Carnes Avenue

The third place I recall living while in second and third grades was Carnes Avenue…

Miss Loraine’s Sundry was the place where my Daddy took my baby brother and me when he brought us back from Chicago.


In back of the Sundry up a few steps was a small bedroom. Outside the bedroom in a short hallway was a cot.

There was a large window next to the front door of the Sundry where I would search for signs of Muhdear.

Miss Loraine while talking baby-talk, holding and kissing my baby brother.

Miss Loraine while talking baby-talk, holding and kissing Queenie, her small dog.

My Daddy trying to comb and braid my hair.

Miss Loraine up late at night adding numbers and ordering stuff for the Sundry.


It was cold in that short hallway where I slept on the cot. I coughed so much that Miss Loraine, put a glob of Vicks Vapor Rub on her finger, made me open my mouth, and pushed it down my throat.

I had pneumonia and was in the hospital.

Mama Rosie brought my Daddy’s father by the Sundry to see my baby brother and me. I had never seen or heard of him before. She took me outside to the curb where he was waiting. She said he could look at me, but he’d better not touch me. Miss Loraine would not allow Mama Rosie to take my baby brother outside to see my Daddy’s father.


I longed for connection with Muhdear, Mama Bennie, and Daddy Gilbert.

I was confused about everything.

I would stand outside the Sundry and look down the road toward the cabstand where my Daddy worked and if a woman was walking towards the Sundry, I hoped it would be Muhdear coming for us.

Miss Loraine helped customers in the Sundry; I took care of my baby brother in the back of the Sundry. There was nothing to do and no one to talk with. I was lonely.

I choose not to remember

I was trying to become lovable like Queenie, Miss Loraine’s dog.

One response to “Carnes Avenue

  1. so vivid and immediate: environments, personalities, feelings…Despite such minimal means, I can see and sense theses places and people, and I am amazed. I think the descriptions are full great personal sensitivity and intensity, and that they are extremely powerful as a result. In addition to the written word, I can imagine these scenes on stage or in some similar kind of presentation format.

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