A9. Miss Mama
© 2008 by Maurice Mattei
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'
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