101 Reasons I Luv Montreal

Autumn in Montreal. The sound was music to my soul. I knew that hook or crook, I would move heaven and earth to return in September.

And I did. This trip would be different from the last visit. The cool temps and sweater weather made me start packing a week early.

The fact that Hurricane Florence was bearing down on the East coast was not lost on me. I watched the weather reports anxiously checking and rechecking the weather in Montreal that week.

Finally, departure day and Florence had moved on…barely touching the Virginia coast. My thoughts are already in Montreal as I head to Amtrak for the first leg of my journey.

The best part turns out to be the Acela fast speed train that I have not ridden before.  It is a beautifully shaped train, sleek and modern, arriving from DC to the big Apple in record time.

Montreal is a cool 65 degrees when I disembark. I immediately notice the Rock n Roll Marathon signs as I approach the hotel. Although I had a list of things to do leading up to my born day, I added this event to the top of the list pleased that I had arrived at the start of this fun filled Marathon weekend.

My hotel as it turned out, was located a few blocks from the Marathon site. And I was able to enjoy the free concerts, free health screening, free massages, free healthy treats….that came along with the Marathon.

The trip will forever be known as the “Walking Week”. I was somewhat familiar with the area as it also was the site for the jazz festival. What I didn’t know was I was very close to Chinatown, Old Montreal and The Port.

Even though at times I felt I was walking in a big circle, the pleasant weather, inviting shops, exquisite food smells plus the music from the Rock n roll bands made my days in Montreal enjoyable.

A pic is worth a thousand words…check them out!20180919_11262220180921_14022820180921_16440320180921_18590320180922_13093320180922_15481920180922_22494520180922_22073720180922_22384220180923_09283920180923_10001220180923_10093820180923_10151620180924_15223620180924_134042

 

 

 

 

 

 

School Daze

 

back to school conceptual creativity cube
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The TV ads have already begun. Happy, smiling children dancing, doing flips to Bruno Mars, tumbling out of school buses, Ready.  Faces shining, eyes glowing, backpacks bulging, sharpened pencils/notebooks/calculators/jump drives/Ipads at the ready.

As a teacher, now retired, I have mixed emotions about this time of the year.  Summer is not officially over and already the brick and mortar folks are on the band wagon gearing up for the shopping binge that takes place this time of year. True, many schools around the country have begun, but Virginia (Hampton Roads) opted years ago to delay opening until after Labor Day to give the student workers a chance to serve the last tourists visiting the area.

I loved teaching, my students and being in the classroom, but I also savored every day of my two month respite (as did most of my colleagues). The mental and physical stress of teaching coupled with low pay requiring most of us teachers to work a second job takes its toll on those in this noble profession.

Generally teachers have to return one or two weeks before school’s official opening to prepare for the onslaught of new practices, new personnel, new procedures. …this year you will have to write out an individual comment on the student’s report card if the student receives a D in your class…Huh?…You mean explain to the student/parent why he/she got a D…Duh?

In teaching, it seems everything old is always new again.  That’s the thing about education, a forty year veteran teacher used to say… Gurl, if you stay in it long enough everything comes back around…just with a new name and some new research to back it up.  I call this the pendulum swing theory…things were going pretty good (or bad ) and now they seem headed in the other direction.

My entre into teaching was a second career move.  Having exhausted the paralegal field working with lawyers of all ilk… from Hollywood medical malpractice to Virginia Legal Aid, I was ready for a career switch.  My options were law school (and suit up every day in the lawyer armor) or English degree.  The choice was obvious.

During the mid 80s, teachers still had a measure of control over what happened in their classroom.  I remember being given a course outline my first year and told that as long as I covered the material, I could be as creative as I wanted in the delivery to the students.

A year later, when I became Department Head, my principal, Mr. W told me during the interview, I had big shoes to fill as my predecessor had been on the job for 30 years.  He looked at my size 9 foot and smiling said, I don’t think you will have any problem.  And I didn’t.

Under his Joe Clark tempered with Old School cool leadership and the mentoring of other seasoned teachers, I flourished.  The 10 years I spent at the middle school were certainly the high point of my teaching career.  Not only was I able to influence the philosophy and practices of other teachers, I was able to teach I-love -you -one -day/hate -you -the- next hormonal 12 and 13 year olds, critical thinking and reasoning skills while improving their basic reading/writing skills. And also infuse their lives with some history and culture to strengthen their self knowledge. I was even voted Teacher of the Year * by my fellow colleagues. And appeared in a local television news documentary celebrating the teaching profession.

It was there that I wrote my first book buoyed by my students who wanted “to see a text about Egyptian mythology with faces that looked like theirs.”

All of that unfortunately, ended one day when a student, new to the school and upset because I had given the entire class lunch detention for misbehaving while under the care of  a sub, jumped up suddenly and shouted I’m not serving any f###king detention…  I’ma blow your mother F###king head off.  And ran out of the room.

This incident of verbal assault signaled a pendulum shift in my own life. For weeks, I was stalked by this student even after he was finally suspended. At the insistence of the police officer assigned to the school, I took unpaid leave for the remaining few weeks of school. During this time, I found it necessary to seek medical treatment for stress, anxiety and debilitating insomnia as my bubbly personality and infectious smile disappeared.

Eventually,  the case was bought to court (the school assigned police officer had filed a warrant against the student). Ironically, the state of Virginia, had just passed a law stating that verbal assault on a teacher was a crime. The judge  sentenced the student to a juvenile facility and apologized to me on behalf of the Court for all that I had endured.

Unfortunately,  the damage was done. Being inside a school no longer held joy for me …only anxiety. And for some strange reason, even though I was the victim of this crime, the school administration did not take my side. I think they just wanted me to let the whole thing go…after all the student hadn’t physically assaulted me.

But he had run to his locker to get something after he bolted from my class…perhaps a weapon.

..he had come to the school near the end of the year without  records from his previous school and been admitted.

..he had assaulted a student in another neighboring school district.

…he had waited many days following this incident crouched by my parked car until he was chased away by security.

…He had taken away my career,my livelihood, my joie de vie…my love of teaching.

(To be continued…part 2)

Comments welcome. And thank you for Reading my Words.

*Each school selects one teacher.

 

 

 

 

 

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised… Or Posted on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (spoken word) is waiting for your comments.

Liberal Lin

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WE interrupt this broadcast to bring you an important message!

The Revolution will NOT be televised

or posted on Instagram

or Facebook

or snap chat

or twitter.

Brother Gil Scott sounded the alarm

Malcolm and Martin were already gone

Huey and Fred and countless unnamed Panthers have led the charge

For  dignity

community

free food

brotherhood /sisterhood

A Voice

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The Community of Brothers Behind Bars

serving time

for victimless crimes

must be freed

Instituitions of Higher Learning

must replace crack dens,

measuring grams,

driving while black,

killing of our boys and men

Wake up! Wake up!

Social media is not real

it is a Medium

designed by the 10percent

for control of the 90

Anesthetizing Our Youth

Dulling Their Brilliant Minds

Gaming Gaming does Not Rule

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

We have already lost too much Time

Vietnam /PTSD /Homelessness /Brother can…

View original post 221 more words

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised… Or Posted on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook

IMG_0094

WE interrupt this broadcast to bring you an important message!

The Revolution will NOT be televised

or posted on Instagram

or Facebook

or snap chat

or twitter.

Brother Gil Scott sounded the alarm

Malcolm and Martin were already gone

Huey and Fred and countless unnamed Panthers have led the charge

For  dignity

community

free food

brotherhood /sisterhood

A Voice

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The Community of Brothers Behind Bars

serving time

for victimless crimes

must be freed

Instituitions of Higher Learning

must replace crack dens,

measuring grams,

driving while black,

killing of our boys and men

Wake up! Wake up!

Social media is not real

it is a Medium

designed by the 10 percent

for control of the 90

Anesthetizing Our Youth

Dulling Their Brilliant Minds

Gaming Gaming does Not Rule

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

We have already lost too much Time

Vietnam /PTSD /Homelessness /Brother can you spare me a Dime

Visiting your baby daddy in Lockup has become a Thing

Abusing your Queen has become a Thing

Shooting Sperm in Many Women has become a new sport

fatherless children the result

Wake Up !Wake Up!

We Need You

You are the hope

the light

the Original rib

To get to the Future

We Have to Look to the Past

WE Were the kings /the pyramid builders/ the mathematicians/the blood transfusion inventor

…the doctors…the lawyers

And Soldiers who helped SAVE our Native American chiefs

Do you know Your History /Her Story ?

Anthony Benjamin Tyrone Rashad Khalif Isaiah Testimony Derrick Jason Sean…

You are the fruit we have borne

Do not ripen on the Vine

Countless numbers are Already Gone

YOU are OUR Future

Our Kings /Warriors /Griots /Musicians

Rulers of  Obama Nation

The REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED

But Will Be Brought To you

Live and …In LIVING COLOR .

Hey, leave me a brief comment and forward this on to 1 Brother you know…let’s get this party uh Revolution started..right?

(100 things I ❤️ About Montreal will continue next week)

As Always,Thank you for reading my Words and please feel free to Comment/Share/ Follow … just like you did in Kindergarten 😌

Love and Light!

Looking into the Abyss OR the Pleasure Dome

(Memoir/Fiction)
60 is a very pivotal age for the Baby Boomer. Ten years apres finding that First AARP in the mailbox… the lilting ring of I’m 50 something replaced by the thudding sound of Yeah Man, I’m 60. The reality that there are more days behind you than ahead… and depending on your world view… this could be the beginning of staring into the Abyss or racing into the Pleasure Dome. After all, we were the generation that was going to change the world…baby if I cooould channnge the world…Remember.


So here I am almost sixty (technically I am still fifty-nine) but when the ball drops next month I will be throwing rocks as they say, at sixty so why not claim it now…it will lessen the shock…and make it easier to mouth the words when some Uncoth type asks me my age. Not that I have any problem telling them…but why is it really important? Does it tell them Anything really relevant about who I am, where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and more importantly what I am about to do. Like leave this establishment as soon as I finish this drink because this conversation is boring me to thoughts of suicide or better yet homicide…His.
When did I become so impatient with men…people in general…but especially men in my age bracket…knowing what they are about to say before they engage their brains and let their mouths belie their intelligence. Able to spot an Old Playa from across the room or right up in my face whispering that I should remember his phone number without bothering to ask mine.
I think most Boomer women would appreciate it more if men just knew how to graciously accept their age and flow with it. This obsessing over younger women who see nothing but dollar signs when they look at them and the constant need to put down the women who really are in their age category has made many of my sisters declare that the war is over.

I should be stickaforkinme done but every now and then I allow myself to traverse down that road. Often because of an unexpected gift- a smile- given to a Stranger as I am leaving say… a business mixer.
He said his name was L and the smile on my face made him think I was up to something. I was. Trying to get home after two drinks of Grey Goose from a friendly bartender at the first stop followed by another less generous pour at this place. The silly grin was, I admit, Goose induced and He just happened to open the door as I was trying to gracefully ease out of the place.

     After depositing my distinctive blue business card in his hand and declining to remember his whispered digits, I found myself mildly entertaining thoughts of his phone call and what might ensue. He was charming enough and had the balls to approach me so I was intrigued.
     And then reality set in as day three or four since our encounter and no phone call. I put thoughts of him out with the smelly trash and immersed myself in grading yet another freshman essay about the horrors of abortion, war and gun control.
And then he called – very formal tone- as if he wasn’t sure I would answer. The conversation was brief. He was on his way to have his car inspected and I guess thought he would ring me up on the way. Not too impressive I thought for a first call since I seemed to be part of his errands for that day. And when he abruptly arrived at his destination the call ended and his promise to return the call shortly did not materialize for another 24 hours.
This time it was at my insomniac hour. I guess he didn’t believe I would really be awake but unfortunately for him I was already engaged on the phone with a close friend and ironically at the moment he called was sharing something about Him with her. I told him I would call him back which I did some two or three hours later… all is fair in love and war…and got his voicemail.
      The phone remained silent for the rest of the day and finally later that evening over sushi and a second glass of wine in a new spot downtown, I did break down and call him as he had suggested just to see what his reason was for ignoring me. Yet another voicemail that signaled he was otherwise engaged. This is going nowhere fast and time to pull the ripcord.  So I decide I will not entertain this nonsense any longer because those freshman essays are still piled on my living room floor ungraded.

.
Friday rolls around and I decide to treat myself to some seafood in the form of Cioppino which usually is reserved for holidays or special occasions since the ingredients are so costly…shrimp, clams, mussels, cod, halibut, salmon, lots of garlic, tomatoes and of course white wine…but I tire of reserving things for special occasions.

     I trek to Whole Paycheck and purchase the necessary ingredients together with those for Muffaletta, a shamefully greasy salmon /spicy ham/three kinds of cheese and a slathering of olive salad on French bread kind of sandwich that has become my latest passion.
     Armed with these pricey ingredients and a bright yellow blast of daisies, I surrender to the peaceful hum of my kitchen and prepare the succulent seafood stew when the phone rings and surprise, surprise…It is none other than elusive stranger. I decide to just slice through the small talk when he tells me he is on his way to a Sushi joint near my hood. And announce that I am making the best seafood dish ever and invite him over to sample my cooking.

     Within minutes he appears at my front door, not as dashing as I remember from the dim lights of the club doorway but congenial enough and anxious to see if I can really cook. Since he appeared without so much as a bottle of wine, I offered him some  Sauvignon that I was using in the stew.
The conversation was pleasant, informational, non threatening as I put the finishing touches on my shellfish feast. He had never had Cioppino and as I instructed him how to sop up the broth with the Italian bread, I could see the pleasure spread across his face… that look which tells the cook he has eaten something truly divine.

     Before I had a chance to offer him some fruit and cheese for desert –organic pears and buttery smooth Havarti- He announced caveman style that he had other plans for the evening and had to get home and prepare himself.
    I smiled sweetly to cover up my agitation. A smart guy would never have been this rude and a young guy would have been anxious to see what was for dessert. Schmuck!
Now I could really see him for what he was…an old has been who needed a good hearing aid instead of that earring in his ear. Who fancied himself a Playa when Senior Citizen more accurately described him. I quickly closed the door on both the cold winter night and him. (Note: This is My Version of Fiction. Your Comments Appreciated!)

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A TRIBUTE TO RUTH BROWN, MISS RHYTHM (1/12/28-11/17/06)

Readers, Windows 10 has struck again… and this time don’ run off with some of my saved documents!

Fortunately, I had a hard copy of my original post on Ruth Brown, but the guest post by Bill Griggs, local Renaissance man who knew and loved Miss B fiercely, along with comments from her long time Band member/friend the famed New York saxophonist Bill Easley is MIA.

Many of you who follow my posts know of my affinity for Music.  I am a listener/sing alonger/lover of all kinds of music especially Jazz, soulful R&B, Blues, Hip hop, Country… did she say Country… Yes. Country. Especially folk like  Sugarland, Brad Paisley, Zac Brown Band, Rascal Flats, Reba, Bonnie Raitt, Darius Rucker and even some Rap… T.Payne’s It’s a Circus, The Notorious B.I.G (my road song thanks to JoanG), Mos Def (did you know he has left the country?), Common, and on quieter, reflective occasions straight-ahead-jazz (thanks Dad) and classical including my extremely talented cello/guitar/ piano playing grandson Khalif, Regina Carter, and  Vivaldi, to name a very few .

My favorite music, of course, playing as I write, on my ipod (used to be CDs), are the renderings of various bluesy, jazzy, soulful Male and Female crooners, the latter ranging from Bettye Lavette, Phyllis Hyman, Ledisi, Oleta, Rachelle, Farrell, Fantasia, Nina, Billie and of course, Miss Rhythm herself, Ruth Brown.

When I was a pigtail and bang, crinoline slip, black patent leather shoe wearing puff of innocence living in Norfolk, just across the river in Portsmouth, hometown phenom, Ruth Brown aka  Miss Rhythm was making a name for herself in the world of music. That bluesy, “torchy, church and jazz schooled voice” that helped build  Atlantic Records in the 50s to the music giant it would later become had her start singing in church and later won a contest at Harlem’s Apollo Theater that propelled her to become winner of a Tony, Grammy ( 1990, 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award), W.C. Handy, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee during her long career.

Little did I know skipping up and down the streets of Victory Manor that one day some 50 years later our paths would cross and this musical wonder would leave a lasting impact on my life/heart.

Ruth Brown became the voice of Atlantic Records making chart topping hits like So Long, Tear Drops in Her Eyes, and (Mama) He Treats your Daughter Mean.  Her more than two dozen hits, including Blues, R& B and later Rock and Roll, turned AR into a  record giant and  it was dubbed The House that Ruth Built. Her relationship with AR ended in 1961 following contract disputes when like so many black artists, Ruth discovered she was not being fairly compensated for the hits she was making.

Undaunted, Ruth Brown reinvented herself in the 70s and began recording blues and jazz again.  She won a Tony for her role in Broadway’s Black and Blue.  And had a starring role in the film Hairspray where she played the feisty DJ. She also showcased her hosting talents on two NPR shows, all the while continuing to perform at concerts and nightclubs in the U.S and overseas to throngs of adoring fans.

It was during the resurgence of her career in the early 2000s that I met the famed Miss Ruth Brown.  At 77, she was preparing a return to the newly renovated Norfolk Attucks Theater (where she had performed at age 16 without her father’s knowledge).  A friend at local Public Television station, WHRO, told me that a California director was looking for a local person to assist with research for a documentary  on Miss Brown’s life.  I quickly contacted Him and offered my services, and for the next few months was launched into a worldwind of activity researching the life of Ruth Brown from a variety of local sources.

I spent hours searching dusty files tucked away in the rich archives of the Portsmouth Public library (thank you Mae H.) and the microfilm viewers at the Norfolk Public library,  hunting down pictures, newspaper articles, memorabilia, anything I could find on this Portsmouth native. Thanks to archivist at NSU library, I was able to obtain black and white photos from the 60s taken of Ruth Brown and radio personality Jack Holmes at a local event. I even stumbled across a beautiful 8×10 of her, at of all places, the Portsmouth Naval Museum…who knew? One of her most ardent fans (and high school sweetheart) even had a delicate, crumbling autographed B&W photo of her taken at Sunset Lake Park (remember that spot) hanging on his Portsmouth garage wall!

For weeks, I worked the phones talking to people who knew Ruth Brown, folks from her teenage days at Norcom High School who included the likes of Mayor Holley, Councilman  Whitehust, former School Supt. Horace Savage, jazz player Johnny Day, and distinguished, retired  Mr. Sanford (a former RB suitor) and a host of other likeable, gracefully aging seniors who all had fond memories of  Miss Brown. We made arrangements to have a surprise ‘class reunion’ backstage after the performance at the Attucks.

After immersing myself in all things Ruth Brown, I finally met the great lady as she rehearsed with her band a few days prior to the Attucks performance.  Don, the producer, introduced us and she graciously greeted me like I was an old friend.  She was delighted to learn I was a ‘hometown’ girl and invited me  to join her backstage on the night of the performance. It was at that time, I also met Bill Easley, her long time  NY friend, band member and sax player extraordinaire whose resume included recording with the likes of Issac Hayes, George Benson, Jimmy McGriff and other jazz greats including Ruth Brown. Our friendship continues today bonded by the initial connection to Miss B.

Despite needing a cane for support (she had injured her knees in a car crash years ago), Ruth Brown was still a fireball of energy, had an infectious smile, sophisticated style, and a voice that filled the 600 seat auditorium of the Attucks Theater.

On the night of her performance, I was busy greeting the ‘class reunion’ members and getting them seated, shopping for flowers for her dressing room, ‘rehearsing’ the presentation by her classmate that would follow Portsmouth Mayor Holley and Norfolk Vice Mayor Hester’s presentation of her cake, and overall just trying to be helpful to the staff of the Attucks.

When Miss Brown came backstage, her Assistant asked me if I would sit with her while she was waiting to go on.  I was both floored and honored and quickly pulled up a chair next to the exquisitely gowned Miss B. We held hands tightly and talked quietly as she ‘calmed herself’ for this ‘debut back in front’ of her hometown some 50 years after she had ‘left town’. When the band played her intro, she released my hand and said, “Honey, I got this…I’m walking out there on my own.”  She squeezed my hand and in true Ruth Brown style gracefully glided onto the stage.

The next time I saw Ruth Brown was about a month later when I traveled through the snow to join Director Don and his friends at a New York nightclub, Le Jazz Au Bar, where Miss Brown was performing. When we went backstage to greet her, she noticed me standing off from the group and said, “There’s my hometown girl, what you doing up here in the big city?” We both laughed and warmly embraced and spent some time catching up on Portsmouth goings on.

Sadly, almost a year later, following a stroke and heart attack while living/performing in Nevada, Ruth Brown’s light was extinguished. I along with hundreds of others attended her funeral services at Willet Hall in her beloved Portsmouth where she had returned on many previous occasions to see a street named in her honor, a scholarship established in her name; a star placed on Granby Street; and a parade and banquet recognizing her as a Notable.

Although, I only knew her a short time, this sassy, blues, R&B and Rock and Roll lady will always be in my heart and music collection! She was a survivor who  like my muse writer Zora Neale Hurston overcame challenges of  racism, sexism, and health to realize her dream.

And to my friends Bill Griggs and Bill Easley, if you are reading this, I am sure the Readers would love to hear from you!

Stay tuned and as always….thanks for reading!