75 SOUTH (A Mini Series) Part 10

“Yeah, that’s what I said!  Buds girlfriend.  Is Ada daddy’s old girlfriend.”

“No, No.  Ada is not your daddy’s old girlfriend.  Ada is not Buds old girl friend. Do you understand me child!  Ada is your daddy’s old girl friend! Your daddy.  Ada is your daddy’s old girl friend from down south.”

“Why you talking crazy mamma, why you talking like you having some kind of nervous breakdown.  I’m talking about daddy.  I’m talking about Bud.  What you talking about.?

“I’m talking about you Thomasina.  I’m talking about you, your daddy and Adaline Love.  I’m talking about your kin folk.”

“My kin folk.?  What kin folk, what kin folk beside you and Bud?  Huh mamma, what kin folk you talking bout beside you and daddy!

“Tommie, Tommie – your daddy wants to talk to you.”


“Daddy, what mamma talking about, what she talking about Bud?”

“Thomasina, listen,  (“tell her Bud, tell that child what’s going on”) my mom yelled in the background.

“Thomasina, Thomasina, I’m trying to tell you, I’m trying to..(“we should have told her a long time ago”) my mom yelled out.

“Emma, Emma, be quiet, be quiet now.  I’m trying to talk to Tommie, I’m trying to tell her, stop, stop yelling, stop yelling and let me talk to her, please, just let me talk to her Emma, let me talk to the girl.”

“Thomasina.  I’m not your daddy, I love you, but, I’m not your father, least, not your biological father, and, and, Emma, Emma not your mother, she not your mother in the natural way, she didn’t give birth to you from her womb – but, but to her, and, and,  to me, you, you our baby girl..(sobbing)  you our one and only baby girl.”


I heard my daddy talking.  I heard everything he said and what he was saying now.  I heard my mamma in the background yelling at Bud and telling him what they should have told me a long, long time ago.  I heard my daddy’s tears in the phone as he sobbed and wept and telling me he loved me, he loved me…. somebody else’s baby.  Not my mother, not my mother I heard Bud’s voice say…. not in the natural way,  Emma not your mother in the natural way.  I heard all of that, heard it all with my own ears, on my own phone, from my own daddy’s mouth.  Your daddy, your daddy was Ada’s old girlfriend from down south, Ada is your daddy’s old girlfriend… your kin folk, your kin folk.  Down South, down south.  That’s why they don’t go there, that’s why they don’t go there for nothing.  Down South, down south, that’s why they don’t talk about it, don’t talk about it at all -not to me anyway – never mention it.  Who never goes back home?  Who never goes back to their roots, to their people, to their kin folk?


“Yes Tommie.”

“I’m leaving Monday for Alabama.  You and mamma wanna come with me?”

“We’ll be ready when you get here baby.”

“OK.  See you Monday daddy.  Tell mom goodnight for me.”


B. Knox

75 South

To Be Continued.


75 SOUTH (A Mini Series) Part 9

I woke up the next morning on the couch with three 32 ounce empty bottles of Golden Champale lying next to me.  I felt awful and hung over because quiet as it’s kept, it don’t take much for me to get drunk.  All I kept hearing in my head was Lizzie, Lizzie, Lizzie and something about a black rag doll walking down the road, walking down the road.  Why the road and not the street?  (I thought to myself).  That woman, Miss Love, from Akron had been talking about something  I had never heard, never heard about, even the times I would eavesdrop on Bud or Emma talking on the phone to somebody, somebody from somewhere else, not Michigan – Akron, Akron, sometimes Bud would be talking to some old woman from Akron – I guess that old woman is Miss Love.  If it is Ada, how do they know each other – she said she know my mamma too – are they related to each other – why didn’t  I ask her last night how she knew them and, why are my eyes hazel like Miss Ada’s and her sister Lizzie.  I need to talk to my parents, I’ve got to get some answers before I leave on this assignment down south next week, I need to call Vickie, I need to call Miss Ada, and, damn!  I need to call Linda today about my itinerary.

Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

“Who is it, who is it?”  (I yelled from the couch).

Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

“Who is it?”  (I yelled again).

“It’s me Tommie, It’s Flora, open the door girl!  Are you alright?”

I jumped up from the couch and stumbled to the door.  “Hold on Flo, I’m coming, stop knocking.”

“Tommie, where was you at last night?  Your car was outside and I was blowing my horn waiting for you to come to the window and see me in safe.  I finally just got out the car and ran in as fast as I could – it was bout 3 in the morning and pitch black outside and on top of that, the stupid street light was out again.  I knocked and knocked on your door but you didn’t answer – I heard the TV so I assumed you was woke.  I finally gave up and went to my apartment and tried calling you on the phone.”

“Flo, I’m so sorry – I had a hard day yesterday and I started drinking and didn’t stop until all my champale was gone.  I didn’t hear nothing, nothing.  I was knocked out on the couch all night, come on in, I’m sorry.”

“It’s OK girl – I understand, I was just worried about you cause it’s not like you not to see me in at night.  Is everything OK?”

“No, I don’t know, some family stuff.  I’m working on it though, I’ll be alright.”

“Well, let me know if you need me to do anything Tommie.”

“As a matter of fact Flora, there is something you can do for me.”

“What you need girl?.

“I’m leaving next week for Alabama on a work assignment.”

“Yeah, you was telling me about that.”

“Well, I need you to look after my apartment while I’m gone – you know, make sure everything is in order like getting my mail and newspaper, watering the plants and just airing out the place at least once a week by opening up the windows and letting fresh air in.  Maybe turn on the lights at night and off during the day so it looks like I’m here.  If the phone rings while you’re here – take a message for me and call me once a week to give them to me.  I will pay you two hundred dollars up front before I leave.”

“You don’t have to pay me Tommie.”

“Girl, I know where you work, you could use the extra change – your job description will be house sitter.  I’ll tell Linda I’m paying you to house sit and  she will reimburses me.”

“Do you want the job?

“Hell yeah girl.  When do I start?”

“Next Monday.  Thanks Flo.  You’re a good neighbor and a better friend.”


“Hi Linda, It’s Tommie – I’m calling about the itinerary.”

“How you doing Tommie?  “Are you ready for your adventure?

“As a matter of fact Linda, I am.”

“Good, good.  I’m having it delivered this afternoon. Speedy has already picked it up so it won’t be long.  Everything you need is in there. If you need anything else, let me know. Drive safe and have a good time Tommie.”

“Thanks Linda.  See you when I get back.”



“Hi mom.  Are you busy, can we talk?

“Hi Tommie.  Your daddy told me what happened.”

“What did Bud tell you?

“That you going to Alabama.”

“Is that all he said.?

“He said Ada called and you took the message.”

“Do you know her?

“Yes Tommie, I know Ada.”

“How do you know her mom, is she related to you or Bud?

“No, she’s not a relative, she’s an old friend.”

“Whose friend, yours or Bud’s?

“Your daddy’s friend.”

“What kind of friend, is Ada Bud’s old girlfriend?

“No, Ada is your daddy’s old girlfriend.”


75 South

B. Knox