Thursday, July 31, 2014

The CL Intern Issue: When did our role models grow up?

Posted By , , and on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 1:35 AM

Wisdom from our interns’ significant elders.
click to enlarge Jackie Braje and her mother, Allison Williams, this past Easter.
  • Jackie Braje and her mother, Allison Williams, this past Easter.
Jackie Braje on Allison Williams
“Being a young mom, I had to grow up much, much faster. My circle of friends got a lot smaller, I stopped being so irresponsible, and it pushed me back into college.” My mom, Allison Williams, was only 19 when she became an adult. From escaping the trials of post-high school life to working on a cruise ship, from becoming a travel agent for minimum wage to working her way up in a hospital and eventually helping to start a family flooring business, she understood early on that “growing up” meant a lot more than internships and learning to balance a checkbook. It meant kindness, selflessness and impeccable grace under pressure. It meant not only adjusting to a drastic life change, but also loving and embracing it with full force.

click to enlarge Cody and Patrick Smith.
  • Cody and Patrick Smith.
Cody Smith on Patrick Smith
My dad never knew the sweet comfort of getting a car fixed by a mechanic on his parents’ dime, calling up a plumber to fix the bathroom drain, or asking his dad for extra cash when he attended college. As a young man, my father quickly learned either to fix something himself or be left behind. By age 18 he knew how to change his own oil, fix a leaky faucet, and pay his own bills. He learned how to perform tasks that would be deemed impossible by many of today’s youth (or at least by this youth), and in so doing taught me that independence was a key value of his generation.

click to enlarge Joan Crawford, a friend of Mario Baez’s family.
  • Joan Crawford, a friend of Mario Baez’s family.

Mario Baez on 
Joan Crawford
“Right after high school,” she said. At the age of 16 she was making decisions, balancing a budget, and helping her mother. She was the first child among three brothers and three sisters, and was thrust into the role of taking care of her siblings. Whether it was washing clothes or doing schoolwork, she was always getting things done. Her first job was a teaching position in Ghana where she made lesson plans and assignments for her young and bright students while getting paid under the table. She went on to become a nurse, traveling the West Indies helping others who needed assistance. This influential woman, Joan Crawford, is not my mother (and not that famous actress, either). But she called me her “picnie” (child) at times. A strong and determined woman, she doesn’t play when it comes to being successful.

click to enlarge Sheila Maloy, center, with daughter Zebrina in 1998 at Miami Dade College.
  • Sheila Maloy, center, with daughter Zebrina in 1998 at Miami Dade College.
Zebrina Edgerton-Maloy on Sheila Maloy
“I grew up the moment that I wasn’t living with relatives anymore and had to pay the bills, cook and take care of a baby by myself,” Sheila Maloy says. When my mom, Sheila, was 20 years old, she moved to Miami from New York. Even though she had family members in Miami, she lived on her own until she met her husband. At the age of 25, Sheila gave birth to me. Less than two years later, her husband passed away, and my mom had to take care of me all by herself. Even though she was mourning her husband’s death, she carried on. Being a single mother was not easy for my mom, and it still has its challenges. But she continues to push through and try her hardest to be the best mother that she can be.

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