I Witness a Murder

My family and I moved to Hollander Ridge around 1976. I had three sisters and one brother. Hollander Ridge was beautiful! The grass was green, basketball courts were large, and the swimming pools were 3 to 8 feet deep-they even had a baby pool. There were a couple of unfinished tennis courts that I had the least bit of desire to use; I was a 11 year old Black girl living below the poverty level-tennis was not part of my sports heritage.

In the summer time, sports consumed us. We competed with other communities-always coming in 1st or 2nd place- that’s my recollection. Oh, the swimming pools were off the chain. I went swimming 90% of the time in the summer. Although I had a medium skin tone, after spending most of the summer swimming, I became a beautiful dark chocolate.

Our young Black young men were so athletic. Boy could they run and hit a ball. I wasn’t that bad myself-I hit that ball like a boy.

The people in the recreation center genuinely cared about us-you could tell they did. We had a central place to play, All Day! We even had a marching band.

We lived the life that children are supposed to live. Carefree of any stress. Our mind was not supposed to have room for the devil to play in-the sports and the activities at the recreation center took up all the space in there.

I don’t remember when, but way before 1992, the unthinkable happened. Our safe place abruptly ended-the recreation center closed! I was confused to why the recreation center closed, I didn’t know it was closing. But the eerie feeling I had inside my stomach made me worry about the end result of this decision-it was going to be catastrophic.

Mark Reutter wrote a great article confirming what I thought, called Closing rec centers and slashing youth programs were root causes of riot, councilman asset

In that article, Bill Henry, City Council, Baltimore, Maryland (Democrat) said, in 1991, “we spent $37 million on the Department of Recreation and Parks, and we spent $165 million on the Police Department. A quarter of a century later, we have almost doubled the overall city government budget, we have almost tripled the police department’s budget, and we spend less today on recreation [centers] than we spent [then].”

The mayor agreed on the stupid idea to close our recreation centers and all of the activities we so graciously appreciated. What the hell! That’s like closing churches and telling the church goers to pray at home. Hell, Satan hit the jackpot! He had room to play all day long with cotton candy to eat and a blank canvas to create what ever his evilness desired.

Instead of round white baseballs and softballs flying across the field into a leather glove, beautiful happy bodies swimming in the pool and foot steps that were striding for success, jumping on the recreation center floors, there were frighted black bodies dropping on the ground after metal bullets pierced their bodies; The environment no longer consisted of fun peaceful days and constructive thoughts, it was consumed by restless nights and destructive behavior.

If a positive is not replaced with a positive immediately after its departure, the waiting negative will soon take its place; Our young Black men no longer competed for trophies; The devil is very convincing in his playing field-he made since out of making fast money from selling drugs.

The drug addicts traveled from afar to buy drugs in Hollander Ridge. To keep up the facade of a squeaky clean neighborhood was essential to them-they had families and jobs to protect.

Our young Black men, on the other hand, who’s destiny was promising because it was backed by athletic skills, self beliefs , and the confidence of a king, lives was shattered. The possibility of a squeaky clean neighborhood with a beautiful family was not their concern yet. They were only concerned about the tools they were given by the mayor to be inquisitive and creative. It was working until the mayor decided that the cost to keep the rec open was not in the budget; What ever happened to pay now or pay later? Oh, so that’s why the police budget is higher.

The shield that covered and protected the children living in Hollander Ridge was removed; now the concerns of adult life can pierced their young body and soul.

Now I understand that eerie feeling I felt in my stomach the day I found out the recreation centers were closing. I witnessed a murder.

Please don’t miss understand, the recreation centers are not the only thing that can build character-family plays an important role also. However, intellectual and physical growth will be stunted if your only life lessons came from the comfort of your home. Most people know this, especially people who have the power to make the decision to change it, or so I thought.

-Jean Smith

Spirit Wings

We structure life to mimic man AND God rules, while drifting through the universe to avoid the reputation of a fool.

We’re taught that life is less fragile if we follow Universal rules, howbeit we rather seek our equivalence using familiar tools.

We reveal shame and guilt, which shows our Godly connection,

While adding honesty and truth, to bring us closer to perfection.

We laugh, cry, sleep and eat, the norm that life brings, but our gift of creation and love, was graciously given with Spirit Wings.

The Universe has all of the answers which we constantly debate, we’re convinced our Spirit Wings are our, meaning we control our faith.

Finally we raise our hands and surrender our need for control. We let the Universe design its masterpiece by using our curious souls.

When the Spirit Wings begin to soar, it leaves its residuals; We are forced to view the family, not as a whole, but as individuals.

When a love one wings begin to soar, we surrender to the Universe humbled, exhausted, and awaiting;

Humbled because control slips away like sand through our fingers, exhausted from struggling to turn the unimaginable around and awaiting because no matter the length of the journey, we will seek answers until logic is found.

Don’t worry, we still have a say, we’re convinced that everything happens for a reason anyway. And if that reason for what happened is not clear for us to see, we’ll create our own reason, so when we rest, we’ll rest in peace.

Rest in Peace my Son

-Jean Smith

I am Creativity-Your True and Forever Friend

I’ll bring you fun, laughter and longevity; I am King and queen, I am Creativity.

Please set me free; Remember, I am you and you are me!

You need to paint, sing, dance, write, read to create me. I want to show my talent so ALL can see.

If I am ignored expect constant worries; Your peace of mine will be lost and buried.

By now it should be clear to see, there is no happiness without you recognizing me.

So my friends, take life by the horns and pursue your destiny, but don’t forget about your best friend, creativity.

-Jean Smith

Again, thank you so much for reading my blog. I hope it inspires you to have fun while pursuing your goals.

If I succeeded in doing so, please add a comment in the box below (hey, that rhymes).

I created a face mask( cute), bake my own version of a sweet potato pie (delicious), created my own Forehand form ( you should try it. It’s minimum stress on the back-just kidding)and created my own mug ( we didn’t go back to bake and glaze the mug, but it was fun). And with Gods help, I created that beautiful young lady wearing the pink cap.

Today was my first time playing tennis in a while-it was so much fun.

Controlled Destiny?

I’ve always believed that life throws us difficult challenges to strengthen us for the next scenario that will inevitably come our way. Facing our challenges is difficult-believe me I know, but If we avoid our challenges, it’s a fact, not my opinion, that our existence will slowly diminish. On the other hand, when we confront them, we gain an extra level of power that we’ve never had before.

But, why attempt to avoid life’s punches when it gives us the tools and manpower to build a beautiful home (our unique life)? NO one has immunity from life’s challenges-we can’t show up to a beautiful home and say “thank you sir, that will be all”

First time you obliviously fall. Second time you consciously fall. Third time you avoid the fall.

-Jean Smith

Obliviously Fall

When I first became a mom, I was over joyed! I could not wait for my Emotional Support Baby to come out of my 15 year old body. My goal? I was going to be the best wife and mother there was. I was finally going to be loved 100%! Of course the wife part was far fetched. But, my baby loved and needed me, and only me-I was in heaven.

You may ask why my career option was limited to homemaker? Well, my surroundings consisted of moms and baby’s; a career that required a degree was not in my family’s conversation. My mom repeatedly said with anger ” the white man ain’t gonna let you have nothing”. With that sentence embedded in my head, I figured that the only thing I could control in my world was love. My young ignorant mine was wise enough to know that a boyfriend would not love me unconditionally, but a baby would.

My babies. My oldest is being silly…l love them forever!

Avoiding the Fall and Gaining Momentum

Me and my High school bestie Michelle posing with Reginald Williams at one of Dunbar’s High school reunion ( I forgot which one).

Ok y’all, I know, the Home maker career was unrealistic, but at age 14, it was very real to me. At the age of 21, reality is highlighted. I drastically matured. It’s all about my children and me! as far as men are concerned, I’ll date but that’s it. My children, I’ll give the world. But first I have to get myself established in this life thing. Meaning, graduating from high school and getting a job.

I graduated from Dunbar Senior High school in 1983 and got my first permanent job at Johns Hopkins University in 1987 as an Animal Caretaker. My confidence and dignity skyrocketed; I was able to provide for my children without government assistance. I took pride in changing the animal cages (mice, rats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs) for those five years.

I loved my pet rat Snowball.

The drive to learn more and the need to provide more for my children, overpowered me; It was time for a new journey. So I applied for a job as a Lab Technician. I wasn’t sure what the job consisted of, however, I did know that it would be more pay and required more focus-I figured any job title that had technician behind its name demanded some serious mental thinking from a high school graduate whose skill set consisted of tossing animal poop.

Hallelujah, I got the job! I started as a Lab Technician and ended my 30 year tenure as a Customer Interface & Senior Research Technologist. Please see “Jean Smith More Than Just Medicine”on Youtube to hear my story at the lab. The difference between the two jobs is that changing animal cages required about 95% physical effort and 5% mental, while growing cells for scientific research required 95% mental effort and 5 % physical; It was great. I loved it!

I m not smiling, but I truly loved what I was doing.

However, I encountered what would be my destiny -a new employee had me thinking thoughts that I have never considered before. See, I was very insecure with myself. Being attracted to a man was not a concern for me and sex was even less of a concern. I just wanted to be married and have a family. But the appearance of this man had me thinking like a woman who was in control of her sexuality. For the first time ever, I didn’t want to make love, I wanted to make lust. The hell with a marriage. I felt empowered and in control of my decisions-it was all about me! For the first time, my mind and my sexuality connected. I actually chose lust over love.

You see what I mean? Yummy.

Just when I thought my destiny of being a wife was erased, Percy Smith beg to differ. He wanted exactly want I was praying for at the age of 14-he wanted to be a husband; the man of his own family! Did I throw in the towel? Hell yeah!

I want you to know that your destiny may not surface when you want it to, but as soon as you relax and let the universe take control, you will be happy and at peace. Please don’t cloud your focus by contaminating your mind with negative thoughts.

You have the power to choose which thoughts you want to replace with the other. When you think you can’t, your not worthy, or you just don’t feel like your effort will make a difference, instantly stop that thought and say “stop, I got this!” and keep it moving, because you got this.

Life before age 21: 3 children (2 girls and 1 boy), graduated from high school, single parent and a home of my own (with government help of course).

Life after age 21: Husband ( 26 yrs and counting), BS degree in Business Management, homeowner, JHU retiree and University of Maryland employee (Administrative Assistant I-for now).

Tragedy after age 21: My son was Murdered October 26, 2017