Sunday, September 18, 2016

Name Game: Jimmy Jam's and Jacks

Here I go again, thanks to cousin Mauriette who read a blog I wrote about her grandparents Otto and Thelma Williams Whitfield. 

I told her that I needed to get on the stick and put something up soon. 

So when I passed a hamburger place I came up with Jimmy’s, Jams, and Jacks.

Jimmy Jacks:

We lived back behind the Capitol in Phoenix and there were several places we stopped to pick up some hamburgers, tacos, tostados or a hot dog. 

One place in particular was Jimmy Jacks, a long time staple on Van Buren on the west side of town. 

It has been years and years since I bought anything from there. My loose change went ther when I walked home from High School where I attended Carl Hayden. 

I thought I would google to see if it were still around.

Oh, it was there alright, but the place does not really look as I remember.  

Places make changes as well as people and things. Some stay as they are and some make changes for the better. 


Jimmy with a Y bought to mind a home-going celebration for another Phoenix Staple known to many in the Phoenix area as Jimmy Hunter. 

Jimmy was born as James Hunter in Laurens South Carolina to parents Ernest and Lulee.  
Here is a 1930 Census that shows Jimmy and parents at two years old.

Just to be sure I had Jimmie’s family I went to the 1940  census and found his parents and others. 


I think I was so intrigued not because of Jimmy alone but because of my search for great greats and beyond who were in South Carolina before they were in Texas.

And here I actually knew someone in the flesh who was from South Carolina. 

I wish that I had known that he was from South Carolina. I would have bugged the heck out of him for some of the history. 

Jimmy came to Phoenix and stayed after his stint at Williams Air Force Base in Chandler Arizona.

He married Willa Mae aka Billie who complimented him as a daughter in the Elks. They then complimented each other when they brought into their world a daughter Jimetta.

He got involved in the Elks Lodge #477 where he was voted in as the Exalted Ruler of the William H Patterson Improved Benevolent Elks of the World in Phoenix at least 5 times over the years. 

This guy always had a smile on his face and made people feel just as special as he was.

Phoenix lost a giant among giants when he clocked in at the eleventh hour to join his wife Willia Mae in heaven.

My favorite jam is strawberry but like all things I gave up on a regular basis was the sweet taste that I heaped on a slice of toast or between two pieces of bread.

                My other favorite jam is anything old school.

    Jam’s like Jackie Wilson’s Stop Dogging Me Around

Wolf-man Jack played jams at night from Del Rio Texas

 Jackie Moore sang the heck out of Precious Precious.

Songs like Rhythm Nation and Miss You So Much sung by Janet Jackson were produced by the very talented duo of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Who can’t forget when President Obama slow jammed the news on Jimmy Fallon’s show?

I know I have to start with these

 I have memories of my mother playing with me and she was pretty good. 
I must say though that she probably played with my sister more because I was more of a Hop Scotch and Red Rover, Red Rover kind of girl.

Jack in The Bean Stalk:  Everyone heard the story of Jack the poor lil English kid who had to sell his mother’s cow to make ends meet. Fe fi FO Fum.

Enough said about this fairy tale, listed below is the real deal, no fairy tale there.

Jack The Slave:

Aaron thanks you Jack for volunteering to serve in his place  in the United States Colored Troops. 

                                           Fold3  USCT     

You were both slaves of Robert Welch in Jefferson County Hays Springs Kentucky.

You signed up to take his place at 27 years old. I wish I knew what propelled you to switch places but whatever the reason Thank you for your service.

Kentucky Jack:

Thank you also Jack from Louisville Kentucky for also volunteering to take someone’s place and fight in the war. 

 An 18 year old who must have been awful brave to go and substitute for Wm A Smith. I don’t think he was a slave like you though because he had a full name. 
The good thing is that you signed up in January 7th 1865, the waning days of the war. But no way for you to know that.


I pray you made it home safely, married a good woman and had children who were proud of you. Thank you for your service also Jack

Those J’s sure bought out some good memories. 

I hope that the J’s who walked in this land during the civil war and fought in the United States Colored Troops know that you are not forgotten.  

Source Citation
Year 1930;Census Place:Laurens,Laurens,South Carolina;Roll:2202;Page:2B;Enumeration District:0023;image:916;FHL microfilm:2341936

Source Citation
Year 1940;Census Place: Laurens,Laurens, South Carolina; Roll:T627_3821;7B Enumeration District:30-24

The 26th U.S. Colored Volunteer Infantry on parade, Camp Williams Penn, PA, 1865-C-692 National Archives Identifer:533126

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Remembering A Neighborhood Father

My Special Salute 

I grew up in a household where my mom was our sole provider. She doted on us and gave us everything we “needed”.

I would also say that growing up we did not dwell on our mother being a single parent. She had long been divorced and her main focus was her kids.

I could nominate my mother

I could nominate my mother for she was, in my eyes, both. From time to time us kids would do little things to say how special she was on father’s day for us. However this is a tad different.

This is behind the capitol different. From 21st to 27th Avenue different

There were many families that I knew that had fathers in the home. There are three that stand out in my mind as I go back in time. One of those three was in the military and was gone much of the time, but when he was there he was there emotionless.

I secretly said to myself that he acted like he would rather be back playing soldier than to be home with his wife and kids. 

The other father was there in the home but as I recall he was not a very affectionate person with his children. I just remember him sitting in a chair watching TV. Again another emotion-less father.

All the laughter and sounds came from his wife and his children to each other.


The third was an active father who when not working was in the home. He laughed and teased his children, all of them. Two of his children were born to this wife before he even knew her. However his love for them was the same as those four he had with the love of his life.

They worshipped together, ate dinner together and spent time with other family members together.

There are those of us who secretly or silently wish we had a father in our life just like this man I am speaking of.

I am not jealous that I was “not” lucky enough to have a father like that. I just marvel that my dear friends experienced a father’s love. You could tell in their eyes and faces that they felt the same way about their dad. This man I truly admire:

My Pick for The Back Behind The Capitol Father:

I take this time to say Happy Father's Day Wishes Mr. Fredrick Douglas Hurd.

 I bet your parents Henry and Theresa Conner Hurd were very proud of you when you entered into their life that January day in Richland Texas.

Oh, and thanks go to your children . They have been wonderful friends in my and my family’s life for well over fifty plus years.

What a resourseful person you were too. I say that because you were the first person I ever knew that cooked outside on the grill durn near every night in the summertime to save energy. 

Now everyone I know does that. See how you may have started a trend.

Just so you know, I remember you saying that you knew Lola Falana.
As a kid I would think "who in the world is Lola Falana.”I heard that name so much that I would sing, Lola, Lola Falana lalalalala Lola Lola Falana.

Then one day, I heard someone say Welcome Lola Falana!!!!

 I ran into the room where the tv was and saw her for the first time. She was very pretty. (Not as pretty as your wife though)  But she was real and you knew her….Lola, Lola Falana lalalalala.

I did get mad at Mr Hurd once because I thought I was going to get beat to death by my mom.

I went to Texas for a visit with my aunt who lived in Marshall. I was around 16 I think.
When it was my time to return, I called my mom to pick me up at the train station downtown.

On the way, the train had to stop in El Paso Texas because of a bad snow storm. We were already scheduled to get in late at night anyway.
Since there were no cell phones back then, there was no way to call mom to tell her we were stranded.

My mom waited and waited. The station was empty.

She called my aunt in Texas who told her that she had put me on the train.
Sometime during that time, mom saw Mr. Hurd who worked at the station and asked if he had seen me.

He then relayed to her that the train probably had come in and gone according to the schedule.

When I did get in, I called mom to pick me up and that I finally arrived. Boy was mama pissed. It took everything I had to get her to believe me. Mama did not play!

Mom finally talked to the people at the station, and found out that yes, the train was held up by a snow storm and that yes, there was no notice at the station of bad weather.

My moment of being mad at Mr. Hurd was over then too because he was reading what the board said. I promise you, I did not roll my eyes; I was too busy trying not to get a whipping.

 Speaking of families sticking together you and yours all were in Richland Texas in 1940. Wow and to think I was around all you guys in Phoenix in later years.

Here is a 1940 Newton County Texas Census via Ancestry

                        This is the excerpt of the same census 

You are also in my book of wonderful back behind the Capitol dads because you picked a wonderful partner to spend your life with.

I am sure your loving wife Carol Campbell Hurd is looking after you down here on earth. 

 Happy Heavenly Salute To Other Fathers From Back Behind The Capitol in Phoenix Arizona.

We always called them Mr.

Henderson Turner, Olen Mackey, Reginald Jones, Fred Gammage, Isom Stuart, Patrick Grant.

Then there was

Daddy Watee, Honey Hutchinson, Uncle Buddy, old man Slaughter, Mr Simmons, Mr Dixon, Mr. Cason and Rev. St. Clair.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Non Existent: Hear My Cry

Tired of watching 
All that whip lashing,
Foot cut off
Women wailing
Children taken
Shiny black bodies
Peered at
Highest bidder

 Don’t want to hear about no walking
Miles and miles down no Trail of Tears
Turned into rolls and rolls of Dawes listing
Names and names

Don’t  want to hear about landings
Fighting way up in the sky
Blasting enemies in planes
Escorting the friendlies back to safety
Was it all a lie?
Those men of Tuskegee
Don’t want to hear about no towns after sundown
Riots in the streets,
Burning houses down,
Men, women arrested
Dragged and caned
Always a repeat
Thousands die

Don’t want to see names of birds that fly
Politically Fort Bend Texans cry
That crazed black man Bob Chapel
Singings songs he wailed
Woodpeckers and Jaybird War
Black vote… No, No, No to control
Unconfirmed rumors
Run black men run somewhere far
They got those guns

Colfax Massacre one hundred fifty down
Louisiana tears
Families can’t be found
No thinking about “And Still I Rise”
Makes no sense hearing those long ago cries

Whispering Voice: Wake Up!

No baby daddy no going to school
No Bible Verses or Golden Rule
No living on March or Naha Base
No visit from Auntie no kiss on the face
No Uncle Les or Uncle John
No skating, hop scotch or having fun

No watching James Brown at his best
No 7th Avenue Elks Club’s dance
No laughing or talking at the Masonic Temple
No hard fought ideas made fairly simple
No projects, no Lucky’s hamburger place
No South side, West Side, No Golden Gate
No Eastlake No Alkire or University Park
No playing at the Triangle after dark
No falling in love not once but twice
No Children no grands of two
No staying together or remaining tight
No one to kiss goodnight

Whispering Voice: It's kind of hard not knowing where you are going isn’t it?

Damn, I swear I exist
Am I non existent
OMG! Oh my gosh,
Say my name, say my name

Hear My Cry, Say My Name!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I Knew, Lord Knows I Knew!

    My God What A View ;

This is where I cried…I did not wail or moan but softly shed tears because I knew.

I knew that one of my ancestors was taken off a boat.

I knew because I felt it deep down in my gut before reaching that place.

I had not even set down on that spot yet but somehow I knew. 

When my feet touched the base of the hill. I knew.

My aunt Carmena Taylor Morton told me years ago as a child that her great-grandfather and my 4th great-grandfather Charles Dixon was as she said “from over there across the water” meaning West Indies.

     We come this far by faith

We had passed several forts and places where the tour guide talked of the slaves who were bought there eons ago.

When he mentioned Nigerians I was sorrowfully silent.

My Ethnic Make-up tells me Nigerian among other things my mama and father blended me with.


That wonderful and magnificent ancestral blend they were also blessed to have.

I always want to be sure that I know what I think I know so I tested again. 

Ethnicity, dominantly African


Strands and beads of Irish and of others who may have bought my ancestors to this place I call  “I Knew.”

And Again…..I know, I know, I just love this stuff.

                  Familytree dna

I am also a March baby, a Pisces.

My feet touched down on the Island on the 9th day.

Pisces symbolizes fish that swim in different directions.

Up and down under the chill of the white caps;

Up and down over the warmth of the crashing waves;

           Oh Guide Me Over

Looming under a dark cloud of despair.

        Chained bound, salty tears

How many of my ancestors were caught in that watery grave trying to go back from whence they came? 

The tour guide told us that Fort Castillo San Felipe del Morro is one of the backdrops used in the 1990 movie Amistad .

This was where the slaves were bought to port and held for market.

         Oh Lord Hear My Cry

The fort was in fact used to guard San Juan from sea bearing enemies in the early 1500’s.

So majestic that it takes your breath from deep within and you slowly exhale.

      He that dwell in the secret place 

I did not make the trek to the top of the hill. 

My reasoning then was the aches and pains I already had and the long walk up.

As I type my thoughts, I came to realize that it was not for me to make the trip up the hill, nor take the trip back down.

He that sustains me already knew

He Knew that If He wanted me to go, He would have shown me the way.

He Knew  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Stormy Weather: Letter To Percy Moore

I have been looking at the weather channel for two days. Watching and hoping that my family, friends and other folks will be careful as the snow storm moves through the northeastern part of the USA.

Part of my thoughts are also on the Arizona Cardinals as they make their way to North Carolina to play the Carolina Panthers in that treacherous weather they are not used to playing in.

As I am watching TV, I am also going through my messages in my email and on Facebook.

Wow, I sure have been lax on answering a few.

As I looked at my computer, one message caught my eye.

I guess the weather and the message is playing a big part of my thoughts and so are memories of a time gone by.

So I humbly and eagerly submit an open letter.

Letter to Percy Moore: 

My dear friend Percy,

I went through my FB messages and saw an old message that you had sent asking a very pointed question.

I saw also that I had not gotten back with you to answer that question.

To be truthful I had been through many issues and had completely forgotten that I needed to respond.

I scratched my head and tried to bring up memories that would satisfy your request but could not come up with an answer.

I even made a few telephone calls to see if anyone else knew the answer.
I came up blank that way as well, but during those calls I made, the answers were all the same.

“I wish I knew too”

I thought the answer was buried in my brain. I tried and tried with memory and with “works.” No such luck!

So here I am and I do want to apologize to you for my late response and to tell you Nooooooooooo!!!

Nooooooooooo, I do not know Marie Freeman’s
 recipe for the best chili in the world which she served after hours in the Little Elks.

Like all the others “I wish I knew”

So Percy, here is to the memories and those delicious bowls of chili. (Without beans of course.)

Oh yeah Percy, forgive me also for using the  way, way, way back in the day picture. This was the only one I could get to quickly in my IBPOE of W stash. 

For the Chili Queen Marie:

Rest in perfect and peaceful paradise Sally Marie Freeman.