Got up medium. Dressed. Mom went and called Miss S_. Pops went to the laundromat. Ate breakfast. Went downstairs. S_ came. Pops put the clothes away, then S_+our family went to Macy's (Pops went on to 14th St.) Shopped. I got crochet thread. We met a little Italian boy about 4, who said he was "The Fonz". Ate lunch. Went to Ms. ?'s house. Came back. Ate soup. Put on pj's, went to bag. Thank you, Mr. O. I ate:
- Breakfast: 1 bowl oatmeal+honey porridge
- 1 hamburger+mustard+ketchup+onion, home fried potatoes, 1/4 glass tab, 1/2 glass coca cola.
- Snack: 1 glass grape juice, 1 glass Hawaiian Punch, 1/2 glass apple juice, grapes, sunflower seeds
- Supper: 1 bowl Maltex+honey
We learned to crochet in Jamaica, but seeing as how there was nothing to do in our new apartment, I started crocheting again. Eventually, I got really good at making Kufi's and in the late '70's very early '80's when Kufi's were HUGE in Harlem, Bigbear, the Professor and I would sit outside the Tree of Life on Lenox Avenue with a table, and sell them. The Kufi's we made looked a lot like this lady's, but the style back then was to add a long tassel. Sometimes two. We made decent money doing that, as the Kufi's ran between $7-$10 a piece, especially if they were custom ordered (which they usually were).
The Tree of Life was an interesting atmosphere, to say the least. I always liked Dr. Kanya (on the right in this picture); he was a nice guy and totally bought into what he was selling, but he had some STRANGE bedfellows. The building itself was pretty derelict, and often had no heat in the winter. I remember there being murals, and lots of incense in the air. But the people who came to the Tree were in search of spiritual enlightenment and inner peace, and it made the atmosphere very positive.
One of the people who hung around there and taught there was this younger, lightskinned brother name Yusuf. I always thought he was a bit of a flirt, but he ran meditation classes there. Ladies loved him. I think I had a crush on him for about a minute, till I figured out he was kind of a jerk.
Another guy who hung out there was Brother B, who went off and tried to start his own bookstore after the Tree was dismantled. His wife was a serious astrologer and claimed to be African American but boy did she look Cherokee. Brother B was *extremely* obnoxious, and the Professor and I, along with two friends of ours (who's lives were about as strange as ours... they were "squatting" in a building along with their mom and their mom's boyfriend who was a Vietnam Vet and um, was a little weird) took great pleasure in being as rude and disrespectful to Brother B as we possibly could. The thing was, Brother B usually took it in stride, which I guess is to his credit. He never got mad, never told on us, never did anything mean or underhanded. Actually, he treated us like he treated anybody else, which entailed him trying to convince anybody who would listen that polygamy was a good thing (but he himself only had one wife) and that Astrology would solve all your problems. To this day, I still avoid him like the plague. I just never could tolerate him.
They tore the Tree down in like 1980 or so, and it sat empty for years, with a parking lot there on the corner. It was such an insult to the community... but had we really been paying attention I guess we would have realized that it was a foreshadowing of times to come, when the Borg invaded and we lost Harlem for good. Now there's a tall, brown building on that corner that houses Marshalls, Staples, Dunkin' Donuts and CVS. I bet most people that pass through those stores have no knowledge that the Tree of Life was ever there.