N is for North Martindale

This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.  It takes us back to North Martindale, kitty corner from my first apartment.

As soon as I reach a letter for which I have no street, I am going to post a chart of where I lived and for how long. From the time I left home until Jilo was a bit over 1 year old  I must have been getting ready for this series by moving every 3 to 8 months.

Today I will write about living at Brother John’s.  Brother John and my husband, Jim, were both members of the Republic of New Africa and they all called each other “brother” and “sister”. We were there from October 1970 to March 1971, about 6 months.  Bro. John lived in the downstairs flat, we lived in the upstairs flat. We didn’t have the whole flat though.  He had his office in what would have been the front room. The dining area was empty, sort of a buffer zone. We had the kitchen, bathroom and three bedrooms.  I made one of the bedrooms into a living room. The other two were bedrooms. At one point Jim, and I cleaned out the basement in hopes that Bro. John would move his office down there.  He didn’t. Even cleaned out the basement was not very inviting.

Back in 1970 the upstairs flat had a porch where that door walks out into air. Next door where the vacant lot is now there was a small, single family house where 5 very wild children and their parents lived.

Some of the things that I remember… the wild kids next door who shot a BB gun into the house. Because we were living a charmed life, nobody was in the room. I remember the pear tree outside of the back porch and that I never picked any pears.

I remember once when Jim was out of town somebody, a community organizer, was shot to death when he answered his door. This disturbed me so much that I put Jilo in her stroller and walked from my house to Miriam’s house on Lee Place.  I just didn’t want to be home alone. It was 2.8 miles. It was night and the only part of the walk I remember is that I didn’t walk down 12th but went down the next street over because there were so many people out on 12th.

Approximate route I took from N. Martindale to Lee Place on foot – 2.8 miles.

I remember when three friends and I started a food and baby co-op.  We went to Eastern Market, a farmer’s market, early Saturday morning, babies on our backs. We bought cases of greens and sweet potatoes and eggs. We divided them up. We also took turns watching each others babies for a few hours a week so we could get a bit of free time. I can’t remember what I did with my free hours.  The co-op eventually fell apart but Martha started a co-op with a La Leche League chapter and I started one at my father’s church.

Eastern Market today.

Some random memories. going away one day and leaving the little washing machine I had earned by babysitting, running. It over flowed and dripped down to Bro. John’s kitchen below.  Having the flu while Jim was out of town. Getting Jilo to sleep through the night only to have that go for naught when we visited my sister in Atlanta and she started waking up through the night to nurse again. And last, Bro John finding the dynamite in the attic and being incredulous that anybody would be so dumb as to store dynamite in a house that was being watched by the police and the fbi because it belonged to a member of the Republic of New Africa. I could not fault his logic. At that point we moved to the horrible house on Monterey .  Luckily Jilo had no idea what was going on during these times.  She probably still doesn’t, unless she is reading these posts.

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10 Responses to N is for North Martindale

  1. Deborah says:

    From explosives in the attic to explosives in the basement. And in between?

  2. LindaRe says:

    There was a branch of the Republic of New Africa in Jackson, MS. They were in the media often. I remember a shot out where a couple of people were killed or injured involving a cop…It is good our children don’t remember everything. By the time they are teenagers they doubt our parenting skills, no need for extra memories.

  3. ayanna says:

    you did live a charmed life… and continue to enjoy it with much less volatility. How much did your family know at the time?

    • Kristin says:

      Not much. Just that I kept moving around a lot. They didn’t visit my houses and I didn’t talk about all that to them. Ever. They were living their own lives and if they had heard, I would have heard from them “What are you thinking??” at the least.

  4. Moving every 3-8 months – my goodness, you must be the Queen of packing and unpacking, and have it down to a fine art.

    • Kristin says:

      Moving so often I never had time to accumulate much that needed to be packed. It wasn’t until I stayed in one place for several years that packing became more than throw in in a few boxes and let’s go.

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