Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Things That This Bronx Girl Holds Dear, Or More Specifically, Can't Get Out of Her System

I have to confess. The subway sign in the photo is in my home in Boulder, Colorado. It's hanging on the wall in the little mini hallway between the boys' bedrooms.

No, I didn't steal it. I bought it for a nominal price at the Target Store in Boulder. Yes, Boulder, Colorado of all places. It was one of a kind - stashed in between two other works of art - one depicting Wrigley Field in Chicago and some other baseball stadium I can't recall in the moment. Okay, actually I can: Fenway Park in Boston.

That precious piece in the photo. My Subway Art. It actually is art. A painted replica of a symbol that I hold dear from my past life growing up in the Bronx.

I spotted it by accident when I was flipping through canvases. When I saw it, my heart started racing and I became giddy all over. The same reaction some people would have seeing their favorite celebrity in person. This familiar symbol from my past was staring back at me in all its gloriousness. You see, I used to pass that specific subway sign (s) growing up in the Bronx. Often without thought as I rushed down the stairs and into the subway station on 161st street and River Ave. Not only coming from several Yankee games, but from friends' houses, from the Bronx County Courthouse where I was summoned for jury duty, from the public pool a couple of blocks over from Yankee stadium or from the big movie theater with the stadium seating. Or most frequently, when I was transferring trains, going from the D train to the #4 train. The sign became a part of my existence. The same D and #4 trains were the trains I was most familiar with because they stopped at the subway stops near my home. The road (railroad, that is) that led to home everyday was past 161st and Yankee Stadium.

This sign said "home" to me. For others, it might be an ice cream shop that they used to visit while growing up or a park of some kind that was played in frequently. For me, it was this subway sign.

So, in all my giddiness that day, I ran out to the car that my husband was waiting in with the kids and sent him into Target to look at it. I wanted him to spend his hard earned money on that sign. Where else was I going to find something that so represented home to me in a place such as this, the Mountain West?

I saw the discovery of this sign at Target as a beacon of encouragement. An actual kiss from God. That I would find something so familiar in this different place I had moved to. It's not like I'd find the subway sign from 161st in the Bronx in stores wherever I went. I was a happy girl that day.

It's fun to see people's reactions when they see it hanging on our wall. From"Really? A subway sign?" (in other words: "that's not art") to "How cool! Did you steal it and bring it back with you from New York?" to "So sweet of you to get that for your boys."

Yes, a subway sign and no, really, I didn't steal it. 

And it's all mine's (okay, the rest of the family's, too) precious work of art.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Butterscotch Babies:There's Beauty in the Mix

I sit and watch my sons play. The oldest, my 5 year old is pushing a toy car transporter around while my second son, who is 3 is putting plastic vegatables into a sand bucket with a toy shovel. Meanwhile my youngest who is 4 and 1/2 months is playing with a cloth book. As I watch, my mind wanders back to a time over a decade ago when I was visiting Denver, Colorado for the first time. I was standing with my friends after a church service, and across the way I saw a girl of about ten years old talking and laughing with her sister. She had skin the color of butterscotch candy, light brown fine wavy hair and light colored eyes. She was gorgeous. During the moment while I stared, something inside me stirred and thought, I'm going to have children that look like her one day.

How did I know? There wasn't any physical evidence pointing towards that fact. I wasn't dating anyone at the time and I was (and still am, of course) an African-American woman with dark brown skin the color of milk chocolate, loose coarse wavy hair (when not chemically straightened) and dark brown eyes. But something within me told me that the possibility was pretty strong.

Now I'm not claiming to be psychic. Far from that especially since I believe that there is a God and he is the higher power and has his hands in all things, most especially the aspects of my life. But here it is years later, and I'm staring at three little boys who resemble that girl I saw years ago.

Yes, I have my own butterscotch babies now (having married a man who is Caucasian). Apparently and ironically it was part of the Master Plan that is my life.

It was very clear that this girl of years ago who was stunningly beautiful was a product of an interracial coupling. I just remember thinking that she was beautiful because she was a blend of two overt races (white/black) and possibly a few covert ones. With a mix, came beauty.

I look at my own and see beauty too. Not in the sense of them being more beautiful than other children but just in the sense of how they were created - with their own unique set of features: my oldest with skin the color of butterscotch candy, light brown loose curly hair and eyes the color of caramel. (Pardon the candy references.) My middle with the same skin complexion as his brother yet with darker hair with tighter curls and eyes the same caramel color as his brother. Yet his eyes appear lighter because of his dark hair. And my youngest, who has slightly lighter skin than his brothers with brown hair (straight for now) and gray colored eyes. What makes each of them individual makes them beautiful.

I believe the same applies to children with parents who are of the same race. Unique features from each parent are passed onto the child to create one beautifully blended individual. A combination of distinct features joined together makes each child lovely in their own right.

And to think there is so much prejudice in the world with all this beauty around.

Which all the more convinces me that what makes people ugly is due mainly to what we look like on the inside and not out.

Right now my two older butterscotch babies are playing well together creating their own race car world while their younger brother sleeps on my shoulder. There's peace in our world...

...for now, anyway. Until they both want the same race car...;-))