Bright America

I had a fine day today. I met an entire new group at the Library. The kids who were there were funny, bad, and friendly at the same time. Like the  little 3-year-old who was making everyone laugh and when she saw that we all thought she was funny she started cursing! It was so surprising. I put her on “time out” and I don’t  know if she understood. All she wanted to do was play “house’ and be the baby.

Later on, I went to the Chinese store to eat and practice spanish with some of the spanish kids in the neighborhood.  I was glad that their parents let them come with me, after all everything was on the same block. I was just a little surprised at the freedom they got. At the Chinese Store we met two Chinese girls. We all had fun learning spanish together.  Maybe it has something to do with living in the city. I left them when it was dark and they wanted to stay longer!

What I enjoy the most is the culture of the children and of the neighborhood. It’s like a little world once you become very active in it. I’ve lived in this neighborhood so long and only now am I becoming active. I used to only know the man in the Bodega but now I know so many people because the children parents are the ones who are running the neighborhood. The African children I work with parents run the hair salon down the block and are also the same ones driving the taxis, the Spanish children parents run the bodaga’s and the Chinese children parents run the Chinese store.  The little girl who remind me of myself, grandfather is the super in the building I live in. I didn’t meet her until I started working at the library and we live in the same building. I also know the librarians and the security guard. I  know a teacher in the school that most of the students attend, we met at Fordham. This world is so small. And Bright.

My America is bright.

Bright with children playing day and night

Bright with parents who care about the neighborhood and its plight

Bright with young kids who see no limit

Bright with librarians who teach children discipline

Who ever said that a village doesn’t raise a child anymore?

In my Bright America, the Pizza guy tells the children how to say thank you.

The old gentleman sweeping the corner offers a kind “Good day to you”

The grocery store keeper offers to help you with your bags 

And the young Jehovah witness offers a strong “God Bless You!”

The family walking from church gains courage to ask you

 what will Jesus Do In this Bright America?

Bright America

The 26th of the Month

I had an okay day until my heart was broken by stones and my feelings were hurt by words. After that, I thought I needed a walk. I started walking and couldn’t stop. I had no where in particular I was going but kept walking. I was enjoying the landscape of the Bronx and the words that were said to me were going away. The surroundings had melted away the hard feelings on me. I walked pass the library and pass the schools and pass the supermarkets and Spanish bodagas and down the hills pass the churches and laundromats and pass the parks and then I got to a hill and it was a long way down. On the way down I passed many people. People who looked broken, children running, drunken men sitting down, young people on their way to parties, and I saw myself. Look pass them and kept walking.  Along this hill was a Christian  Book Store. I knocked once and my eyes met his. And he let me in.

I know in whom I Believe

Like a tree that stands by the water, I know in whom I BelieveI know who I bow down to in the morning

I know who comforts me when I’m in mourning

O I know who made the beautiful melodies

I know who made the dips in the trees

I know who color each and every leaf

I know who I serve, I know who I serve

I know who makes the angles in heaven sing

I know who makes the flowers spring

I know who created love in the air

I know there is a God out there somewhere

I know who I serve, I know who I serve


Today my students were really excited about the up coming  Thanksgiving break.  They can’t wait to leave school for only 4 days! It is a wonder I got  to finish The Night of the Living Dummy III (a Goosebumps series) with Joseph, taught Francesca a new word: Penguin, made Kizzy practice her multiplication tables and Lindsay did a little bit of her homework. I also did a little reading with Frankie and Estie. So it was nice. One thing that made my day was the students willingness to listen to me. I didn’t have any problems with them. Well, not including the prep talk I had to have with them to encouarge them to do their homework,  I also met a new parent!!  Who recognized me! She knew the church I went to and everything. It was not that surprising because after all, we do all live in the same neighborhood.


I am still learning and have a lot to learn. The following are people in the photography field who I’ve come to admire and their work alike. I even put my teachers/ mentors on the list.

  1. Gordon Parks
  2. Roy DeCarava
  3. Moneta Sleet, Jr.
  4. Robert Frank
  5. Adam Ansel
  6. Weegee
  7. Jacob Riis
  8. Louis Hine
  9. Deb Willis
  10. Herman Leonard
  11. Ansel Adams
  12. Robert Frank
  13. David Ellwand
  14. Fazal Sheikh
  15. Lewis W. Hein
  16. Jacob Riis
  17. Marisol Diaz
  18. Robert Capa

God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom Daniel 1:17


On Monday one of my dearest students gave me a picture she made out of glitter glue of a Pink Butterfly. She pointed to the middle of the picture and told me those were the butterfly’s bones. I felt so loved!

Another one of my angles on the same day picked out a book to read with me titled:  Butterfly Battles by Nancy White from the Magic School Bus series. So, now I am reading about butterflies. I guess this week is butterfly week!

“Caterpillars came from everywhere. Everywhere was caterpillars. One day they just piped up and left”  Deacon Glassgow

Did you know that Butterflies have 4 wings and not 2?

Did you know that orange and black are warning colors in nature?

Therefore, animals stay away from Monarch butterflies.


The photographer this week is name Weegee.

He took photos of New York City in the 30’s and 40’s.  His name is Arthur Fellig and he is from Austria-Hungary. He was born in 1899 and died in 1969.

The pseudonym Weegee was given to him or adopted by him – no one is really sure why but one reason is because he was always at crime scenes quick so the girls he worked with at AMCE photos gave him that name saying he always knew where to find the best scenes.

Even though he photographed crime scenes which were serious, he is now known for the character and the caricature of his photos. What I like the best when looking at his photos is his messages on the bottom. I feel his spirit almost describes the event. On the bottom of one photo he wrote “I cried when taking this picture”. It was of a daughter and a mother who escaped a fire. The mother was watching  two children of hers dies in the fire.

One writer, Luc Sante wrote: “His corpse pictures stand out less; what are more striking are his shots of people reacting to the results of crime.”

I got a feeling of what NYC really was in the 30’s and 40’s.  Not just the life of the rich or of the Whites but of the Blacks also.

Here are some of my favorite quotes by him:

My Camera…my life and my love…was my Aladdin’s lamp.

I give myself a bonus- eight hours sleep.

Sometimes a night goes by with no murder and it don’t seem right to me. I think something’s wrong.

I photographed ‘Legs’ Diamond, Dutch Schultz and Vincent Coll. ‘Legs’ Diamond was a nice fellow, kind and courteous, and if you wanted a picture he’d be sure you got it. Only he had to many bullet holes. Somebody was always taking a shot at him.

A photographer should have confidence in himself and if he gets a good idea he should go take it, even if everybody laughs at him.

I searched through my photos and tried to find my Weegee sort of picture and came up with one I took while I was at the hospital.  The security guard in my church got shot and a lot of the saints came to visit him. The picture is of the ministers discussing his condition. Weegee photo would probably be in black and white and of the person who got shot. I arrived at the scene a little too late I guess!


Today I came across a yearbook from the 70’s. It had very little words. Mostly pictures.

As I was flipping through the book I wondered what became of all the students.

No matter what became of them, I think their words are still alive.

I jotted down some of the senior quotations:

Don’t hate the Blacks

Don’t hate the Whites

If you get bit

Just hate the bite

-stephen a young jr.

the sun don’t come out

in rainy weather

but when you look them up

they’re still together

-Andrew Schiff

Which YOU am I talking to now? Mike Rosenfeld

I have fantasies all the time I live with them, embellish them, polish them day after day – jane asch

There’s a midget standing TALL and the giant beside him about to fall- charlie ISAACS
We are not the majority, but the chosen few- bill moore
I wish I were an ant
Glossy and social
and able to fit under boulders.
dana meltzer

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. PETER SINGER

“Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance but the Lord looketh on the heart”. Eric Kramer (The Bible 1 Samuel 16:7)

We can’t return

We can only look behind from

where we came


QuickTime 3

We are in a place where everything is happening so fast.

These times are much different from our parent times. Children growing up now are so far advance then when I was growing up.

These times are QUICK

Children seem to have very little patience to learn and grow as children.

Yesterday I heard a child say he had short term memory. He forget things.

I wonder if the same child is going to use the term ‘Alzheimer’ to define his memory tomorrow.

Or just simply say he forgot.

One of my students ask me why I wasn’t married yet.

“You grown!”

I asked him why he wasn’t married yet!

You don’t just marry anybody.

“Oh, you have to find the special one for you huh?!”

But that is acceptable. I can understand that.

What surprised me is when I heard younger children discussing sex in details.

The leader of the bunch told the them “all you have to do is wear condoms”.

They were still in elementary school.

How would  parents protect their children and make sure they are innocent?

heehee…thats so funny!

When I am with the children, funny things happen all the time.

Like one time I was helping Janisha with her homework and she was doing pretty well. She was well-behaved and answering all the questions correct until her little brother came over and demanded a lot more of my attention. Then all of sudden she kept forgetting her answers and started huffing and puffing for no reason. So I asked her, why are you huffing and puffing like that? Your brother is here so now you are extra crazy right? And her bother said: Are you a wolf? Even Janisha couldn’t keep her laugh in.

Or like today when I told David and Joseph about the wallets that the library give to children who have library cards. The got excited and went to the desk to ask for one. Unfortunately, the librarian didn’t know what they were talking about and said: Wallets? There are no wallets here. Go up the block on Tremont to one of the 99Cent stores…. It was only a matter of time before I had to get up to explain.

Yesterday, a boy in the 6th grade was playing with a finger skateboard while everyone else were either reading or doing their homework. He was all over the floor, and up the walls, on the book shelves, on the tables just everywhere with this toy. It was so annoying and distracting. He kept playing until everyone just stop what they were doing and looked at him. This big boy playing like this. I told everyone to just watch. And he didn’t even notice. I said to him- Look at yourself. Everyone is doing something productive- reading and writing while you are playing with your fingers. What’s wrong with you. He just stopped. Hopefully he’ll come with his homework one day cause the same big boy came with his tiny toy today and was doing the same exact thing!