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Viewing the major motion picture The Help was a moving experience. The characters were so vivid it felt as if I was eavesdropping on several people as opposed to watching a movie. My paternal grandmother was a domestic worker. As a child I didn't know what that meant. I only knew she wore a snow white starched dress, white stockings and white nursing type shoes. I never fully appreciated the breadth of her accomplishments until I was an adult. Her lifestyle was so exquisite one would never have guessed her occupation. Several years ago I penned a poem that captured sentiments of my grandmother's home in New Orleans.


It was on Clio Street, 1724 that is, one block off of historic St. Charles Avenue that I was exposed to the fine things of life. It was on Clio Street Joseph and Irene's home that I first smelled expensive perfume. It was on Clio Street that I made my first friends, chased dragon flies and touted lizard, lizard show me your palette. It was on Clio Street that I learned peaches and figs grew on trees. It was on Clio Street where I learned backyards could be paved with bricks. It was on Clio Street that I learned people of color attended tea parties. It was on Clio Street where I learned a buffet was a fine piece of furniture, not only a restaurant. It was on Clio Street where I first saw silverware, china, and pocket doors. 1724 Clio Street is dormant, but not dead. She's resting. Preparing to be resurrected, and once again she'll be the pride of our family.

My grandmother was so ahead of her time. She was working as a domestic and living far better than the people who employed her. She didn't wait for a hand up or hand out. She helped herself and I am so glad she did.




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