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Life of a Fast Tail NOLA Girl: My Teen Years 1988

As I look over my life, I can remember my adolescent years more than any other part of my life. I believe the reasoning is I wish I could go back and start all over and turn down the boiling pot of teen boy crazy that I was. It’s not that I’m regretful of being a teen mother, but the poor choices I made with those nasty lil boys who managed to get me out my chastity belt makes me wish I could turn back time.

The more I remind myself that have been sexually active for more than half the time I have been alive makes me want to stop having sex because I put in major work early… No wonder I think sex is highly overrated, I’m a professional at it for starting so young…

It’s a blessing that my older two children weren’t a crazy ball of hormones or raging angry anti-everything or those sassy think they know it all fools. My kids were the total opposite of what I took my parents through during my teen years. They were great kids, just as well as their friends. It brings joy to my heart to say that, and I’m honest. I have one son who you all know is a college basketball player, and the most trouble he got in was getting flip with his coach, but other than that all his teachers and parents use to tell me how sweet and well mannered my son is to this day. He was nothing like the horny boys back in my day. However, I must inform you all that my kids are SPOILED BRATS! Lol

My children kept the lid on the cookie jar sealed tight years after I had my first taste of lust. I enjoyed their childhood. I would watch on proudly and sometimes joined in on the fun. I made up for some of the things I missed out on, because of them. It brought me to my knees when I finally realized how much I missed in high school. I used to pride myself that I made it, I had my high school diploma at 17 right along with the others, but I didn’t get to go to prom or walk across the stage to get my diploma. There was so much that I missed being a teen mom, but that 16 year age difference allowed me to have this almost big sister-like bond with my daughter that made up for it. To this day I consider my daughter a best friend. We talked about everything, there were nights when I was depressed, heartbroken over a guy and she would encourage me, say things like “You know he likes you, he’ll be back, or oh no Ma leaves him alone.” As I mentioned, I didn’t go to my prom or walk with my class, but my daughter made sure I was able to experience prom by suggesting I be a parent volunteer. My job was to chaperone, but I was to busy taking pictures with everyone lol. Both of my children blessed me with the gift of seeing them walk across the stage to find me immediately afterward to give me their diplomas.

I can say the repercussions of being promiscuous wasn’t a bad thing at all, more of a gift than anything. The gifting would continue a month after my 38th birthday when my 21-year-old daughter gave birth to my precious Ebony Princess, my first grandchild. People speak of this cycle or generational curse that continually flows just like the blood in our veins through each generation, but the period started and stopped with me. My Mom had me at 21 years old, and my grandmother had her first at 20 years old, so in essence, there was no cycle to be broken, only a mistake that required educating my children.

I believe the open relationship I had with my kids combined with assisting them in finding things they were interested in such as sports was a significant factor in preventing my kids from the pressures of adolescence. Back in the days, there was no talk of sex outside of don’t do it, keep your legs closed, don’t be fast and let’s not forget the vengeful God who will strike you down to hell for being nasty with little boys. It was so bad that even tampons were off-limits because that would mean I would have to stick something in my vagina and the only touching down there was when I needed to wipe and wash. I was left to use my imagination of the birds and the bees by piecing together things my Mama told and the secret talks with other kids.

When I was 12 years old, I thought that God would send an angel as it was done in the bible, but I always wondered how a naked Mommy and Daddy came into play with that as the other kids told me. What messed me up was childbirth. I remember seeing my Aunties cry from painful contractions as they held on to their bellies as everyone operated in a state of hysteria as she stood peeing on herself. “Oh, Lord my water broke”??? looked like she was standing in pee because there was no broken glass or cup on the floor I found myself thinking, but off they went to the hospital.

There were so many stories regarding where babies come from and how they came out I was caught up believing a mixture of each one, therefore inventing another story. Such as the reasoning for the dark line on a woman’s belly that stretches from the top of her diaphragm down into the pubic area. The women in my family believed that the darker the line got meant a baby boy was coming. But the other children would tell bloody tales of slicing the mom open along the line to get the baby out, and if the doctor went over the line with the knife, the baby would die. This would be the reason we thought when a woman miscarries, or baby died during birth. The things we imagined when the truth wasn’t told to us.

I went into adolescence thinking sexual intercourse was “getting booty” and “kissing made babies.” It got to the point that the only voice of reason I wanted to listen to was my peers, and sex was cool and fun, and if you weren’t doing it you were a Plain Jane Nerd, and I wasn’t haven’t that. I wasn’t haven’t it so much that I lied and told my friends I wasn’t a virgin. My teenage years were so confusing that I was willing to downplay something so sacred and precious as my virginity… I wonder who I told them I gave it to??? Maybe it was just a raising of the hands that would answer the question of “Who had sex before?” Meeeeeeee!! My lie would be revealed once I accomplished the act, but silly butt would continue to deny that I wasn’t a virgin just so I could part of the cool crowd, I think… I remember Cedric asking “Where a virgin?” Noooo, I replied. Then he would leave me silently wondering “what does that mean” for some time with his reply of “Well, whoever broke it must have had a pencil XXXX because you felt like a virgin to me.”

Just maybe if all the adults would have handled the news regarding me being sexually active differently, perhaps it would have prevented me from getting pregnant. I could have been put on birth control had they been more open about talking, educating me about sex. But nooo, sex was a bad thing that adults did at night behind locked doors, leaving us to imagine what the moving, banging and moaning was about. I would get schooled on the real birds and the bees by my friends who had older siblings they would share all the juicy details with me. At that time the schools slowly implemented sex education which ruled out the God gifting baby myth. The class helped some, but the hormone-fueled boys only made it hard to concentrate on the lessons with all their laughter and oohs and ahhs.

At 14 years old I would find myself hysterical and possibly pregnant from practicing tongue kissing at the park with my 17-year-old neighbor, his name was Sion. He was a tall, handsome, dressed fresh to death, funny, cool guy. The park was our hideaway from any adults especially back in the day when we could be trusted to go on our own to play. I remember he would push me on the swing so high, then dare me to jump. There were lots of times when I would straddle him, well we called it “crab swing” so we could kiss. We would sit out on the porch and do our homework, take walks, etc., he was like my best friend. I remember telling him that I was pregnant and he laughed, said to me about the birds and the bees too. After so much kissing we progressed to what we called “twiddling” back then, basically touching clothed privates. I can remember the Gitano lavender striped jeans and purple striped colorful Coke Cola polo-like the shirt I wore the first time he touched me there.

For whatever reason we never went all the way, it was like it was never a thought to “do it.” Plus, we had nowhere to do it anyway, both always had younger siblings who we would buy off to leave us alone so we could kiss. It was the beginning of the school year, and by the time Mardi Gras came we do things with our friends from our schools. He was a junior in high school too. I’m pretty sure he found a girl who was up to his speed. Throughout that school year we remained friends and sat out on the porch from time to time, but our ” twiddling” days had come to an end. Plus I had my eyes on one of the popular football players in 9th grade, and he had his eyes on me.

Sion had taught me a lot, and it was as if the boys smelled my fast tail. I was very popular and smart too, so maybe it just came with the territory. I managed to spray female pheromones, be known for style, charm, holding my own and was an honor roll student. Yes, I’m sorry to admit I had a few fights. I was on my way to being expelled after breaking a girl tailbone after I flung her to the blacktop at recess, but it was found she was the instigator. But, hey this was the 80s junior high school in New Orleans. But, the tailbone breaking incident would be the reason for me my crush to meet officially.

Cedric was a couple of inches shorter than I. By the 9th grade I was just about my adult height of 5’10, and most boys were still growing. Dating shorter boys and men would be something I would have to deal with all my life. But he was this cute, smart, chocolate, stocky but muscular young man, with beautiful white teeth. All the girls wanted him, so you can imagine how I felt when he picked me. I can’t believe I was one of those crazy teen girls… Cedric would not only ask me out, but he would be the one to bust my cherry. I was never fond of that term, but I’m trying to set that backdrop for you all lol.

While I was on suspension, my best friend called me with him on threeway, and I nearly died. That call would be life-changing. It started with staying on the phone all night until we fell asleep. My Mama would punish me from talking on the phone because of my actions. I would find the phone and would pay my sister off to keep a watch out while I hid in the closet to talk on the phone. The good ole days, but things would get serious. We would plot on the phone about finding ways to see each other because we had a different class and lunch schedules after I came back from suspension. We came up with the idea of getting passes to go to the bathroom at the same time. I can see him now strolling past my classroom door, and I would quickly get up to excuse myself. We would meet under the back stairwell and kiss our teenage behinds off.

Our rendezvous went on for months until my English teacher, Mrs. Robinson busted us. I do not know why I even tested this lady, because she was just like your Mama, plus she was my favorite teacher. Mrs. Robinsonis the reason I love to write. She took me under her wing after I wrote an essay for one of first our class assignment that impressed her to the point that she made me stay after school to work on my writings once a week. She would bring in books from home for me to books to read, encouraged me to write my thoughts out by gifting me my first prominent girl journal at the end of the school year. One would think I was the teacher’s pet how she treated me, but I was others she invested in as well.

Mrs.Robinson was nothing like the typical teacher; she kept it real it felt as though she was your auntie. She had to be in her late 40s, married to a police officer a cross between a southern church lady and a female gangsta. She spoke highly of self-defense even encouraged the girls to take self-defense classes and always to be aware of our surroundings. She became vocal about protecting ourselves after one of our classmate’s brothers that tried to carjack her a few blocks from the school as she sat at the stoplight. He walked up to her car with a stocking over his head, and she greeted him with her pearl-handled gun which she kept on her passenger seat. This wasn’t the average English class if it involved anything that could be pinned to the paper she used it. The incident prompted lessons on crime journalism. We had to find articles in the newspaper to rewrite and stand up in class as if we were reporting the news. Doing so kept us informed and involved in addition to teaching life lessons outside of English.

Mrs. Robinson was a beautiful, tall, heavyset, dark-skinned woman with a short curly. The only flaw I noticed was she had a significant broad nose with a dime-sized raised mole on it. An imperfection that most of would have allowed destroy our self-esteem, but she held her head up higher as if she was doing it for us. There were times when classmates, usually boys would call her out about her nose after she would discipline them for one reason or another. Instead of cussing her which they knew would be detrimental to their life lol. They would call her big nose, witch warts, and the list goes on. She would get up in their face and tell them “It’s a beauty mark, where’s yours” and the rest of the class would laugh till we cried.

I dreamed of being like her when I grew up; intelligent, proud of her culture, loving, but hard around the edges, strong, determined, giving and courageous. She was a strict, friendly teacher. We knew she deserved respect because even a coo-coo bird teenager could see she cared not only about our education, but our individual lives. My hormones would cause me to violate the trust she had in me.

Cedric never came to get me during the morning half of the class, especially not while I was in Mrs. Robinson class, but I guess he wanted to get some kisses in before lunch that day. He poked his head in the door and said hi to Mrs. Robinson which we all did because everyone loved her and the bathroom was in her hall, so this wasn’t unusual. He gave me a look, and within a few minutes, I asked to be excused to the bathroom. I took the pass off her desk, flew out of the class and met him under the stairwell. And the kissing began with only a “Hey” being said. Who does that? It seems to be me lol. Little did we know Mrs. Robinson excused herself as well and surprised the hell out of us as she pulled us apart by grabbing me by the ear. If you never been pulled by the ear, then you must have walked the straight and narrow path. But if you have you know what it feels like. You can imagine our lips being locked as his whole body just about floated off with me as she pulled on my ear bringing us both from under the stairwell. She was highly pissed off, disappointed and at a lost for words, but her feelings were written all over her face. The punishment was to be publicly embarrassed. She put us on display during lunch. We had to eat our lunch standing up, and we had to stand against the wall at recess with our lips puckered. Our parents were called, and the news spread like a fire. The kids would sing “Dee and Cedric were busted K.I.S.S.I.N.G to the point I was so over kissing him, well at school. Mrs. Robinson’s punishment was very effective…

Not only was the kissing dates were over, but our kiddy relationship for the rest of the school year and not because we were caught. I would be confronted by a girl after my volleyball game a few days later. She came to me without her krewe, which I appreciated, because my friends and I had to stay out of trouble. My goodie two shoes fast tail would have hell to pay, not with my mama but Daddy. And my entire life was dependant on having the fliest clothes and shoes. So, I was happy she didn’t come with no boot in her mouth or her girls igging her on to fight me over no boy. She told me, she was not only Cedric’s girlfriend, but she was pregnant too. Yes, pregnant, but take in mind this 1988, teen pregnancy was on the rise. Over a fourth of the 9th-grade girls were dropping out of school because you couldn’t be in school preggo. I could barely get my tongue to move because I was so heartbroken, as she told me of their teen love affair. This was the same girl Cedric told me he broke up with, because she was a “Skezzar” and here she is saying to me, I’m the chic on the side and she having his baby… She told me her belly was the reason why she hadn’t been in school as well as asked how long we been seeing him?? I was finally able to process my thoughts, and I was able to say something after my heart stopped thinking for me.

I’m not sure how old I was when my Mama told me to never fight over a man and if a woman ever asks me about a man I was to say to her ask your man. At 14yrs old, I told this girl, to ask Cedric because my Mama told me to never talk to another girl about a man, well boy that she claims is hers. The same applied to me, I was told never to question a woman over a man, and I can proudly say I have never done so. As my Mama put if “Am I sleeping with you? No, I’m not so honey you need to go talk to that man you laying with, and if by chance I see him, I’ll ask him about you too.” lol

So with that, she wobbled off, and she took whatever I had for Cedric with her….until I would see him at my cousin’s party that summer. The summer I would sit side by side on a porch swing of this empty beautiful shotgun house in the Garden District. I caught the streetcar over there with my cousin, we were supposed to go to the library, but we had other plans. Cedric had all kinds of goodies for us to eat and drink for our teen picnic that he would suggest we take inside, because of the impending rain. I agreed and was overcome by the beauty of the house. The floor to ceiling windows was covered white flowy curtains that blew lightly with the wind, a huge antique gold mirror hung over the mantelpiece, the living room, and the dining room both had chandeliers that sparkled like diamonds and the hardwood floors were so shiny you could see your reflection.

As we walked hand in hand, I asked a million questions about the owners, how did they get in the house, would we get in trouble and so on. He reassured me that everything was clean and that the house had been empty for some time. He and a few other boys helped move the furniture weeks ago, which is how they knew it was empty. So, for now, they claimed it as their clubhouse. All I could think of is playing pretend “rich husband and wife” and he was thinking the same, but on a grown-up level. As I looked around in amazement, I finally asked: “Where are we gonna sit?” Are there chairs in here or should we sit on the floor?” He kissed my hand and said “Come on let me show you the back rooms,” and he led the way to a large room with a king-size mattress and box frame sitting in the middle of the floor. “What is that bed doing in here? We can’t sit on that, and it may have bed bugs in it. Where did it come from, Cedric?” He lifted the blankets and sheets to show me everything was clean, and he stated the people left it, and other items on the curb and they took it back in. Then he took his shoes off and jumped on the bed as if it was a trampoline while motioning for me to bounce with him. You know I did. Lol. We hopped, bounced and flipped until we were out of breath. The next moment I found myself laying on his muscular teen chest eating long coconut boys…..

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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