When I was not yet three years old, John Richard and Grace Elizabeth Ingram adopted me from an orphanage in southwest London. At the time, my dad was the minister of a thriving church and I was the fourth (and youngest) adopted kid in my family. My heritage is of African descent and my adoptive parents are Caucasian. When I was four, a stroke left my father paralysed down his left side; he died when I was 18.
Due to the stroke, it was difficult for dad to speak so we spent countless hours communicating by playing games of dominoes. Dad would rest his paralysed arm on his card table and play a ferocious game of dominoes with his “good arm.” Invariably he won. Ironically, my dad’s nickname for me was “Topsy.” Even if I didn’t win against him at dominoes he expected me to come top of the class in all my school subjects. I did my best not to let him down.
If I quiet the voices in my head I can still hear the cranky squeaks of his wheelchair. The clicking made by the calipers that were attached to his
legs below the knee. The incessant wheeze from the asthma that attended the paralysis. His body was his burden.
As a child there were times when I longed to pick him up and carry him on my back. Far and away from his wheelchair and back to the fleeting memory I had of him as my able-bodied dad. Now that I’m an adult, I believe there are no accidents. My dad is my role model and I have found my dream job improving the lives of persons with disabilities in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Thank you dad! Happy Father’s Day.
BUZZ…This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge asks us to share a photograph with something extra; something with unexpected detail that makes that image all the more special.
For me … the unexpected detail is in this man’s expression.
The sadness embedded in his concentration. This is a photograph of my friend “Buzz” writing poetry outside a coffee shop in Brighton, England.
Imagine yourself born with a different skin colour.
Which colour(s) would you superimpose onto your DNA?
Who’s looking at you now?
Do you feel your privileges taken away?
Do you feel enlightened?
On top of the world?
As rich as can be?
Full of promise?
On the A-List?
Treat with care
a still image
that an actor could bring to life.
A black-and-white photograph of a baby
Held at arms-length by a midwife – the girl that nobody wanted –
who had little choice but to re-enact this dream called life.
Is it possible to be born again?
An angel is
brought to Earth
on the wings of her fables
about changing the world.
Begin softly this new rhyme in her body. With the title “Human Parade”.
Her rebirth is the gift of traveling to the corners of the Earth and sharing the news that she’s arrived.
Where do we go when we die on the inside?
Do we rupture our attachment to family? Our daily bread?
Our ability to mimic breath?
Jean-Michel Basquiat died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27 in 1988.
Illuminated cooking pots suspended from a 19th century building in the 6th arrondissement in Paris.
Over the years we age and change our perspective.
Through the looking glass.