In Atlanta XXVI… Chapter 26

I am moving as fast as I can.  “WILLIAM!!!!”  He is usually super irritated when I yell his name.  But this time, I think he knows the difference in my tone this time.  I am all over the place.  One thing I know for sure is NOBODY!!!  I mean NOBODY messes with my kids.  I don’t give a damn who they are.  I am not real sure who this Mignon Garrett lady is.  She sounded nice and all, but I don’t know her and right now she has my two of my grandbabies.  I don’t play like that.  My son Joseph, bless his heart, is out in this world trying to build things to protect it so he can provide for his family.  Not just his wife and kids, but all of his siblings, nieces, nephews, and more importantly me and his father.

William finally walks his ass into the bedroom where he finds me going through my drawers.  I don’t know why I am even packing a suitcase.  I already know what plan I got.   “Susie!  What’s wrong?  What’s going on?  What is all this fuss and rumbling about?”  I give him the look of death for even questioning me.  Sometimes, better yet all the time, I know he is eves dropping on my phone conversations.  He is nosey as hell.  After being married for over fifty years, you still have to keep the spice going.  I swear as much as he is listening in on me, I am listening in on him too.  I learned that two can play that game long time ago.  We argue mostly all day every day, but he is my husband and the father of my children.  I love him and he loves me.  If we have made it this far, then at this point there is nothing but get back.  Ain’t no point in leaving now.

I give him a quick run down of what the lady in Virginia told me about the kids and Julianna leaving while Joseph is out at sea.  He now understands why I am going about the room getting things together.  “Lord, I got to call Sonny.  I need him to take me to the airport.”  I have been blessed to have two sons that work for the airlines.  Charles works for TWA and Sonny works for Delta.  I also have a son in law that works for Eastern Airlines.  It was nothing for them to get me a flight to wherever in the world I needed to go.  When Julianna was pregnant with Jacinta, I was so anxious.  Joseph and Julianna was in the middle of moving and I kept telling them that moving from New Orleans back to Virginia Beach was overbearing for a pregnant woman that was that far along in her pregnancy.  They said that they had professional movers that were going to help them load and unload.  These young blacks got a different spirit than what my generation had.  We didn’t hire no movers.  Hell, we didn’t even have a place to move to until Joseph’s senior year in high school.  That was a big deal in itself.

I was worried sick the entire two days that they were moving there.  I just hoped and prayed that the baby wouldn’t come while they were in the middle of the highway somewhere where they couldn’t get medical help.    When they got to Virginia Beach, Julianna was unpacking boxes in the garage of the new house in Virginia, which she had no business doing in the first place.  A few minutes into her moving stuff around she went into labor.  They had to move the moving truck so that the ambulance could get to her.  I didn’t know anything, but I was still worried about he toll that the move was going to take on Julianna and my new baby.  Julianna was in labor for over 12 hours.  I finally got a phone call from Joseph around 6:20 a.m. on April 5, 1977.  He said, “Momma, I got me a little girl.”  That is all I needed to hear.  I told him, “I will be right there!”  Sonny had me on a flight to Norfolk and I was rocking Jacinta in the hospital at 11:45 a.m. the same day.    I did the same thing when he called and said that Jordan was born.  These were my only grandkids that didn’t live in Atlanta.  They are precious little angels.  They are my little angels and to think that Julianna has left them by themselves is a terrible feeling.

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I very rarely get out of my wits or really show any sad emotions.  I could feel the pressure in my chest.  It seemed to be rising up through my throat.  You know how you feel when you have a knot in your throat that you can’t pass.  I call Sonny and he said that he would be here in 15 minutes.  If he says he will be here in 15 minutes, then I better be ready in 10 because that is when he will be pulling into my driveway.  I notice that William has started to pack a bag.  “What do you think you are doing?”  He looks up at me confused.  “I am going with you to see about them kids.”  Now that is not going to happen.  “Listen, we got a ton of other children here that are expecting Sunday Dinner to be on the table at its’ usual time.  I have a ham and a roast going in the oven.   I need you to make sure that dinner is going to start on time.  I should be back by dinner.”  He just continues to look at me like I am crazy.  At the end of the day, I know that he knows that I  can handle any situation thrown my way.  Taking care of kids is my specialty.  I hear the truck pulling up in the yard and I know it is Sonny ready to take me to the airport.  Just hold on my babies.  Goodmomma is on her way.

I sent Denise to the store to get more diapers, milk, and a few things to eat.  I am assuming that this baby is still breastfeeding.  I hope that she isn’t.  From the remnants of this party, I hope that this baby isn’t breastfeeding from someone that is using drugs like this.  I go into my purse and I look for my checkbook.  Because I belong to the teachers credit union, they have a list of important phone numbers listed inside the casing.  I look down the list until I see Child Protective Services.    I grab the phone again and as I am dialing, Ms. Burris is now tending to the children.  “Ms. Garrett, do you really need to call them people?  The other grandmother in Atlanta said that she was on her way here.  Shouldn’t we give her a chance to get here first.  That way she and Mr. Joseph can sort all of this mess out.”  I feel bad.  I truly do.  However, myself and Ms. Burris can not legally hold these children without proper notification to the proper authorities.  All I can do is call Social Services and see what we need to do the right way for the best interest of the children.   If something were to happen to these kids while they were in our care, we could be held liable.  The best thing is to at least report the situation and see if we can ask if we can keep the kids until the paternal grandmother arrives.

“Hello, yes…  I need to report an incident of child neglect….”

The ship is always noisy.  I don’t care what time of day or night, there is a level of noise that you just never get used to.  The captain has really done me a solid.  Once I explained the situation to him, he helped me arrange travel from the ship to the shore.  I am not waiting on the daily helicopter to arrive.  It should be here in another 3 hours.  From there I will be helicoptered back to Morocco.  This is when the travel will become gruesome.  But for my girls, I would swim the Atlantic to get to them.  It will take me a few days to get back to the states, but best believe, I am on my way.

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