“Beat-up little seagull on a marble stair, tryin’ to find the ocean, lookin’ everywhere. Hard times in the city in a hard town by the sea. Ain’t nowhere to run to. There ain’t nothin’ here for free. Hooker on the corner waiting for a train, drunk lying on the sidewalk sleeping in the rain. And the people hide their faces and they hide their eyes ’cause the city’s dyin’ and they don’t know why… Oh, Baltimore ain’t it hard just to live? Just to live.” Nina Simone

The Baltimore” Nina Simone knew still exists, but the women we honor during International History Month used their talents, education, knowledge and creativity to create a different Baltimore. Baltimore has a history of visionary women, or dream makers, knowingly or unknowingly were instrumental in the changes in Baltimore. They include: Henrietta Lacks, Enolia McMillian, Lillie Carroll Jackson, Juanita Jackson Mitchell, Judge Mabel Hubbard, Verda Welcome, , Hattie Harrison, Helen Delich Bentley, Agnes Kane Callum, Shoshanna Cardin, Lucille Clifton, Henrietta Lacks, Rosa Ponselle, Lucy Diggs Slowe, Vashti Turley Murphy, Ruby Glover, Mary Carter Smith,Helen Brooke Taussig, Frances “Frankie” Murphy, Elizabeth Betty Moss, Ida Peters and countless other women with fortitude and vision.

“A city is not gauged by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams.” Herb Caen

Dynamic women currently contributing to the Baltimore community include: Diane Bell McKoy, Karen Bond, Maria Broom, Sandi Mallory, Mykiel Hunter, Dr. Redonda Miller, Aisha Pew, Shantell Roberts, Bella Palumbi, Jess Solomon, Dr. Thelma Daley, Dr. Anne Emery, Michele Emery, Carolyn Colvin, Judge Miriam Hutchins, Dr. Charlene Cooper-Boston, Bishop Josephine Ridgley, Tessa Hill-Aston, Dr. Marcia Coakley, Dr. Marcia Thompson, Shelonda Stokes, Sonje De Caires, Sarita Murray, Dr. Nina Rawlings, Marcia Crump, Dr. Louise Johnson, Veronica Jackson, Shirley Ball, Barbara Chilly Washington, Ann Winder, Libby Harris, Sharon Green-Middleton, Maggie McIntosh, Rikki Specter, Betsy Gardner, LaVerne Naesea, Sheryl Wood, Marama Nengel, Yolanda Maria Martinez, Karen Banfield Evans, Jada Pinkett Smith, Colleen Martin Lauer, Sabrina Tapp-Harper, Pat Tunstall, Cori Ramos, Nykidra Robinson, Ethel Ennis, Dana Henson, Dr. Francine Conway-Hayes, Elizabeth Fran Johnson, Nancy T. Grasmick, Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, Bernice Smith-White, Sylvia Brown, Barbara A. Robinson, Trazana Beverly, Mother Rosa Williams, Jean Hitchcock, Lisa Robinson, Denise Koch and Kelly Swope. Thanksfor all you do to make Baltimore the town by the sea growing with perpetual hope and a vision for the future.

Welcome to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., our newest members “43 Forces of Fortitude” initiated into Baltimore County Alumna Chapter.

Violets to Dr. Brenda Savoy on her appointment by Councilman Julian Jones to the Baltimore County Commission for Women.

“Oh, sometimes I get a good feeling; yeah I get a feeling that I never… had before, no no. I just wanna tell you right now that I believe, I really do believe that something’s got a hold on me, yeah oh, it must be love” Etta James

“Heard it through the grapevine” that Jake Oliver and socialite Barbara Armstrong are engaged. Champagne anyone it’s a celebration.

Proud Pop Pop Tyres “Tony” Jones said in six days he had two beautiful granddaughters from son Tyres Jr. and Kaiya Woodson’s baby Masiah and son Donte and Leslie Powell’s baby Skylar. Congratulations!

Happy birthday! Andrea McDaniels, Mayor Catherine Pugh  Honorable Stephanie Rawlings Blake, Judge Vicki Ballou-Watts, Rosemary “Duchess” Atkinson, Aldonna Wylie, Gloria”Tuttie”Bogans, Myron “Mo” Bundy, Diane Hocker, Mildred Harris, Delegate Angela Gibson, Michele Emery, Catalina Byrd, James “Winky” Camphor, LaJoi Grimes, Anthony “Tony” Hawkins, Dan “Chairman of the Board” Henson, and Bishop Walter Scott Thomas.

What’s happening!

April 14, 10am-2pm, back by popular demand Colin’s Restaurant’s spring brunch, serving eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, roast beef, asparagus, mini crab cakes, salmon, pulled pork and more with unlimited mimosas; call 443-272-7818 for tickets.

Thanks Valerie, after reading your column this week (03/09), I just had to play some Frank Sinatra CD’s. Billy Hayes

My good friend Frank “The Executive” Coakley told Jake Oliver, AFRO Publisher Emeritus, about the weekly emails I send to the Friday Night Bunch providing information about events happening in Baltimore, restaurant openings, fundraisers and parties. Jake set up a meeting with me on March 17, 2008 and he told me in Jake fashion your deadline is March 19; and “Living for the Weekend” the column was born. It was an honor to follow in the footsteps of my friend the late Frankie Murphy and her column “If you ask me” and my friend and colleague Rosa “Rambling Rose” Pryor-Trusty. Frankie said when she retired I would write her column and I laughed.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” Woody Allen

It was going to be a year that I would write the column it would be about the things we do “Living for the weekend. Finding the coldest beer in town, the best place to dance , bringing my friends from the county back on the avenue, it would be the celebration of the birth of your children and grandchildren or the death of our love ones, it would recognize our city and the people who make up the city, it would be about the best fried chicken wings, pig feet or foie gras, it would celebrate the opening of new restaurants and our favorites it would be about the people we interact with, and it would introduce you to people you never met. It would be you my guest at the party “Living for the Weekend” through me.

“Ain’t it funny how time slips away?” Special thanks to my AFRO family for their support Takiea Hinton, Kamau High, Dorothy Boulware, Wanda Pearson, Diane Hocker, Rosa Pryor, Ron and especially Jake Oliver who laughed when I said I‘d do it for a year.

And, to you “I feel lifted” when you tell me you enjoy the column. May you continue reading and “Living for the Weekend”!

Valerie and the Friday Night Bunch I’ll be seeing you.