Fifty-some girls, now called trainees, were sitting in various positions around the room with stacks of paperwork balanced on their laps. Everyone was wearing different clothes, had different hairstyles, came from different backgrounds, and they were all strangers to each other. This was their first night together in a new place with one common goal in mind: to survive the next six weeks and graduate from Air Force boot camp to become airmen.
In time for Father’s Day this Sunday, University of Baltimore MFA student Elisa Estrella recounts her heartbreaking–but meaningful–relationship with her dad.
I remember once you were washing black car grease off your forearms at the kitchen sink and you smiled at me; once you bought me a doll that could walk if I pulled her arm—you laughed that the doll was bigger than me; I loved you most then; you always dressed in leather wingtip shoes, wool pants, cotton shirts, and a leather jacket when it was cold; you had thin black hair you combed to one side; you were hairy but clean-shaven; I remember you wore Old Spice; you smoked Parliaments; you drank Miller when you watched the New York Mets play; you quit smoking when you developed a cough; you drank Chivas Regal on special occasions; you tried to quit drinking, but no one liked you sober so you went back to drinking; you jogged when you gained weight—and you lost it.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, University of Baltimore MFA student Roxanne V. Young remembers her mom’s sage advice on black pride, self-confidence, and still more.
- I’m Black and I’m Proud (James Brown)
My mother was the consummate teacher in the classroom and in life.
It was a frigid January afternoon, but I was enjoying the warmth of rare one-on-one time with my mother. We both had skipped school that day to celebrate my 10th birthday. On January 18, 1965 we sat down at the lunch counter at a Baltimore Woolworth’s. It was my first time dining out with my mother. While we waited for the waitress, she took a few minutes to discreetly give me a quick lesson on proper table etiquette.
Playwright and UB prof Kimberley Lynne travels to Ireland with students each summer–and, frankly, she sometimes encounters specters in her hotel room. Not that she minds, mind you. Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, readers.
We request the most haunted room, but 21 isn’t available—it’s very popular in summer. Instead, we reserve the adjacent room 22 in the 700-year-old Dobbins Hotel in quaint, Protestant Carrickfergus, just beyond Belfast at the gateway to the Antrim Coast (or as my favorite Catholic poet calls it “north of the wall”) and guarded by a dark, hulking Norman citadel. Two round stone towers flank crenulated walls. Brightly painted mannequin warriors point replica rifles out of battlements. Belfast Lough laps on one side of the castle and a wide expanse of lawn the other. King William of Orange’s diminutive statue guards the parking lot, fenced and life-sized, considering the Marine Highway’s constant traffic. In 1690, King Billy landed at the Carrickfergus sea wall on his way south to the Battle of the Boyne. Fresh bundles of flowers lie at his boots.
University of Baltimore MFA student Lavonia Reid knows what it’s like to hop from shelter to shelter—and finally, she knows what it’s like to come home.
We weren’t always a family of four. We used to be a five-some: my mother, my father, my two younger brothers, and me. But that was before, before my father turned from a loving husband into a jailer—before he brought my mother down, not only with his fist but with his words. By the time we got out, the damage had been done.
University of Baltimore MFA student Mandy May considers the messes of her past, present, and future–she’s so darned charming about it, you’ll want to help her sweep them up.
I tore into the room my older sister, Tara, and I shared. I was already screaming—guttural not princess. There were pink gingham curtains and matching twin beds. My anger burned at the center of my breastplate. It was irrational and sudden and molten under my skin.