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A chapter directly from the pages of the inaugural edition of:

My Journey to STYLETAINMENT, A Life Stitched Together!

Written by: Missouri  l  The Forward by: Joyce Hancock

To read Missouri's Bio click on the photo. To order your copy, click on the book.

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Enjoy the read... ONE OF MY MOST FOND MEMORIES is the summer of 1967. Mr. Shorty purchased a brand-new burgundy Ford pickup truck. During the summer months on the weekend, he and my mother would pile all of us in the back of that truck and we’d leave the projects, better known as the inner-city. He drove us to the mountains almost every weekend. It was truly something I looked forward to. The ride was so breath-taking and beautiful with all of the greenery, flowers, clean pavements, animals, and big beautiful homes. As we got on the highway, you could see the top of the trees and it looked like mountains and mountains of trees, such a beautiful sight. The feel of the cool breeze on my face, the sight of the trees and the smell of clean air for me, there was nothing better. Imagine all 6 of us in the back of a pickup truck, no seat belts, riding on the highways and byways all through the mountains. What courageous and carefree lives we lived as kids. I remember once we saw a hitchhiker, a young white boy walking along the side of the road with his thumb out. We begged Mr. Shorty to stop and give him a ride. The kid jumped in the back with us and we started talking with him as if he were a part of our family. There was no judgment, just kids doing what kids do. Children are so innocent, not a care in the world, and so trusting. We rode for a while, just talking until we got to his stop. I assume where he lived. He hopped out, said thank you and waved goodbye. We waved until we could no longer see him. I can still see his face. He was a white boy with blonde hair, kind of looked like Justin Beiber! He was a kind person who spoke very well about his family and was grateful for the ride. I’m not sure where he was coming from but I’m now clear he was meant to show up in our lives. It’s amazing the people we meet along the way and if we pay attention, we can learn from everyone. That day I learned the connection between blacks and whites can be beautiful and pure and if children can exhibit it unconditionally, so can adults. I think I also got my first real lesson in trust - for there was no hesitation from Mr. Shorty and my mother to pull over and pick up this stranger, have him hop in the back with their most precious commodities (us) and trust he would not harm us. “TRUST.” Another time I remember Mr. Shorty pulling over on the highway in a safe area where the water was flowing down the rocks which made them glisten in the summer sun. We got out of the truck and cupped our hands to drink the water running off the rocks. It tasted fresh, crisp and so different from the water at home. In addition to drinking the freshwater, we picked and ate fresh vegetables and fruit at his friend’s farmhouse. Mr. Shorty had many white friends which I thought was different and quite contrary to what we’d heard about white people! They were all very kind and generous to all of us. On these road trips, my mother was so happy, always smiling. I think she and Mr. Shorty were in love. Although at times back home they had their disagreements, love and happiness were the common thread between the two. While in the mountains, I remember, standing in a field of grass as a young girl spinning around and around with my white dress on, saying aloud, “One day I’m going to live in the mountains!” I repeated this over and over again. I did not want to leave. I felt safe and completely at peace in the mountains. I just loved being there. The drive home from the mountains was an experience by itself. As we approached the city, you could feel the difference. Everything was different, the energy, the air, it even smelled differently. You could see the transformation happening right before your very eyes. As I lay in my bed at night, I would envision spinning around on the grass and drinking the freshwater and longing for the mountains. The mountains symbolized HOPE for a better life for me and my family. The mountains moved and motivated me to be the best daughter I could possibly be. I made sure everything my mother asked of me was done because I didn’t want to jeopardize my weekends in the mountains. The summer of 1967, was the best summer of my life. I give thanks to God for Mr. Shorty creating TIME for us to share an everlasting experience. No matter where I am or what’s going on in my life, even to this day, I can always go to the mountains. You see, I spent TIME there. I had touched, smelled, and tasted peace and love; a better life. I knew it existed; it was not just something I saw on television or read in a magazine; it was real. I wanted a better life, not just for me but for my mother and my family. Life’s journey from infancy to adulthood has such a powerful effect on us. It takes my breath away knowing the places and people that have an everlasting impact on our lives. I now live in the mountains where Mr. Shorty drove us every weekend during that wonderful summer of 1967. Thank you, Mr. Shorty. We love and miss you. I hope you are resting in love, in the mountains, completely at peace knowing you made a difference in my life. The thing about “TIME” is that it passes with a twinkling of an eye. Grab a hold of it, try and enjoy every moment of your time here. Be totally present to all of life’s wonders and try to find the good in people and if you can’t add value, just let it go. We are all a work in progress and there is no TIME, to major in the minors…TIME is passing, one day you’ll look up you’ll be 50, 60 years into your future celebrating your son’s 50th birthday. The one thing you don’t want to say is where did the TIME go? How did we get here? Being fully present gives you a day-by-day picture of your life and the lives of your loved ones. You being present to each day of your life will become your storybook. You’ll be able to sit back with your loved ones and share your experiences, your life from a place of being fully present and living life to the fullest, totally engaged in each moment. What a gift!

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