Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Passing of Foster Mama

I moved in with Foster Mama two months shy of my 18th birthday, and I stayed in touch with her for the rest of her life, which turned out to be only eight more years.

As I mentioned, Foster Mama had a con for every situation ... so it was only a matter of time before she conned me. In my case, a credit-card company was kind enough to issue a credit card in my name, but foolish enough to send it to her address in Detroit while I was off at school.

One of my foster sisters called me on the phone: "Girl, Mama got a hold of one of your credit cards, and she is going to town!"

I dismissed her warning as a jealous lie. Foster Mama wouldn't do that to me.

But sure enough, a few months later, I learned I had bad credit and a delinquent, $1,200 Visa bill. With a few persistent phone calls, I was able to prove to Visa that I was away at school when the card arrived in Detroit, and ultimately I wasn't held responsible for the charges.

The incident damaged, but didn't destroy, my relationship with Foster Mama.

I saw her about a month before she died. I was living with Great Aunt at the time and had temporarily escaped the hell of Los Angeles for a quick Detroit visit. I sat in Foster Mama's basement beauty salon and sang her a sad song about my hard-knock life. Her last act of kindness was to hand me a sorely needed $50 bill.

A few weeks later, I learned that a tornado had touched down in Highland Park, just a few miles from Foster Mama's home. I called to find out how she was doing.

She replied, "I heard they was looting in Highland Park."

Before I could express my disapproval, she added, "Sure coulda used me a new TV set."

That was our last conversation.

I didn't attend her funeral.

Not because I didn't care enough to pay my respects, but because I didn't find out in time.

You see, my foster sister – the same one who'd warned me years earlier about the credit card – didn't have my personal phone number. For whatever reason, she only had my 90-year-old Great Aunt's phone number.

And Great Aunt, bless her heart, would talk to my frantic foster sister, then toddle into my room and say sorrowfully, "I'm so sorry about your mother." This happened two or three times, but since I had no idea what she was talking about, I didn't give Great Aunt's strange words of comfort much thought.

Finally, about a week after the funeral, my foster sister found a letter I'd written to Foster Mama that had my real phone number on it.

That's when I learned Foster Mama was gone.

It was a shock, but not a surprise, even though Foster Mama was only in her early fifties.

Foster Mama was morbidly obese, around 5'5" and a size 26. She smoked, even while wearing the nicotine patch that's supposed to help you quit. She was a diabetic with a two-liter-a-day Pepsi habit. And when her doctor yelled at her for drinking Pepsi, her health-conscious solution was to switch to 7-Up.

Regular 7-Up, not diet.

As I get back to the story of my life as a slut, Foster Mama will make the occasional guest appearance. But before I relegate her to a supporting role in my stories of boyfriends past, I wanted to acknowledge the starring role she will always have in my heart.

23 comments:

DC DIVA DATING ADVENTURES said...

You're a fabulous writer. The images that come to mind when I read your posts are so vivid. it's almost like I can smell Bell Isle & Jefferson, and the city that was some sort of third home at one point.

Cheron L. Hall said...

I agree with DC Diva...

funny though how Foster Mama still had a hustle in mind during the looting, lol...btw...I have given you the "Lemonade Stand Award" for expressing great attitude/gratitude. It's a small award, but I definitely had you in mind when I thought of bloggers to pay it forward to...enjoy...

Cheron L. Hall said...

I love ur "Bloggystyle"

mr. nichols said...

good post and final tribute to a woman who taught and showed you so much. i also agree with cheron about the details with Foster Mama maintaining her hustler's mentality even in the middle of a disaster. great work.

Paid2Travel said...

Great work!!!

Chaotically Calm said...

Everytime I read a post about Foster Mama I keep hearing this one line from Tupac, tryna make a dollah outa fifteen cents. You totally make her come alive....sad you didn't get to attend the funeral but she lives on in your writing.

I look forward to her supporting role in posts to come..

Lion-ess said...

beautiful end of the post... can't wait to read more..
Foster mum was a classic!

Nana said...

Damn, She was real out of shape. People need to realize there is a HUGE correlation between dying and the way we treat ourselves. We're all afraid of it, but yet, we keep killing ourselves slowly.

Allison Brown said...

I am glad that your Foster Mama became part of your life :-)

Anonymous said...

i spent all night yesterday and this morning reading your ENTIRE blog.
you are such an amazing writer! I seriously feel like i just stole an amazing book... have you considered publishing your work? Amazing!
Thanks for sharing.

Funny enough, I was nervous to read your entire blog, because through out college and in my early twenties, i too considered myself to be a "slut"... although my story is nowhere like yours. Just random men in college. And i have no excuse, since i had a good childhood :(

Thanks for sharing your story...

Nelia said...

Was there ever a confrontation between you and Foster Mama over the charges? I'm curious what her rationale was.

Don't Be a Slut said...

Everybody, thanks as always for the kudos and kind words.

@Anonymous - whew! You're the second person this week to read my whole blog in one day. Welcome!

@Nelia - Foster Mama and I did exchange hard words over the charges. But ultimately, it was my real mom who helped me get over it. One of her favorite sayings is, "If a horse jumps one fence, he'll jump another." So given Foster Mama's history of swindling, beating and cheating, I was crazy to think she wouldn't do the same to me. So after a time of being angry and hurt, I decided to accept her as she was.

Nelia said...

I would argue "hopeful" not "crazy." Everyone wants to be the exception. Acceptance (and acting accordingly) is a tall order for anybody. I have yet to master this lesson. It's powerful stuff that you learned that lesson early in life.

Queen Lindsay said...

Sad to hear about Foster Mamma. For some reason, when you said Foster mamma, I pictured Madia...

London Escorts said...

Nice Work!

Zanna said...

I find your blog facinating. I started reading it some time ago, I have not managed the WHOLE thing .. yet! I had to skip ahead as i was falling WAY behind. 2008 however is completed.

Marty J. Christopher said...

I'm glad I got to see how the Foster Mama drama ended. The way she took care of herself made me think of A.P.'s mom...I even said to him about the 7UP switch that that sounds like something his mom would do. Anywho, I loved the way you ended the post. People do messed up things to people they love all the time, but it sounds like your real mom had the best advice. All you can do is accept them for who they are and it sounds like Foster Mama gave you so much else in the long run. I love that line of your real mom's though! I'm going to start using that!

O.F.C.J. said...

Wow. What an amazing experience. I'm glad you took a good lesson from it.

O.F.C.J.

♥Mrs. Tantra♥ said...

I love your writing.

hilarious: "she smoked while wearing a nicotine patch.." bless her heart.

-Tantra

Dulce said...

OMG lady I am so glad my blogging homie (Mr. Nichols) put me onto your site. I must admit at first i was intimiated by your title however after reading a few of your posts i feel like i am hooked already.

i do have a question though? i read your first post and you clearly stated that this blog was meant for would be, reformed, current and undercover sluts. what if i am non of the above. i can count my partners on one hand and although i am quiet and shy once i get behind closed doors with my man the OTHER side comes out with no problem. and she is wild free and down for whatever as long as it doesn't involve kids, animals, foreign objects or hanging form chandelers. so just let me know if a girl like me is still welcome. thanks lady. LOL

Don't Be a Slut said...

First, let me take a moment to welcome all of you who are new to my blog or commenting for the first time.

@Dulce - all are welcome at Don't Be a Slut, including nonslutty good girls who are wild and free in private. LOL.

freespirit76 said...

I'm sorry you had that experience. You're a great writer by the way.

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