I grew up in a small town, Dalzell, S.C. Some of you have probably never heard of it! Dalzell had one caution light, a post office and one gas station. Everyone knew everyone, and blacks and whites got along as long as blacks stayed in their place and didn’t cause any disturbance or acts of looking for civil rights. In this small town everyone wanted to get along, even if that meant that the community had sins of injustice.
My household was a vibrant one. There was always music, church and food, in that order. I was an adopted child, but adopted among other siblings as well. My adopted mom had so much love that she raised four children that she didn’t give birth to plus the two she did give birth to. Music was a very big part of our household. I grew up in the house in which Bill Pinkney, a member of the Original Drifters, was raised so if you didn’t have any musical abilities, you were destined to have some by the time you left that house. Music was engrained into your soul! But I was born with music in my soul! I loved singing! I loved playing the piano! Did I say I was good at it? Oh yes, I was good at singing, not so much playing the piano. I didn’t like my piano instructor. So let me jump to that story quick….but I didn’t like her because I was playing the song, “Knock On Wood” by Sam and Dave one day.. you guys remember that, right? Well anyway, I was playing that song. I was so proud of myself, picking up the tune by ear and she had the nerve to tell me that kind of music was not allowed in her house! What?! I was eleven years old…wouldn’t that show you how much talent I had to play that song without sheet music?!!! Oh well, I quit after that. I was a rebellious child!
I wanted to be an actress! So freaking much!!! I would pretend that I was on the Johnny Carson show and he was interviewing me. I would go into my room and put a red light into the lamp, use my hair brush as a mic, sing a song and sit on Johnny’s couch. It was wonderful. Johnny would ask me about my career and family and I would tell him about all of my awards and how wonderful it was to be married to Marlon Jackson (yep, this was my fine Jackson Five)! Of course in my second interview with Johnny I would tell him that I and Marlon have divorced but my acting and singing career had never been better. My gosh, I was a kid with that thought going through my brain???
I acted out my dream. I was on the Johnny Carson show! In my mind! But I was there. No barriers! No obstacles! No one telling me I couldn’t. I believed Johnny sat behind his desk, sipping from “something” in a coffee cup and I looked fabulous! I’m sorry, I can’t describe exactly what I was wearing. I didn’t know designer’s names plus Woolworth was the only fashionable store I knew at that time. But, yes, I looked and felt fabulous. I didn’t think about the injustices of my day, at least at that time, shucks I was dreaming this phenomenal dream. Wasn’t I allowed to dream?
At almost 60 I dare to dream. To again imagine, to again to believe that I”m sitting on Johnny’s couch. At almost 60 to again to be fabulous. And yes, I still don’t know designer’s names so Target will suit me just fine.
I’m on my way to the couch. But this time I can’t sit so long.