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A Long Way Home  

  Mom buttoned up her coat across her chest as tears streamed down.  She waved frantically. Her twenty-one-year-old daughter would learn life’s lessons the hard way.  “All aboard”. The train screeched slowly down the track bound for Charleston, South Carolina. Let’s Get Away, by Earth Wind and Fire, played as the train was leaving out of Baltimore. “I ‘m grown” Carina whispered. Her chest swelled up and down until sleep over came her. Frightening trees covered in Spanish moss dotted the road to the courthouse.

She Once Knew My Name 

          She was my best friend; she was the person I spent most of my time with, she was my mother.  Losing her was difficult. Though her heart still beat her mind had cease.

The Lady Behind the Curtains

           You all… hurry up and come on! I need to get home before everybody gets there! Mama yelled. Okay Mama we’re almost ready, we replied. The story of our life growing up with our “Spiritual mom” who believed in her three girls with all her heart and soul. Our mother was born and raised in a small town that was about twenty minutes from where we lived. And on a weekly basis all of our mother’s sisters and brothers along with their children would all get together and spend the weekend in the house that they grew up in, which was always referred to as “up home”. Sunday’s were super spiritual, and the family had to have breakfast together and attend church together.

They Call me Mel

       They call me Mel, Melanie Mason to be exact. I was born on this tiny little island. An island where passersby waive and say hello; An island rich in history unknown to most.  I was raised on this island.  As of now my skin is darker than most, yet still lighter than others. 

The Colors

        You with the sad eyes. Don’t be discouraged. She sat looking out as the mountains passed her by swiftly while the locomotive pushed its way through.  They were just as beautiful now as they had been ten years ago.  She was weary of what was to come.  She received a letter in the mail that forced her away from her seemingly perfect world.  She left a life of happiness just to roll into a past she tried desperately to forget.  She traveled for over eight hours until the train came to a stop.  She looked down at herself and smoothed the wrinkles in her skirt.  She stood up cleared her throat, grabbed her bag and headed for the exit.  It only took a few seconds for them to adjust as she carefully climbed down the steps of the train.  She looked around and in front of her was a sign.

Rose’s story

       By the time I turned fifteen I had two kids. By the time I turned 25 I had been blessed with another six bundles of joy.  It wasn’t that I liked kids, it was that I was stupid, over and over again.  I liked my kids and all but I liked sex better.  On many occasions I thought that if I reversed that I wouldn’t have so many kids.  But me being me it took many years for me to take my own advice.

Through The Eyes Of 

      The alarm went off at 7:45 a.m., fifteen minutes before work starts. She woke up, rolled out of bed, ran to the bathroom and did all that needed to be done before heading to the Livingroom to log onto her computer. You see, COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order took away her forty-five-minute commute to work, so that was all the time she needed to prepare. If she could figure out how to get everything done in five minutes she would wait until then to wake up and get ready. A morning person she is not, especially since her sleep is broken almost every night due to her illness. Charise sat at her desk, then opened her laptop. As soon as the screen brightened she saw a reminder, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!


       The cool air pushing through that bay window could have rocked me to sleep all day, but I got to get up.... I got to get up. It starts TODAY!!!! As I roll deeper in my fluffy comforter.. “ANNNNNN !!!!  get up”! I hear in my head, you promised yourself a new life, a new lifestyle! NOW!!! I kick everything out my way including my bestie Earl. Earl looks at me with such disgust as he licks his shining black coat and pries himself from the tangled pile of bedding on the floor. He looks back at me one last time in a huff as he leaves my bedroom in search of a safer place to sleep, because I obviously had lost my mind.


       The clock on the stove read 12am. Although it was purposefully set seven minutes early Delicia knew she wouldn’t make it to Nelson’s Bar and Grill by midnight. She hopped around the living room trying to get her black Giussepe thigh high boots over her shiny black high waisted leggings. 12:03 the clock read. “Damn”, Delicia said in a shrill tone. She ran to the hall way mirror, reapplied her Ruby Woo matte red lipstick, puckered her lips and let out a big smack. She turned to the side admiring her pronounced curves, Delicia was a 5’3” knock out. She wore a long wavy Brazilian weave that no one could ever tell didn’t belong to her. It complimented her light brown skin and people often mistook her for Dominican or biracial, but she was proudly black mixed with black, no cream, no sugar, just black. Delicia picked up her body bag and bolted out the door.        

My World Implodes

       I woke up to the sounds of Police sirens one cold and windy day in November 1991.  Living in a small town just south of Chicago these sounds were somewhat rare. It wasn’t like the big city, we didn’t have lots of crime and most people minded their own business. 



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Jacquelyn S. Camper

    Jacquelyn S. Camper (Jackie) currently resides in the Maryland area and is a native of North Carolina. Jackie has old fashion values and believes that everyone should have a chance to express themselves. She promotes education and has achieved both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, along with a Master’s degree in Education.

      Jackie, as friends and family call her, is in the Behavior Health field and believes that everyone should be given quality care in all areas of health regardless of one’s social economic status, race, age, etc.

    Jackie loves taking long walks and drives with her husband Mike as well as spending quality time with her family and close friends. She constantly engages in


storytelling, where she is mostly the one telling the stories of the past and present day. She enjoys listening to soft music mostly Jazz. Jackie has a passion for mankind and will insert herself into their lives to help them with having a better quality of life.

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       Wanda was raised in Fort Meade and Baltimore, Maryland by way of Fort Jackson, South Carolina. M. Wanda Camper is a loving mother, wife, community advocate, newfound author and gospel choir member. She has been referred to as having the “voice of an angel”.

         Wanda has a background in banking and human resources and customer service. A graduate of the University of Baltimore with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Wanda has shared her business acumen and talent for numbers as an associate with Verizon Wireless for the last 14 years.


          Wanda has recently found a new calling to be closer with the Lord and has begun her studies towards a Bachelor of Biblical studies from the North Carolina College of Theology. Having been a featured speaker at a women’s empowerment event she is thrilled to share this short story based on her real-life personal experience. It is a cautionary tale of a traumatic time in her life and serves as a release of all the ghost that have held tender emotions captive.

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         Morgan Danielle Day is an actress, dancer, writer/poet and director based in Los Angeles. She grew up in Baltimore, MD where she graduated from The Baltimore School for the Arts with a concentration in theatre performance. She continued her studies at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre.

        Morgan has performed in many plays including The Hendrix Project directed by Roger Guinevere Smith at The Public Theatre in New York, and has taught acting

and dance to students K-12. She made her international debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland

playing the lead role of “Betty” in Gunshot Medley.         Morgan graduated with her Master of Fine Arts in acting from the California Institute of the Arts and signed with AB2 talent Agency She has since joined the cast of Boney M directed by Edgar Arceneaux where they made their international debut in Lagos Nigeria. Morgan does voice-over looping for series such as Blackish,

Grownish, Modern Family and AP Bio. She recently stared in the independent film The Council which will be screened at the 2020 San Diego Black Film Festival, San Francisco Black Film Festival, Las Vegas Black Film Festival, and Charlotte Black Film Festival.





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       Kendra Grace was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. She is the mother of two sons and is the co-business owner of Shear Faith Salon, located in Owings Mills, MD. She is driven by Her love for God, family and the fulfillment of her PURPOSE in life.

      Kendra is committed to being authentic and consistently displaying God's love. Her mission is to BE as He's designed, make a difference in people's lives, and encourage others to do the same.

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Alise Naomi-Ann McDonald was born and raised in Baltimore, MD.  She attended Towson State University where she majored in Exercise Science.  As a student Alise was an all-around gymnast for Towson’s Division I gymnastics team.

      Alise is an avid reader whose spends most of her free time reading novels. When she manages to put the novels down Alise loves baking and gardening. 

       Alise works as a Cardiac Sonographer who is preparing to apply to graduate school.  She hopes to continue her medical training by entering one of several programs.

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        Floretta Sharpless is a native of North Carolina and currently resides in the Maryland area. She is energetic and loves spending time with family and close friends. Floretta thrives on encouraging people around her to reach for their goals. She believes in education and has over her lifetime managed to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, a Master’s degree in Administrative Management and an MBA with a concentration in Information Security Management.

         Floretta is a Risk Management Executive who believes that security from both a physical and psychological standpoint is vital. Floretta loves meeting people and manages to make everyone around her feel comfortable enough to be their true selves. Writing and


storytelling is one of Floretta’s favorite past times. She loves all types of music, but finds herself listening to gospel, which encourages her to ignite her poetic side; as she is a poetic person, who love writing spiritual poetry.

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Heather Tate was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She grew up with a fascination and love of hair upon moving to Baltimore, MD in 1989.  As Heather's curiosity and talents in hair grew it clearly became obvious that she had the "Gift" of haircare and styling.

After graduating from high school Heather immediately enrolled in Ron Thomas School of Cosmetology, excelling in all aspects of hair. Armed with a license, a warm personality, a skill for easy listening and having a team player persona Heather was hired in my first Salon @19 years of age. She enjoyed working with Regis® Salon from 1994-1996 where she excelled in chemical relaxers, coloring, cutting and styling.


In 1996, Heather took a scary yet rewarding chance in going into business for herself.  She loved working independently at the successful salon she called W&W hair salon. As a salon owner she learned a great deal about the business of running a business along with increasing her already high level of skills in haircare and customization for individual clients.

From there, Heather started a long-term career of 18 years with JC Penny Salons.  It was there where Heather became certified in Mizani®, Redkin®, Matrix®, Paul Mitchell®, Avlon®, and Chi®. Heather's extended career with the nation-wide chain helped her learn teamwork, the latest haircutting, coloring and styling techniques while earning the title of Master Stylist.

          With 20 years in the industry Heather stepped out on FAITH to pursue a DREAM of Salon ownership with her best friend and now partner Kendra Grace. The two ladies, sisters by different parents, have opened Shear Faith Salon in Owings Mills MD.  The two ladies are enjoying the freedom and sometimes frustrating task of owning such a fine establishment.  Heather is like a sister, daughter, mother to all her clients as she has a heart of goal and cares for each of them.

         In 2000 Heather married the love of her life.  Together they have a beautiful, energetic and well-

rounded daughter Autumn.  The family currently resides in Baltimore MD with their two cats and the person Heather loves the most, her mom, not far away.

For any inquiries, please contact R.C. McDonald:

© 2020 R.C, McDonald

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