I can’t say who is the better liar, the bolder, America or me. This is a dishonest question because one does not exist without the other. American lies make me who I am. My family came to this country from Jamaica to profit from the American lies and to absorb the overhead costs of abject suffering.
Lucinda Taylor, her first name Lucinda Hodges, taught at PS 20, one of Brooklyn’s oldest elementary schools, from 1984 to 1998, spanning the crack era in New York City. She had seen and experienced the heroine craze of the ’70s, when Times Square was nothing more than a drug addict’s paradise and a picture of her children’s worst fears. Aunt Lu saw her sister’s only child struggle with crack addiction and warned her fifth-graders to say no to the sweetest candies America would ever provide them. The Brooklyn schools where Lu taught somehow challenged the American prosperity that flourished nearby.
Yet Lu kept her dream, like those before her, and bought a brown stone on the edge of Clinton Hill in the mid-1970s, which was eminently risky at the time. The plague of crack-ravaged neighborhoods devalued Brown Stones to as little as $ 5,000 in a 1981 auction. That might be enough for a monthly rent payment in one now. She kept this house until 2019, a decade after the death of her husband William. A buyer slipped a handwritten note under her door and she accepted the offer. The crack babies and drunks of her avenue once roamed her classroom.
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