* The Auxiliary of The Atlas Senior Center / The Department of Family Support Services
Friends of the
79th Street
Seniors at


Friends of 79th Street Seniors
Doris Burton
Lorren Dogan
Brenette Jelks
Ruby Larkin
Sandra Ragan
Tamatha Smith
Najlah Tamir
Olive Waugh

Little Brothers:
Friends of the Elderly

The Northwestern Alzhiemer's
Disease Center


Robert "Bob" G.
Chicago, IL

Reprinted from

Humana Active Outlook Magazine


was in autumn, not spring
she was fresh on the scene
I threw my hat in the ring
I needed another plaything.

full of things unforeseen
she quickly broke down my
I blinked and she's first
paused and she was my

was a whole 'nother thing
I'm jealous and starting to
buying gold hoop earrings

She's got me taking ginseng.

I wanna sing, wanna scream
I wanna give her a diamond
want everything she brings

she's one pretty-black-thing.

by Nikki Giovanni
27 Jan 72

her grandmother called her from the playground
        "yes, ma'am"
        "i want chu to learn how to make rolls' said the old
woman proudly
but the little girl didn't want
to learn how because she knew
even if she couldn't say it that
that would mean when the old one died she would be less
dependent on her spirit so
she said
       "i don't want to know how to make no rolls"
with her lips poked out
and the old woman wiped he hands on
her apron saying "Lord
        these children"
and neither of them ever
said what they meant
and i guess nobody ever does

For The Love Of Seniors
By Damainion Ewell.

You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32, NKJV).

In your daily living, what is the first thought you have when you run across a senior citizen?  Does the gray hair on their head represent wisdom, or just the fact that they have been around a little while?  Personally, when I see an older man or woman in the street or driving a car, I begin to pray and ask the LORD to allow to see a ripe, old age such as theirs. 


Oftentimes, I wonder what my grandchildren are going to look like.  I wonder if any of my characteristics will pass through the generations to them.  Will they be the same sort of Italian food gluttons that I am?  Will they have an undying passion for sports and SUVs like I do?  Will they love the smell of soap in the morning and the shower of the rain at night like I do?  Most importantly, will the love of Christ be the very definition of their lives, much like it is mine?  When thinking on these things, I have a plethora of questions that come up.  But, at the tender age of 31, I do not have many answers at the moment.

So, once I rid my mind of future endeavors such as those, I stop and ponder the life of a senior.  When I go to visit my grandfather at a local nursing home, I pick his brain to see how sharp his mind still is.  He always surprises me with his sharp sense of humor and timeless outlook on things.  At a recent visit, we struck up the conversation about my love life.  As being a young man, I delicately explained that part of my life and the fullness of it.  Well, in a not so delicate manner, he proceeds to tell me to leave all women alone because “they will spend your money and ruin your back!”  As I laughed in a fit of hysteria, I wondered if that actually happened to him in some way.  I am not sure of the full story of his marriage to my grandmother, and it makes me wonder what sort of relationship they had.  But, the remaining patches of hair and wide open wrinkles tell me a story of hard living.

Another thing I wonder is the significance of wrinkles.  Are they the direct result of too much time spent in the sun, or is their a story attached to every line on the face of a senior?  I wonder what story a wrinkle would tell, if given the chance.  What a testimony service that would be!  I wonder if wrinkles are a sign of untold pain and heartache, covered with the sheer will to live and carry on?  I wonder if wrinkles are the direct result of being slapped around by life so much that bruising is not a permanent enough mark?  I often notice that some are more deeper and more defined than others, which makes me think the PAIN cuts deeper and has a more defined presence in the life of that person.  Wherever they come from, I am sure there is a story to tell.

Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4, NKJV).

When I look at the entirety of the package...the wrinkles, the patches of hair, the feebleness of the walk, the lack of clarity in the speech and other things, I come to one daunting conclusion: that person paid a price for something that I am enjoying today!  They have made it through the years in toil, sweat and labor, giving their bodies for things that we enjoy with utter freedom today.  They did not have the internet and various means of communications as we do today.  The cars they drove were hunks of useless metal in comparison to what we are driving today.  The medical care we have access to today is far and beyond the measure of the home remedies that some of them only had access to.  But, in hard work and lack of means to take shortcuts, wisdom came.  With years of wisdom came gray hair and wrinkles.  With gray hair and wrinkles come the pillar of every community and a symbol of greatness that the years have tried to take away, but simply could not.  Seniors are my symbol of hope and my greatest inspiration.  I want to be that patriarchal symbol that makes long living, family and the future of such massive importance.  With each passing generation, a different revelation is derived...and if God be for me, I want to freely give away the wisdom of my generation to the ones that are to come.

My Black History Poem

Black History Black History, what does that mean to me?
When I was a lot younger, it meant just another day,
just a color to see.

We have Black people who have made great contributions to this country. They have forged their way through with blood, sweat, and tears for you and me.

Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream, I’ve made it to the mountain top.” I still get emotional over that speech every
time I hear it and my head drop.

There was a time I didn’t like the color of my skin.
The Lord don’t make mistakes and I was born for a reason.

We have history right here in our church.
Yes, Second Olivet has done great things on this earth.

My sister Cassandra has become the First Black Female Police Officer to hire in Syracuse, NY. That’s news, that’s history,
she apart of me and apart of you.
Black History is not just one month out of the year, but 365 days.
I want to say thank you to all that have paved the way.
James Brown, (The Godfather of Soul) for the song “Say it Loud, I’m Black, and I’m proud.”
No more do I have to hear or see a sign saying …
No Blacks Allowed.

No longer should you be ashamed of our black heritage or the color of our skin. We are all proud African-American

Copyright 2007 MLJ Recovery Inc.

Proud Mosadi
By:  Stephen Bess

Proud mosadi speaking in twisted tongue
with skin the color of roasted geera
Constantly longing for homeland security,
she is posted thousands of miles out of reach in a squatter camp

called America

She screams while reaching out for cultural validation
Trying to hold on to a tradition tainted with primetime values and


Hold on mosadi! Hold on! Don’t let this place take from you
what was given to you at birth

You are trapped in a time capsule
warped by the Middle Passage of cultural erosion
Remember your struggle for freedom and never forget
those who sacrificed and shouted in protest,



Hear their voices and continue praying to God for strength and direction
Don't worry; He will direct your paths
Your ancestors are watching over you and speaking on your behalf to the Father
Please hold on mosadi…
Your hour of redemption is near

Mosadi – Woman/Wife
Amandla – Power
Awetu – To the People

Note:  I dedicate this poem to the daughters and descendants of the African continent.  Never forget!

The Rev., Dr. Marvin Gaye
(Submitted by Author Stephen Bess)


You recognize that shout?
That is the Rev., Dr. Marvin Pence Gaye Jr. signature “How Sweet it is” –
“Come Get to this” – “After the Dance” shout

I used to hear grown men and women shouting it on hot inner-city streets,
but they didn’t always have Blues

 sometimes their arms and fist would be stretched towards the sun,
as their hips would grind in unison with the melody as they sang,


When I was little, I remember grownups singing, “Let’s Get it on”…
Ahhhhhhh Baby,  
as they danced the slow drag and their bodies cast blue shadows
on the basement wall
Marvin would stretch forth his wonderful voice and bless the assembly singing, “Can I Get a Witness”
as the inebriated congregation would shout from their parking lot pews…


You recognize that shout?
That is the Rev., Dr. Marvin Pence Gaye Jr. signature “How Sweet it is” –
“Come Get to this” – “After the Dance” shout

And he did it all just to keep us satisfied



Because I lost him, I wonder if I make him proud
Because I love him, I smile even when I want to frown
Because I lost him, I am afraid to be truly me
Because I love him, I’m glad he’s not here to see
Because I lost him, I try to fill the void with love that will never be
Because I lost him, there is a fear that grips me
Because I love him, for no reason do I cry
Because I lost him, sometimes I wish I too would die
Because I lost him, the pain I work so hard to hide
Because I love him, I wonder how different life would be with him at my side
Because I love him, I remember how he drove with both feet
Because I love him, I laugh at how he gave me a sip of beer as a treat
Because I lost him, my nephew he will never know
Because I lost him, too fast, did I have to grow
Because I lost him, he will never walk me down the aisle
Because I lost him, I don’t think that marriage will ever be my style
Because I love him, I know that it’s through his eyes that I see the world
Because I love him, I know that I will always be his baby girl
Because I love him, I remember how at 4 he was my best friend
Because I lost him, I remember at 5 how his life came to an end
Because I love him, I remember how he loved my mother so
Because I lost him, I remember how she cried when at the funeral they said, “It’s time to go.”
Because I love him, I still don’t understand
Because I lost him, I know I have to wait until heaven to see him again
Because I love him, I know he was a simple man
Because I love him, I always thought of him as Superman
Because I love him, the truth I must tell
Because I lost him, I tried to buy love and that’s how I ended up in jail
Because I lost him, I’m afraid to have kids of my own
Because I lost him, I don’t want them to know how it feels to loose a parent before you’re grown
Because I love him, I know if he could he would wipe away my tears
Because I lost him, I have so many fears
Because I lost him, I’ve always felt so alone
Because I love him, he’s still the best friend I’ve ever known
Because I love him, there is something important that I must say
Because I lost him, don’t just wait until Father’s Day
Because I love him, no matter what kind of man you know as “father” was
Because I know Him, thank them for life, just because

The Last Fix
Written By: Shanna Modisette

Serena walked up and down Pike street in the rain and gloom.  She just needed to score one date, before she could give it up for night.  It was a slow night and whenever a car appeared girls scattered to the street like rats in search of that cheese, or fix.  But when she thought about it, she guessed that they both went hand in hand. 

The black Grand Am rode up beside her and slowly began to roll down its passenger window.  She stuck her head in and without blinking, rattled off her prices.  She ignored the tiny voice in her head, reminding her to ask if he was a cop, as jail was as good a place as any to get out of the rain.  It was dry place to sleep, with food and cable, which were two more amenities than what she had at her place. 
She had been turning tricks for two years and never worried about her safety.  Actually, she prayed for death every time she opened a car door.  She was she sure, that Heaven awaited her, after all she was already living in Hell.
I mean what was the difference between her and regular everyday woman?  Nothing, ‘cept those ladies charged dinner, flowers or a movie, while she straight went for the cash.  But in the end we all end up on our back.  They just thought of themselves as “The Chop House” with their 8 course meals, fancy waiters and expensive wine.  While she was what, McDonalds?  Picture menus, with the prices posted to on the right, cashiers working for minimum wage, and the overused drive-thru; Serena almost cried right there, when she thought of the days when she had to pull out her dollar menu.

Negotiations completed, Serena opened the car door, and stepped into the black chariot.  She smiled nervously as Mr. Right Now pulled off toward his Happy Ending.

“Give me the money.”
“Get out of the car.”
“You said you would give me $20, when we finished the job.  Now give me my money!”
“Or what, you gonna call the police, and report it?”  He laughed hard and callously.
“You don’t know what I’m capable of.  Now give me my money, so you don’t have to find out the hard way.”  She tried to make the strength project, but the drops of fear dripped from her tongue.
“Is that a threat?”
“Don’t piss me off.  I held up my end of the bargain, but I guess I should have known better.  Especially, when you could barely hold up your own!”   Now it was her turn to laugh, as she grabbed her purse and yanked open the passenger door.  The hand fisted her hair at the scalp, and slammed her face forward into the dashboard, before she had time to think.  He began kicking her in the side, until she fell out of the car.
“You stinking junkie!” he spat at her, driving off with the passenger door still ajar.
Serena lay in the alley, blinking back the blood, sweat and tears that filled her eyes.

She scuttled home in the darkness, fighting the pain in her head, the burden of her life and bad habits weighing heavily on her shoulders.
Entering into the darkened hole-in-the-wall apartment, Serena immediately slumped onto the couch.  The gash in her forehead continued to bleed, but she was in no mood to care.  She fumbled in her purse searching for the syringe, and reminiscing over the years of her life.  She wondered what she could have been.  She was alone in this world.  Dejected.  Depressed. Druggie.  She might as well be Dead, too.

Serena took a deep breath, and shook her head.  She just wanted to forget it all.  So she tied the rubber strap around her arm, prepped herself and the needle.  Even in the dark, she found the vein easily.

The bright light appeared in front of Serena.  Through a bloodied vision, she sat aghast at the angel.
“Do you know the story of rehabilitation?”
The angel’s words floated into Serena’s conscious like sweet music.
“Allow me to tell you.”
“The power of Jesus Christ is immeasurable.  God can and will do all things if you give yourself over to Him.  In simple terms, SURRENDER to Him, His power and glory.  Lift your head and say, ‘I’m ready, Lord.  I’m ready!’  Gather all you strength, courage, and pride.  Exhale deeply and release all 3.”
“God is your strength!  You don’t need your own.  He can lift burdens that appear to way tons.  Your love of Him, yourself and your neighbor is the only weight you have to carry.”

“With God at your side, whom is there to fear?  There is no fear in Christ.  He is the light that expels all darkness.  Many have come up against Him in battle, by the end of the war they had all fallen and He alone stood tall.”

“When you stumble, He catches you before you fall, and carries you until you are able to walk.  But even then, He walks at your side.  If you are going to be proud, be proud of that and that alone.  If you are going to boast and brag, scream out that He is your Father and you are one of His children.”

“Inhale sacrifice, humility and love!”
“Embrace and embody all of these.  Be willing to sacrifice the things you love, with faith that will reap His rewards in abundance over and over again.”
“Be humble in all things.  Give God the credit that He deserves for fighting your battles, carrying you through life, and continuously heaping blessings upon you.”
“True unconditional love for God, will completely fill you and your insides will runneth over, with love spilling out of your eyes, nose, fingers, ears and mouth.”
“SURRENDER! Don’t rely on your 5 senses; just rely on your Christian sense.  It never fails.  HE NEVER FAILS.

The angel and his light began to fade.  The tears poured out of Serena, she didn’t want to be alone anymore.  There was a voice in her head that told her to go with the angel.  To follow the light.

NO! Serena wasn’t ready.  She wasn’t ready for death!

The light grew stronger and enveloped her as she slowly pulled the syringe out of her arm.

The syringe that she had filled only with AIR.

“Lord to You and only You, Do I Surrender!”

Shanna Modisette

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