Monday, May 10, 2010

Parable of Stormy Weather

Parable of Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather was the little boy's favorite song. He remembers going to the drive-in theatre in his dad's Model T Ford to watch the all black movie starring Lena Horne. The movie came out in 1943 and he came out in 1944, so he had to be two or three years old when he saw it.

His dad was a Race Man who claimed he knew Lena back in Indiana. Dad told him many fish stories. But who knows, maybe he did know Lena. He said he met Marcus Garvey in Los Angeles, or saw him there. Dad was born in 1900, fought in World War I, in the Calvary . He was a bugler who rallied the troops. He had pictures in the all black Calvary.

The little boy's mom was a farm girl who grew up in Fowler, a nearly all white town nine miles south of Fresno in the Central Valley. Mom was one of the few blacks in her high school year book. But no doubt she learned black consciousness from the man she married when she was twenty and he was forty. Together they operated a real estate business and published the Fresno Voice, the black newspaper in the valley.

The boy was his parents second child, the first being Oliver, named after his dad, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jackmon, or Owendell.

The little boy remembers all those black people on the screen at the drive-in, a contrast to the usual movie about cowboys killing Indians or Native Americans. Even though his maternal grandmother had Native American blood, he "naturally' cheered while the white man slaughtered his people.

His dad got too slick with other people's money in his real estate business, so the family moved to Oakland and opened a flower shop on 7th Street in West Oakland. His mom worked as a clerk-typist at the Naval Supply Center by the Army base at the end of 7th Street.

By this time he was five, six or seven years old, but Stormy Weather was still blasting from the juke box in clubs, cafes, barber shops and night clubs up and down 7th Street. He listened to the music while selling black newspapers such as the Chicago Defender, Pittsburg Courier and the Black Dispatch, along with Jet and Ebony magazines. His mom was the Cub Scout Den Mother, so the Cub Scouts sold periodicals to raise money.

The boy loved selling because he got a chance to hear the blues and jazz blasting inside the clubs, cafes, beauty and barber shops. Some times his brother Ollie would be with him, but usually Olllie had his own running buddies, so he might be with Leon Teasley, Curtis Simmons, John Jackson or Robert Scott, even though Robert was really Ollie's friend.

Don't know why
ain't no sun up in the sky
stormy weather
since my man and I
ain't together
keeps rainin all the time
keeps rainin all the time....

--Marvin X

Don't miss the Academy of Da Corner Reader's Theatre performing material from Marvin X's latest book The Wisdom of Plato Negro, Parables and Fables. The benefit for Black Bird Press happens on Saturday, May 15, 2pm, at the African American Museum Library, 14th and Martin Luther King, Jr., downtown Oakland.

Participants include Rasheedah Sabreen, Augusta Collins, Ayodele Nzingha, Alona Clifton, Ramona Massey, Geoffrey Grier, Wanda Sabir, Reginald James, Malcolm Shabazz Hoover, Charlie Walker, Paradise, Mechelle LaChaux, Baron Cope, J. Vern Cromartie, James Moore, Jr., Fuad Satterfield, Lumakonda, Ramal Lamar, Timothy Reed, James W. Sweeney, Ptah Allah El, Eugene Allen, Elliott Bey, Linda Johnson, Gregory Fields, Ken Johnson, Gene Hazzard, Adam Turner, Khalid Wajjib, Freddie Boone. Admission free, give a donation. The book is $100.00.

Order from:
Black Bird Press
1222 Dwight Way
Berkeley CA 94702

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