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Sunday Soliloquy:Afrocity’s Guide To Racist Free Time Travel September 20, 2009

Filed under: Sunday Soliloquy — afrocity @ 10:59 AM
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Franny car and I 3

Francois and I taking the Desoto in for a check-up.

I can vividly recall one Saturday afternoon; I was gingerly combing my way through the magazine bin looking for something of interest to a six year old girl, when I found these old issues of Playboy Magazine.

Apparently, some poor man’s wife had donated them to the Salvation Army. There were nearly three years worth.  How did a six year old girl confront the bin of sex and profanity?  She climbed into the bin and began looking at the pictures. Never had I seen white people naked before and why didn’t they have stretch marks like my mother?

Me trying to desribe a weird sound from the DeSoto...

Me trying to describe a weird sound from the DeSoto...

The sight of me holding up the magazine in a vertical pose momentarily stopped an elderly woman passerby in her tracks. Knowing instinctively that my mother most likely had no clue of what I was doing, the woman signaled to a clerk who recognized me as a thrift store regular and identified my parental counterpart.

“And what exactly are you doing?” my mother asked.

I was too little and too naive to tell a lie, so only the truth came from my lips.

“I am looking at pictures of naked people, “ I said. “Will my lumpy things be as big as this woman’s someday?”   I showed my mother the picture of a blond woman who must have been a 38 D.  Mother looked sharply at the magazine and struggled to pry it from my hands.

She shook her head at the store clerk. “These things have no business been out in the open alongside kids books.”

No biggie, they tell me that she is low on transmission fluid. Whew!!!

No biggie, they tell me that she is low on transmission fluid. Whew!!!

Grabbing me from the bin of filth, mother dragged me to the vintage section where I found an old 30’s day dress to play with.   Often I wished that I was born during another time period. Then I could wear fancy frilly lace clothing, unlike the bell bottom jeans of the 70’s. And I would be a woman with breasts too.  I put another dress on; it appeared to be really, really, really old- almost Victorian.  I felt myself living the period. I thought I looked like the women on Gunsmoke.

Mother was nearby and I walked towards her with the dress on dragging it in the dusty floor. “Momma what would I be if I wore this dress when it was made?” I asked hoping she would tell me that I looked like Kitty.

She twisted her lip while looking at me for several seconds “You would be a ragamuffin slave.”

Afterwards, I go cruising Qulit shops and antique stores.

Afterwards, I go cruising Qulit shops and antique stores.

She was apparently referring to a time when I would not be blessed with the ability to read or write especially discarded Playboy magazines.  Ah, the magic time machine does not work for little girls who looked like me. Until someone invented a contraption that could sidestep that minor nuisance called slavery, there would be no time travel for brown folk.  I could never really dream of being Lady Godiva or Betsy Ross, because I would have been in someone’s kitchen.  Even Wishbone the Jack Russell Terrier with a penchant for time travel would not have to worry about landing in a cotton field doing hard unpaid labor.

Here is a beautiful Victorian era jacket I've had my eye on for some time.

Here is a beautiful Victorian era jacket I've had my eye on for some time.

Lucky for me there are still relics of the times, I will never live residing in someone’s dusty antique shop. It doesn’t matter to me what the original owner of a Victorian wedding gown would have thought of my being African American.  The gown is here now in the present and so am I. It is my job to make sure it survives in the future so someone else can time travel vicariously. My 1956 DeSoto causes a flurry of onlookers as it sails down Main St. to a local antique mall.

Milk glass and dolls heads catch my attention.

Milk glass and dolls heads catch my attention.

Imagine that there was a day when it was just an ordinary car which looked no different than the other cars on the street.  Then slowly they all disappeared, junked, destroyed, and left behind for scrap metal.   I wince whenever I think of what would have happened to my DeSoto had she not been taken care of for over 50 years.

Memory suicide, I think while shaking the thought of her lying in a junk heap.

I find these old scales appealing.

I find these old scales appealing.

The sun was shining brightly this Saturday, the turquoise blue and white DeSoto , its size 34A breasted owner  and a frisky Dalmatian pulled into a parking spot right in front of the antique shop.  The eyes of onlookers gave her a round of applause.

autum  2009 023No one noticed the BMW SUV or the Harley Davidson motorcycle sitting next to us. A bearded man carrying a bag of groceries gives me the thumbs up signal. Now who says a black woman cannot travel through time and space?

Autographed Letter Signed,


12 Responses to “Sunday Soliloquy:Afrocity’s Guide To Racist Free Time Travel”

  1. Joanelle Says:

    Hi, Afrocity, cool ride! I love this piece – it brought me back to my own childhood and the wonderful daydreams I used to have.
    Thanks! 🙂

  2. FurryOldGuyJeans Says:

    Antiques and “Newtiques”, how fittingly appropriate.

  3. Afrocity, Octavia Butler explores the idea of “time travel for brown folk” in her novel Kindred. Have you read it? It’s sort of modern novel meets slave narrative. A black woman living in California in the 1970s involuntarily time travels to antebellum Maryland where she has to live as a slave among her ancestors, experiencing their burdens and returning to the present with the literal and figurative scars of slavery. I immediately thought of that book when I read your post title.

  4. IslandLibertarian Says:

    I have some antique pieces left by my great-aunt on my mothers side. She was a terribly racist woman. Her sister, my grandmother was the gentlest woman I’ve ever known. Never an unkind word about anyone. How could sisters be so different?
    And quite a while ago, I inherited my grandfathers 1958 Chrysler Imperial. That turned heads as I cruised SoCal.
    Today, not back in time, if I traveled to the part of Los Angeles where I was born, I might be in danger because of the color of my skin. Funny how time changes things.

  5. Peter Says:

    If you find a time machine just make sure it’s aimed at Vermont or Mass or somesuch place. I’m not sure that someone black (or any other color) should not do better to worry about the lack of antibiotics and such if time traveling.

  6. kywrite Says:

    Ooo, that last dress in your pictures – gorgeous! that cream color with your skin would look perfect. My grandmother had a 1902 Singer sewing machine (powered by feet, not electricity!) I learned to sew on when I was 7; I’d give just about anything to have that beauty back.

  7. Clifton B Says:

    Hello Afrocity! Clifton B from Another Black Conservative blog. I have started a new feature to my blog called Guest Blogger Sunday. Every Sunday I turn over a different post to one of the bloggers on my blog roll.

    I would love to have you be next Sunday’s guest. You will have a free hand to write what you want. If you are interested, please email me and let me know. I am hoping you will say YES!

    Clifotn B
    Another Black Conservative

  8. manbearpig68 Says:

    I would love to do some time traveling in that car! Great post!

  9. Alison Says:

    This is so poignant, Afrocity. I’m new to this blog and I’m quickly starting to like what you are doing here.

  10. bob Says:

    Help! Can someone help me? Someone that knows about time travel? It was 1623 AD in Stockholm, I remember it well, walking along by a canal, then everything went goofy, and I ended up here, in some kind of booth, which I now know was what you call a telephone booth. This was more than a decade ago. I survived here by fishing at first (I was good at that around Stockholm) until I learned a little of what’s up around here, even got used to some of your comforts, but, I really want to go back. I tried calling Art Bell, got through too, but he’s a fraud, he knows nothing. Had no idea what I should do. Just wished me the best. Can anyone help me? I want to go b acc kkkk! Away from your maddening crowds. Please!

  11. Joanelle Says:


  12. glennmcgahee Says:

    What? You didn’t trade hat hunk of metal in during The Cash for Clunkers program? Imagine. Thats what pissed me off the of most. The rides turned in were destroyed. As someone who loves to work on cars, those used parts would save alot of carbon. And money for people like me who are doomed to drive old cars for the rest of my life. At least we could restore them to their former glory.

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