LIVING FOR THE WEEKEND

by: Valerie Fraling Special to the AFRO
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“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”  Thurgood Marshall

In honor of Black History Month, it’s a pleasure to recognize Baltimore’s own living legend my friend Professor Larry Gibson, a celebrated author of Thurgood Marshall, world traveler, photographer, husband of fifty plus years to Diana, father and proud grandfather. He’s an unpretentious man, having served as the first African American law clerk to a federal judge and has litigated major civil rights cases. Politically, Larry has spearheaded many local campaigns including serving as campaign manager for the first Black judge elected in Baltimore, the first Black Baltimore City State’s Attorney, the first Black court clerk in Maryland, and the first Black elected Mayor of Baltimore.  On the national level, he was the Maryland state chairman for the Bill Clinton /Al Gore presidential campaign. Gibson was also a lawyer to Major League Baseball’s World Umpire Association. On an international level, he successfully orchestrated the election of the first female elected head of state of an African nation, Liberia. He also served as the U.S. Justice Department’s Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Jimmy Carter and was a commissioner on the Baltimore City School Board. For the past 44 years, Larry has been a highly respected law professor at the University of Maryland School Of Law.

During Larry’s historic career, he has maintained a fifty-year professional and social friendship with attorney and best-selling author Ron Shapiro. On Mar. 11, at 1:30 p.m. at Beth Am Synagogue, 2501 Eutaw Place Larry and Ron will celebrate 50 years of friendship in an in-depth conversation hosted by Rabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg. This event is free and open to the public

“There’s a party goin’ on right here a celebration to last throughout the years. So bring your good times, and your laughter too. We gonna celebrate your party with you.”

 Kool and the Gang

Happy Birthday Reggie “Mr. Cool Breeze” Thomas, Thomas Ridgley, Gwen Pinder, Edna Smith, Art Peterson and Tessa Hill-Aston. A happy 60th birthday to Sam Redd and a special birthday wish to World War II veteran Millie Bailey.

 “Love and happiness you be good to me I’ll be good to you. We’ll be together, yeah we’ll see each other walk away with victory, yeah oh baby love and happiness.”

Al Green

Wishing Dana Peterson and Ralph Moore many years of “Love and Happiness” as they celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary.

“Babies are like little suns that, in a magical way, bring warmth, happiness and light into our lives.”

Kartini Diapari-Oengider

Two of my dearest friends dreams came true when they welcomed their grandchildren into the world and gained the most precious title of grandparents. Madison Natalia the daughter of Ryan and Lisa McNeil is the cutest granddaughter to Michele McNeil and Dr. Vallen Emery. Madison is also the great granddaughter of Dr. Anne Emery. Debbie and Arthur Allen were elated when daughter Shana and her husband Richard Maccone of New Jersey gave them a 10 pound, 10 ounce, baby boy Jace Richard. Jace is also the grandson of Richard and Paula Maccone. The joy these babies have brought to my friends is priceless.

“May the work I’ve done speak for me”

When the moving truck pulled up to our new home at 522 Lyndhurst St., in Edmondson Village on Nov. 14, 1959, the first person I saw was our new next door neighbor Ms. Carmie Rodgers holding her newborn son. She was surrounded by her daughters Audrey, Marie, Linda, Janice and Susie welcoming us to the neighborhood and to their family.  From that day until Miss Carmie’s death last week at the age of 92, she was my “other mother,” my confidante, my friend and my mentor. For most of her life she was a stay at home mother, not just to her children but also to all the kids in the 500 block of Lyndhurst. She was a diminutive woman in stature, but to us she was 6 feet tall and didn’t back down from anyone. She was our hero. Her husband, Mr. James was a merchant seaman so she managed her immaculate household with dignity. The pajama parties she planned for us and the suppers I ate almost daily and then had to go home and eat dinner with my family were legendary. We would pick the apples from the trees for her to bake pies for our tea parties. She never complained or raised her voice when we ran in and out of the house hopping the fence for the shortcut. I became a lover of homemade codfish after watching her tirelessly peel potatoes as the cod boiled on the stovetop and put together a dish I had never eaten before. When I moved from the neighborhood, I would return to visit just to sit on the porch or spend time in the kitchen for hours talking to this amazing woman. As the years faded, I could see her slowly drifting away from me. I never forgot to call her on her birthday

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