I’M SICK OF ALL OF THIS!

Breaking down racism

I’ve seen the responses of those caucasians who haven’t the heart for what they see today. They are sick of it and wish it would all go away. My people have wished it would all go away for 400 years now, and that we could find true equality in the country that we helped build and that we fought for in every war of this nation that we shed our own red blood for.

Here’s a little history of my family that I want to share:

My great, great grandfather, Robert Shepherd (Sheppard) was born 1835 in Virginia, 4 years after the Nat Turner uprising in Virginia! By 1870, Robert Shepherd lived in Brandywine, Mississippi during the Civil War. He was approximately 30 years old when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. He was a slave for more than 30 years! His son who is my great grandfather, was born about 1867-1870; 3 years after SLAVERY ended!

When I think about BLACK LIVES MATTER, I reflect on the history of my OWN relatives and of what they had to endure and what they succumbed to just to survive. They were classified as property, they don’t have the same sense of family as white folk, even though our female ancestors raised white children including nursing and caring for them. I think of the heartbreak of sweet, sweet babies almost taken from their mother wombs and sold as property to some other slave owner, leaving a mother and father to spend the rest of their lives wondering about their innocent, beautiful children and if they were alive and how they were fairing. I hate to think of the beautiful, shapely young pre- teen and teen girls who were used as breeding stock and for the sadistic and perverted pleasures of the slave masters.  I’m sick of racism in all its forms; but it still exists and God in Heaven knows that it’s wrong, as well as those who dare to think that they alone are human and privileged to human rights.

There have been protests for a little more than a month and certain people are sick of it. The sin of slavery and the stink of racism has been plaguing our country for 401 years. I wonder if others are as sick of that as I am.

God in Heaven, we need You.

Rosa

 

 

RACISM- HURRY UP AND GET OVER IT!!

More than I can say, it is good to see other ethnicities join in the protests for racial justice, accountability and equality. I am glad that there are so many courageous and brave young people who would stand together against such injustice. It was novel to see elderly people march or stand for injustice and help peaceful protesters. It was just wonderful to see a 95-year old man walking in a peaceful protest.

It’s been a little more than 2 weeks and protests are still going on. People are protesting for changes that can happen without an act of congress. I applaud them all.

But there are others who say,  “All right. That’s enough now. We got it. Let’s get back to business as ———–”  Some might even say they wish thing could go back to the way it was. Never again, is what I say. Never again!

I hurt a bit when I saw a policeman ranting and raving about people vilifying them all. He made such valid point when he said that all police are not like the group who suffocated the life out of George Floyd. He said that most police when they saw it were disgusted and outraged as other citizens. I hurt for those who have had to bare the brunt of these critical times in our country because of heinous acts by a few law enforcement officers abusing their power. I saw so many law enforcement officers kneel and pay respect to all who died by police brutality and praying for better days and I cheered for them. Most police are not that way. I don’t believe that they are. It’s not fair to think it either. My thoughts are this: One bad apple can spoil a whole bushel. It is up to the good law enforcement people, whatever their race to show those bad apples that it won’t be tolerated. And that if they don’t heed the warnings, they will suffer consequences to the full extent of the law.

Also, the struggle has gone on for over 200 years and still African Americans and other people of color have had to endure the worst kinds of injustices because of our beautiful skin color. It’s been 401 years and we’re still trying to get justice for so much that was denied us from the time the first slave ships docked here in the U.S. Irreverent and ungodly acts not to mention lies and lynchings and rapes and beatings and destruction of our families and caricatures and stereotypes and inhuman acts and laws were leveled on us a  people in times past and sadly in 2020. It was the norm to hang black people, and just like in the roman arenas where spectators enjoyed watching men, women and children fed to the lions and never flinching at what happens to them, so some enjoy racism, which is a lion trying to devour us.

Post card displaying blacks hanging

Actual Postcard

Some may say that we’re going overboard with this thing. On the contrary we’ve not begun. What kind of human delights in this so much that it was a postcard?? An evil human who doesn’t realize that God is watching. My God in Heaven, help us!

No, there won’t be any ‘going back to normal’ ever again. Never!

Rosa

 

SUPPORT CAN BE A BEAUTIFUL THING!

I gotta tell you about my neighbors. So far, we’ve been blessed to have kind neighbors in our complex. It’s such a joy. In my neighborhood where I lived raising my children, we had good neighbors who always stopped and said hello, who supported each other when death or sickness came around and who smiled and talked.

To show you how our neighbors were, as we got older and the neighborhood began to change, there were undesirables who moved in across the street from us. My husband never meets a stranger. So, no matter how we felt about them, he spoke and carried on conversations with them. They would always say, “Hi Reb.”  They called me Miss Stan. My husband would bring home food from his job and share it with neighborhood people. Well, they’d come over and ask if he had anything for them to eat.  He’d give hotdogs most of the time and some bread and a few snacks if he had them.

Gardener raking fall leaves in garden

Well, one day when he came home from work, they yelled across the street that they wanted to talk to him.  “Reb, Reb,” they said as they crowded around him. He said, “Yeah, what’s up?”  “Reb, your mother-in-law came outside and made us rake and clean the whole block!!” My husband smiled trying not to laugh. They told him that my mother who was living with us at that time, was outside raking up leaves. They were sitting on their own porch and she walked over there and said, “Get up and come over here and help me out. You’re not doing nothing anyway.” They were so shocked that she said that, but they got up and with rakes and garbage bags in hand she made them clean the lots and lawns of everyone on the block. As soon as she let them go, they raced into their house and closed the door. From that day, if they saw her outside working, they stayed inside until she left. They helped her out and were respectful to her.

There are two little children who live in the apartment across from me. The day them moved in, I was sitting at the computer right next to my doorwall. The little boy walked up to my screen and smiled. I stopped and said, “Well, hello, what’s your name?  His mom and grandmother thought he was a bother. I said, “Not at all.” He didn’t tell me his name because he was too busy letting me know he didn’t like the nail polish I had on. He said “Why you get that color.” I literally stuttered and said, “I liked it.” He walked away shaking his head. He and his sister play outside all the time. I watch them from my window, watching to see if they are safe.  Their mom and grandmother are so very nice and kind. He’s a little white boy who wasn’t afraid, mean or angry when he saw me for the first time. He was just a little boy, like every little boy with a vivid imagination and full of like. Like my grandson, who’s a teenager now.

If only there were more people like them. If only there were more people like the ones in our old neighborhood who did as that older woman, my mother said and didn’t call her names or harm her. They just did as she asked them to do. If I can help any of them, I will. We’re neighbors. We support each other.

More tomorrow.

Rosa

RIOTS!

I think I stopped being so afraid as a young teen during the riots of 1967 because I saw my daddy begin to relax. It just stands to reason that after several days of him standing watch on the porch, particularly at night praying that his home and neighborhood wouldn’t go up in flames and nothing so disastrous happened, he calmed down.  We were blessed that our neighborhood remained in tact.

Riot - written on white background

Even after the riots ceased, my father and mother talked about it, but they never condemned the actions of the rioters and looters, too much.  I looked back when I got older and when I began to know the history of my father’s childhood and young adulthood, I understood.

I shared it once before that my daddy was called Charlie as a youth. He worked for the white man doing work as he was told to. The man had a son, who was cruel and decided to play an evil joke on my daddy.  As my daddy was working,  the employer’s son found snakes and kept throwing them at my dad. Even my dad’s employer told his son to stop doing that; but he didn’t stop. My dad got tired of it and he beat the boy up and left.

Well, the concerned citizens came to my grandmother’s house looking for Charlie to “talk” to him. My daddy wasn’t home. So in courageous fashion those concerned citizens beat my grandmother, an old woman, and his sister, who was a young girl. While they were beating up my grandmother and my aunt my daddy came through the back door of their house. My daddy didn’t use a gun; he used a knife.  All the time if he had a weapon, it was a knife. He got to his house as those concerned citizens were beating his mother and sister. Daddy came in the back door and then he left out the back door. Nuf said.

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Dr. King said that “rioting is the language of the unheard.”

When all else fails, act out. But let’s consider a few things as we sit in judgement or in sympathy of the current crisis:

  1. Have you ever had to look at your precious, precious children, boys in particular, and with a heavy heart tell them at such young ages what to do if you are ever stopped by the police. I had to tell an 11-year old 6th grader those words. I told him so that he would learn that life isn’t fair and that there are those who hate him just because of the color of his skin. There are those who hate because they are intimidated by you and afraid of you I explained. Why? I couldn’t really answer that question.  All I know is that hs is the such a gift and I love him with all my heart.
  2. Have you ever taught your son to not walk too close to a parked vehicle because someone might think that he’s stealing it? He was 10 years old when I nearly fainted as he was walking in front of me into a store. He paused, not stopped, but paused just to look at the cool car. My heart nearly stopped and I yelled to him, “Get away from that van!” When we got into the store I was weak holding onto the shopping cart for strength as I thought of what could have happen.  Fear paralyzed me. I COULDN’T BREATHE!  I explained to him the reason for my warning. It hurt.
  3. Remember the little cap guns and caps that children used to play with? We never bought our grandson or any of the children toy weapons for fear they’d be killed by the police or a person full of hatred.  A policeman got out of a car in one American city and never said a word, he just shot a 12-year old boy dead who was playing with a toy gun. We don’t want that to happen to him.

My little boy came home with a blueberry muffin for me for Mother’s Day, just like any other child would. At school he decorated a pen and put a flower on the tip of it. I still have that pen. He makes me laugh just any little child does to those who love him. Once I told him, “Now when you finish fixing your lunch and eating it, get the clothes out of the dryer and fold them and put them up. Then I want you vacuum the floor.” He looked at me in consternation and said, “Mom, I can’t do all this work. I have to cook.” He had to open up a can of ravioli and put in a bowl and heat in the microwave for 55 seconds. That was cooking for him and he was serious. I laughed about that for a long time.

Many of our sons and brothers and husbands who made us laugh just like everyone else, we’ve had to bury and the killers are never brought to justice. What are we to do? Lick our wounds and crawl back home?  Never! Would you do that?

More tomorrow.

Oh yes, let me tell you about my grandson.

Rosa

RACISM – PART II

One scene from long hot summer of 1967. The riots

Online photo credit: https://timeline.com/when-this-group-of-black-mothers-locked-themselves-in-a-government-office-boston-erupted-in-riots-eaad1e64b92d

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As I watched my daddy standing on the porch that particular night, I did wonder what was going on. I wondered why my people were looting and burning up stores and property in neighborhoods. I didn’t understand what was going on.

As that day turned into several days and then into a week, I still had no understanding of the reason why. It would be several more years before my understanding would come into play.

Black people born during the era of my father and his family would seldom speak of their lives growing up under racism. Maybe  it was too painful for them to reminisce and it would bring back feelings that they had suppressed for so many years. But every now and then, my mother would let me know something about daddy’s life.  We grew up with a furnace that took coal. So, the coal would be delivered and dropped down a chute into the basement. One day I was downstairs in the basement with my daddy and he was shoveling coal into the furnace. As I watched him, it was like an art. He didn’t just dig the shovel into the mound of coal, he seemed to will it into the shovel, with a minimum of effort. It was fascinating. Then as he went for stray pieces of coal, it was like he danced with the shovel and the coals hopped onto the shovel and then he put them in the furnace.  I was speechless.

Later that day, I said to my mom, “Ma, Daddy shoveled coal real different than I ever saw.” She looked at me and said, “Well, your daddy was on the chain gang as a teen and learned to do that.” For the first time I became interested in our family’s history. Before, he was just Daddy. Afterward, I wondered why he was the way he was.

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In 1967 the tensions were thick as butter. I don’t know when, but I saw a tank roll down the main street near where we lived. Playgrounds became camps for the National Guard and other military who had come to restore order. Mothers who had been locked in their homes day and night because of the rioting and sniper/police fire, came out during the day and took their children for a walk; beautiful babies in strollers kicking their chubby, juicy legs with bonnets on their heads got some sun. In fact, with the presence of the national guard, mothers and single ladies would walk up to the fences where those men were and strike up a conversation from time to time.  I wasn’t so afraid to go to sleep after a while.

More tomorrow.

Rosa

RACISM!

RACISM IS A DEADLY POISON – LOOK WHAT IT’S DONE TO “THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE”

I still see my father standing out on the porch of our home during the night one particular summer. He was quiet and just looking around. He normally had a cigarette smoking it. But this particular time he was just standing there sometimes with his hands on his hips, sometimes with his arms to his side, and sometime with his arms folded.  The neighbors, many of them were either standing on their porches or sitting on their porches. Sleep was a luxury for many of them, as the skies were filled with smoke and one could still see the smouldering light of fire in the night. Daddy was standing guard, without a gun in his hands. He along with the other neighbors were standing on their porches trying to watch over their families, as the city burned.  It was interesting that none of them spoke to each other. They just looked around filled with their own thoughts, prayers and fears.

Roy Lee Payne, Sr. aka Charlie Leroy Payne

My daddy grew up in Florida, the same place where they let the murderer of Trayvon Martin go, as if nothing happened. His family had a little land back then. He was born in 1921. His great grandmother was full blooded Cherokee. His mother, accepting her lot in life as a widow during those times, raised her family as best she could. She saw many of her children killed for no reason, other than being black; colored or negro were the terms used back then.

Though the negro was “freed” capitalism had to find a way to get cheap labor. Thus, jim crow and sharecropping belched up from the bellies of evil, sadistic men. That wasn’t enough though. It was common practice to take young preteen and teen ‘bucks’ and for whatever reason they were accused of, put them on the chain gang. My daddy was one of those teens who was on the chain gang.

He escaped somehow and just like his ancestors, made it up north to freedom only to be swallowed by another form of evil racism – economics. He never returned home except for twice, when his brother, Stephen was found hanging from a pole in front of the white man’s auto garage business. Stephen was about 16 years old. The last time he went back home, his mother had died, and he went back to bury her. That was in 1963.

PHOTO CREDIT ONLINE REFERENCE:

https://www.burnsinstitute.org/black-children-chain-gang-1900s-2/

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I have a famous family member who I am proud of: His name is Jesse James Payne.

Jesse James Payne – my Uncle

Click his name above and see what’s said about my famous uncle, my father’s brother. It’s really good ‘reading.’  October 11, 1945 Uncle Jesse was killed like so many other black men during that time. He had the nerve to think he was a real man. How dare he. It didn’t matter that he served in the military of this country and then have a wife and daughter and try to live as humans ought to. Shame on him. The same scenario as what happened earlier this week in Central Park, a white woman said that my uncle tried to rape a little girl. You know the rest.

Evil in this country has always taken the form of godless, heartless, witless, cowardly and cruel racism. It hasn’t changed. My God, please help us!

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As a 14-year-old looking out of the screen door at my father quietly standing on the porch watching the night, I was afraid. I didn’t quite understand what was going on during the summer of 1967, but we were right in the thick of it. I was afraid and couldn’t sleep.

More tomorrow.

Rosa

STAYING AT HOME

It’s been months since I was able to blog and read others blog posts that make me laugh, make me cry and bring me encouragement. Lots has happened.  

I shared with you that my daughter had Ovarian Cancer last year for the second time. Well, on December 19, 2019 she was declared cancer-free again! What a blessing! Because of the chemotherapy she took, her immune system is vulnerable. She is staying at home during this COVID-19 Pandemic and thank God so far, so good.

My husband and I both are feeling our ages, we’re both in our middle 60s.  He has difficulties, but takes great care of me because I got a bum knee. I was supposed to have it replaced next week Tuesday, but that was canceled. I’ll wait.  We sit around here and laugh and joke and play and talk like we’re teens. It’s been fun!  Sometimes we do more than play like young people; we really enjoy each other like we used to. Nuf said.  Yep, we are staying at home.

The Lorax quote

That grandson, Jonathan, whose journey I’ve shared with you all was one of the happiest teens ever when he heard that he wouldn’t be going to school for the rest of the school year. He really smiled about that. Then the school work began coming across online. He still smiles, but since his work is definitely due at certain times of the week, the smile isn’t as big. He’s driving his granddad and me around all the time, taking us everywhere. He was until the order to stay at home came. But he’s doing fine. He’s staying at home.

Since we’ve had this extra time to be together, we’ve caught up with family and friends on social media and on the phone. We’ve laughed and talked about anything and everything even more.  We have really stopped and taken time to look at each other and rediscover why we love each other.  Staying at home ain’t that bad!  

Here’s a picture of Jonathan and his granddad from March 8th (he’s 15) a little before the stay at home order.  

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      JONATHAN AND HIS GRANDDAD WALKING TOGETHER

 

Talk to you later!

Rosa

OVARIAN CANCER – AGAIN

Remember this brave young lady, who at 35 years old endured the pressures of having Ovarian Cancer and suffered through it and the side effect of her cancer treatment for a year?  Remember how grateful and thankful we all were when the doctor declared her cancer free? Well, after three years of cancer free checkups and losing that weight that the chemo put on her, and going back to work, and starting her life up again, and her hair growing back, she was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer again in April of this year.

I never thought to hear those words again where she was concerned. I was oblivious of the fact that many people with various cancers can experience the pains of it coming back. But after three years of good reports, it seemed to “sneak” back up on her. Along with that devastating and shocking diagnosis, she almost died from a mistake the doctor made inserting the new port into her left chest.  I was frightened that I’d lose my daughter to a mistake. But God is merciful.  Here is the incident in her own words:

“On May 6th I had surgery. From that surgery found out I have Ovarian cancer again. I was told to take lovenox to prevent blood clots but it made me bleed internally. After that May 31st I went to have a mediport placed again for Chemotherapy but the surgeon had placed it in my pulmonary artery causing me to go into something called a cardiac tamponade, meaning nearly a liter of blood had flooded the space of heart. Cardiovascular surgeons wanted to crack open my chest as they would for someone going for open heart surgery to get the misplaced mediport out having no other method to correct the mistake. But a “S.O.S” was sent out among all the hospitals in Michigan and a Radiologist from U of M said that he could get it out without having to do that. So I was transferred there. When he operated on me he had prepared to “plug the hole in my artery.” But when he pulled the misplaced mediport there was nothing to plug, amazing the Radiologist. The Lord had sealed the artery Himself.”

The road she has traveled as been paved with tears, pain, questions and sickness. But I can say that she is alive and with me, still.  I just want you all to know that as you joined me and others praying for her and for all those dear children and adults who battle any type of cancer, let’s not stop.  I am not angry, merely thoughtful.  I am not afraid to be “politically incorrect” by telling you that God is our help and stay.  I am excited about her future. Some didn’t make it this far, but she has.

I am going to chronicle her 2nd battle with Ovarian Cancer just to let you know that life is worth the battles we face, especially if you face them with the Lord.

Rosa

 

 

JONATHAN’S WAY – DRIVING SCHOOL

Well,

It has been a long time since I got a chance to blog about Jonathan.  He’s is still the joy of our lives and he makes me laugh.  He is, in many ways, a typical 14-year old high school teenager.  I finally let him get a YouTube account and he loves that. He loves to do stop action videos in his room and put them on YouTube. He went to his first homecoming game and homecoming dance.  But he went alone and was angry because I tried to make him dress up. LOL. 

But the one thing that’s on his mind is driving.  Those 3 aunts I told you about started about 2 years ago letting him drive in parking lots and around the corner at the church. He let me and his Goompa know that he could get a permit at 14 years and 8 months.  He counted the hours, it seemed to me as he waited for 14 years and 8 months to roll around.  He had only 2 words in his vocabulary: Driving and permit.  I even gave in twice and let him drive to the end of the driveway in our complex. Sorry guys, my nerves are not what they used to be. 

But guess what? He began driver’s education at school on December 2nd. He will have to work and study hard for the certificate and I have no doubt that he’ll do just that. But you know what that means??? Him behind the wheel as we go to the supermarket, church and on short errands. HELP!!

So, here we go again. There’s never a dull moment traveling Jonathan’s Way.  I’ll keep you posted.

 

/Rosa

JONATHAN’S WAY – HIGH SCHOOL!

Hi All,

It’s been more than a year since I last shared with you about Jonathan, my grandson and his challenges growing up on the spectrum.  A lot has happened since those days.

First of all my virtual online business has grown by leaps and bounds, literally. I am thankful and grateful for that. In 3 months, God willing, my husband and I will celebrate 33 years of marriage.  Jonathan’s dad got married to a lovely woman.  His three doting Aunts have never stopped doting on him, either. 

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Johanna, Jennifer, Erika

The last time I let you know that Jonathan  was going into middle school.  Well, in September this year, he will be going into high school.  He turned 14 this past January. But that ain’t all. He was always a tall boy for his age.  Now he stands 6’1″ tall and wears a size 13-1/2″ wide shoe. HELP! He has grown up as a teen and the girls like him.  HELP!

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With daddy at school concert

Not only that, his aunts have taught him how to drive and we are preparing for him to get a permit.  He drives good, too.  His grades are all above average and he seems to like science.  He can’t stand Social Studies.  No matter, I am grateful for how far he’s come.  One place that helped him go even farther is the Boys and Girls Club in our area. He is loved by the people there, and he has learned to play basketball.  He tried out for the school basketball team last year, but didn’t make it.  I think he couldn’t take the exercises they were forced to do for a week.  I am proud of him!

One thing he did for the very first time was done on Martin Luther King Jr, holiday on January 21, 2019.  He stood up in front of a couple of hundred people and gave a short speech on education. He was nervous and prayed a lot before the big day came. But he did a wonderful job. He made mama proud.  #mademamaproud

Jonathan giving speech on MLK Holiday January 21, 2019

Jonathan giving speech at MLK Holiday breakfast on January 21, 2019

So, here we go again. It’s Jonathan’s way and there’s never a dull moment.  I’ll keep you posted!

Rosa