Toxteth: a bit disconnected, began writing it before I found out the results of my internship application

My life is pretty ridiculous and overwhelming right now; it’s so unbelievably fabulous that I cannot imagine how I got so lucky.  I’m anxious to the verge of tears, I’ve got at least one thing going on every hour of the day.

It reminds me of my prep days leaving for Liverpool.  I was finishing a summer session math class, aka math accelerated.  It’s not a great idea for someone of my math capabilities, or lack thereof.  (I got a ‘C’)  I was also moving out of my apartment, into storage/the apartment I live in now with my cool cloned roomy.

I remember leaving my take home final with future roomy to drop off to my professor after spending most of the day hauling things in and out of a U-haul truck, then heading to the bars for my send off party.  I rode my bike home (and drunkenly did not make it over the last curb—it’s on a hill, don’t judge me) to my emptied out apartment and slept on the floor with my bags packed for Liverpool.

It’s the kind of delightful insanity that reminds me of what I believe was my second or third day of class in Liverpool.  We began in the classroom as usual.  Our teacher that day was one Mr. S, who you’ve met with Paul in the Pub.

After some class discussion we went with him to Toxteth, a dodgy faction of Liverpool.  “Do NOT come back here by yourself alone, and especially at night,” he said.  We saw rows of houses closed up by the City of Liverpool, in the process of gentrification.  We saw the new sterile housing made available to people who didn’t want to leave their homes in the first place.  There were more shops closed then opened.

Gentrification Purgatory

Little, and not so little, sparks of the residents fighting back show up.  There are two different community centres focused on kids.  There was the Merseyside Caribbean Centre, where I got to meet a fantastic soul, named Patrick Graham.

Meeting Patrick, to me, is proof that I had some good karma credit going on.  Mr. Graham is a poet and playwright, and has his company called, Blackout Productions. I ended up talking to him for the full half hour we were there, and I didn’t want to leave, but as I said before, happy madness.  We had three weeks to experience Liverpool as much as possible, less really, because we took a week to London and another to Antwerp and Amsterdam.

After lunch at a little local place, we went to the town hall to listen in on discussions for the Merseyside/Toxteth community.  They were divided into topics, health and wellness services, education, and jobs.

This is where I met Bea Freeman, a film-ographer.  I was relieved at a woman’s voice finally.  My fourth or fifth day there, I guess I’m impatient? She is fabulous, intensely dynamic and brilliant, but still very approachable.  I’m exceptionally glad I met her, because somehow not being mentioned, AT ALL, is worse then being mentioned in a sexist light, or ways I don’t agree with.  As far as the curriculum was concerned, women’s issues were a non-issue.  Three weeks is limiting.

For my group’s final project I was able to meet up with Mr. Graham and Ms. Freeman again. They made the time for me.  I was impressed.

And speaking of women’s issues, a woman’s ‘proper role’ came up in conversation after a group of us had eaten at a local Caribbean restaurant in Toxteth.  Chip, Props, Samba, Eyes, Sheik, Echo, Mel, Mr. Graham and Mr. S and myself, all ate there together after official class time was finished. He was talking about how men and women were equal but they had their roles.  He comes from a much more violent and scary place than I do, so maybe it makes sense there, but I sure as hell am not nurturing and standing behind my man and having him protect me.

I had Guinness-milk drink.  You could get it with fruit too, but I’ll be damned if I can remember what it’s called now.  It was amazing and Mr. Graham said he makes them at his house sometimes.  I tried oxtail as my meal, which as Chip said, “That is black-people food right there.”  He made me share but only after I gave him a sufficient amount of shit first.

We walked to Ken’s Barbershop, where apparently Samual L. Jackson has gone for a shave.  Chip is also a barber so he wanted to experience a master of his trade. Chip is the type of person that gets people involved in a central activity.  As for me, I was assigned to documenting the event.  In the recording you can here my passive-aggressive quips on masculinity.  Later, in London, we actually had dialogue on the topic that was really awesome.  But me, well, I don’t play so well with others a lot.

I suppose that’s why I didn’t get the internship to return, or one of many of the reasons anyway.  I suppose that’s why after we were done there and in safe territory again, I was off to wander by myself.

Sometimes I need that alone time to digest all of that.  It was a very full day.

I’ll be digesting all the experiences I had in Liverpool for a while I think.  Among the every hour of every day Mon-Friday planned, I am working on a presentation for SSS/Trio/CAMP administrators to illuminate the process and possibilities in University of Liverpool’s three-week, Global Leadership Training Program.

And Then There Was Pen & Ink

May 30, 1993 I wrote my first journal entry in pen.  Ink color of choice?  Purple.  And for anyone who doesn’t know me, or doesn’t know my favorite color, it’s purple.  My winter ski coat is purple and my old school alpine skiis from the ’90s have purple in them.  My beautiful quilt made by my Grandma who I am named after is primarily purple, I have purple sheets, and purple flowers embroidered on a pair of pillowcases.  The pillow cases were also of gift from my Grandma, she taught me how to do some of the stitches (which I may, or may not be able to recall how to do at this time).  I have purple gloves and hats and at times have had purple hair.  My parents gave me purple luggage for my birthday last March in anticipation of my trip to Liverpool, and I have a fair amount of clothing in the purple category.  So it makes me happy to know my first pen and ink journal entry was in purple, and that at age of 8, it looks like I already had my fetish for pens going.

Today when I woke up I for found myself in the

same clothes from yesterday and I was on the floor of

the living room.  I mopped around for a while.  Then

I took a shower and got ready for church but while

I was down in my room I packed to go camping.  I

haddent got my shoes and socks on yet and

my mom was calling me. So I grabed my shoes and

socks and ran up stairs.  My mom was cleaning up

the kichen a little bit so I slipped on my shoes (scribble out mark here)

and socks.  Then I went to get my hair done.  My mom

pulled the hair up from the sides and braided it down

and let the rest of the hair go down.  We went to church

as long as it lasted.  Then when we got home we

changed are clothes and headed of.  We travled with

are corsans for at least five hours before we got to a

camp sight.  It was a fun night.

And Then There Was Cursive

March 29, 1993 is the first journal entry where I write in cursive.  I’m eight years old.  It adds a new element of possibility for misspellings.  It’s great.  Again, there is some things lost in this transfer, because the handwriting is great.  I’m still writing with pencil too.

Today I woke up, as usall and hurried to school.  I read my

homework tine and got my morning work done.  Then after lun

-ch  we had a sell.  I had nindy two daller at the begening at the

end  I had fouredy five daller’s lelt and I only bought four things

Then I plased and playied with my fiend Amanda. Then I ate,

I danced then raid.  Then I snugle in bed to go to sleep.

z

z

z

March 8, 1993

A day in a life of the soon to be 8-years-old Edie-Marie:

Today I had a slow getting up time of corse.  I ate then got

dressed.  My mom did my hair quickly.  Then when I read my ho

-me work I did it as quick and good as I could.  I had to stay in

at morning reccess becuase I didn’t get the last page of my

worksheet done or my english.  At lunch time I ate all of my

corrots, muffen and sandwich.  I drank all my orange Juice and ate

my rice crisby treat (wich was desert).  Then I helped Kirsty

chase aboy in my class named Tyler.  Then we played basket-

ball with Nick for the rest of recces time.  At the time test

I got 37 problems done.  Then are teacher told us that after

we did are math page we would get in are groups and make a sattle

-light.  SO I hurried throw my math and are group made a hudge

sattle-light that study rocks.  And it had magnens on the side

to get the moon rocks.  After that I hedded for home to

be lazy and eat and sleep.

Because there is always a beginning…

I keep almost everything.  I’ve got boxes stored at my parents place of pictures, projects, rock collections, awards, shirts I made, old dolls and stuffed animals and who knows what else. Someday I’ll be out of the moving an average of every six months. Someday I’ll be in a place with enough room to keep them with me, to remember, to laugh, to cry, and to write, of course.

Naturally, I keep all my writing as well.  But I keep all my writing with me, and lug it in and out of new apartments each time.  I couldn’t leave it behind.  I needed it, I insisted, to reference events in my life, to use as writing prompts, to revise; the truth is that I haven’t delved into that much.  But I’m glad I persisted in having it with me.

What you are about to read is the first journal entry ever written, by yours truly.  I received the hearty three ring, book sized, gold embossed burgundy journal for my seventh birthday.  My mother had my name put on the lower right hand corner on it in matching gold emboss.  My favorite part, (besides my name, because that is pretty freakin’ awesome!) is the little emblem of a quill pen resting in its ink bottle in the center of the cover.  Perhaps it’s why I’ve always wanted one.  I finally got me a quill pen this summer, in London at the Globe Theater gift shop, but that is another story.

It is written in pencil and has a dashed line at the bottom where I numbered the pages myself, as well as a centered title line where I always put the date.  I’m not correcting any of the grammar and spelling mistakes.  I’m not leaving anything out; this is the complete first one page entry documenting my life, written by myself.  My only regret is not being able to replicate the handwriting for you.

June 1 1992

Today win I woke up we desided to stay in bed and

read.  We finished the book we wir reading and it was a

good book.  I’ev red three of Natalie’s book’s and tow wir

Kirsten book’s. and one was a Samantha book and I’ev only

read one Molly book.  Today I check out tow Paddington book from

the Smithfeild lidery.  And the first few pag’s and so far it’s

iterging and Natalie said that she red Paddinton book’s in first

grad to and I think that’s grate.  It’s grate to have a

grate sister like Natalie.  She is the best helper in the

whole wide wholed becuas She help’s me a lot for one

resen she helped me lron how to ride a bike and she helped

me to lron how to read and well Just help’s all lot menly.

Oh how it makes me giggle.  Especially when I read the next entry.

June 12, 1992

Last week and this week I ben spending my time

with my cusen’s and cind af haveing fun.  So far I’m haveing

pritty much fun.  oh and my sister is stuped!!!!

Ahh, sisterhood.

If any readers out there would like more from the spelling genius mind of Edith-Marie Roper, age 7, let me know and I’ll post some more; because while I think they are hilarious, interesting and awesome, I realize that not everyone else would agree.  So…

If you desided reading this was fun and grate and a good time menly, give me a resen and I will post more.