A9. Miss Mama

Miss Mama

When I was a baby my parents both worked to make ends meet. Up in old Clevelandtown by the great Cuyahoga River, we lived in a little run-down apartment building. When my parents went to work - my father making gesso holy statues, my mother dishing out macaroni and cheese at the local public school - they left me with a woman who lived down the hall. Her name was Miss Mama. I remember being suckled on her teat as she played the immortal blues recordings of Blind Boy Fuller, Gertrude "Ma" Rainey and Minnie Riperton. She danced around the living room with me cradled in her arms. That was many years ago but I have tried, looking through the false prism of past recollections, to capture her here. Where are you, Miss Mama? Out with the ladies or pushin' up daisies?

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