By: Amy Wise
15 years ago Jamie and I made a decision that would change our lives forever. We moved from the city of San Diego to the burbs of San Diego. It was time for us to go from home renters to homeowners. We did our research, looked for nice neighborhoods with good schools and lots of parks and outdoor areas. We found a brand new community in the Southbay and decided to check it out. Once we rounded the corner into this beautiful new neighborhood, I immediately felt this was going to be our home. Jamie however wasn’t so sure. After looking at many houses on various streets we came across the house. The minute we walked through the front door I just knew this was the house where Tatiana would grow up. We looked from room to room and then went to the backyard to check out the possibilities of what was then a blank slate.
Suddenly a head popped up over the fence and said, “Are you two buying this house?” I swear it was a scene out of the old TV show, Home Improvement. It was as if Mr. Wilson lived next door! Shortly thereafter we found out it wasn’t Mr. Wilson after all, it was Mr. Jim. Mr. Jim and his wife Miss Corinne (as we affectionately call them) would soon become our new neighbors because we ended up buying the house! It was 1997 and Tatiana was 2 years old.
Mr. Jim and Jamie became fast friends. At the time Jim was in his 70′s and Jamie was in his 30′s. They were quite the pair. They gave each other grief like father and son and very quickly considered each other just that. It was an unlikely pairing of two of the most opposite people on the planet…but it worked. Kind of like us!
One of the things the two of them always joked about was Jim’s ruby ring. Jamie always called it his pimp ring. Jim always said he was going to give it to Jamie when he died. It was in jest but it always freaked me out when they talked about it. I could go on and on about the bantering back and forth that Mr. Jim and Jamie did over the years. It was a strange love, but it was theirs.
Sadly, we lost Mr. Jim quite a few years ago and that was truly one of the saddest days we can remember. We were all devastated but Jamie was heartbroken. It was as if he had lost his own dad.
Jim’s relatives flew in from New Orleans for the memorial service and as we were all sitting in Miss Corinne’s dining room she came downstairs with a box. She handed it to Jamie and told him that Jim thought of him as a son and always wanted him to have his ring. There was not a dry eye in the house. Jamie now wears Mr. Jim’s ring every single day. If it’s not on his finger because of work, it’s around his neck on a chain…always close to his heart.
Little did we know, 15 long years ago, that not only would we raise Tatiana in our wonderful home, but we would also have a built-in California family right next door. Mr. Jim is now our angel in heaven and Miss Corinne is our angel on earth, otherwise known as our Cali Mom. How lucky are we?!
By: Amy Wise
It’s official…I’ve been with Jamie so long I’m now an “honorary black person”! I’m not making this stuff up. We were in a meeting the other day with a room full of people and the meeting was not going well. One of the people said, in a joking manner, “It’s cause we’re black, that’s why this isn’t working out.” Everyone laughed and then I looked at the person that said that, tilted my head, pointed at myself, and said, “Um excuse me…helloooo..,white person in the room.” He looked at me and said, “Whatever, you’re not white, you’re an honorary black person.” I was the only white person in the room, but apparently not really, because according to him I’m an “honorary black person”! Who knew!?
Hmm…what does it take to get that title? Is it because everyone is so used to me being with Jamie? Is it because it’s easier to make the jokes if I’m the honorary black person instead of the white person? It’s a curious thing this distinction, or maybe I should look at it as lack thereof. No distinction is what we all want! This is a good thing.
Back in the day when Jamie and I first got together I was the “devil” white woman…no, seriously, that’s what I was called by some, so it seems I have come a VERY long way now that I’m the “honorary black person.” I should celebrate this milestone…with wine perhaps!
All joking aside, I think what it comes down to is, I’m comfortable no matter who I’m with or what setting I’m in. I try and “make friends” no matter where I go because I just love people. So whether I’m in a room full of black people, white people or purple people, it’s all good, all the time. That’s my hope for everyone.
I still feel like I should get a certificate or something:
Amy Wise – Honorary Black Person. It kind of has a ring to it don’t ya think?
Amy Wise is a Writer in San Diego.
You can read more on www.themanyshadesoflove.blogspot.com
By: Amy Wise
If you’ve been reading the blogs here at The Next Family for some time now, you know that each month has a theme. Last month it was “love,” and this month it’s all about “change.” I have to say, change has never been my favorite thing. Maybe because I had to move a bazillion times growing up since my Dad, who is a “slight” over achiever…(go ahead, family…giggle) moved us quite a lot for his various career advancements. He felt advancing “his” career also advanced the family and our future. However, when moving a bazillion times means changing schools, changing friends, changing boyfriends, changing houses, changing states, changing, well, pretty much everything, change can become VERY irritating!
Now that I’m a “big girl,” I have lived in the same house for over 13 years, and the same county for over 22 years. I put a halt to the change, big time! Life however, has a funny way of making us change whether we like it or not. So I have to admit, (Dad now it’s your turn to giggle) all that change growing up is coming in handy now that I’m having to deal with all of life’s challenges.
Not only am I embracing change, I’m all about teaching others how to change and roll with the punches as well. When I write about interracial marriage and family, it’s not only about sharing with those that are in these types of relationships, but also about changing the mind-set of those who don’t agree with “our type” of marriage and family. It’s not easy to change attitudes that have been taught year after year, but it can be done. With patience, love, understanding, and a cool head, change truly can happen.
One amazing story of change can be found here:
The Many Shades Of Love
This is the story of a racist client that I was, and am, determined to change. I feel that if someone can be taught to be a racist they can also be taught to be tolerant. It might take longer with an adult, but it can happen, and that’s a GREAT change!!
The change in my life, from losing my business due to others’ negligence, to becoming a writer, has allowed me to open my heart and soul to people whom I never would have reached before. To be able to take hate and change it to love, well that’s just worth every minute of life’s challenges that have brought me to this point today. Change…it didn’t used to be my friend, but now we’re “homies!”
Amy Wise is a Freelance Writer in San Diego.
You can read more on The Many Shades Of Love