Tag Archives: lessons

My Grandma: Whoopins and Apple Pie


You see those forearms and powerful hands in that picture? They have wielded cast iron pans, switches, and have snatched a head of my hair with equal force and accuracy. Today would be my grandma’s 90th birthday. I miss her dearly. My grandma was the only person I’ve ever verbally acknowledged as “Ma” she raised me. She was a woman of steel, with old school values that while I was growing up I couldn’t appreciate and thought were prudish and restrictive. My grandma was not the kind of person that one would call “warm” or doting, she had a steel resolve, she worked tirelessly. I can remember nights seeing her come home after cleaning the houses of Jewish people. She did what she had to do to be sufficient. She was as hard on me as if she was the one who had bore me. Our relationship was more than I can put into words. She made me polish silver, she taught me how to make apple pies, she taught me how to do nurse corners on the bed, she made me go to school dressed as a “music teacher” for career day when I wanted to be a gum shoe (neither can be easily depicted in costume). She taught me how to make a mean bowl of Cream of Wheat and how to fit more than three pancakes in the pan at once. She taught me how to work with my hands. I often look at my hands, and see hers. They’re not soft and dainty, they’re rough with memories of callouses and wrinkles that gather around too large knuckles, but they remind me so much of grandma. I was laughing the other day with my coworkers as I shared memories of how my grandma would make us sharpen our pencils with knives (good in a pinch, but only if you want a square lead). She had a knack for making due with whatever she found around the house…see below illustration

Grandma Taught Me

When my grandma passed away. I was by her bedside and as soon as she left this earth i left the hospital and drove 4 hours to get back home. I had made that trip twice in less than 24 hours. On My first trip we thought she’d had a turn for the better but within hours of me making it back to northern virginia from the hampton roads area, the news was dire. The drive was eerie because I felt in my heart that my grandma was going to be leaving soon. Those hours were very lonely, my son was asleep in the backseat, I actually saw a pack of cougars on the side of the road. I couldn’t process that even as my eyes told me what I was seeing my mind wouldn’t believe. When I got back to my grandmas bedside I was able to be alone with her.  I held her hand. I told her things. i told her everything that i’d done that she wouldn’t be proud of. i didn’t tell her about any accomplishments. I told her how much i had messed up my life, and strayed away from the person she had raised me to be. I needed to let her know. I whispered things directly into her ear so that she would know that I loved her and all that she had taught me. I honestly can’t wait to see her again. It’s an assured knowledge that I have deep inside that I will see her soon and for me, that day couldn’t come soon enough. Miss you Ma.


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Fake Jordans and That’s What You Get

Let’s just file this one under “Trying to be slick”. So my son decided he wanted some Jordans. Every time we went to the mall he wanted to take a look at the shoes, he’d point them out on other people’s feet, he’d even print pictures of them.  Subtlety is not his strong suit. So finally he asked me to by him these kicks. They’re not cheap and since I KNOW my son really isn’t the kind of kid that’s pressed to have the latest sneakers, I knew it had to be a couple of other driving forces behind his request. 1. Some kid in school must be stuntin (styling) on the rest of the kids with a fresh pair of J’s or 2. Dave just really likes these and thinks they will help increase his cool factor on the playground. I told him I’d get him the shoes if he got an A in class. I mean, I know how it is, I was in 5th grade once, and funny enough at the time I wanted some Jordans too! The thing is though, I didn’t get em’ , but my cousin, who was also in 5th grade DID.  Talk about feeling lame when everybody knew we were related and felt the need to ask me: “She got some, why you ain’t got none?” (I grew up in Norfolk and yes, in 5th grade, that’s how we spoke.) So anyway, I told Dave my terms: “No A’s ,No J’s”. He brought me home homework that he had gotten 100s on…UMMMM, I’m like “That’s partially my 100 boy, I helped you with that homework!” “That doesn’t count.” Fast forward a couple weeks into his quest for kicks, Dave goes away to spend the weekend with his Dad. That Sunday he comes home with a fresh hair cut AND GUESS WHAT ELSE…Some Jordans.  The look of triumph and self-satisfaction on his little round brown face when he walked through the door was a carbon copy of Oprah’s expression on every cover of “O” magazine. So he pulls the Jordan’s out of the box and it’s all I can do not to react. First of all I’m a designer, I know streetwear and I definitely KNOW KICKS. I grew up on Michael Jordan and having actually done a project with Jordan Brand, I most certainly know my J’s. What came out of that box, were NOT Jordan’s or at least they were definitely not that ones that have cat’s lining up at midnight in front of Foot Locker. He had apparently gone to Marshall’s and picked these out. I have nothing against Marshall’s, but that is certainly not where you go to get the freshest sneakers.  Apparently Dave doesn’t know this.  So he’s really feeling himself, flaunting these shoes all in my face, trying them on in the mirror then moonwalking from the kitchen into his room.  Through it all I said, not. One. Word. Because I know that this is one lesson he’s going to have to learn the hard way.  The next morning he wakes up bright and early, outfit ready, “Jordan’s” on, and ready to go.


Dave comes home from school, walks through the door,  goes straight to his room, takes off his Jordans, puts them in the box, puts the box on the shelf…never to see the light of day again.  Knowing full well what happened I asked him sweetly “Hey Muffin, how was school?” (I’m bad ha ha)  “They said my Jordan’s were FAKE!” The adult in me should have consoled him and told him that those kids were just being mean and that they don’t know what there talking about. I should have taken this moment to build his confidence in his own style and said “You liked them so that’s all that matters. You shouldn’t care what they say.” Did I say or do any of this? Of course Not, instead I said “THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT YOU GET!” “I know those shoes suck, and you do too. I was going to buy you the retro’s, but you tried to be slick, so that’s what you get.” Point taken. Lesson Learned. Goodnight and Good luck.

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