This I believe,
I have a lot to say, so I tell stories
My nana is gone now; along with the stars she used to play piano for: Ella Fitzgerald, The Nicholas Brothers, and a host of others. But through my storytelling (entitled Tall Tales and Short Stories) I continue my grandmother’s legacy, instilling that special warmth and affection toward children that my grandmother instilled in me. At my nana’s house she and I shared stories. I try to recreate that exciting atmosphere offering the families at my storytelling presentations an invitation to spend a day with me at my nana’s house. There was always something going on there; it was like a party, you never knew who would drop by, whether it be Jersey Joe Walcott or Muhammad Ali (who my grandfather helped train as a boxer). Whoever was in the house that had a car could be sure that they would be picking me up and bringing me over to my nana’s house. And the first thing I would do when I arrived was give my nana a big hug, take off my coat and hat and sit down in nana’s comfortable reading chair. I couldn’t wait to get my hands into the magazine rack or the coffee table where the magazines lay. I would examine the pictures and study the articles in the Ebony and Jet magazines; there is where my journey began.
Ebony and Jet showed me the many accomplishments of African-Americans. This made me proud. It gave me hope, considering my limited exposure. In my neighborhood, the women worked as nurse’s aides, maids, or teachers, not all but many of them wanting more, but unable to pursue their dreams because of the lack of affordable education or opportunity. My learning about African American culture inspired me to ask questions about my self-identity. My grandmother’s encouragement and guidance helped me to believe in myself.
So I believe there was something in my coding that brought me to these series of events: my endearing visits with my nana, my exposure to the arts, dance, Broadway plays, movies, and books. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and the poetry of Langston Hughes, particularly his poem Harlem (A Dream Deferred) stand out most in my memories.
Because I have a deep interest in children’s learning and their development, I believe I need to share my stories and help them create their own stories that will be etched into their spirits, able to reappear whenever they need them. Most importantly, I want children to feel a strong sense of love for themselves and it is my hope that they are able to give themselves that same kind of love that withstands all obstacles that they may encounter throughout their lives, just as I have through the love of my nana.
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