By: Evelyn Turner Body
This morning I was reflecting on my upbringing with my husband, John Body, Jr., and he said he thought I’d got my start at Little Flower Academy. But thinking back on my life, I recalled attending kindergarten at Mary Goss Baptist Church on White St. in Monroe, my teacher was a friend’s, Joyce Jackson (Coleman)’s mother, Mrs. Jackson. I don’t recall the teacher’s first name. However I do recall sitting in those wooden chairs covered with white pillowcases during the classes at Mary Goss kindergarten.
After Mary Goss kindergarten, I attended school at Little Flower Academy, Boley Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Carroll, Jr. High, Carroll High School and finally Northeast Louisiana State College now known as ULM. But thinking back even further than kindergarten, I had a Godmother named Mrs. Annie Robinson (wife of Andrew Robinson) who lived next door to us on Pippen St., Monroe, Louisiana.
Mrs. Robinson was affectionately called “Ma. Rob” by members of our family and her husband was called “Pa. Rob”. They helped my parents “raise” the then four Turner children after their marriage ended in the early 1950’s. I remember sitting on Ma. Rob’s front porch and her reading to me from books where “Black Sambo” was a main character. Needless to say, I grew up idolizing males whose skin tone was much darker than mine.
When I was a teenager, Ma. Rob asked me why I liked those “dark skinned” boys? I had no clue at that time why those young men were my preference. However, when I became an adult and reflected on these events I believe my taste in men was directly related to the stories read to me about “Black Sambo”.
So I hope my influences in the lives of the youth I’ve encountered have had positive results as they navigate through their own journey. Love and education begin in the womb and continues throughout your lifetime.
Enjoy the journey!!!