Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Three Years Probation and a $100.00 Dollar Fine

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And I know you're shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
Together One sweet day
Eventually I'll see you in heaven

(One Sweet Day - Mariah Carey y Boyz II Men)

May 21, 1990, 6:30 A.M.

((RIIINGG)) - P picks up the phone "Hello"


"What's wrong?"

"I just called to tell you. . .I just called because. . "

I braced myself. Adrianne's grandmother had been in the hospital for quite some time. She wasn't expected to live. Her and her cousin, my best friend Lynn, had been going back and forth to the hospital to see her. So I closed my eyes, waiting to give the spiel sympathetic speech regarding her grandmother.

Adrainne starts crying.

"Adrianne, what happened"

"I just wanted to let you know that Lynn passed away last night".

Okay, now I know her grandmother's name is Hessie. She didn't say Lynn. She meant Hessie, right, RIGHT! She's upset. That should be expected.


More Silence from me.

"Lynn was on her way to go see our grandmother, and someone broadsided her, she died instantly."

"Lynn had to work yesterday, what are you talking about, Adrianne?"

"She got off of work early because my granny wasn't expected to live".

Adrianne Starts crying again.

Silence. More silence.

"P, are you okay?"

"Yes. Thank you for calling".

I put the phone on the hook and laid back down. I had a little more time before I had to go to school. My mother came in my room and looked at me. She was getting dressed for work.

"What's wrong? Are you okay?"


She looked at me some more with a heavy look of uncertainty.

I laid back down. Right before my mother left the house, she asked me was I okay again, and I told her I was fine. I decided to go into the living room. I carried the phone with me (this was pre-cordless phone days and when you had the 100 mile cord in your house), because I didn't want to miss Lynn's call when she called me. Maybe I SHOULD have went to the movies with her on Friday, May 18th. We were talking about Sammy Davis Jr, recent passing, and she mentioned that she wanted to go see Three Men and a Little Lady. I opted out, because I just didn't feel like going. Anyway, I'll wait for her call.

My mother looked in at me with a peculiar expression. Wondered why at 6:45 am I was in the living room holding the phone in my lap.

"Are you SURE you are okay, P?".


I looked at the phone. Maybe I should call. WHY WON'T THE FUCKING PHONE RING?!?!

My mother left. The door made a loud slamming noise when she closed it.

Then the floodgates opened.

I cried, and then I cried louder, and then I started screaming. I dropped the phone and I subsequently went to my knees. WHAT DID ADRIANNE TELL ME? The only friend that NEVER judged me, who understood me, who told me she felt more comfortable in our two bedroom apartment then she did in her big a$$ house? The one whose mother died when she was eight?

Oh GOD! Where was Jazz, her daughter? Was she in the car?? Who told Nathan, her fiance and the father of her child?

I ran to the bathroom to throw up. Nothing came out. I picked up the phone. But who was I going to call.

Wake, up, P, wake up. This is NOT happening.

But it did happen. On Sunday, May 20th, at approximately three PM, Lynn was going eastbound Los Angeles. In the meantime, Julio X had hit a woman on the freeway and was trying to get away from her. She chased him in her car off the freeway and through the streets. Trying to get away from Kim X, Julio runs a redlight travelling Southbound and slams right into her. We had to delay her funeral because an autopsy was conducted to determine the exact cause of death. They wanted to know whether or not she died from a broken neck or her chest being crushed, considering they happened simultaneously.

Jazz was not in the car. But Jazz was in the house when Nathan was notified, who, was so distraught, he was given a valium - that was AFTER he broke every window in his house. I went to school that day. I don't know why. On the way to school (I rode with a friend), we went down 120th street - and we got to 120th Street and Broadway, there were glass shards and all kinds of debris on the street. I told my girlfriend "That's where the accident happened." No one told me where it happened. But I knew.

Funeral and other things notwithstanding, this was a pivotal event in my life. It was significant in that I could remember everything being surreal, yet remember every single incident, yet not remembering a thing. But what I do remember is. . . The verdict.

Three years probation and a hundred dollar fine. And subsequently, I went into X-Chromosome Factor Mode. Although, one month after that, I saw "Ghost", and I KNEW that she was with me, and I would see her again, One Sweet Day. To this day, there are songs, that I absolutely love/mourn when I think of her. . .

"Home" by THIS blogger's favorite singer, Stephanie Mills. - That was HER favorite song.
"Spread My Wings" - Troop/They played this at her Funeral.
"Old Friend", Phyllis Hyman - She LOVED this song and would sing it all the time.

PS: Yes, the accident DID happen on 120th and Broadway.

So now, readers, I turn it over to you. . .

What events (divorce, death, birth, foreclosures, fights, religious transformations) have influenced YOUR Lives? Things that have sent you barreling (good or bad) in another direction? Any songs that remind you of particular events.


The Phoenix aka ThatGirlTam said...


The Phoenix aka ThatGirlTam said...

Wow...that was much sadder than I expected, but it helps me understand why you're all weird with sistagurl friends. So thank you for allowing me and my family to be a part of your world...and for really making an effort to be an active part of our sistahood (yall know who you are).

And I am SO FUCKIN MAD @ YOU for that Stephanie Mills/Home reference. I HATE THAT SONG!!

Ok...so here goes...

#1: My granddaddy...he passed the summer before I started high school. I always felt like he had been sick for a long time, but in actuality, he was given 6 months to live (colon cancer) and within 6 months he was dead. He gave up...and I watched him deteriorate before my eyes - as I was his caregiver. Donny Hathaway's THE GHETTO...makes me think about him. When I was a little girl I always wanted to roll with him...

"Granddaddy...where you going?"
"Oh baby, I'm just going to the ghetto..."

And silly me begging to go and not realizing that we were already there.

#2: Roderick Jackson...a young man who I called "boyfriend" for only a few short weeks. He was a few years older than me. He was killed instantly in a head-on collision while leaving Compton College. It was the last day of "HELL WEEK" - he was a football player - freshman year. I had crushed on this boy for nearly a year and one day he FINALLY noticed me. We'd talk for hours on the phone...when we were together, he'd hold my hand and tell me how pretty I was...he sang "Pop, pop, pop, pop goes my mind" by Levert to me - he had a beautiful voice (aside from the gorgeous smile and bulging muscles).

The phone rang at 8:00 am just as my mother was getting ready for work. She came to my room and said, "Your friend Rod...I'm sorry, but he died in a car accident yesterday on his way home. He and his friends were coming down the freeway off-ramp, and a drunk driver, headed the wrong way was going UP the ramp. Everyone in the car was killed instantly." And dammit if I don't have tears in my eyes now as I'm typing this...

He died exactly ONE YEAR from the date my granddaddy passed. From that point on and for many years afterwards, I was afraid to get close to people because I was afraid I'd lose them to death - because DEATH was so much stronger than I was.

P said...

@the Phoenix:

I am NOT weird with y'all. You are so wrong on so many levels for that.

PS: I knew about your granddaddy, but not Roderick.

:( Once again, I've never heard the same story twice.

The Phoenix aka ThatGirlTam said...

I'm like an onion...I've got layers. I never talk about Rod. EVER.

And ain't nobody said you were weird with US - I meant weird about women friends ((rollin my eyes)) - in't that what you just said??

Unruly Brown said...

Wow ... both stories. :( Yeah, I agree with Phoenix--that does kinda explain a few things, but I don't know. You don't seem weird to me--just unique. Deep, highly intuitive, insightful. You're spe-shul. ;) But nah I don't really have a story to share. The only things I can think of are not one I'd be able to post on the Web.

YouToldHarpoTaBeatMe said...

The day my attorny called and told me my divorce was final and I could pick up my papers. I was all happy...just riding along. About 2 miles before I pulled into the parking lot, The Spinners came on. That part about the fork in the road, and bow out gracefully
..."Whenever you need me, I'll be there...". I just started balling. I THINK the light was green because I don't remember stopping.

My mother was in the hospital for conjestive heart failure. I was terrified because when I had left for Japan 2 weeks prior, she was fine. Gloria Estefan's
"There's Always Tomorrow" just kept playing in my head. She's still here, but I kept thinking the worst.

Terry said...

Death as it were, creates strange long-lasting memories. Often, more so than it's opposite.

Ain't that a bitch?

Phil said...


Why the f*ck was I just upstairs and that Troop video came on VH1 Soul!? They were on top of that building dancing mad hard and then playing a piano on the beach. Beautiful song...

I had a similar situation happen with a good friend of mine in high school.

I saw him the day before he died right as school let out; he told me he had a basketball game that night.

I get to school the next day only to find everyone crying. Turns out he died in his sleep not too long after the game of a heart arrhythmia; the same thing that killed Boston Celtics' player Reggie Lewis.

I was in the same denial you were when you found out about Lynn, just waiting for him to walk by my locker and slap me in the back of the head as he used to damn near everyday, it didn't happen that day though...

As for Lynn's situation, I bet Julio goes back to Mexico from time to time and speaks so highly of our justice system to his buddies a little nervous about being caught in the country illegally. I'm truly sorry on that one...

YouToldHarpoTaBeatMe said...

Okay, why did it just register to me, that this man only received probation and a fine????

Girl that is horrid, and a slap in the face. That wasn't even a slap on the wrist.

I got so wrapped up in the emotionally charged songs that I didn't say a word about a coworker that I grew close to. Of all nights, it was on her birthday. We were at a bar & grill, laughing, eating and having drinks for hours. I dropped her off at home. I started my leave the next day, so I didn't go into the office until later.

I came in for some things out of my desk, and everyone was looking pitiful. Shortly after we dropped off my coworker the night before, she had a stroke (she was only 25). One of the Marines went to her house when she didn't show up. She had been left alone too long.

She stayed on life support for a week before anyone knew that she had "do not resuscitate" and organ donor on her ID and medical documents. Her mother caught hell, trying to decide if she should keep her here or follow through with her last request.

"You Can Let Go Now" by Michael McDonald stayed in my head... and that song, with the exception of the title, had absolutely nothing to do with her death, but her mother's decision to comply with what she wanted.

This was almost 9 yrs ago. Before her mother signed the consent to take her off life support, I just kept waiting for her to come walking thru the door, mean mugging everyone and clowning them, like she always did.

chele said...

Absolutely my divorce. The second one.

When it was finally final I felt relief but that experience has changed me. I'll never marry again, I'll never trust completely again. I don't like to say that I am bitter but the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

nikki said...

losing my father when i was three shaped my life. the loss i felt prevented me from getting closer to my mom and brother. it prevented me allowing myself to become emotionally involved with pretty much everyone, but especially those i was vulnerable to falling in love with.

now every time i hear "i love every little thing about you" by stevie wonder i think about him because my mom said that was the soundtrack to their love story. i think back to how young they both were and how they had dreams ahead of them and how those dreams never came to fruition. i think about how happy my mom was when he was here.

Miss Ahmad said...

i have lost many many people in my life, more than i care to count and sometimes recall.

my sister passed when i was in my twenties, and she was a die hard Ozzy Osbourne fan. Now not too many black girls were die hard about your boy, and even though I was into rock, I wasn't rocking that hard.

When she passed I was so messed up I couldn't even go to her funeral, it was in Alaska, I was in NYC and I was in a dark dark place that didn't include no kinda airplanes or funeral arrangements or graveyards or nothing like that.

Years later I was hired on the Osbournes show, which I know was literally my sister in heaven looking out for me. For his first sound check for the kick off tour date for the show, he sang
Crazy Train, and I crawled into the lead directors lap and just cried. He never asked why and I never told.

I could only tell Ozzy that my sister had truly been a fan of music, and while we were in that staduim I knew my sister was at my side singing along.

that song will always be for her!

Organized Noise said...

I used to be with Phoenix. I couldn't stand "Home" by Stephanie Mills, but now its one of my favorite songs on my iPod.

I would have to say that my decision to move back to New York had the most effect on my life. Had I stayed in Baltimore, I would have been in a relationship and eventually married to someone who is currently working for the FBI. Since I left, our friendship is almost nonexistant. Everytime I hear "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye" or anything from Musiq's first CD, I am reminded of her and the decision I made.

The Phoenix aka ThatGirlTam said...

0h yeah...since we're ont he subject of "HOME"...

When my Uncle Reggie was killed in a violent hit and run accident (on the corner of West Blvd. and Jefferson - an intersection I have NOT driven thru in more than a dozen years or so), they played "HOME" at the funeral. He had ust barely turned 21 a month prior to his death. My childhood best friend was sitting on the other side of my parents - and when the music started, the tears stopped. She looked at my mother, leaned in and whispered, "Tamra HATES this song..."

I leaned forward, looked at her and all we could do was laugh as I mouthed the words, "I-HATE-THIS-SONG" We giggled silently thru the whole song. Everytime I hear that song, I think about THAT funeral...I loved him more than anything...we were like peanutbutter and jelly while growing up. He was a year younger than me.

I was the last person to see him alive. He would've LOVED the littles...Oh man how I miss him...

The Phoenix aka ThatGirlTam said...

btw...tomorrow is my stepdad's birthday...I wonder how my mother is gonna handle it.

Miss Ahmad said...

okay i'm listening to Gladys Knight sing On and On thinking about Claudine and YOU!

why you look puerto rican in your avatar?

Peace said...

A similarthing happened to a very good friend of mine in 1996. He & three close friends went to a club. His car wouldn't start after it let out & some chick in the parking lot offered them a ride home. About 2 blocks down the road, she ran a red light (she was intoxicated) and a truck slammed into her car. Everyone but her died. She got probation.
It took me years to really swallow that my friend was dead, I called his mother's house more than once asking if he was home, forgetting that he was no longer here. It reminded me of how fragile we really are and that none of this petty stuff really matters! Not money, not a nice car, not gossip, nothing. All that matters is being good while you are here, appreciating those who love and need you and sharing peace with all whom you contact.
I also learned that just because someone has died, doesn't mean they are gone. Love lasts forever, and is sometimes even more appreciated in death.

P said...

@ Miss Ahmad:

I look Porta-Rican, Yo?

@ Peace

Yeah, those sudden deaths are the worse. When she died, one of her credit card companies was trying to track her down and they called my house. My mom answered the phone. It upset her so bad.

By the way, my mom was so distraught, she did-ent even go to the funeral.

The Sarccastik Variable Why said...

wow...deep....when BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY came out with "Crossroads"....my cousin just died from a car accident a couple of weeks it came out...everytime i hear that song...i miss him....RIP "TAZ"....it's been 12 yrs....i wish he was here to see lil'sarccastik.....

kaligyrl99 said...

All i can say is wow. I used to work with this girl. We were both in our early 20's. Coworkers turn in to friends and friends turned into sisters.
It was amazing the things we had in common. She knew my cousins and had actually lived in my old house after I moved out. In july '05. She had just finished her first semester of grad school and thought she had a little bug. she waited to come home to go to the doctor (she was Souther University) Her first day home, she collaspses and progressivel loses the feeling in her extremities. she coded a couple of times and eventually left this world January '05. She was the first person i ever lost and even typing this i want to break down. How do you say goodbye to someone who was an extensio of you. She knew all my dirt and i knew hers but there was never any judgement. Her number is still in my phone and i still go to send her a text message, hoping i will get a response and that it was all a nightmare.

Today (08/04/06) was the first day she coded.
The song that does it is te lated Mariah Carey song. dont know the name but its about someone looking down from heaven
Thanks for letting me vent.

Jaimie said...

I'm so sorry P.

The event that forever changed my life was my sister's suicide when I was 15.

I was never the same again.

I always say there's a timeline of my life: the Jaimie before Robin killed herself, and the Jaimie after Robin killed herself. Two different people.

I've never put a song to that shock and grief.

Supa said...

Oh P!!!! How I missed you, ma. Not being able to comment, girl, I was in PAIN! :)

Wow. Deep story. You know I can't even get into mine right now, but u already know them. And my life has never ever ever been the same since.


You mourn two lives after a loss: the actual person who's gone, and the person you use to be before the loss entered your life.


Cocoa Girl said...

Hey P *waving*

I'm sorry, girl. I cannot imagine the hurt of losing someone close to me. I'm going on 30 and am fearful of the day that it actually does happen.

In Denial Hoe said...

Ms. P . . . I just luck up on your page wondering what could be 3 years and $100.00 fine. . . I had no idea. I am truly sorry for your lost - HUGS!!! I don't have one particular song that best describes the lost of my grandmother who recently past away of pancreas cancer. I just remember traveling back and forth to GA for Detroit to see and take care of her just about twice a month. Everyone said 6-8 weeks but granny hung in there 5 months. Our last visit was Mother’s Day Weekend – I am 35 years old and this was my first Mother’s day with her and it was the first time my own mother had been home for mother day since I was born. That Friday my mother made her a bowl of soup if it had 3 ounce in it I was surprise and if she was in pain she never showed while we were there but I was made it my business to be silly and talk to her when other forgot she was there it was that night was our last real serious conversation – she said to me ‘baby I don't know what GOD had in store for us but he know he is keeping us'. My grandmother past away that next Friday. Just know that what ever life takes us through GOD is keeping us all.


J. G. said...

Wow P, you really did it you made me cry this was a great post and thank you for sharing with us.

You know my story already about my aunt but when things like this happen it makes you really think about life in itself.

Amadeo said...

I think about my man that died this summer. I saw him a month before and he was (per his nature) asking questions to a speaker that made me want to yell you can't be that innocent and naive! But he was always like that. A month later he got shot while I was in New York. The last time I spoke about him was laughing with another friend about how innocent he always seemed.