Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
“I wasn’t supposed to come back to Washington. I was happy up in New York and then my mother got sick. She had a stroke three years ago and was never the same again. She passed two days ago. I am happy that I could be up here with her to take care of her. She needed me, and I was happy to do it.
“I left D.C. after finishing Spingarn High School and going to work for a bit on Capitol Hill. I had six uncles on the police force over there and some aunts who worked for Senators Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania and B. Everett Jordan of North Carolina. They helped me get a job as a clerk and messenger for Congress. I would deliver books and alcohol to the Senators’ offices. Back then, I wasn’t even 21, but people didn’t pay no attention to the drinking age like they do now. Now, kids be getting drunk and acting stupid. I tell you, the world has changed. Politics has changed, too. I am really not a politician, but back in the day, if the people in your neighborhood liked you, they put you into office. Now, you got to campaign and travel all over the world to convince people about you. Times certainly have changed.
“After some time on the Hill, I left to go to New York. There wasn’t much opportunity here, but there were jobs in New York. I moved up north to get to some real working and raise my family. New York is a real city where a man gets a job. I started working in a photo lab and then worked as a truck driver. Then, I drove for an ambulance company for eight years until my Mom got sick.
“I miss New York everyday. There, people know how to drive and have fun. These people here can’t drive or have fun. New York has things to do 24 hours a day. Here, I don’t smell no barbecue or see people cooking out, even on holidays. In New York, everybody is partying all the time. Here, it doesn’t look like people are having fun, they are just slagging around and drinking their coffee. D.C. sure ain’t no picnic. To me, people here don’t look like they are having a good time.
“I try and make the best of things here, though. I have a good time with my grand kids and great-grand kids. I teach them right and wrong like my parents taught me. I listened to my parents who taught me to go to work and make an honest living. I followed that system and it worked. I ain’t never been rich, but I’ve always been comfortable. I teach the same to my kids, grand kids, and great-grand kids.
“Now that my mother passed, I want to get out of here and go back to New York. I may go back to driving an ambulance. At 60-years-old, though, it is not so easy to just get a job. I just want to find a way to make some money so that I can travel and watch my kids get grown. I want them to take advantage of the things that I didn’t have. When I was young, I had to take care of my family. I wanted to be a lawyer or a rocket scientist, but that never happened. I want my three kids, nine grand kids, and two great-grand kids to have the right values and believe in Jesus. With that, they can do whatever they want.”