ve been completed – to discover the true reason our mother happened to die on the one and only night my youngest sister chose to spend the night at the hospital. Interesting?

And so – now I am developing the poignant story of “Chattahoochee Child.”

Father’s Day 2014


Dearest Readers:

This Sunday, June 15, 2014 is Father’s Day. I am sharing a post below about Father’s Day. I hope you will enjoy and take the time to appreciate your father or husband or loved one.

Today is a beautiful day in Charleston, SC. Blue skies, a slight breeze, and gorgeous bright sunshine. Today is truly a day of appreciation — for life, love, family and all that we in America are blessed with, especially on Father’s Day.

To all the fathers, and the fathers-to-be, I would like to extend a blessed and loving Happy Father’s Day. My wish for you is that all of your children and wives will appreciate all that you are and will spoil you just a bit today. Let us all make the time to say, “Happy Father’s Day,” and to make the time to do something special for Dad. Even if it is only a short phone call to say, “Happy Father’s Day,” please make the time to express your love and appreciation.

Father’s come in all shapes and sizes, all temperaments and there are times when father’s may not have the patience they need. Becoming a parent doesn’t come with a guide book of instructions, nor do we take classes for parenting. We simply become a parent, hoping we will make the right decisions.

I lost my father on Tuesday, July 6, 1999. For two years I watched him fighting the debilitating disease of esophageal cancer. I watched his body slowly melting away from him. At first, he was robbed of health, then his strength and independence. Gone was the ability to eat food. His body was attached to a feeding tube, he commonly referred to it as his umbilical cord. He detested it! After his body refused to allow his independence to return, we admitted him to a convalescent center. He coped with his new residency, but was never happy there. Daily, I visited him. At first, he welcomed me with open arms. A few months before he died, he became angry, shouting at me…telling me to leave, and not to come back. His roommate said he was mean to me. “No,”I defended. “He isn’t mean. He just wants me to leave.”

On July 4, 1999, I saw my dad for the last time. Walking into his room, he was sitting in a chair, reading his Bible. His head lifted to look at me, but he did not welcome me. He continued to recite Bible verses, telling me to ‘go on… get out of here. I don’t want you here.’

Exhausted, I left in tears. On July 5, I returned to work. Working a bit late, I drove home, completely exhausted. Early in the morning of July 6, I awoke from a frightening nightmare. I suppose you could say, I have the gift (or wickedness) of visions. In this dream my dad was dying. I looked at the clock. It was 3:45 am. I reached for the phone. Dialed a portion of the phone number to the nursing home, stopped dialing, and hung up the phone. I did not go back to sleep.

That day at work, I phoned the nursing home several times. I was told my dad was doing well, or ‘as well as to be expected.’ Before arriving for my visit, my dad took a fall. He was eating dinner when I arrived. Placing my hand on the door of his room, I met up with a nurse, with an oxygen tank by her side. She motioned for me to move away and not to come inside. I knew what was going on. I screamed.I looked at my watch. It was 5:45pm. Again, a vision I had was coming true!

Standing next to my dad’s doorway, I listened to the actions of the nurses. They encouraged me to tell them to bring him back. I declined. “No,” I cried. “Just let him go with dignity.”

The death certificate recorded his death at 6pm. In all reality, he died at 5:45, when I was about to enter his room. This year will be the 15th anniversary of his death. I no longer have a Father to wish “Happy Father’s Day.” Today, I will think of him, as I do every day. I will pray that he will enjoy today with his identical twin brother, his parents and other siblings and relatives. Yes, I miss him, but I know that he is in a better place…no longer attached to an umbilical cord, and now he can take his daily strolls and he can sing again.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the special men I have been blessed to know in my lifetime. Many of you know who you are! As for me and my husband, I intend to take him to dinner and to spend the day with him. How I wish I could spend the day with my dad, and I wish I could spoil him a bit on Father’s Day. Let us all appreciate the fathers of the world. Let us share kindness and love to them. After all, we never know what tomorrow may bring. Happy Father’s Day with my thoughts, love and kindness! I am blessed to know many of you!