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.    

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hey Sport, Whatever Happened To Them?

I woke up this morning with a “I wonder what happened to” and decided I would do a search.

Why I ventured into sports I have no idea but it is what it is. Plus, I really have no qualms with the two I chose for this blog.

                                                                                            My First Thought:                                                                                                                         
Willie "Rockabye" Ross:

My recollection of Willie was that he was always a neat dresser.

He had a wonderful smile and quick to display it. He was mannerable and well liked

I always thought Willie was a Phoenix product but it seems like he was from Mississippi

 Partial Image from a picture taken Bill Swifts Gym 1962 found on Box Rec.

Willie fought professionally from 1960 to 1965 and was managed by Al Finn. 


Rockabye had an overall record of 75 wins out of 78 bouts in his career.

Willie took his tour to heaven in 1997 where he laid down his gloves for good.

 May he continue to Rest in Peace. 

My Second Thought:

Armand Hussein:

Another person who drifted in my thoughts came from the neighborhood I used to live in.

He rented a room from one of my favorite people who kept my daughter and nephew while I worked.

That wonderful lady was Ms. Bryant and the roomer was Armand. 

Armand was a rather nice person who wrestled for a living. He was billed as Armand Hussein.

When I first met him he had African garb on and talked in an accent of what I thought was his native tongue with an English flair. 

                                            Photo by Bob Leonard 

If my memory served me right, I don’t think I ever saw him without his African garb even when I ran into him at the Elks club.

I never saw him wrestle but from what I heard back then he was pretty good.

                                          Photo by Bob Leonard

According to Wrestling Data Armand was around 231 pounds and wrestled in over 600 events.

That is rather remarkable to me to have that many mat times

 I learned of his birth name just today.  

Armand was Mike Barber born 1936 in Alabama. He lived out the rest of his life in Dallas Texas. 

When he legally changed his name is not known to me but Armand Hussein listed in the Social Security database as such and was buried in Krum Texas.

Armand  died December 31, 2007.

Armand took off his wrestlers high tops for good and took his place on High. 

May he continue to rest in perfect peace.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Who Would A Thunk It Rev H Johnson?

I had no earthly idea that Texas was thought of in the same way that Oklahoma was as far as migration was concerned. 

Those thoughts were coming from Baltimore Maryland by a preacher man.

While in my reading mode for everything Texas, boy was I wrong. Reverend Harvey Johnson made his wants known. 

I found this article in the 1910 Baltimore Sun where Rev. Johnson explains his plan to purchase Texas to his church congregation. 

Rev Johnson stated that everything would be done through the Maryland Texas Purchase Association with the option to pay the sale off in one hundred (100) years. 

Reverend Johnson even stated that after all negroes were in place a Republic would be started and all ties to the United States would be severed. 

I thought I would see if I could find this Reverend with a vision in the census. 

Source: Ancestry 1900 Census Baltimore Maryland Roll 608 Pg7A, ED 0024

Here he is along with wife Amelia, two children William and Harvey in the 1900 Census on lines 8-12. His  72 year old mother in law Ellen Hull is also living with them. He is listed as a Preacher.

The Union Baptist Church on Druid Hill in Baltimore Maryland was where Reverend Johnson was its minister from 1872 to 1923 and is now on the National Register Of Historic Places.

Needless to say the Reverend was not taken up on his plan. He was outnumbered not only by those of the opposite race but by many of us own. 

I am just saying, who would a thunk it!

I do not have the Reverend in my research as far as I know but I do have Texas folks named Johnson from around Marshall Texas. 

I will continue to look for them but who knows who I will find. 

Will it be Jack Johnson, Heavy Weight Champion Boxer from Galveston Texas?

 Or Mary Ellen Johnson

The 77 year old ex-slave living in Dallas Texas who is featured in the Slave Narratives from The Federal Writer’s Project 1936 through 1938.

What about this Dallas born world class track star who just might sprint his way to the root of my line.

Michael Johnson

So all you Johnson’s, catch me when I come looking for you so I can add you to my tree.

You don’t have to be famous, just rich with all that DNA mixed with mine.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Blk History Nominee: C Vivian Stringer

I heard somewhere that thinking may be dangerous. 
I try my best to think good thoughts especially centered around my old neighborhood and friends. 

I was also thinking about Black History Month and who I would like to highlight.

It is so strange how names connect to one another and I suppose these two names happened for a reason.

Behind the Capitol home-girls:

                Given name Vivian

                Surname Stringer

The last name and/or the first name have been left off to protect the innocent or the guilty depending on all who may have come in contact with us behind the capitol.

In fact our neighborhood was what we affectionately called “Behind the Capitol”.

For the purpose of this blog I will remain vigilant and use given and surname.

Thinking back we have all had some good times growing up.  I have soft spots in my heart for both of the families of these two ladies.

First name Vivian always had an infectious laugh and sense of humor while surname Stringer and I ran on the same track team at school.

We were pretty good too.

In fact our school record stood for many years in the Murphy School District.

First name Vivian I saw a couple of years ago at a church outing, but it has been years and years since I have seen Surname Stringer.
I was born on the 16th day of March, in some year in the 1900’s.

So, in honor of these two ladies and myself, I put together my Black History Month nominee.

                C Vivian Stringer

Vivian was born March 16, 1948 in Edborn Pennsylvania to parents Thelma and Buddy Stoner. 

She went on to excel in all types of sports from basketball to Field Hockey. 

Vivian even participated in Cheer when she was not playing sports. (Philadelphia Tribune exerpt)

Not only is she a talented coach she is an accomplished musician as well with her talent in playing the piano.

In college at Slippery Rock State she earned her Master of Science Degree in Education. 

She has coached at schools such as Cheney State all the way to Rutgers.

Quoting her she stated:

“Nothing touches me more than a person who has convictions and doesn't just go the way the wind blows” 

I salute you Mrs. C. Vivian Stringer for being one of the classiest and winningest coaches in women’s basketball.

I also salute you for your work habits to excel and your ability to encompass those around you to excel.

Your strength and convictions when standing up for your players in the don imus (notice no capitalization) debacle, along with being true to yourself did not escape me and millions of others.