Monthly Archives: April 2022

Aunt Alma

I used to go visit my Aunt Alma on the weekends while attending Jackson State University in the late 70’s. I drove from Jackson to Cruger in Holmes County and as fate would have it, my co-worker, Mary, often accompanied me as I drove the state highways of Mississippi. I dropped her off at her family home in Lexington on my way and picked her up on my way back to Jackson. She was always pleasant company.

Aunt Alma was the wife of my great Uncle Robert Cooper. He was a preacher and a businessman and they still lived in the house where my mother was born. He was a man of few words but I knew that I was always welcomed there. Aunt Alma, a lively, spirited woman, made up for his few words. She was animated, quick and most kind to me. She probably cherished having some girl company after having four sons, though they had all long left the nest.

One had died and the other three had gone North to work in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  An older Uncle Will had gone before them and later sent for them one by one. That was the way part of the Great Migration worked as one went ahead and later sent for others to find new homes and good-paying jobs away from the sharecropping South.

When my Uncle Robert Cooper passed in 1980, Aunt Alma tried to stay in her home of over 60 years, but her sons knew that she was not able to stay there. I went back down there to assist them because the boy children had a difficult time convincing a ruling mother that she had to let her home go.

They were happy for my company as I tried to soothe things over as she made the inevitable move. The scene reminded me of an Ernest Gaines’ short story called, “Just Like a Tree.” The adult children were trying to move the matriarch of the family north with them, but she died the night before they made the trip. She was determined to remain planted by her roots, so to speak.

Anyway, Aunt Alma made the trip to Fort Wayne and took up residence with her youngest son and his family. She survived and eleven years later, my mother and I decided to take a Greyhound bus from Chicago to Fort Wayne to see her. It was 1991, and when we arrived at the house all she said was, “Lynn. What took you so long?”  I laughed and was happy that she had survived, thrived and adjusted to her new home.

My mother and I stayed in a nice hotel for a couple of nights. We went to the Cooper family homes, caught up on the latest and had an enjoyable time. Upon return to the hotel, there was a festive wedding celebration going on and this was an added lift for us. The last day we were there, we were awakened by nearby ringing church bells. It was probably the angels along with our Uncle Robert Cooper singing, “Well done, my good and humble servants!”

Uncle Robert &
Aunt Alma

Lynn M.
April 30, 2022

High Road to Ann Arbor!

In the early 90’s my mother and I took a Greyhound trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan from the Chicago area.  She often agreeably accompanied me on my many excursions after she was widowed. Whether it was author book-signings, literary conferences, missioned road trips or whatever I ventured to do, she was ready to go along. This time, I had an interview as I sought to get into a library school to further my career.

Many library schools around the country had closed by that time, so I was excited to see that the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor still had an impressive program.  This particular trip held a special intrigue for both of us for multiple reasons. I was born in Michigan and it is where she met my father and had her daughters. So, a return to the place of my humble beginnings was a win-win situation.

This time, we decided to take the Big Hound and leave the hassle of driving to the driver.  The weather was dry and mild and it may have been early spring.  We sat back, read and mostly enjoyed the flat, beautiful Midwestern landscape. There were no bumps in the road, nor negative occurrences and once we arrived in Ann Arbor, things continued to flow smoothly.

We had a nice, comfy hotel room and I do remember us walking and visiting some nearby small shops. Everything was low-key which is one of the beauties of college towns.  It was a calm, dream setting for educators and librarians and we both had worked in both fields.

As I think back, it may have been spring break because I do not recall a flurry nor rush of students. I do remember climbing the steps of the building where I met the library professors as I gathered lots of information about the library program.  Some coursework took two years or longer so a lot of thought and money would have to go into taking on such a feat.

Ultimately, the timing was off and the dots did not connect for me entering library school at that time. (But, it did many years hence!)  I was not discouraged nor did I regret making the trip.  When we returned to the hotel, there was some festive event going on the restaurant/bar area downstairs. People were happy and simply enjoying life.  It added to our joy as well.

And yes, of course, before we left the famed University of Michigan campus, we visited the bookstore. I bought many mementoes such as a refrigerator magnet with the school colors (yellow and blue) and logo, bookmarks and other sacred keepsakes that I kept for years.

As I look back during this time when memories continually flow to the top, I am happy that we took that scenic journey. It was the last time that we were in Michigan together, the place where it all started for our family.  I am truly blessed, indeed for that great opportunity!

Lynn M.
April 23, 2022

Unity Village

Unity Village Fountain

In the spring of 1994, my mother and I both agreed that it was time to take that trip to Unity Village in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. We were once again teaching at the same college in a south suburb of Chicago, as we had done years earlier in Memphis. Coincidentally, we had also gone to college together and when I saw her the hallways, I’d say “Hi, Ma!”

She had introduced all of us to the small, yet power-packed book called Daily Word. Her Aunt Myrtle had shared it with her when she was a young woman living Detroit. Hence, she and I attended Unity churches in Chicago and Memphis. Our Chicago minister gave long descriptive talks about her time spent at Unity Village, so it definitely was on our bucket lists.

I purchased Amtrak train tickets and I thought that going First Class would help both of us relax after working with college students. We left from Chicago’s Union Station as we looked forward to enjoying the serenity of Unity Village.

To my dismay, the First Class car was quite small and we were in there with a large, noisy family. There was a crying baby and a wandering toddler and they never seemed to calm down during our eleven- hour trip. They broke my peace into pieces, but I had to go along to get along. Ma and I later found the humor in it by imitating some of their antics.

When we finally arrived in Lee’s Summit, we took a cab to Unity Village. It was a large, grassy complex and it exuded peace. Though I had rented two rooms, I ended up staying in my mother’s room because it was large and it felt the safest. Money was lost there but, oh well.

We stayed a couple of nights and these are a few of the highlights that I remember once we ventured out of our cozy room. The food was excellent in the cafeteria. Each table had a copy of Daily Word propped up as a centerpiece. That was an added plus as we enjoyed the good food after such a long train ride.

The weather was dry, mild and pleasant. We spent time in the Silent Unity Chapel and I remember a beautiful, stained glass window with a huge white dove displayed behind the altar. We sat in the silence and quietly reveled in the fact that we had finally made it there. We had spent years reading the writings of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Catherine Ponder, Emmett Fox along with so many other great, inspirational authors.

But our trip to the Unity library and bookstore stood out the most. My mother decided to make a photocopy of the Daily Word message from each of her children’s birthdates. So, we spent time going through the archives to locate the years of 1945, 1947, 1948 and 1950. She made copies of each daughter’s birth date message and later gave each their personal copy. I still have mine!!

The experience was great and obviously, the train ride back to Chicago was quiet and uneventful because I don’t remember it. We felt satisfied that we had made the trek. Years after her passing in December of  2002, Unity Village sent me literature saying that they were building a new fountain. We were invited to help place the bricks around the fountain by purchasing a brick engraved with the name of a loved one. I didn’t hesitate to purchase one to honor my mother’s memory.

To my delight, after a special request, a Unity staff person went out and took pictures for me. This was in 2013 because I certainly did not plan on making that long trip again. Here is calming picture of the new fountain and the paver with my mother’s name on it!  How glad I am!!

Lynn M.
April 14, 2022

Creating Your Own Wealth!

Prosperity is first, a state of mind. Some feel rich with minimal amounts on hand. Others have loads in their pockets, but still experience feelings of uncertainty and unhappiness. They cannot level off and stop striving for more.

A flush of rich ideas is a gold mine. List them and put together a plan and work it. That is what the visionaries did and many amassed great amounts of wealth. But some had no peace of mind. They were not able to say, “I have enough!” It’s comparable to a person who keeps eating when the tummy is full. Thus, they become bloated and that is never a good look.  As one caterer-aunt used to say, “Know when to push back from the table.”

Wealth is truly having what is needed and being able to find peace within as life rolls on. It takes hard work, perseverance and study. Reading the gurus who teach the laws of prosperity can bring everlasting peace. Try visiting the self-help section of the bookstore. Purchase their books and underline, highlight, take detailed notes and learn to apply the laws.

Then, take a personal inventory and see what is putrid and toxic. Delete the nay-sayers and start building up from the ground floor. It may take years, but lay a solid foundation and develop those God-given talents. Then, there will be a less likelihood of trying to take what others have acquired by the sweat of their brows.

Confidence strengthens with small successes. They may be baby steps but they are better than no steps at all. Don’t worry about what others appear to have because no one knows what is truly going on behind closed doors.

Create your own wealth and then you can safely claim it as your own!  Write down your plan, work it and build up, one block at a time. And most importantly, know when you have enough! Then stand back. Smile!  Breathe and glow!

Lynn M.
April 10, 2022

South Station: Setting Trends-Part 2

In the early 2000’s, South Station in Boston was like a mini city to me. It is where my train arrived when I came in from NYC and after I settled in and was hired, it was my lunchtime hang-out. There were a variety of eateries, small shops, kiosks selling Bean Town souvenirs, flower shops, shoeshine men and a small Barbara’s Bookstore located in the center of the station, to name a few. 

I was in a holding pattern in my life as I waited for a quiet storm to pass over. I cannot say that I understood that at the time, but once I landed there, I was determined to make the best of things. Most days were good as I met people from all walks of life; yet a lot of the New England area felt quite foreign to this Midwestern transplant. 

I lived in South Boston and then moved into Boston’s historic Back Bay area. I rented a teeny tiny studio on Commonwealth Avenue and flourished there. I soon saw that Boston was indeed a walking town, so I picked up a pictorial map of the area, went to The Tannery on Boylston Street and purchased some good walking shoes. When that pair began to show wear, I later went to The Tannery in Cambridge near the Loeb Theatre and bought some newer walking shoes. 

And I walked and walked and walked. I recently heard a line from the movie, Sabrina that made me think about my own life. She said that she found herself in Paris. I can safely say that I found myself in Boston. I was far from the maddening crowd, and I was able to breathe, think and walk while listening to inspiring music.  

As life would have it, South Station, my entry point, remained central to my Boston life. Even after changing jobs, me and the station continued our relationship. There was never a dull moment there whether I was eating, shopping, making a train connection or running into old colleagues. 

When I begin to question my purpose for being in Boston, I found ways to comfort myself. I often purchased fresh flowers to give myself that needed boost. And guess what? One day while standing on the subway platform as I waited for a train, I did a double take. There were several women holding on to their bouquets of flowers as I embraced mine. 

I thought, “Wow! Did I just start a new trend? We all silently stood there looking like princesses as we waited for the train. We were showering ourselves with self-love and invisible hugs! 

Lynn M. 
April 7, 2022 

An Unintentional Trendsetter- Part 1

When I was in graduate school at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, I was living on a tight budget. I worked as a graduate assistant while studying, but guess what? We were paid once a month! No, I kid you not. Once a month in the 20th Century. 

A close friend from the area had a standing joke as he tried to lighten the pain of it all. He said the Southern man hiring would ask the new employee, “Do you want to be paid $40 a month or $10 a week?” The humor laid in the fact that the amounts were the same, both mounting to a small hill of beans. 

So, in 1977, the pay was minimal, and I had to learn how to try to stretch it from month to month. That was the law of the land at the University.  After my disbelief turned into belief, I did my best but, sometimes I simply was not able to make those ends meet each other. 

One day, my car was on E, meaning, Empty. Nada. No gas! I knew that I could not call in because my strict boss was not hearing it and I was not about to ask him. What was I to do? As Plato said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  I thought. I didn’t live that far from campus, so I decided to ride my bike to work. I had a yellow bicycle that my father had assembled for me some years earlier. 

It was a push, but I rose early and propelled my way to the campus. After arriving, I took the bike up the elevator to the 9th floor of the Administration Building and parked it somewhere close to my workstation. Nobody said anything and I certainly did not say that I was out of gas. 

I do not remember any verbal protests, but obviously my trek had not gone unnoticed. I guess they thought that the Chicago girl was just exercising her freedom. And the next day, several of the women rode their bikes to work! I laughed to myself and thought, “If they only knew the real reason behind my brave trek.” Thus, I became an unintentional trendsetter! 

Lynn M. 
April 2, 2022