daddy was a number runner-louise meriwether

james baldwin sang his high praises in the introduction. that’s all we really need to know, right?

here’s an example of how early women must learn the fine line between compassion and martyrdom:

“That Sukie. We were best friends but she picked a fight whenever she felt evil, which was often, and if she said she was going to beat the shit out of me, that’s just what she would do.” (14)

“I went to bed and didn’t even bother to pull the couch away from the wall, I was that happy. Let the bedbugs bite. Everybody, even those blood-sucking bugs, had to have something sometime.” (71)


One thought on “daddy was a number runner-louise meriwether

  1. failure:

    “The labels on the cans read ‘Choice Cuts of Beef,’ but everybody in Harlem swore it was really horsemeat, and no matter how our mothers sliced it, baked it, or stewed it, nobody would eat the mess, which we named the gold-can jive.” (88)

    “Our rats grew fat on the poison Mother spread around each week on raw potato slices, and the sulfur bombs she was always gassing us with had no effect them whatsoever. Once they chased a cat we had right into the living room wall and I bet that cat kept on running till he got to Brooklyn.” (109)

    “The relief place was across the street from Mt. Morris Park and all we did was sit around that office all day long, seeing one supervisor then waiting years to see the supervisor’s supervisor. What a system. We had been there since nine o’clock and had seen four people and it was almost three now.” (133)

    “Aunt Hazel was what Daddy called a big beautiful girl. She was no girl, though, older than Mother, and I don’t know about that beautiful part either. Daddy was always saying somebody was beautiful-some black girl with thick lips and a wide nose who everybody else thought was downright homely. Me and Mother would look at each other and shake our heads sadly when Daddy went into his black beauty bit.” (38)

    this one is the most heartbreaking, because she didn’t believe daddy. as abyssinian creole would say, “you are beauty-full, i see god moving through you.”

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