The Christmas when it was more blessed to receive


The year was 1980. I was recently divorced. I had been through a few rough years. I sold everything I owned and moved myself and my children from Chicago back to Harlem to make a fresh start.

Ben was 2, Esther 4 and Dee 13. I rented a tiny house in town, furnished it with items scoured from friends' basements, attics and barns. A one-pound Folgers can propped one corner of the broad-armed mohair sofa. Dee and I each slept on lumpy rollaway beds. The babies had bunks. A friend sold me, for $50, a 1968 Pontiac Bonneville, the size of an ocean liner, which I quickly dubbed the "Queen Mary." O...

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