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The Alabama Gulf Coast, a town nestled between Mobile, and Pensacola, Florida.  We call it Atmore, a knot in the road.  My dad called it William's Station, a railroad town.  

I am a girl, daughter, wife, mother, woman, sister, aunt, granddaughter, teacher, classically-trained pianist, writer. Second child of two.  A girl baby, only daughter to Arthur “Whorley” and Bobbie Mae Dailey who both had hope in a new era in a new south.  So they hoped for.  He 82 years young, and she, singing with the angels where she would be 79.

My summers were filled with plenty of laughter and joy. This is planting season for the community.  My dad, a proud farmer and welder.  I remember shelling peas and beans and then blanching them for winter storage in the deep freezer.  Also picking blackberries alongside the roads with grandma where she would make the best pie and watching her make her famous fruit preserves.

During summer break I also enjoyed relatives visiting from up north, Detroit, Chicago, and New York City. Two weeks during the Fourth of July holiday, when Detroit’s General Motors and other plants would allow for vacation break for workers.  Our neighborhood saw the newest cars with the home state license plates.  My mother would beam with joy because her youngest and oldest brothers in the sixties and seventies fresh from the war, landed good jobs at the motor city plant.  Their children, my cousins, would talk about life up north compared to my southern upbringing. 

My home life with mother and daddy where there was church on Sunday and definitely school on Monday, a dedication to education. Rituals and routines with four o’clock piano lessons and next day, same time Wednesday choir rehearsals.  Fall Friday night lights watching the Atmore Blue Devils rush to a state football championship and springing to the annual May fest.  Seeing me off to college was so special that there was some sadness, but joy for a bright and promising future for a girl baby born to new hope.    

I am a descendent on my father’s side of Amelia and Daniel Louis Dailey and my mother’s Nellie and Mark Alexander Parker and their mothers and fathers, and so on and so on. African ancestors who made and continue to make America great and strong.  

Rosalyn Shareef, August 2019