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After School Safe Havens
My holidays is good. I didn't travel and I just stayed home, but I had communications with my whole family. My great grandson was on the phone and he went "Ah-bah-bah!" He can't talk but he'll let you know he's there. My family keeps me going, because otherwise, it's too easy to do the same thing over and over again. It gets lackadaisical. On the other hand, I really don't want to go walking around in the cold, especially not at night and especially not in this neighborhood. Every kid on the street wants to be a gangster rapper and shoot people in the streets because those rappers have all the gold and jewels and cash, But that's not real.
Kids today don't have the same opportunities that we had. We used to have playgrounds every two blocks and during the winter they could go inside and play basketball and table tennis. Nowadays, they don't keep those places open anymore. Now we just have open fields.
The other day, at 18th and Lombard, I was thinking about sitting in the park and relaxing. During my childhood, we went there all the time. But i can't sit there for two long. Nobody there looks like me anymore. So, if I sat there for long enough watching the kids playing, somebody would come over and wonder what the hell I was doing there. Nobody from my childhood lives there anymore. I might be paranoid, but that's the way it was when I was a kid and that's the way it is now. If a white man came over and asked me what I was doing there, I could never give him an answer he'd think was believable. I didn't think it'd be safe to be there.
There also used to be a Marton Anderson Center named after the first and foremost African American contralto opera singer. And she lived there, even after going to Europe and Carnegie Hall. I did know a lot of her history back then, but I forgot most of it. Most people today don't know who Marton Anderson is. Star Garden, Syggis Playground, all those places were after school havens. You actually felt protected there and you respected the people in charge. Nobody wanted to be banned, but they wouldn't ban you forever. I could say a lot about the things I've seen change, and not for the better.
How I Got My Wish While Singing A Song
All I want for Christmas is a live Christmas tree. A live Christmas tree. Noble fir or pine will do. Hear my sorrow, we plea.
Where do you put the presents when there's no tree? Golly, gee, please tell me.
Put them on the table, someone said to me. Where will we eat? How can that be? Please do not kid me.
Put them on a chair, an answer came to me. Then we must stand, no seats for sitting. How will that be?
Put them in front of the fireplace. Unsafe as can be. Fire put the presents in dances, I'm sure you will agree.
I can hardly believe there will be a Christmas with no tree. Oh how sad. Poor, poor me.
The next morning down the stairs I came. What do I see? My daughter standing there with Christmas lights in her hand. "What are you doing with lights," I demand.
"Why have lights and no tree?" Her reply, "I have a plan, you'll see."
Finally, I seated myself and then looked around to my right. There stood a tree, what a beautiful sight!
A glorious Christmas tree, did my eyes deceive me? No! No! A live Christmas tree that my eyes had failed to see.
A song I had made in jest had resulted in a wonderful surprise thanks to the Robnett.
I laughed, hooted and shouted with glee. Now a home for the presents under the Christmas tree.
I hurried and got the ornaments to dress the tree. Happy that I made the song, happy as could be!
And speaking of Dr. King, check out our collection of MLK themed stories, here and here.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri