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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/1004818-Influences-in-My-Life
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#1004818 added February 19, 2021 at 2:14pm
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Influences in My Life
There have been some remarkable black people who have touched my life in some amazing ways over the years. I'd like to share a few of those with you in honor of Black History Month.

The first lady I'd like to tell you about is named Barbara. I was young and just starting out and had didn't know what projects were. I found an apartment I could afford on my own and that was all I cared about. I also did not know or understand not all neighborhoods were the same and that I was excitedly moving into what was government housing (tho they rented to everyone).

Day one, I parked my little grey Chevy in the parking slot and began unloading boxes. I left the door to the apartment open for easy access and during one trip I carried a box into the house and discovered a very big, very dark black woman standing in my living room. Now, this woman towered over me. I'm 5'3 and she must have been close to six foot. And wasn't just tall. This woman was big-boned and thick with large hands. And she was very, very black. I'd seen a lot of black people over my life in South Central Texas but this woman was the darkest black I'd ever seen. I figured she must have been pure African.

The first thing this woman said to me was "What you got up in your kitchen good to eat?" Not hi, not her name, just what did I have to eat! A little unnerved and a lot intimidated and told her I had nothing to eat. I was just moving in and didn't have money to buy food for a few days until payday. With that, she stomped off to my kitchen and began rummaging in my as yet unpacked boxes! Not really sure what to do or say I decided to go about my business of unloading my car. When I ventured back into my kitchen she had filled a bowl with cornmeal and was adding hot water from the sink to it. I didn't say anything and neither did she. But let me tell you, that woman proceeded to make the most amazing, most delicious fried cornbread fritters I'd ever eaten!

Barbara was a woman of few words and I learned she didn't like most people. She had been in and out of prison numerous times and she wasn't one you really wanted to make angry. For some reason, she decided she liked me. She'd show up at my apartment at all times of the day or night and just help herself to the kitchen. I also noticed she had a weird tendency to fall asleep on my sofa. Once she confided in me that she only felt really safe or peaceful in my house. I told her that's cos the spirit of God was there. That's why she could let her guard down and sleep. I took it as a great compliment she trusted me enough to sleep in my house. She was a rough woman tho, and lived a rough life. She got into a physical altercation with her boyfriend and broke a glass bottle over his head and went back to prison for assault. We kept in touch by letters for a while but her letters got further and further between and slowly we lost contact with each other. I've often wondered where she ever ended up and how she is doing.

We had nothing in common and no reason the two of us should be friends. Yet, somehow we managed to form an odd sort of friendship and she taught me how to stand up for myself and how to make amazing cornbread fritters.


I think the most powerful black person to change my life is my very own son David. Yes, my son. It has been several years now since we met. One day a young teen boy popped up on my facebook and said his name was David. He was 17 and liked talking. We talked. He was a polite boy and was interested in talking about all kinds of subjects. We began talking and became friends. About a month into it, as we were saying goodnight, he called me Mom. He just slipped it in there...and it felt so sweet...it stuck. He began calling me Mom and I started calling him my son.

As I said, he was 17. Over a few months, I learned his biological mother left one day, telling him she was going to visit family some miles away, and then, she called him and told him she was not coming back. He was left on his own to fend for himself. He lost their home and found himself living in a home with about five other boys. All of whom hustled and did what they could to survive and pay bills. He learned to barber and cut hair. That is how he made his money. It made me wonder HOW he could ever find it in him to call ANYONE "Mom" again after what he had been through.

As we got to know each other, there were times when this sweet boy would not have the money to buy food for that day and as he lay there hungry, his stomach growling he would talk to me. He and I would talk ALL night to keep his mind from being hungry. Likewise, I learned the house he lived in with those boys...his room had no screen on the windows. When it rained, the roof leaked and his room would be wet, cold or steamy hot and fill with mosquitos. During those miserable times, my son and I would talk all through the night. He said I made him feel he was no longer alone.

My husband and I did what we could. We sent a box filled with blankets, netting, socks, etc. I felt it would be better to send him funds so he could simply go buy the foods he could from places there. He was so angry with me he barely spoke to me for three very long, very agonizing days. I'd hurt his male pride and ego!! He told me, very articulately that HE was an ADULT and did not need MOM to send MONEY for him. He made it clear, that if anyone was sending money it would be HIM sending to ME. Still, this many years later, I have to be very careful not of offending his pride by offering to send money. He is happy if I send gifts...without prior warning.

For a very long time, I questioned myself and was concerned if I was doing the right thing with him. Was I fair to let this sweet boy call me MOM?? We talked for hours about him coming to America to live with me and my husband. But was helping him to America really in HIS best interest?? With all the unrest and rioting and stuff going on did I really want him exposed to all that??

One day, my son got me on a video call and was very upset. He told me "Mama I don't feel good at all and I am hot and I have a wound that hurts!" And before I could respond or knew what he was doing, that boy turned and dropped his drawers showing me a large, infected mosquito bite right on his butt cheek! In that moment he was very much my little boy who wanted Moma to fix the pain and he was every bit the little boy needing something only Moma could give! After that, there have been NO second-guessing or questions that David is my son.

It has been five years now since I met my son. On his 21st birthday, HE gave US a gift. He said he had a surprise for us and showed us his new ID and passport...he has legally taken my husband's middle and last name. He is now legally David Eugene Stone!! I can't spell or say his birth name. So that made him officially our son. We are still working on ALL of us to save up money to get him to America.

My husband and I have given serious thought of moving to Ghana to be with David, but David does not want that. You see, David has a dream. You should see my son's face light up and glow when he talks about BIG TRUCKS. He adores big trucks and his huge dream is to come to America and drive a big rig and drive all over the states! He turns into an animated little boy when he shows me pictures of trucks he likes and when he talks about trucking. How can I deny him that?

Oh yes, I worry. My son has no idea the ways of America or the culture of black America. The anger and resentment building and all the rioting and unrest...going on now...I fear my son learning of it. Of him being in the middle of it. I still wonder if us moving to Ghana would be better for him than letting him come here. But he has his dreams and he is a stubborn young man filled with what most daring, adventurous teens and young people are filled with. Whatever my son wants, I will help him and stand beside him all the way.

He is the most influental black person who has touched my life. I can't wait to see what God does in our lives and what will happen next.

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