I reluctantly joined Facebook a couple of years ago thinking that I might catch up with a few friends from my past. I didn’t think much of social networking when I signed up. I did a couple of “friend searches” to no avail and decided that FB wasn’t all that I’d heard about.
Bamp! (that was my sound effect for wrong answer for those of you who don’t speak “jali”)
I was absolutely, completely, totally, and unquestionably wrong. Facebook is amazing.
Today I found Yolanda, my dear, dear friend from the 9th grade.
I remember driving past the house where she once lived, on 120th avenue in St. Albans, Queens, about 15 or 20 years ago. A pang of longing hit me so hard that day that I pulled over to stop and see if there was a chance that she might still live there.
I got back in my car and cried a little. I couldn’t find Yolanda so I couldn’t find my 9th grade self either. It was an overwhelming feeling of sadness when I realized that one of my ties to my past was lost.
Yolanda had the perfect ‘fro.
Bigger and badder than Angela Davises’ and redder than she should have been allowed to wear back in the olden days.
Yolanda was a St. Catherine of Sienna girl. I was a St. Pascal Baylon chick. We met at Bishop Reilly High School at the beginning of our freshman year. Both of us came from predominantly Black (I cannot use a lower case b here) Catholic grade schools and both of us were shocked to find ourselves in the minority at Bishop Reilly.
We both had afros. We both smoked Newports in the 216 bathroom between classes. We both rode the 17A bus to Jamaica Ave every day and we both hung out at the library across from the terminal instead of going directly home after school. We joined the Black History club and created our own punk-ass girl gang (she was Red Tamu, I was Ebony Malika and Deidra (I have to find her)was Green Emerald. We were the “red, black and green” officers of our gang. We made jackets and wore our “colors” only once or twice since we were afraid of the real girl gangs out there.
We planned our famous Central Park picnic together and high school kids from all over the city attended. I remember being amazed that hundreds of kids cut school to hang with us. (we were off that day for a Catholic holiday). We made a bunch of sandwiches and others brought food and liquor and we had a ball. I drank “Tango” and Boone’s Farm wine that day and thought I was all grown up. We played touch football and cards in the park. A perfect day.
more to follow…