Oakley Julian

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Not in Her Lifetime: Coming to Terms with My Grandmother’s Racism

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image via freedomsphoenix.com
image via freedomsphoenix.com

University of Baltimore MFA graduate Oakley Julian wanted to introduce her serious boyfriend to her entire family — with one matriarchal exception…

I did not expect for my family in South Carolina to meet my boyfriend until Thanksgiving, but with the unexpected death of my father in August, my timetable was slightly altered, to say the least.

Everyone knew of Jesse’s existence, but I had intentionally withheld his demographic information both because I saw his being black as a non-issue and because I felt that offering any sort of silly disclaimer would shine an unnecessary spotlight, thus making it an issue.

Asterisk: A Memoir by Oakley Julian

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Words and Silence - Front Cover (Border)

UB MFA candidate Oakley Julian’s graduate thesis, Words and Silence, tells a true family story — the good, the bad, the foreign, the familiar. Read two micro-chapters below.

He was the first to make Van Gogh references and bar-brawl jokes after half of his ear was removed in 2003. Beyond those jokes and keeping folks more or less up-to-date on upcoming scans and procedures, there wasn’t much else added to the melanoma discussion for nearly 10 years. As his wife Joy told me, “Walter’s attitude towards this whole thing is that it’s chronic, not terminal. When something pops up, we handle it and then go on.”

The Daylight-Savings-Free Zone

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In honor of Daylight Savings Time, which begins on Sunday, March 10th, UB grad student Oakley Julian adjusts her broken clock but keeps it wrong.

There are several months of the calendar year when the clock in my car is only 14 minutes “fast.”

During the other six months, a new passenger (or one who hasn’t ridden with me in a while) might give the dashboard a double or even triple glance, realizing there is some sort of mathematical equation involved to see if we’re running late. Or early. Or right on schedule.

My car is a Daylight Savings Time-Free Zone. Like Hawaii. And Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation.) And Russia. And almost all of Asia and Africa.

Once I actually figure out how to change the clock in my car, I can sporadically observe European Summer Time like Turkey, Iran, Norway and Portugal.

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