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AALBC.com's Thumper's Corner Discussion Board » Culture, Race & Economy - Archive 2005 » The all--compete version of the Life & Times of Cynique « Previous Next »

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Cynique
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Cynique

Post Number: 2145
Registered: 01-2004

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Votes: 1 (Vote!)

Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 04:19 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

To anybody who is interested what follows is the Life & Times of Cynique in its entirety. The previously-posted verison was disjointed and all messed up.

Well, to whomever is reading this, I'm in a reflective mood. Instead of engaging in heated discussions in which no minds are changed and very little common ground reached, I'm going to mellow out, take a page from Kola's book, and talk about something that doesn't incite my opposition. Me. What the heck. If my self-indulgence offends anyone, well it won't be the first time I've offended someone. But I suspect that because I am such a know-it-all busybody, always offering my unsolicited opinion on a variety of subjects, my omnipresence on this board elicits some curiosity about the caustic, contrarian known as "Cynique". So, I'm going to take the liberty of exposing the matrix of my mentality. If you don't care to take this long trip through the windmills of my mind, then click off now.......

Gee! Where did everybody go? Well, anyway, now that I'm all alone, I continue my soliloquy.
I'll start by saying that I have lived a long time, and have seen a lot of things. I have been coy about revealing my age because I didn't want to be categorized. However, vain woman that I am, my motto is that "age is just a number" because, although I am no longer young and pretty, I am youthful and attractive. Anyway, I'll start at the beginning. I am a child of the Great Depression, a good ol mid-western, small-town gal from a little village 20 miles west of Chicago, a place where I still live. I was born at home in a 6-room frame house purchased for $2000 by my grandfather as a wedding gift to my parents. I was delivered for free by the doctor for whom my father worked because during the Depression jobs like cleaning up offices was the only work my daddy could find. The attending nurse was my mother's best friend, the woman who swaddled me in a towel and gave me my nickname. I was the baby of the family and my 3 older siblings doted on me, in spite of the fact that I was a brat supreme. I grew up, always going to interracial schools because the town I lived in had been interracial from its founding in 1870. I use the word "interracial" as opposed to "integrated" because there was not a lot of mixing going on between the races in this town; blacks and whites just co-existed and observed certain unspoken protocol about whose turf was whose. At the time I graduated from it, the high school I attended was rated as one of the best in the state of Illinois.( a reputation long since gone) I matriculated at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana where as an in-state resident, my tuition was - can you believe it - $60 a semester!. And, get this, back then no admission tests were required. The year I enrolled was the first year the women dorms at the U of I had become integrated and after a spending my freshman year defying my big sisters in the residence of the Gamma chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, we came to a parting of the ways and for my sophomore year I moved into one of the women's dormitories where the cost of room and board for the entire semester was - brace yourself - $375!! Tucked away in the quaint, ivy covered brick building that was to be my home away from home, me and my little clique of black girlfriends secluded ourselves in each others' rooms, unsuccessfully dodging the white residents who were dying to get to know us, eager to be our friends, frantic to learn how to play bid-whist and dance the Bop. And, although they never took to bid-whist, these daughters of rich Jews and middle-class WASPS redeemed themselves by teaching us how to play bridge, and they were also good for bumming Pell Mells from. >>Fast forward.<< After breezing through my first 2 years at Illinois, it was time to declare a major and I was, like, huh? Not to worry. Ever the rebel, after violating curfew hours, (they had curfews back then), I was told that I could not return to the dorm for the next term. Just as well since the Dean also told me the same thing inasmuch as my grades became directly affected by my love life, and they both tanked. You guessed it. I flunked out. Well, back home, after a months of lounging around drinking Kool Aid and eating baloney sandwiches, and reading one book after another, my parents issued an ultimatum. I was told to either get a job or find a rich husband. Since my suitors were all poor, I decided to take the post office exam. I passed it with flying colors and my name was added to the postal rosters. Soon thereafter, I was called to work by my local facility where they were waiting with open arms, ready to show me off as their first female letter carrier! Now you knoooooooow, ol Cynique wasn't about take a job requiring her to put a sack on her back and go trudging up and the down the streets, climbing steps to stuff letters into mail boxes. So I turned this position down, and got a job as a secretary on the cancer ward at the local VA Hospital, a sterile, depressing place where I was sexually harassed on a regular basis by half-dead veterans and horny nursing assistants. Anyway, after my name kept coming to the top of the Post Office list and I kept refusing to be a mail lady even though the salary was higher than what I was making at my hospital job, the post office personnel guy who I'd become chummy with, opted to hire me to fill a vacancy as a Clerk. A postal scheme was shoved under my nose and I was told to learn it. I did, and the U. S. Postal Service became my "career," and an institution where over the years I received a master's degree in the field of dealing with an assortment of people from all walks of life, and where I managed to work my way up through the ranks due in part to that fact that I was extremely adept at sitting around looking busy. Finally, when a buy-out was offered, I was eligible to leave and I did. Damn! Talk about going off on a tangent. Sorry. Back to something more interesting. The reason I wanted to share my life with all of you intelligent people is because I have been fortunate enough to have had a front row seat in the theater of American history. I was there as both a participant and a spectator and it's a show I wouldn't have missed for the world. So begins the saga of my being "there." Here goes. For years, the only president I ever knew was Franklin Delano Roosevelt because in those days presidents didn't have a 2-term limit. Which is why as a girl, I was there when my older brother ran into the house on a Sunday afternoon and told us to turn on the radio because the Japs had just bombed Pearl Harbor. With the occurrence of the momentous event, I was there to hear Roosevelt's speech when he referred to December 7th as being "a day that will live in infamy." I was there to further hear him assure an apprehensive nation that "all we had to fear was fear itself," Caught up in a national frenzy of patriotism, I was there on the home front, waving good bye to a brother going off to war, there doing like all the other school kids, saving my pennies to buy enough defense stamps to be cashed in for war bonds, there salvaging tin cans and old rubber tires for the war effort. I was there, too, when America was actually losing the war, suffering costly defeats at unheard-of-places like Wake Island and Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. I was there when President Roosevelt died suddenly and Harry Truman took office, there when Truman later ordered the Atom Bomb to be dropped on the atolls outside of Japan, there during D-Day when the Allied Forces amassed on the coast of France, stormed the beaches at a Normandy. And I was there when The War was finally over, there to participate in the glorious celebration. But peace was temporary and before long I was there again, this time watching friends go off to fight in Korea, and there to mourn with the families of a couple of them who didn't come back. But things began to look up and I was there when television came on the scene, there when my father brought home a TV set and hooked it up in the front room; a black and white model with a 10-inch screen. And in a state of anger, I was there when Chicago was abuzz about Emmitt Till's murder, and I there when Rosa Parks did her thing and when a tentative Martin Luther King stepped up, inspiring everybody to jump on the civil rights bandwagon, which I did at the local level, participating in fund raisers and rallies while protesting against the practices of segregation and discrimination that existed right in the midst of Northern cities. But it wasn't all bad. I was there to see in person at their Chicago gigs, stars like Billie Holiday and Nat Cole and Miles Davis and Duke Ellington and - CHARLIE PARKER, who was so nodded out during his appearance that he could hardly perform. But life went on and I was there to see Fidel Castro overturn an oppressive regime and free Cuba from its dictatorship, there to see astronaut John Glen become the first American to orbit earth in a space ship. Then - things took a detour, and I was there when a devious Fidel Castro allowed Russia to install missile launchers in Cuba, a move that brought the USSR and the USA to the brink of a nuclear war, a power play that chess master John F. Kennedy skillfully put in check. And just as I caught my breath, I was there to lament the gunning down of NAACP activist Medgar Evers, there to be revitalized and filled with pride as, seated in front of the TV with a group of friends, through tear-filled eyes,I watched Martin Luther King give his "I Have a Dream" speech. Months later, I was there, standing in my front room when a bulletin interrupted the kiddy show my youngsters were watching, there to absorb the shocking news that JFK had been shot in Dallas. In a state of shock, I was there later, riveted to the TV screen watching the pageantry of mourning that had engulfed a grieving nation paying tribute to its fallen president. And in the militant spirit of the times, I was there to raise my fist and support Malcolm X with a "Right On", there to wake up one morning to the news of how the Defense Minister of the Illinois chapter of The Black Panther Party, a guy who had once lived a few blocks away from me, had been shot down in his bed by the Chicago "Pigs". Then, with a heavy heart, I was there to agonize over the killings of Martin and Bobby and Malcolm. But time moved ahead, and I was there to witness the first man to walk on the moon, there to see the hippie culture bloom with flower children. And was I ever there when I started to do what I did best, which was to write irate letters about racial injustice to all manner of publications, letters that the editor of one Chicago's newspapers found so compelling he invited me to pen a regular column on the "Black Experience", a gesture that generated an overwhelming amount of reader response, much of it angry and threatening.(I still wonder if my column contributed to this paper later going out of business) Anyhow, things just kept happening! I was there to participate in the marches against the Viet Nam war, there to observe the Feminist Movement come into its own, there to see Richard Nixon's resignation speech on TV. The calendar pages kept turning and before long I was there watching Ronald Reagan get shot on television, there to see the Berlin Wall fall and to see AIDS become a scurrilous health threat. I was there to see the Gulf war break out on TV, there during the Iranian hostage crises, there to worry about the safety of my son who was stationed in the Indian Ocean aboard the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier, my precious middle child whose drug of choice is now methadone. And -thrill of thrills, with a voice hoarse from cheering, I was there to watch Michael Jordan lead my Chicago Bulls to 6 NBA titles! And like all of you, I was there for the OJ Trial, for The Million Man March, for the funeral of Princess Di, for Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings. There to welcome in a new millennium, to watch the digits roll over to the number 2000! There for the 911 disaster, there for the shock and awe invasion of Iraq, there to see Denzel and Halle and Jamie and Morgan win the Oscar that years before I had watched Sydney Poitier accept. Finally, I was there to see the passing of a Pope, the third such death to have happened in my lifetime. And I'm still here. Old girl that I am, a poster girl for Clairol medium golden brown hair color, I still party and hang out with my 2 daughters, occasionally winking at flirting young men curious about the merits of older women. I argue religion with my oldest son who is a part-time minister and listen to Rap with my grandsons. I go shopping with my granddaughters and sit with my grandbabies.( And I spend much too much time surfing the net and posting on AALBC's discussion boards!) But, as I have said, I WAS THERE! I've been fortunate to have seen history in the making, but through it all I never outgrew who I was. Even as a young girl, I could never resist deflating a wind bag or challenging authority. What can I say? The brat became the bitch. And what about the guy I married? Except that he is a big-city boy, his background is remarkably similar to mine. A love of jazz and movie trivia and an appreciation for sly humor is what brought us together. What kept us together? Well, once he decided that I was the result of my mother having been impregnated by an alien from a distant planet, he remained secure enough to give me my space. And there you have it. "The Diary of a Mad Retiree." Has this been an ego-trip, or what? But for me, living it was a great ride... WAKE UP! Is anybody there? Oh well, writing this was good therapy for me. I won't tell my age, but I will mention that the repeal of Prohibition and I have something in common. Is it any wonder that I have an appreciation for that which intoxicates! :-)

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Abm
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Abm

Post Number: 2330
Registered: 04-2004

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Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 04:29 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cynique,

You're sort of a Black female version of Forrest Gump.
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Cynique
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Cynique

Post Number: 2148
Registered: 01-2004

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Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 06:24 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yep. I discovered that "life was like a box of chocolates. You never knew what you were gonna get."
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Sisg
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Sisg

Post Number: 175
Registered: 01-2004

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Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 10:19 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cynique,

You are great! I have always loved your posts. Girl, and to read all of this about you, well it just makes me smile. I grew up not far from you in Gary, IND. Reading this reminds me of when i would sit with my mom and aunts and they would talk about some of the same things. You have been blessed to experience these things and are a richer person for it. You are a brave and smart woman, but especially witty. You go girl! I don't know you, but i will always look up to you. I bet your grandkids luv ya!
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Cynique
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Cynique

Post Number: 2150
Registered: 01-2004

Rating: N/A
Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 11:31 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sisg, you've always been one of my favorite board mates, because I always felt that you "got" me. Others were just losin there cool, but you knew the real deal. Love Ya!
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Chrishayden
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Chrishayden

Post Number: 1084
Registered: 03-2004

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Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 11:38 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

By God, all this outpouring of love and devotion moves me (literally) to remember what today is and to share this with you all!

http://www.poopreport.com/Intellectual/Content/Poopforpeace/2005.html

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Cynique
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Cynique

Post Number: 2153
Registered: 01-2004

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Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 12:27 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, Chris. At least for today, you are not full of shit. LOL
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Cynique
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Cynique

Post Number: 2155
Registered: 01-2004

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Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 05:34 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, I'm having a slow day, so I'll indulge my memories some more. Especially since after checking out my "essay", Pandora took it upon herself to scold me for omitting other noteworthy things that I have lived through, like being around when Jackie Robinson became the first black athlete to integrate major league baseball and how I saw him play in a game against the Chicago Cubs, and like also having been around when Doo-Wop music was blasting from juke boxes, its musicians laying the ground work for the new sounds of Motown artists whose hits I would purchase on 78-inch vinyl records that later were replaced by 45-inches ones. And how could I have forgotten that no sooner had I become a fan of Jimi Hendrix than he left us. Then there's the Rap phenomenon. Ol' Cynique had no idea what the output of The Last Poets and The Sugar Hill Gang would lead to. I just thought that music coming from my son's room was a passing fad... Well, enough of this nostalgia. I guess the advent of a new season stirs me to consider all the Springtimes I've been around to welcome, and to contemplate how many I have left to look forward to. C'est La Vie. I'm done.

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Libralind2
Regular Poster
Username: Libralind2

Post Number: 42
Registered: 09-2004

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Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 05:39 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Shoot gurl..you have MAD props from this 55 yr old
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Kola_boof
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Kola_boof

Post Number: 162
Registered: 02-2005

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Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 07:15 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Remember any stuff about the SUPREMES Cynique?

I just love them!


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Cynique
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Cynique

Post Number: 2156
Registered: 01-2004

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Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 12:09 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, The Supremes are part of my memory pack, and I was "there" when original member Florence Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong. Whenever I think of The Supremes I think of those elaborate wigs they wore. In fact Diana Ross & Co were probably responsible for the trickle down popularity of wigs among the black population because before her no one would've been caught dead wearing a WIG, since not only were they hard to find but the limited selection available didn't look very natural or chic. The wig industry suddenly exploded on the fashion world when Asian sweat shops started mass producing and exporting attractive styles made from synthetic hair. And of course before long, Afros rivalled wigs in popularity.

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