Tag Archives: 75 South

75 SOUTH (A Mini Series) Part 13

It was Epsom salt time!

I was feeling out of sorts, out of my mind and more confused after talking to Vickie.  The only thing I could think about right now, at this moment, was soaking in my tub filled with Epsom salt.  Tomorrow would be here before I knew it and I, along with my parents would be heading south.  As I began to run the water in my Sanford cast iron, clawfoot tub someone was ringing my buzzer.  “Not now” (I yelled to the air).  I continued running my water and pouring the salt thinking about how all my troubles were going to fade away once I stepped my body into this elixir.  Somebody was still ringing my buzzer.

“Who is it!” (I yelled through the buzzer).

“It’s us Thomasina, let us in.”

“Who is us?  (I yelled back).

“Artesia Ms. Tommie. It’s Artesia.  Jay and Anderson are with me.  Can we come in?

“Artesia!  What’s going on?

“Hey Ms. Thomasina, this is Jay. We just want to talk to you. It won’t take long. Come on, buzz us in please.”

“It’ not a good time. I was just about to take a bath.”

“Girl, come on now. Put on a robe. It won’t take long. We need to talk to you right now.”

“OK, OK Anderson.  Give me a minute and I’ll buzz y’all in.”

I turned the water off, grabbed my robe and house shoes and buzzed the trio in.  I’m not sure why they were here but it looked like the only way I was going to get rid of them was to see what they wanted.   Oh my God. (I thought to myself)  I have not talked to any of them since I left on vacation.  I hope Linda broke the news to them so I won’t have to look like the tyrant.  God, I hope that their severance package was fair, I pray that they got jobs at good properties.  Poor Artesia, she’s so shy, hopefully she’s going to be OK with another manager.  Anderson, Anderson sounds like he’s pissed at somebody – I hope it’s not me.  If any of them can handle the situation it’s Jay.  He’s a free spirit and he probably can’t wait to take whatever money they gave him and start his own business.  Anyway, Anyway…

“You go open the door or what Boss!”  (Jay yelled).

“Hey, come on in y’all.  So what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”

“What you got to drink in that fridge Miss Powell?

“Help yourself Jay. It should be something in there to your liking.  Artesia, Anderson, you want something to drink, something to eat, some chips or something, there’s some barbecue fritos on the counter, help yourself.”

“So when you leaving?  (Anderson asked).

“Tomorrow.  I’m heading out tomorrow morning.”

“Well what about us Miss Thomasina. What’s going to happen to us?”  (asked Artesia).

“Didn’t Linda talk to you all.  Linda did tell you about Mort selling Paradise, didn’t she?”

“Yeah, yeah Boss.  Linda told us, she told us everything. Good looking out – Linda told us that you wanted to make sure we got treated right, fair.  We all got offers to go somewhere else.  I for one go take my small severance  and chill for awhile.  I don’t know if I want to be a janitor at another property.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I want to be a janitor period.”

“Well Jay.  What do you want to do?”  (I asked).

“Right now I wanna finish off this golden champale I’m drinking.”  (we all laugh).

“Artesia. What about you. What do you want to do sweetheart?”

“I’m not sure Miss Thomasina.  I was thinking about going to Community College.  You know, take some classes in something.  I don’t know though.  I’ll be 20 in a few weeks and all I can think about right now is buying me a new used car – something a little more reliable than what I got now.  What you think I should do Miss Tommie – should I go to another property and pick up where I left off?”

“I don’t know Tesia.  Do you like working in Property Management?”

“Paradise is my first job.  I don’t know if I like it or not.  I know I liked working for you and working with Anderson. I even like working with Jay sometimes….

“What’s that suppose to mean shy girl?” (Jay asked).

“I mean, I like working in property management at Paradise because you, Anderson and Miss Thomasina work there.  Most of the tenants are like my friends, like uncles and aunts that I never really had.  I’m not sure if I like the job more than the people that work and live there.  It probably won’t be the same somewhere else.”

“Anderson, you got to be thinking about maybe retiring now.  I’m sure Mort was generous to you – long as you been keeping that property in working order.  What you think old man?  You got it in you to maintain another building at this time?”

“I got your old man Miss Powell.  But seriously.  Ever since Lula Mae passed I’ve been asking myself that same question, better yet, been asking myself who I’m working so hard for now at my age – You know I’ll be 62 next month?”

“That’s all! (yelled Jay).  I thought you was at least 80 man, you only in your sixties?”

“Alright young blood.  Show some respect to the old man who taught you how to use tools and then some.”

“I’m just playing with you man.  You don’t look a day over 60.”

“I know that’s right.  If Lula Mae was still alive – she would agree with you. God knows I miss that woman.  My only regret is that we could not have children.”

“Why not Anderson?” (I asked).

“We tried. Lord knows we did.  I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”

“Anderson, where you and Lula Mae from?”

“Well Thomasina. We came to Detroit so long ago – it feels like we from here. We came here, me and Lula, when we were in our teens. We went to high school together, and once we graduated, we followed my brother Don this way. Don had got a job at the Ford plant and helped us out till we got our footing.  We came from Clayton. Clayton Alabama.”

“When’s the last time you been down south Anderson?”

“Oh Thomasina. It’s been a long spell.  I’m not sure if anybody I know is still there, in Clayton.  Me and Lula Mae got here and never looked back.  We stayed in touch for awhile with friends and kin folk – after our parents died, we went to the funerals. After that, we never went back.”

“What you doing tomorrow Mr. Anderson?”

 

B. Knox

To be continued

 

 

75 SOUTH (A Mini Series) Part 12

“Miss Love is from Tuscaloosa.”

“How you know where she from Tommie?

“She told me, she told me. Her and her sister, her little sister Lizzie, they from Tuscaloosa Vickie.”

“I thought you said something about pecans T.  You said she left a message for your daddy about the pecan harvest.”

“Yeah, that was the first time I talked to her, when I ….

“The first time T.  The first time, you talked to this woman more than once over your parents house?

“No, No Vickie.  I talked to Adaline, I talked ….

“Adaline!  Who is Adaline Tommie?  You said you talked to a Miss Love.”

“Listen Vickie, stop interrupting me.  I’m trying to tell you, let me tell you.  Adaline, Miss Love, Adaline is her first name, I’m trying to tell you that I talked to Miss Love, Miss Adaline Love.  Before we hung up the phone at my parents house, she asked me to write down her number.”

“After she told you about the pecan harvest T.?

“No Vickie. After she asked me about my eyes.”

“About your eyes!  What does that mean, what, what did she want to know about your eyes T.?

“Vickie, the woman asked me if I had hazel eyes.”

“That don’t make no sense Tommie. I thought you said you didn’t know her. Why would a perfect stranger, someone you’ve never met ask you something like that?  How does she know what color your eyes are?”

“Cause her eyes are hazel too.”

“What! (Vickie screamed).

“And so is her little sisters. Miss Love, and her sister Lizzie, both got my eyes.”

“Where did they get them from Tommie? Where did they get your eyes from?”

“The question is Vickie. Where did I get their eyes from.?

“Is that why you’re going to Alabama Tommie?”

“No, No Vickie. I’m going to Alabama on a work assignment for Linda and Mort. I’m going to a town called Three Notch.”

“Three Notch?  I’ve heard that name before. I can’t remember if it was my mom or dad who mentioned it, but, I know I’ve heard that name before.”

“Well, like I said V.  I’m leaving tomorrow.  And, guess what.”

“What Tommie?”

“My parents are coming with me.”

“Are you planning on visiting Tuscaloosa T.?

“Yes.

“Do your parents know?”

“I think so.”

“Hey T. Stop in Atlanta and pick me up. I’m go ride with you.”

“Thanks V.  I was hoping you would say that. See you in a few days.”

 

To be continued.

B. Knox

75 South

 

75 SOUTH (A Mini Series) Part 11

“Hey Vickie.  I was just about to call you girl. You must have heard me thinking about you long distance.”

“Maybe, maybe not Tommie.  I figured since you won’t pick up the damn phone and holler at me I’m go have to do the calling, the checking in, the seeing about my best friend and why I ain’t heard from her ass in so long.  What’s the story Tommie.  What’s going on.?

“V.  You just don’t know.  Shit, I don’t even know what’s going on – not really.  I’m just so confused and got so much stuff going on right now.  You know I’m leaving for Alabama tomorrow?”

“You going where tomorrow T.?

“To Alabama.  I told you about…..”

“Girl (Vickie interrupted).  You ain’t told me know such thing. What you talking about you told me?  When! When did you tell me Ms. Thomasina that you were going to Alabama?  I don’t think that’s something I would have forgotten. But you tell me Ms. T.  When did you inform me that you was coming down south?

“Oh my God V.  Oh my God!  I meant to tell you. I meant to tell you.  I’m going so crazy that I thought I told you what was going on. I was telling myself I was go call you the last time I talked to Miss Love in…..

“Miss Love, Miss Love. Who in the hell is Miss Love Tommie. Is that somebody I’m supposed to know?

“I’m sorry Vickie. Miss Love is my daddy’s friend in Akron, Akron Ohio.  She knows my mamma too, she knows both of them. She’s Bud’s friend, but, she knows my mamma too. She from Alabama. She from Alabama and so is her little sister Lizzie.”

“Her little sister (Vickie screamed).  What!  You been to Akron lately?  When did you go to Akron and meet these people, huh.  Who went with you. Did your parents take you to Akron to meet this woman and her sister?

“No.  I talked to her on the phone.”

“She called you?

“No. No Vickie.  She called my daddy.”

“She called your daddy and you talked to her?”

“Yes. I mean No. I mean, she called my daddy, I was at the house, at my parents house. The phone rang, the phone was ranging and my daddy, Bud, was asleep in his lazy boy. I hollered at daddy to answer the phone, I hollered but he didn’t hear me, he was sleeping, so, I answered the phone. My mother wasn’t home, so, I answered the phone.”

“OK T.  You answered the phone and she told you what?”

“She thought I was mamma.  I told her who I was. I asked her if she wanted to leave a message.”

“What was the message Tommie?”

“The message was for Bud Vickie.  She told me to let my daddy know that the pecan harvest was good this year.”

“Pecans, pecans don’t grow in Ohio. Do they?”

“I don’t know V.  I don’t think so.  I’ve never been to Ohio. Actually, as a matter of fact Vickie. I’ve never been out of Michigan.”

“I always wondered about that T.  All while we were growing up in Highland Park. Me and you, it seems like we’ve always been friends.  We’ve been knowing each other since, since we were babies.  I’m not sure who lived in the flat first – my family, or yours.  I just remember that every time we went out of town for something – my parents and me – that you and your family stayed home and kept an eye on our upstairs flat. I use to ask mom and dad – “why can’t Thomasina come with us – why can’t her and her mom and dad go down south with us?”

“Vickie.”

“Yes T.”

“Do you remember where you went down south when you were little?”

“Yeah girl.  We went to Alabama.”

“Where at in Alabama V.?”

“Tuscaloosa.”

 

B. Knox

To be continued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

75 SOUTH (A Mini Series) Part 1

“Tommie.”

“I’ve got good news and bad news.”

“What’s going on Linda?  What do you mean good news and bad news?”

“Sit down Thomasina, please, stop what you’re doing and have a seat.”

“Oh, Oh, – did you say Thomasina?  This must be serious.  You only call me Thomasina when something is wrong.  What is it,  what is it Linda?  It can’t be the numbers, we’re at 97% occupancy, 97% Linda.  This property has never had numbers that high for three consecutive months, never, so it can’t be the numbers.”

“Thomasina, Tommie, let me try to explain, just listen.”

“Listen to what Linda, huh, listen to what?! (raising my voice).

“See, there it is Tommie, there it is – you have an anger problem – you”

“What! (I shouted).  What do you mean I have an anger problem?”

“Tommie, if you would listen for a minute and stop raising your voice.  You are a dynamic property manager, you have turned this property around in so many ways, nobody’s denying that.  Mr. Silver recognizes what you have done here.  He recognizes and appreciates your diligence and willingness to go the extra mile to keep this property profitable.  That’s the problem Tommie.  Paradise Apartments is doing so well that an offer has been made to Mr. Silver that he can’t say no to.  Tommie, what I’m trying to tell you is he sold the property.  The new owners are from New York and they’re bringing their own people to Detroit to manage the property.  To manage and run Paradise.”

“Ok Linda.  I get it.  I’m out because I helped to make Paradise a successful property.”

“No Tommie.  You made Paradise a profitable property.  You are the only manager that I’ve worked with who actually went to pick up prospective tenants because they didn’t have a car or bus fare to get here.  You made sure they got here and drove them to DHS – the Secretary of State office – to their children’s school to ensure they had all the paperwork that HUD and MSHDA require for this property.  You helped people obtain shelter in a better situation than most of them came from.  You ridded this property of the rift raft that we sometimes get in section 8 and tax credit housing.  You made it safer for the young and the old that call Paradise home.”

“So what’s the good news Linda?”

“The good news is that Mr. Silver has put together a nice severance package for you and an extra bonus for the excellent occupancy rate.”

“How thoughtful.  Make sure to tell Mort thanks for me Linda.”

“I will do that Tommie.”

“Tommie.  There’s one other thing.”

“You mean there’s more good news Linda?”  (sarcastic tone).

“Mr. Silver has a proposition for you.  Are you willing to consider it?”

“What kind of proposition Linda?”

“He and Mrs. Silver will be relocating to Florida.”

“And what does that have to do with me Linda, huh, what does them moving to Florida have to do with me?”

“The offer he got for Paradise is what he’s been waiting for to finally retire.”

“And.  Again, what does that have to do with me?”

“There’s some unfinished business that needs to be taken care of to get his real estate portfolio in order.”

“What kind of unfinished business Linda?”

“The Silver’s have property down south.”

“Down south.  Where down south – Florida?”

“Way, way down south – Thomasina.”

“There you go calling me Thomasina again Linda.  I thought Florida was as far south as you could go?  Where exactly is way, way down south that you’re referring to Ms. MBA?”

“Alabama.”

“Alabama?  Why do the Silver’s have property in Alabama?  Have they even ever been to Alabama?  Shit, I ain’t never been to Alabama.

“I can’t tell.  You sound like you from Alabama with I ain’t never been.  Where you get that word ain’t from Thomasina?  You sure you ain’t been to Alabama?”

“Ok Linda.  Enough about me and my vocabulary.  Remember, you trying to get me to do something for the Silver’s – what is it?”

“As I was saying Thomasina.  The Silver’s have property in Alabama that they need to sale.”

“You still haven’t told me where in Alabama Linda.  Where at in Alabama?  Birmingham,  Tuskegee,  Montgomery – where?”

“Three Notch.”

“Three who?”

“Three Notch Alabama Thomasina.  Three Notch.  A small town near Union Springs.”

“Union Springs, Union Springs.  You saying Union Springs like I should know that it exists.  What’s near Union Springs Linda?”

“Montgomery is about fifty miles away and Tuskegee is a bit closer – about thirty miles from Union Springs.”

“So what exactly does Mr. Silver need me to do?”

“Silver Streak Properties owns some real estate in Three Notch and we could really use a pro like you, Thomasina, to go down there and turn the property around – make the property profitable so that the Silvers can sell.  Believe me Tommie, it would be worth your while.”

“How much Linda?  How much is Mort willing to compensate Thomasina Powell to go down south – where – by the way, I’ve never been?”

“Never been?   (said Linda).

“You heard me.  Never been.  I’ve never been down south.”

“I thought you said you ain’t  (laughing)  never been to Alabama.”

“I ain’t been there either Linda.  I’ve never been down south.”

“What black person has never been down south Tommie?  Haven’t you been to Atlanta?”

“No.  And Atlanta don’t count.  Atlanta isn’t really the south anymore.  too many of us northerners live there now.  I don’t consider Atlanta the south Linda.”

“Well, it’s the south Tommie, whether you consider it the south or not, hot-lanta is the new south.  You should go sometime, you would enjoy it.”

“Ok Linda, the new south – again, how much?”

“Seven grand.”

“Umm, Umm  (I seemed to be lost for words).  Umm, did you say 7 g’s?”

“No, I said seven grand (Linda laughing).  Yes Tommie, seven thousand – that’s not counting your severance package or bonus – seven thousand dollars and your living expenses while you’re there.”

“What in Gods name do I have to do to make seven thousand dollars in Mayberry?”

“What you do best Miss Powell.  Manage property.”

 

To be continued.

 

B. Knox