FINDING OUR STORIES…

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The past few days spent at the 37th annual National African American Historical Genealogy Society was one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve had in quite some time.

I was among others with a shared interest in searching for our ancestral roots in order to find our true selves.

In session after session I not only acquired new information to help me find new paths in digging up my roots, but found a community of people who also feel so deeply about the importance of knowing who we are. I felt so ‘at home’ and a special connection with so many from many different places, and different backgrounds; but at their core, these are people who really understand the value of knowing our history for as far back as we can trace it.

I am inspired now to not only continue digging for the gold nuggets of my family history, but also for as much other historical data that I can find about our full African American journey. That will be a trip for a lifetime.

Thank you Atlanta for hosting this year’s conference. I will surely be there with you next year!

https://m.facebook.com/aahgs/

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“SONGS OF A FATHER” An Unexpected Journey of Discovery

The Turtle Queen

BIOGRAPHY OF AN UNSUNG & GIFT TENOR BIOGRAPHY OF AN UNSUNG & GIFTED TENOR

Over the past three years I have been on an extraordinary journey!
With just a casual conversation with a friend, I started a journey I never expected to make. That journey began adiscovery of my very humble Mansfield family roots. At the same timeI uncovered the path that my father, Emanuel Mansfield, famed concert tenor, took to reach, what seemed like, an unreachable dream – despite so many odds against him.
“This is my story – this is my song”…
The world needs to hear all of our stories — each story is like a missing piece of fabric in this giant quilt called “Life”.Each of our pieces makes our world a more interesting, more exciting, and more colorful place in which to live.
My life changed the day I started on this journey. I hope my story will inspire you to start…

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SISTA LOVE MOVEMENT

Sista Love Gathering 10-10-15

An unexpected gift with this combustible gathering of Sistas –

Black Sistas, Fine Sistas, Bold Sistas, Wise Sistas

Baby Sistas, Colorful Sistas, Free Sistas. Shy Sistas

Dancing Sistas, Sassy Sistas, Dignified Sistas and More

Close Encounter kinda moment – Drawn spiritually to an unexpected space

Searching hard to explain the magical magnetic pull
But spoken words so clearly painted on canvas the spirit of this moment in time…

Awwwww…So Awesome. ..Fine Flower…Amazingly Beautiful…Wow!

“…And Beauty Is Her Name”

Sista Love IS AMAZING!
Join the movement – PASS IT ON

Ms Pauline – The TurtleQueen
https:// theturtlequeen.files.wordpress.com

This poem was inspired by a recent wonderful experience planted by creative photographer SHANNON MCCOLLUM  on his Facebook page.  He simply gave out a call for 100 women to gather at a place/time to be determined for a colorful photo shoot.  With gray and drizzly skies they came — from north, east, south & west, bringing high energy , smiles and sunshine which peeked through at its very best – right on time!

What an unexpected and unforgettable experience.

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“SONGS OF A FATHER” An Unexpected Journey of Discovery

BIOGRAPHY OF AN UNSUNG & GIFT TENOR

BIOGRAPHY OF AN UNSUNG & GIFTED TENOR

Over the past three years I have been on an extraordinary journey! 

 With just a casual conversation with a friend, I started a journey I never expected to make. That journey began a discovery of my very humble  Mansfield family roots.  At the same time I uncovered the path that my father, Emanuel Mansfield, famed concert tenor, took to reach, what seemed like, an unreachable dream – despite so many odds against him.
“This is my story – this is my song”…
 The world needs to hear all of our stories — each story is like a missing piece of fabric in this giant quilt called “Life”. Each of our pieces makes our world a more interesting, more exciting, and more  colorful place in which to live.
My life changed the day I started on this journey.  I hope my story will inspire you to start your journey of discovery.  When we find the roots of our families we discover who we really are.
 
To order your copy of SONGS OF A FATHER click on the attached link or simply call                1-888 – 795- 4274

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Queen Quidnunc – Destroyer of Peace & Tranquility

Witches HeaddressThe flap, flap, flapping of her lips was a constant drone. This was  was Queen Quidnunc hidebound in her irritating actions – day in and day out. Her annoying opinions were gainsaying to the peaceful ebb and flow of my world. This queen’s gossipy manner, germinated with her undying energy to perpetuate incredibly poisonous nonsense, seemed destined to eternize a life whose main function is to disrupt, disturb, and ultimately destroy God’s beautiful creations – the world and its inhabitants. Though known as Queen Quidnunc, her behavior was far from regal. It was more like a Tatterdemalion, with a personality to match – ragged and retched.

The world needs far fewer gossipers, meddlers, disrupters and such. They will never all go away, but I hope I will have to encounter just a middling – if I have to encounter any at all.

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THE POWER OF MOM

The Turtle Queen

Ever wonder why Mother’s Day is a day almost like Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving? So much excitement, so much spending, preparation and cleaning for this celebration. It’s because of the Power of Mom. When celebrities do a “shout out” on TV it’s always “Hi Mom!”. And why you ask…

The Power of Mom includes on-the-job training as Driver, Counselor, Preacher, Teacher, Doctor, Lawyer, Advocate, Garbage woman, Groomer, Zoo Keeper, Painter, Decorator, Cook, Bottle washer, Sitter, Sewer, Dishwasher, Tour Guide, Entertainer, Planner, Mediator, Card Sender, Psychic, Matchmaker, Personal Shopper, Tutor, Typist, Secretary, Indian Chieftess, Financier, and Friend. The list goes on, but time nor space permits listing all the things that Moms do and do without thinking.

We all get to have one — a Mom that is –whether we choose or not, it is destined that we have one assigned by God. Sometimes we get to keep our original one…

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INSTANT LOVE FROM THE GINGERBREAD MAN – A Short Story

Gingerbread Man

“Some memories are realities and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.”
Willa Cather

I can still remember vividly the incredible smell of plump raisins buried in the belly of my Godfather’s gingerbread muffins. These extraordinary muffins were baked in his piping hot wood stove oven in a tiny, very cluttered kitchen filled top to bottom with newspapers, boxes, and knick-knacks.

Saturdays at my Godfather’s house were very special. The day started early as I walked the half mile down the quiet country road, lined on each side with dense woods, a few houses, and an occasional open field filled with wildflowers. When I arrived at his house, he would be out in the yard chopping wood for the stove, no matter what season.

I would sit on the wooden steps just outside the kitchen, humming as he chopped and stacked one piece of wood after another – enough to last for a few days. I would routinely grab the smallest bucket of wood, take it inside and set it next to the stove. Then I watched as Godfather, so skillfully, grabbed the coiled handle of the stove lid lifter. I worried that he might burn himself, but he never did. He would use his shirt or a dishtowel and grab it so fast I barely saw the lid come off the stove. From my small bucket, he would push in one piece of kindling after another until the stove was good and hot.

All during this prep time, I really don’t remember Godfather saying much – he wasn’t a talker, just a worker. He was always busy doing something – all day long. He would plow the yard, chop ice from a big block on the porch that he kept in an old icebox, sitting on a table almost hidden amongst a hodgepodge of tools, old chairs, fishing poles, boxes, and bags.

Although he was, generally, a loner, almost reclusive at times, he genuinely seemed to enjoy my company. I knew not to get underfoot or be too chatty. I also knew the routine and stuck to it religiously. Our time together was simply magical – filled with familiar sounds and smells of our routine – wood chopping, ice chips flying against the ice bucket, banging pots and pans, wind whooshing up the chimney, smoke from the wood burning and crackling in the stove. It was all warm and wonderful and the best was yet to come.

To most people in our small town, my Godfather, “Uncle Arthur”, was one of those “Boo Radley” kinda characters from the story “To Kill a Mockingbird”. To them, he was an oddball of sorts, interacting with people in the neighborhood only on an “as needed” basis. Stories told around town about “Uncle Arthur” had him drowning cats and shooting dogs who wandered accidently or on purpose through his property. Just short of drowning or shooting, he was known to chase neighborhood children off in terror if caught taking a shortcut across his cherished land. I did witness that a time or two, or more. Godfather was not an educated man, but he was good at so many things. Without even a high school education, he never had any trouble keeping his home, his truck, his tools or food on his table. He hunted whenever the season allowed him to do so and grew all kinds of vegetables in his half-acre garden. Generously, he shared what he had with his sisters, a handful of associates and with my family as well.

My dad was a singer and was always on the road, traveling most of the year. In his absence, it was “Uncle Arthur” that took us to the doctor, to the movies, or anywhere else we had to go outside walking distance in this small community. He was not a church going man, but despite his reputation of perhaps being a little ‘different’, he was a very kind man. He only wore bib overalls, a long sleeved shirt, a cap, and boots. I never saw him in anything else. He was always a little disheveled, but he was always working. Right next to his kitchen was a really big tin tub where he apparently bathed at the end of each hard working day – drawing water from the pump right next to the back porch, heating it to a comfortable temperature for a moment of relaxation after being up and moving from sun up to sundown.

Music at Godfather’s came from the birds chirping happily just outside the kitchen window where he lived. My memory might be fuzzy, but it seems that the birds never left – they lived outside that window all year long, serenading us as we made happy memories year after year in that kitchen. My visits were confined mostly to the kitchen and the back porch, as it was almost impossible to maneuver through the rest of the house. It was apparent that at one time, the house was really lived in. The room where the tin tub sat had remnants of what appeared to be a living room – there sat a couch, a curio cabinet, and lamps that looked like they had been selected by someone with a softer touch. I had heard stories that “Uncle Arthur” had once had a wife, but grown folks never talked about those kinds of things in front of us children. For me, despite his being known in the neighborhood as peculiar and somewhat distant, “Uncle Arthur” was one of the most loving and thoughtful men in my world.

Back in the toasty warm kitchen, anticipating the highlight of my Saturday with “Uncle Arthur”, I waited for the magic to begin. With the stove nice and hot, the ice chips ready for our glasses of sweet lemonade, the real joy for me and my Godfather’s afternoons together began. Under the instruction of the master gingerbread maker, I gathered the sugar, molasses, spices, flour, baking soda, milk, and eggs. Godfather would bring the stove to just the right oven temperature – adjusting each piece of wood left, right, up or down, as if adjusting a modern day thermostat. How he got that oven temperature just right is still a mystery to me. It was like magic. As he poured all the ingredients together in his giant yellow porcelain mixing bowl, each addition of an ingredient released level upon level of incredible aromas for the best gingerbread in the making. Individually and collectively, I could smell the molasses, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. But the very last ingredient added was the piece de resistance! The raisins!! “Uncle Arthur” soaked his raisins while mixing together all of the other ingredients. As he added the raisins, they seemed to float endlessly down into the yellow mixing bowl. Their smell was so incredible that I believe he soaked them in some magic potion – perhaps some of that dandelion wine he used to make and bury in the ground next to the back porch. The finished product was an unbelievable and indescribable treat.

My magical Saturdays with my Godfather continued until I turned eighteen and went away to college in 1965. I truly missed those magical moments with a man who didn’t have to say that he loved me – he showed me, my whole life. And even in college, I couldn’t wait to receive my care packages from him – seemingly still warm from that wood stove oven in my Godfather’s kitchen – instant love from the Gingerbread Man.

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