My older sister (Edith Jewel) had a saying. It was, “Now what is I going to do?” She would use it to sum-up a situation when she came to a crossroads in life. Now that I have retired from practicing law after forty years, I am asking myself that old question. I can’t ask her now because she is gone, after years of teaching and counseling in the Head Start program.
On her retirement a few years ago, she took up my mother’s business and operated her Antique and Thrift Store from our old Homestead, a 12-room house on a corner which the family affectionately named, Hopkins’ House. The house had been in the family since 1956 and served us well. When Edith passed, I rented it out to a group home, until the city of Bakersfield started its administrative burdens and my weekly travels became a burden. So, having no children willing to take it on, the house was sold.
And now I am at that crossroads of trying to determine “what is I going to do”. I have considered a few ventures. Here they are. Number one is to turn my office into a small theater where we could produce small plays, small concerts, poetry readings, and club or church meetings. Number two, reopen Grammy’s Place where we sold black art, gifts, antiques and Afrocentric items.
Individual Artists may want to rent the space to present an Art Exhibit and sell their art. The idea of a having a black museum where I could display and sell Black memorabilia, seems promising. In fact, I have already started that project.
I’m gathering my collection of old Ebony, Sepia, and Jet magazines, going back to the early seventies.
If there are any of you who have a play you have written and would like to talk about producing it, contact me at the Journal office. Many of you are going to come to a crossroads of some sort. Remember Edith Jewel’s rule and start asking yourself now, “What Is I Going to Do?” Don’t wait till the last-minute start planning. If you have or can buy a piece of property that you can operate your business from, you have great potential.
Talk to your life’s partner, he or she is going to be your business partner anyway. My Wife has saved our bacon many times. How do you think we continue to operate the Journal the past thirty-something years? Now she is training the boys to keep it going. That is your life’s pattern. Keep your family involved in the family business. The Kennedy’s did. The Fords did. The Rockefeller’s did it too, but don’t let them or anyone make a fool of you. Incorporating your knowledge and experience, coupled with their new ideas, you stay to help make it grow. Remember the rule: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
When I passed the state bar, we had two hundred dollars and three young children. Today, we have three productive sons, seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter. Remember keep your eyes on the Prize and you will hear the voice of God. “If you trust Him, and Keep the Faith, He’ll answer your, “What Is I Going to Do” question. My testimony is,” He’s been good to me!”