By Tyrone A. Moore
President Kennedy, and his wife Jackie, was sitting in the backseat of a dark blue 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible sedan with John Connally, the Governor of Texas and his wife, Nellie. As their motorcade proceeded through the massive crowd of spectators of Dallas, that was gathered to cheer on their favorite president, no one was paying attention to the sound of what seemed like a backfire or firecracker from a distance. Then came the moment of utter confusion and chaos, as the motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository on Elm Street. President Kennedy slumped forward. His wife Jackie putting her arms around. Then another loud burst, and another, and Jackie abruptly crawling out onto the Lincoln’s trunk. It appeared she was trying retrieve something of extreme importance. Some speculations was she was trying to retrieve a piece of her husband’s skull that was blown off from the rifle’s gun shot! She had to be pulled back into the car–by one of the secret servicemen who had jumped inside the car. He had placed himself against the First Lady and the president. As she was trying to console her husband, the governor John Connally, where he–and his wife–sat in the middle seats, in front of the Kennedys, was fighting for his life as he too–was critically shot in the back, by one of the several gun shots. It was total chaos in Dallas as we sat in class watching the whole thing live on TV. We were all in shock and could mot believe our eyes! As we sat in horror, the crowd (spectators) were running in all directions trying to find cover out of range of the sniper knocking over the barricades. The police and secret service immediately went into “seek – and – apprehend” suspects involved in the shooting. They were scattering all over the place, but with precise precision. Perimeters were being immediately established–by way of two-way radio contact. The CIA, Secret Service, and policemen on foot, surrounded the President and First Lady’s vehicle–creating a human shield, while officers on motorcycles, maneuvered through, the massive chaotic crowd of people–to gain control of the scene. News media darted in an out of traffic trying to find a safe place to cover this very dangerous series of event! “Shhh!” Mr. Lawrence said, as he was now too–trying to gain control of the chaos, inside our classroom. We were saying stuff like…”Oh my God! Did you see that?’ The President was shot! The President got shot! ‘Oh man, I don’t believe it!” There were a lot of “Oh my God, I don’t believe the President got shot,” in the classroom. I guess, witnessing the whole thing taking place right before our very own eyes, we were all in obvious shock in the moment. The whole classroom had the sense of gloom filtering in, and confusion, mixed with helplessness, and fear, not understanding why someone –could do this horrible thing–to the President of the United States, in broad daylight on national TV! I personally felt like he was one of my family member, just like to so many others felt. The whole classroom was so shaking up to say the least.
The entire school was dismissed for the rest of the day. Even the teachers were apparently affected, and traumatized than us kids, because the majority of them–have loved President Kennedy, and took part in voting him into office. But all of them had no time to stop and grieve for themselves, as they had the daunting task of making sure–all the kids were accounted for, and tried to comfort as many students–as they possibly could–under the traumatic current events, that just took place, that has now turned into a National Disaster. The teachers remain strong enough to make sure that the students could go home on their own, were dismissed–to be with their families for comfort, and guidance. And at home, we could mourn the loss of the president, and perhaps get some answers to why this happened the way it did. And who did it? There was much sadness in those days. Everyone in the neighborhood, in the city, in the whole country, and around the world, was shocked and talking about that incident. The media was reliving the whole shocking episode–of the president getting shot–over and over, again and again! My dad, sitting in his favorite chair in the living room, glued to the TV–watching the news for hours–while chain smoking his non-filtered cigarettes–as my mother was simultaneously drying the dishes–while trying to catch a glimpse, or two, of the news herself. I suddenly burst into the house out of breath, from running as fast as I could, to tell mom about what I just witnessed at school. “Mama mama,” I shouted as I was gasping for air! “The president got shot! The president got shot!” Mom never looked at me. Her attention was on the breaking news on the television set. “Hush-hush, we are trying to hear what happened,” gesturing with her hands for me to back up. “Go somewhere and sit down,” dad snapped at me! “But I saw the whole thing on TV at school.” ‘Never mind that,’ mom said–waving me off as if to say…”you are bothering us–please go away child.” I just sat there as quietly as I could thinking, “why do grown-ups treat us kids like we don’t know what we don’t know what’s going on?” Nothing we have to say most of the time, is important enough for them to stop–what they are doing–to listen to us. Especially if I was the one trying to communicate something to them. Mom would listen to me sometimes, but my father–never. Forget about it. He never had any time for me. I was always pushed away by him, like I had some kind of disease or something! Oh how he hurt me so! My father paid more attention to a dog than his own child. I guess that was because I was not his flesh and blood. That was the main problem between us. I was not his biological daughter–and he absolutely resented me for it! But at the time, I didn’t know the truth for sure. And then on one or more occasion, I over heard them arguing, and heard my dad saying that I was probably not his child. Mom would counter by saying, “yeah but you have kids by some other (horto) OI bet!” That always seemed to shut him up. I craved so much for my dad’s affection, that I thought I was the most screwed up human being alive. It seemed everyone treated me cold and cruel. You’d think one person on this planet had to understand me. How could one feel so desolated. The way people treated me was utterly atrocious. It was unbelievable. Well that was the reality of my life! Although that was a horrible year with President Kennedy being assassinated, some good did come out of it. That year I got to perform twice on stage. Once with Liberace, and later that summer for the governor of Anchorage Alaska. Toward the end of the school year, my mother procured some concert tickets for herself, my sister, myself, and Pat–my sister in-law (my brother Samuel’s wife). Mom had talked my brother in driving us in his car to the school where Liberace was performing. The school was some ritzy school, that all the rich white kids went to. It had a huge auditorium where the whole stage elevated up an down. It was a very beautiful school to say the least!
We arrived around 6:30 pm. My mother did not like being late for anything, so she made sure we were on time–because the show started at 7:30 pm. Our brother Samuel parked in the school’s parking lot–where there were already several cars already parked. We walked to the front entrance where mom gave our tickets to the person in the booth, then we were ushered to our seats. We were three rows up from the stage. “Wow, this is such a fancy place!” I thought to myself. The seats were a soft-velvet and burgundy color, giving the auditorium an elegant flair to it. The stage was placed in the center of the auditorium with all these seats surrounding it. They were all numbered, and neatly sectioned off in order, with the highest number being at the top. I was glad that we were seated close to the stage, so that we could see Liberace up close! “How are those people way up there going to be able to see from such a high altitude?” I thought to myself. Oh well, maybe they had very strong eyesight! I was seated in the middle, my sister in-law was seated next to the right of me, my brother next to her, my mother was next to me on my left, and my sister was on the end to the left of my mother–with a camera. As the first opening act began my sister started taking pictures. On the stage was a very large woman who sang like an opera star. It was pretty loud, but was very beautiful. “Save some pictures for Liberace,” my mother whispered to my sister. My sister Rosita looked exceptionally pretty that night. She wore a black jacket and skirt outfit–very business like. Rosita was a good looking teenage girl. After the large opera singing woman stopped singing her last note, the audience erupted in applause! Then the host of the show–a tall lanky man–with a nose shaped like a banana introduced Liberace. Everyone again applauded, but this time the applaud sounded like thunder. I started to clap as soon as I saw my mother and my sister in-law started to clap their hands. The expression I saw on my mother’s face, told me that she was very proud–of Liberace and his performance–which made me feel the same way too. Butterfly ran through my stomach with excitement as I tried to swallow down the big lump I felt swelling up in my throat!
Liberace was carrying in his hand a candelabrum onto the stage. He bowed to the crowd four times his piano–that was previously set up before the curtain was raised.This was the first time that I had seen a real super star in person! Yet something seemed unreal about him to me. I know he was a human being, but there was something magical surrounding him. He came out in an all white wardrobe that made him appear very angelic. His apparel consisted of a tailcoat tuxedo with all kinds of glitter all over it! Walking unto the stage, Liberace carrying in hand was a candelabrum. Placing the candelabrum atop of his very beautiful piano– which was previously set up before the raising of the curtain–he turned to the audience and bowed four times. He then walked back to his piano chair, after sitting with a flick of his tail-coat, causing it to fly backwards like wings, Liberace sat down and snapped his wrist–so that his coat sleeves drew back away from his hands–freeing him to play the piano. His very first piece of the evening was “Chopsticks!” He said that it was the first piece he had learned to play as a child. Everyone broke out in laughter–as Liberace hit each key of the Chopstick with just only one finger–as he did when he was a child. “This is the way I play it now!” he said, as he started to play Chopsticks with such melody and precision beautifully. He had even gotten fancy with it by playing faster and faster masterfully with all of his fingers this time! I couldn’t believe that anyone could play the piano so well. My mom had bought my sister a piano when she was only four years old–which unfortunately she never took out the time to learn how to plat it. After playing a couple more of his favorite hits, he then turned his attention back to the audience with a microphone in his hand–he walked off the stage and into the crowd of people that was seated below. Liberace had a ritual that he did at every concert. He goes into the audience and hand pick a couple of people to come on stage with him. On this particular night he was asking for dancers. My sister was putting her camera to good use, so much that Liberace asked her if she was working for that magazine that spread bad news about him? There was a roar of laughter coming from the audience. Liberace walked up to my sister in-law for some reason, and asked her if she knew how to do the latest dance called “The Twist?” Turning red from embarrassment, she said, “no I do not.” Then he had turned to me, and asked me the same question. “Yes I know how!” I said without hesitation. As he reached out his hand to meet my hand, I had felt a nudge on my shoulders. It was my mother gesturing to me to go on stage with Liberace. I stood up as he guided me pass my sister in-law, and my brother’s seat, while holding onto my hand–and turning to volunteer someone else to come on stage with us. He ha stopped in front of a lady about the same age as my mother. “Can you do “The Twist?” he asked. “Yes I can!” the woman responded just as excitedly as I did. I was not at the least embarrassed, maybe just a little nervous, as Liberace walked us onto the stage. I was wearing an outfit my mother had just bought me shortly before the concert. A skirt with suspenders–almost like a Scottish looking outfit. I was wearing a white blouse and a bow-tie along with it. Almost looking like a school’s uniform. Oh, and some white stockings with a pair of black dress shoes–that looked like Elf’s shoes–because they were very pointy at the toes. I thought that I looked pretty good that night! Leaning down toward me, Liberace asked me…”what is your name pretty young lady?” ‘My name is Maria.’ I answered. “Well that is such a very lovely name. And you know it goes with your lovely outfit you are wearing!” He complimented. “And turning to the other lady, he asked– now what is your name honey?” She said with confidence, “my name too is Maria!” With his hands on his hip, “did you two set me up?” Laughing we said, “no we have never met until just now!” It was just one of those mysterious thing that sometimes happen to me. Like being in the right place at the right time. “Well I don’t know,” Liberace said. “Both of you know how to do the twist, and both of your names is Maria.” The audience just laughed, because it was funny you know. Liberace then sat down on his piano chair and said, “On the count of three ladies, I want you two to show the world how to do “The Twist.” At the count of three, he started playing a rock and roll beat–and me and the other lady named Maria–started doing “The Twist.” I mean, we were grooving man! I think the audience thought we were really part of the show. Half way into the rock and roll song, he stopped and said, can you all give these two ladies a round of applause for doing such a great job, and for being good sports?” With great delight, the audience cheered for us. “Take a bow girls, see they love you.” We bowed and Liberace–led us off the stage and back to our seats. My mother and the rest of my family were smiling from ear to ear. They were all very proud of me, knowing that I had charisma. The kind of charisma it takes to perform on stage in front of an audience of strangers. I’ve always wanted to dance, and that night just only confirmed it for me, my destiny.
Oh how I was such a dreamer. Constantly daydreaming of how it was going to be in my life, which was to become a magnificent dancer one day. On the way home I was numb with excitement and disbelief. This was such a profound moment in my life. I would never forget it for the rest of my life. And here I thought the concert was going to be boring! My mother and sister were teasing me a little on the way home that night. It was around 11 pm when my brother dropped us off. All the lights inside the house was turned off except for the light on the porch–dad must have left it on for us. He was suppose to have gone to Liberace’s concert with us, but he said, “I’m not going to pay to see that Horto!” Which means a gay in Spanish. As we entered our house the whole neighborhood was as quiet as a mouse. I was trying to imagine the bad neighborhood kids sleeping peacefully. Even the meanest kid probably looked like an angel at rest. The night was dark and calm. The street lights cast shadows of trees that stood in our front yard–and every house on the block. It was also a clear lukewarm night, with the stars shinning spectacularly. I could even feel God’s magnificent creation embracing me with his tender love–as I felt a single breeze gently kissed me goodnight–on the lips. I’ve always felt as one with the universe and that everything is connected together–nothing can survive on it’s own. As we entered the house, mom me and my sister to hang our clothes up as she turned on the hallway light so we could see. As I undressed I could hear my mom say something to my brother Jesus–Johnathan must have been asleep. My sister went to the restroom. After changing into my pajamas, I pulled the blankets back on my bed–and crawled in between the cold sheets! “Bundled up like a baby will get me warm, especially if I stay in one spot!” I thought to myself. That is what usually work for me anyways. While I laid awake helplessly, waiting for my bed to warm up–I thought Wow! I cannot believe it–I was actually on stage with Liberace, the greatest showman on earth. Boy I couldn’t wait to tell my friend Dawn Garnette about the amazing night I just experienced! I had finally drifted off to sleep with the my last thoughts was on how well I did the twist in front of everyone and the admiration I had received. Before I knew it, I was hearing my mother’s voice in the distance. “Maria get up honey!” I thought I was dreaming her, until I heard her knocking on my bedroom door–that woke me with a start. “Up!” she ordered. I could hear her walking toward the kitchen, and then I heard the sound of the frying pan being put on the stove. I rolled onto my back and tried to remember the dream I was having–it was a good one too. I was dreaming that I was dancing in a beautiful meadow, surrounded by a forest and a huge waterfall. There was a family of dears frolicking nearby. Butterflies colored the already colorful sanctuary, that looked like a beautiful painting–a painting that only a masterful painter–who was every bit a part of the sanctuary he was painting. A little boy was riding on the back of a huge male lion king, as little daisy fairies floated in the light air. Everything was in such an utopia state. It was just simply perfect! I had a funny feeling that I had that same dream before.
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“Maria, are you up yet?” Interrupting my wonderful dream, my mother was back at the door 🚪 again. “Yes I am up already mama.” I assured her. After I had gotten up and dressed, I could hear–and smell bacon sizzling–from the kitchen. Then just like everyday, I began my ritual of brushing my teeth and my hair for the day. Still sleepy from last night, I just couldn’t stop thinking about the concert. After wolfing down my breakfast, I dashed through the door–and was on my way to pick up Dawn for school. She could not answer the door fast enough, before I had poured out the news about my onstage performance. I was so excited, she thought something had happened to me! But she was relieved once she found out what all the commotion was about. I just went on and on all the way to school. The other time I was very excited about performing on stage, was the following summer–when I had auditioned for a TV talent show called, “The Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.” I wore a yellow Mexican dress that my mom had made for me. Weeks prior to the auditions, I’d practice everyday for hours. My mother, and my brother Jesus, let me use the living room–and his stereo to practice my steps. Together they timed my dance routine which was set for three minutes only. I got the idea to do the Mexican dance from watching my mother. She was such a wonderful dancer too–I had always enjoyed her dancing around the house. She was always dancing in the kitchen of course, the one area she could be found slaving in around the clock. And she would dance in the living room, the bathroom, and her bedroom. When my father wasn’t arguing or physically abusing my mother, she was generally a happy spirited person–she loved life to the fullest. When I got home from school mom would have the music going, and be dancing up a storm! My mother had long jet-black hair, that went all the way down her back in curls–cascading from her head as she turned around and around. She looked very sexy the way she gyrated her hips, and swinging her head to the music. My mother’s beauty was very obvious. That is why my father was so jealous of her. He never allowed her out of the house much for that very reason. Only under extreme emergencies, an even then–if she wasn’t back when he’d thought she should have–another beating is what she got. I guess if I were a guy, I would’ve been just as possessive too. I mean my mother was not only beautiful, she had a gorgeous body as well! If I were a stranger and saw her for the very first time, it would be love or perhaps even infatuation. And if you saw her dancing the sexy way she did, you could easily fall in love with her–because she had that magnetism–that would put anyone under her spell. Yes spell! Oh, did I tell you my mother was great at reading people’s fortune as well? She had the ability to tell the fortune for others, which she did at our house. Dreams came to her that would often come true. I would almost guess, that her psychic powers were expressed even through her dancing, because everyone that saw her–were taken over by her. That is why I was also mesmerized when ever I saw my mother dance. I studied her every move, down to the expression of pure ecstasy on her face! So it wasn’t very hard for me to come up with a routine, to perform for the talent show. I just pretended to be my mom dancing.
As it got closer to auditions, my brother Jesus–worked with me as much as possible–to cut my routine down to three minutes. But when the time came to auditions, I performed for only a minute and a half. It was all the time the judges needed to see to make a final decision. I could tell the judges loved my performance, because the main judge summoned over the coordinator, and whispered in her ear. The coordinator was a slender built brunette, with curvy hips, wearing high heels. “We need your daughter at the TV studio next week at two o’clock. Can you get her there?” She asked my mother. “Mommy mommy, am I going to be on TV?” I asked in complete amazement. “Yes yes baby you are!” Mom said while hugging me so proudly. “Now we got to get you ready. Soon we will have no time.” Even though we had a week to get ready, mom knew time would fly by. “Mommy I can’t wait to be on TV!” I said, still excited as we drove home. Of course, mom was just as excited as I was. She did not want anything more at that time, then to see me on the amateur TV show live. And mom really believed that I could win the whole thing! She continued to help me with my routine, and my brother was suppose to tape the song I was to dance to. But just after many practices, and a futile attempt from my brother Jesus–we just ran out of time. With the show being right around the corner, we could not meet the deadline! I was extremely disappointed, but so as it goes–“the show must go on,” life for me went on as well.
Dawn and I continued to dance and act silly in my living room after school. Around this time (1964), I was in Junior High School. I was now twelve years old, my sister was fifteen, my brother Jesus was twenty-five, and our little brother Johnathan was seven years old. “The Rolling Stones” Paul Revere and the Raiders, Sonny and Cher, Vanilla Fudge (“You Keep Me Hanging On”), Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Beach Boys, and The Beetles of course, was hot music groups at the time! Also The Jackson 5, The Osmonds Brothers, The Animals, The Temptations, Peter Paul & Mary, Carol Ring, to name a few. I liked all of them too. I just like good music. “Cry like a baby,” and “My Baby She Wrote Me A Letter,” by the Box Tops. As far as movies were concern, shows like “The Avengers, Man From Uncle, 007, Get Smart, Gun Smoke, Bonanza in color, A Fist Full Of Dollars with Clint Eastwood, Maverick, Wild Wild West, The Carol Burnette Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Dick Vandyke Show, also to name a few. Around the neighborhood, our family had gotten adjusted to everyone. But I was still getting teased and called a nigger! In the summer I did get real dark–I guess that is why I was called the n-word all the time. Aaron a little boy about my age use to call me that name every time he saw me outside playing. One day I was playing with my friend Nadeen Whitegood–who lived right next door to Aaron across the street. “Hey nigger!” he yelled out. At this point I was just fed up with his insults. Hot with anger as though my head was about to explode, I had walked over to him with my hands clinched tight. I was prepared to punch him out–instead I pushed him to he ground and sat on top of him. He could not get up. “I am going to sit on you until you give me nigger babies, and I am going to pee all over you too!” I told him. At the time, little did I know it, six years later–he would become my husband–and I his wife. We would replay that whole scene over again when I was pregnant with his first child. He finally pushed me off of him with a shove. I played with Nadeen and Patsy Lanister, a girl that screwed my husband Aaron Richardson, after we had been married for only two years. As kids she was nice, but she had bad hygiene–and always smelt bad. Patsy was eleven, a year younger than myself–big breasted–and not a bad looking young girl. She didn’t know how to dance much, although she loved listening to music. Aaron always played with her brother, and when he wasn’t playing with her brother, he would fondle Patsy’s breast and stick his hand up her dress! One evening I had spent a night over her house. Patsy’s mom and dad really liked me a lot. They felt that I was good company for her, because I was a decent person with moral and values. Doing chores around the house was not one of her favorite things to do. She even back talked to her parents when they tried to get her to help clean the house. I guess they thought that I would be a good influence on her. That evening, Patsy wore a short nighty, and panties, that was see through. When she spent a night over my house, my mother called her “hedionda,” (someone who stinks real bad!) behind her back. She liked spending the night over my house, because she enjoyed flirting with my brother Jesus. One day Patsy came over our house and was sitting with her legs wide open in front of my dad. “What are you doing?” mom asked. “Nothing,” she replied embarrassed–because she got caught acting like a little hore. I mean, she was just sitting there carrying on a full conversation with my dad, spread eagle and all. And of course, my dad was just enjoying the view–while trying not to look too obvious. But my mom knew what she was up to. Call it women’s tuition. I knew she had a hairy cho-cho, because of her see through nighties, and see through panties. When I spend the night over her house, she didn’t care that her bushy hairs protruded outside her underwear. She was just a fast little heifer. Patsy never shaved her arm pits either, that is why she was always musty smelling! My mother washed Patsy’s hair one night, digging her nails deep into her scalp, and really cleaning it well. Her mother was very surprised at how nice her hair looked, and how clean it was. But unfortunately, Patsy would go right back to being her old smelly–and nasty self again. It didn’t matter much to me, because I stayed to myself most of the time anyways.
I had a very good imagination that kept me in pretty good company. I created all kinds of games by myself. One of my favorites was making stick people, and making their homes out of dirt, and sticks. I’d make roads and driveways, that I drew with the sticks also. Sometimes I would play by myself for hours. I guess you can say I had gotten use to it. None of the other kids would play with me, except for Cassandra, and Nadeen, when their mom–or dad–had them busy doing other things. We mostly hung out after school, or would see each other–while walking to–and from school. In the summer I rarely saw them. My sister acted as though I did not exist in her life. I was a burden beyond imagination! Till this day, I do not know completely, the reason why. Maybe because she was a lot smarter than I? As I mentioned earlier, she always made sure she did her homework after school, and she got good grades to show for it too! The other difference between her and I, was the fact she liked school, and I didn’t. I don’t think the kids at her school teased her as much as they did me. Besides, she was a pretty good fighter–and good beat up most girls at school, and in the neighborhood. She had saved me on a number of occasions. The funny thing about my sister, she could call me all sort of names, and fight with me–but she did not allow others too. My brothers on the other hand, used me as their punching bag, especially my older brother Samuel. They could care less if I got teased or beating up at school, or by the neighborhood kids. “Yeah you probably deserved it!” They would say. I was constantly getting the cold shoulder by my family, except for mama. She was the only one that treated me like I belonged. The rest including my dad, acted as though I were an outcast! Apparently they knew I was the only one with a different father. I didn’t know it at the time, that when my mother and dad would fight, he’d always bring that up. I was too naive to believe that it was true. So in reality, I was a half-sister.
- END OF SEASON 2 – EPISODE 1
* I hope that you have enjoyed reading this story about little Maria thus far!
Please continue on to episode 2 if you like, and feel free to leave a comment at your discretion.
Thank you for reading my story. I hope this was time well spent for you!!
Tyrone A. Moore (TM)