who raised me

Acrylic, oil stick, canvas, grommets

 

A conversation with my brother

 

Sp – I might want to place in a painting some memories of the women who helped raise you and me

What feelings or visual do you remember of Cassie and Addie?

 

I have zero photos of either of them, I doubt that you possess any?

 

If the names ring no bells with you, well then

 

[post-it-Maybe the beagle raised me]

 

Jp- I don’t remember either of them wearing a “uniform” of any sort, with an apron. I assume they were dressed, of their own.

 

Sp- I have bolded the only memories I have.

 

Cassie was likely more “round”, (given name Cassandra, is my bet) Addie (no idea on her full name, nor last names for either) was taller and leaner. Addie lived in the Lincoln area of San Diego, where Blacks (then “negroes”) lived. And Cassie took me to a hospital emergency once when I rode my tricycle off the front porch and down the front stairs onto my nose.

 

In Detroit, there was at least one instance where Addie was re-hired after some absence and failed to show, leaving me locked out of the house after school. I now wonder what the challenges were to her constancy, and whether it was some other person in her life, or just economics, maybe her car failed and she did not have the $$ to fix it and did not know to phone or whom to phone…

 

In one written communication with our family, Cassie mentioned her church choir. I can imagine whole worlds/lives of theirs that I had no knowledge of, as a kid.

 

I also remember one woman we “tried out” for some weeks, whose otherwise Black hands were “bleached” white. It frightened me, she was not a very “warm” person, either.

 

NOTE: I WISH I REMEMBER MORE… GOOD HOME TRAINING? (a phrase I have heard Black persons say appreciatively of other persons, I got some from these women, but I am still so awkward, rude, bumptious at times)

 

Jp-

Well, the bells are still ringing, but don’t think I have any photos. Cassie helped a lot. was there for us in Pittsburgh? and Chicago (7 years?) and often slept over, and still kept in touch with us on holidays, etc. after she left Mom and Dad’s employ and moved back to her family in Pittsburgh(?) She was very nice, kind, took care of us all day long when Mom was at work, and made us lunch and dinner, often. I think I watched Uncle Johnny Coons on tv at lunch time (name is a bit embarrassing). She was a member of the family.

 

Addie watched us in Detroit and lived, often, in the basement room added to the house while we were living in it. She and her son, Willie, occasionally in trouble with the police (I think) moved simultaneously with us to San Diego. But she had her own place in another part of the city. She never stayed over in San Diego. I think she died in San Diego, of cancer, which she was diagnosed with while she was still working for us. She was also kind, nice, sweet, but we had less contact with her because, I think, a shorter time, no stay overs, and perhaps because Mom’s work was closer to home and she came home mid-afternoon.

 

Then I think, there was Consuela, Hispanic, who was there often and mainly cleaned the house. But she was nice.

 

Right, my memories aren’t very vivid, sadly mostly external details. Wish I did have photos. But I haven’t looked in my bookcase lately to go through them, (I’ve got the time now). I have very positive feelings for them both. There were others in Detroit that Mom and Dad tried out, but they didn’t last long. They were both, in effect, members of the family. Cassie and Addie were probably in their 30s, 40s when they began working for our family. Addie was maybe in her early 50s when she died. I think she had a harder life.

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