I can see and smell your roses, Senoia. They are pink, red, and sweet. They make me feel beautiful and safe. You made a home for all of us. Three generations in Glenville.
Yes, there were a few spotty characters. The old men that hawked as we walked home from school. More and more dope boys. A few that we know.
But here, at 11609 Fairport, I’m safe. It’s home. You have rules and expectations, dinner by 5:00 p.m., and not takeout but Sunday soul food made with the love of my grandmother’s heart and hands. There were conversations about life, love, and the future. There were responsibilities and chores, limitations and mindful boundaries.
I miss you so much, especially right now when life is uncertain and hard. My mom is trying but she can’t even hug me. Damn COVID! She does her best as she talks to me from her balcony on a Sunday morning.
We left Glenville soon after you left the earth. We tried to return with the fourth generation but it wasn’t safe enough. We felt trapped by the drugs, the fear and the turning of a blind eye.
I stayed as long as I could, but we couldn't do it alone. I had to save my son. He’s grown up now. I’m missing Glenville and trying to return. I’ll plant a rose garden. I will place African violets in my window seat. There will be sweet smells in the garden and in the home, red, pink, and royalty purple.
Is it my Glenville without my grandma, Senoia? Will it be the same without you? Can I pick up where you left off?
I’m planting a garden too, bringing beautiful things that are tools for making.
There will be 3D printers, vinyl cutters, design software, and human capital.
I think these are bridges to opportunity and tools for life, love, and a self-defined future.
Sonya Pryor-Jones was born and raised in Glenville. She is a mother, wife, and educator currently living in South Euclid, Ohio. Sonya is the Founder of Fab House, a community based digital fabrication lab and expert-in-residence program for the Glenville neighborhood.
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