I work at the hospital where Malcolm X was taken after he was shot. The old Audubon Ballroom is now the The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center and we often hold events there. The first time I stepped inside, I was overwhelmed by the fact that this is where he spoke and where his life ended. There is a life-sized bronze statue of him at the base of the staircase leading upstairs to the old ballroom. As I climbed the stairs I felt my steps slowing, thinking of the crowds tumbling down the stairs that day. Some were chasing the alleged gunmen. Some were escaping the scene. Some were stumbling in disbelief that their beloved leader had been shot down.
The open space on the second floor has a wall of large windows overlooking Broadway. Another wall holds a beautiful mural depicting scenes of Malcolm’s life. All through the building are photographs and kiosks playing videos of his speeches. You are surrounded by history. In the ballroom there is a very large poster photograph of Dr. Betty Shabazz. Rumor has it that the poster sits on the spot where he was killed. Others say the statue on the first floor marks the spot. (I would figure the second floor location is more accurate). Regardless of the precise location, one can feel the presence of greatness. I was so overwhelmed I had a hard time concentrating on the first thirty minutes of the event!
Even when I pass by the Center, I take a moment to soak in the history. I take a moment to remember El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.
I can’t believe that four years ago today, I started my first blog, This and That With Calandra. Technically, I started it a few weeks earlier on another site, but for simplicity, let’s just use January 30 as the official birthday of TTWC!
What started out as the written version of my YouTube channel has turned into so much more. In the past four years, TTWC has highlighted the following:
- Makeup reviews and tutorials, based on my YouTube videos.
- Food and Family articles from my cousin and TTWC contributor Jasmine Hall Ratliff.
- Facebook Fan Page with over 230 followers.
- Parenting articles published for the online magazine MortarNBrique.
- A month of daily audio posts (AudioMo challenge), immediately followed by a month of daily blog posts (31WriteNow Challenge). TTWC followers increased dramatically as a result of the daily postings!
- A section dedicated to music that spun off to create my second website, Liner Notes Lounge, which also became the home of my monthly music podcast, The Listening Suite.
And who knows what the future will hold for This and That With Calandra! Thanks to all who have supported TTWC and its offshoots over the years, and who have personally encouraged my writing. TTWC would not have come this far without YOU! Here’s to many more years of This and That With Calandra.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.
Click here to see the complete report.
(In response to WordPress’ Daily Post from MANY weeks ago, By Hand)
What was the best gift you ever received that was handmade? Those of us who are parents probably have a ton of handmade pictures, bookmarks, keychains and jewelry that our children have made for us. But there are three special handmade gifts I will always treasure.
Over 20 years ago, my good friend in South Carolina made a simple storage mug for me. It is a plain black mug, with my name written on it with a gold paint marker. Let me interject that having an uncommon name, I am ALWAYS excited to see my name monogrammed on anything! But she also wrote around the mug adjectives she felt described me. That’s what made it personal.
When my son was 4, he made my first pre-school Mother’s Day gift, which was a handmade beaded keychain. He was so proud of it and I still have it on my keychain, faded letters and all. When my daughter was 4, she made the same keychain as her brother, and I promised I would keep both of them. However, her knot must not have been tight and I didn’t realize that over a period of a few days, I had slowly been losing beads from the keychain. But I still keep the green rope tied to my keys, as a reminder of my handmade gift. And my daughter appreciates the fact that I never threw away the green rope!
Something handmade should be cherished and appreciated – because someone took the time to CRAFT it just for you. Did you receive a handmade card or gift this Christmas? Leave a comment and share your gift with us!
In trying to reinvigorate my blogging for This and That With Calandra, I have been following WordPress’ “Daily Post,” which provides starter prompts for new posts. Today’s prompt was this:
“Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?”
My answer is NEITHER! Time took a different turn for me when I first became a mother in 2006. Many people said, “Enjoy them while they’re young!” Others said, “It’ll get easier as they get older.” Well I decided that I wanted to stay in the moment. Why dwell on the past, and why rush the future? Every stage of my children’s development has been a joy to watch – trying and frustrating at times – but enjoyable nonetheless. Every brain cell I spend thinking about the past or future is energy wasted, energy I could have used in the present moment.
Staying in the moment doesn’t just apply to my children. As you can tell from many of my posts on TTWC, I love to reminisce. There’s nothing wrong with remembering, but wishing to revisit days gone by is non-productive for me. Planning for the future is fine, but I’ll see it when it gets here. So I have no use for time machines. I prefer to stay in the moment!
It is a rainy and raw Saturday in New York; the kind of day that reminds me of why Autumn is my favorite season. My mind immediately rolls back to Autumn Saturdays of my youth.
My mother and I rose early to do the weekly chores. My father went out to run errands. Momma had a pot of Great Northerns (beans) on the stove and cornbread in the oven. Storm clouds dimmed the sunlight that usually lit up the living room, which was now colored a muted gray. The raindrops tapped out a melody on the windows, and the growing wind later joined in harmony.
By the time our work was done, Daddy was back home so we sat and ate our beans and cornbread. We watched television – flipping between the news reports of the Nor’Easter that was blowing through the area, and bowling matches (hey, don’t judge – we were a bowling family!).
Quiet afternoons led to quiet nights, preparing for church the next day. I miss days like this…the smells and sounds of Autumn Saturdays.