Folk down south told her when she was little, “Your nose got the strongest memory.”
Blackness covered the sun, the street sizzled, and the Brick City crumbled under her six-year-old feet. Ten hours earlier, Lil’ Ol’ Grandma was sittin in a dirt patch in front of Hayes Homes playin jax with her baby sister, Mae. Mae was known round town for her smarts. She skipped kindergarten so the two sisters would be in the same class next year.
But storm clouds was coming.
Mae bounced the opal green ball, but before she could sweep the jax from the dusty earth, she saw Mr. John out the corner of her eye. They was draggin him in the 4th precinct. Looked like the sack potatoes, Big Momma used to pick down south in Georgia.
Thunder rolled. Crowds gathered. People shouted. A steady downpour of pent up rage.
As tears fell from Momma’s eyes and sizzled on the street, she turned to Lil’ Ol’ Grandma and shouted, “Y’all girls run home and don't let nothing happen to Mae.” Ten steps away from their mother’s arms, lightning leapt from the concrete.
The dungeon shook. Glass shattered. People running.
With fire jumping from building-to-building, Lil’ Ol’ Grandma could only squint in the toxic plume. The inside of her throat began to sweat as the fog-like smoke settled in her lungs. She reached out for her baby sister, but Mae already drifted away. Out of the corner of her eye the opal green ball floated down the sizzling street like the bottles bobbing in Newark Bay. 10 steps away, Mae lay lifeless with a shard of glass jutting from her neck.
Since that night in ’67, Ol’ Grandma never been right.
It’s ten till 12 in Baltimore and Lil’ Lucy just started dreaming when she’s startled out of hope, “I remember. I remember…” All night long, Ol’ Grandma sat before that cracked TV screen.
This story would change if we could see #lillucy.
We now return to our regularly scheduled broadcast.