It had been a couple of weeks since we’d moved from East Cleveland to Morris Black Place. My sister and brother and I had gone back to our old neighborhood for my brother’s football practice. He’d played for the PAL 5 Raiders when we lived in Glenville.
We laughed and joked with the other cheerleaders and the players who were on the sidelines. They were supposed to be paying attention to the coaches and the players on the practice field. But I think they were having much more fun joking around with us than watching the starters on the field. My sister and I cheered and jeered at perfectly thrown spirals and dropped passes. We didn’t have to think of our return to the projects, our new home, until practice was over.
“Goodbye, Mrs. Young," my sister and I said to our cheerleading coach as we began walking towards my brother who was gathering his equipment.
“I heard you guys moved," she replied.
“Yes mam, we did.”
“Where did you guys move to? I can take you home.”
I paused and my heart beat quicker. My sister looked at me. “That’s okay. We can take the bus”.
I hemmed and hawed a bit more as Mrs. Young thought she was doing us a favor. She didn’t know that I was dying of embarrassment. All of my friends were poor, but we’d just become “projects poor.”
Vonita Burke is a Buckeye-Shaker resident who is passionate about reading and learning. She teaches yoga at the Harvey Rice Library, where she found her way to a Who We Are, Where We Live workshop.
Visit Literary Cleveland's Who We Are, Where We Live online anthology for more from the Buckeye/Shaker community.
Community Anthology Table of Contents
About the program
Who We Are, Where We Live is a free community writing program giving voice to people who live and work in the Buckeye/Shaker community. Participants write stories, learn about their neighborhood, and share with their neighbors. Annually, selected writings are published here in an online anthology and presented at a final reading and celebration.