CHAPTER 3: “THE CRADLE”
Brother And Sister, by Eugene Dillanado, is an epic story chronicling the rise in power, health, happiness, wealth, and wisdom of Black Chicago families from 1900 to infinity. This excerpt serves as two of 12 chapters for Brother And Sister. Purchase Book One of this Trilogy “Brother And Sister” by email email@example.com or call 773.407.1470.
Enterprising and with a heart of gold, Amatine is an ex-chorus girl with legs, bosom and money to prove it. Pistol toting and sassy, she entertains audiences from New Orleans to New York. Born in 1903, she comes North during the first great migration of Colored people from the South. Her magnetic, abundance consciousness and hospitality attracting fresh migrants to a standing Friday night whist game at 519 E. 44th Street.
It’s this basement apartment where Sony fresh out of the Army and World War II meets Pearl, and Brother and Sister conceived. They are cradled by gay Big Bob called “Tiny,” gamblers, Pete, Scotty and Major, Lillian and Jimmy, Dorothy, and Freeman from New Orleans, Mary and Charlie, Roy and Toby, Aunt Roberta, Aunt Esther, Beatrice and of course, cousin Ida another shake dancer who makes Brother and Sister dance in front of everybody. An extended family looking for a place to stay, work, a whist game, food, music, dancing. Scotch whiskey and down-home love. Sometimes they rent a room at Amatine’s until they get on their feet and find their own place. We joke about the Mexican living ten deep. Colored People use to be tight and live the same way.
As 102-year-old author and historian, Timuel Dixon Black tells Brother in 2019. Colored people in 1948 still have control of the basic institutions in their communities. Our word is our bond; we share information and resources; we spend money with Colored people; and we vote.
Black says, “We migrate north for three reasons: 1. To fight back when attacked by the Ku Klux Klan. 2. To vote. 3. To get a quality education for our children.
Brother is too young to know in 1948 and to the 1950’s to the Coronavirus. Colored people are the last hired, the first fired and under daily assault economically, politically, psychologically and physically. Some reclaim the God in them and thrive. Some choose not to. Corinthians 1:19 What? “Know yet not that ye are the Temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
Once Brother and Sister gained sufficient weight after their period in the incubator at Cook County Hospital, Amatine takes Brother to her bed to sleep with her. “That’s my baby,” she says. Brother’s star as a man-child rises as he lays there in Amatine’s bed sucking his bottle.
They’re lying there eyeball to eyeball when Amatine turns away to lay on her other side. “That boy took his bottle and hit me. You hear me, Pearl?” “You should have popped him back. That’s what I would have one.” Pearls replies: “That’s my baby!” Amatine said shaking her head and smiling, showing off her gold capped teeth.