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Mixed Bag Monday presents MAMA-RABILIA #2 with Nora Brooks Blakely

Several people have asked me if I plan to write a biography about my mother. My answer has been a terrified “Nooooooooooo!“ But if I DID write one, it wouldn’t be a long drawn-out narrative. No, it would be a collection of memories.

And, Mama-rabilia, is the name I would give it.

In between now and the probably never-to-be-published book I’m happy to share some of these memories from time to time here in The Gwendolyn Connection blog.

-- Nora Brooks Blakely



Langston Hughes, was an important part of mama's life for decades.  My father, Henry Blakely and my mother even had a party for him in their tiny little kitchenette at 623 E. 63rd St. in the 1940s.

First he was a mentor, when my mother was a young girl and my grandmother showed him some of my mother’s early work. Later he became a friend, dropping in on my parents to share their dinner of mustard greens, ham hocks and candied sweet potatoes in their little walk-up apartment. “Just what I want!” my mother remembered him saying.

Years later, at a national poetry festival in October of 1962, Langston Hughes gave me an orange plastic pumpkin with a plastic tiger and a bunch of candy. The pumpkin and the tiger still exist somewhere. Of course, the candy is long goooone!

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