Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I probably won’t be blogging much, due to not having internet at home.

I've been slack about setting up some internet. That'll be cleared up by Saturday.

I was bootlegging off my baby sister’s wireless modem.

And last Friday, my baby sister moved to her own place.

So hence, no internet… and no sister!

*Lee falls out crying on the floor*

No, I ain’t crying. But it’s sad not to hear her bouncing down the steps, sharing with me yet another story of some of the crazy things her students have done. I also loved hearing her grad school woes. (But I am sure she got tired of me hollering “Jumping hoops! That’s all it is!”)

Kentucky lived with me for six years, I believe. Not sure. I just wanted her to save up her money, figure out what she had to do. My sister has always been a sincere good person, someone who one doesn’t mind helping out.

But I’ve gotten in trouble for this. People like to put their 2 cents in. “You should charge her rent, blah, blah, blah.”

But why?

“To learn responsibility.”

But, uh, she’s already responsible. Now what?

No one can answer that question.

One thing I learned from attending grad school at an Ivy League college: these white folks help their kids out. I was astonished at that. They made sure they had cars, made sure they had all they needed to get through.

That is something we are missing in our communities sometimes. Why? Because we have ALL been done in by peeps trying to get over on us. Just about everybody I know has had someone stay with them, etc., and they got used up.

I remember, some 10 years ago, sitting at the dining room table of my friend and cubicle mate Cowgirl Cre’s parents house, having dinner. I was telling them when I lived at home, whatever paycheck I got, I always gave my Mama some money.

Cowgirl’s Cre looked at me all perplexed. **Crickets** abound.

LadyLee, you have to explain to them what that means. They don’t understand.”

Now for me, my Mama said she didn’t want any money. It's my money, save it, do what I have to do. But MAN, she knew how to whine and complain. I made that decision on my own to give her something, just so I didn’t have to hear the whining and complaining about being “broke”. It was like Chinese water torture! So that was why.

But I explained to Cre’s parents that this was common practice. You paid if you had a paycheck coming in. I noticed this among other folks I knew. (Never amongst my white friends, though).

That bothered me that day, as Cre’s parents still didn’t understand why one would take money from their child, their child who wasn’t a problem, but was sincerely trying to do well and get themselves together.

I have no children. But, I promised myself if my brother or sister ever needed help, I would help them. Long as they were setting their personal goals and achieving them, and being sincere, then I would help them. For me, that don’t mean putting out all this money. I simply don’t have that. But I’ve had to sleep on friends sofas, being what I have called “voluntarily homeless” from time to time. I didn't want them to go through that.

Me and Kentucky have always had a decent understanding about these things. She can be trusted. She has always shown me that. I sent her a hundred bucks a month in college and actually gave her a JCPenny’s card, just in case she needed a quick panty or bra. I told her too, I knew that Penney’s wasn’t her style, but if she needed clothes or something special, to go in there and look FIRST. If she could find something that she liked then that was good for her. This meant no money out of her pocket.

And she was never abusive about that. Always called when she spent on the card, and had some reason why she chose to use it. (Not sure what that was about, but if she felt the need to explain, then whatever.)

So I trusted her. I told her, hey, you can stay with me, and you do you. Now if you mess it up, that’s on you. I’m sowing a seed, and I’ll reap from it. From this rose one of my mantras:

There is NO such thing as getting over.

So it has been such a treat to watch her do her thing. I remember the day she came in and told me she’d paid off all her credit card debt. I remember her excitement over each new job she got, and the moments when she realized it was time to leave. (My answer was always “Have you prayed about it?") I remember her considering a career change, and getting accepted into a masters program for it AND finishing. I remember going to open house at the school where she taught second grade… and shedding tears as I walked through the front door of the school.

It has all been a blessing for me. I’m not sure where I relationship stands. I will always be the big sister, the black sheep of the family. She lives over near our mother, and I support their relationship, but I tend to stay out of the way (I don’t care for all the unnecessary drama and competitiveness *crickets*). Our family is small, and rarely gets together, not even for Christmas or holidays, so, not sure how often we will see each other.

But I know that I miss her. We are both quiet people, and now, the house is ultra quiet.

Oscar-Tyrone keeps going up and down the stairs, looking for her. I'll let that Oldcat deal with his confusion in his own way.

I walked around the empty rooms of upstairs this evening. It looks like a whole different place up there. I plan on a small office in one bedroom for my writing, a spare bedroom in the other. There’s painting to be done, and little repairs, since the house has settled some.

All of these considerations are overshadowed by the fact that miss her.

I told her last week, “Well, I hope I was helpful in some way. I don’t have much. My house ain’t the best. It's not the most luxurious. But I wanted to help.”

“You did, Lisa,” she said. “I was able to do a lot.”

I turned away, went and did something else. Didn’t want her to see me blinking back the tears.

I miss her much.

And missing her is trumped by the fact that I am proud of her.

I am soooo very proud of my sister.

You go Kentucky!!

Enjoy your new place! I hope it’s all you hope it to be :)


  1. This post is so sweet. The pride you have in her makes me tear up a lil. I'm sure she is missing you something awful too.

  2. I'm going to stop coming over here when I get a break if you keep posting stuff that makes me cry!!!

  3. I had to stop reading because, I just HAD to address this,

    One thing I learned from attending grad school at an Ivy League college: these white folks help their kids out. I was astonished at that. They made sure they had cars, made sure they had all they needed to get through.

    This is my constant battle with black folks round here. People looking at me crazy because, my son just graduated and he doesn't have to "help out" or "move out" out of the house. Why should he? All he needs to do is concentrate on becoming a pharmacist and DO THAT.
    My mom bless her soul, had that same "bring a check, break me off" mentality. My dad did not...thank goodness, my dad won that battle.
    You did the right thing by your sister...each one, reach one.
    ok, I'm gonna go finish reading now :)

  4. When I was growing up we had the same rule: no one lives for free. I started working when I was 15 and I always left money on my dad's dresser (at my mother's request) on payday. My son, is going to school and working part time and lives with me. All I ask is that he pay his car payment ($126/mo) and concentrate on getting his degree. He can stay with me for as long as is necessary because I don't the worry of paying bills to get in the way of him getting his education.

  5. Anonymous10:13:00 AM

    Awww, Lee. You got me all emotional too early in the morning!

    I worked while I was in high school and when I came home during the summer breaks my first 2 yrs in college. Not once did I have to hand money over to my parents.


  6. Lee, you did right by your sister. And you brought tears to my eyes. I am blessed for having read your story and thanks for sharing it.


Slap the *crickets* out the way, kindly step up to the mike, and SAY something!!