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70 Years and Beyond
9 minutes | Jun 20, 2022
I Thought We Would Be Kinder
Lately, I don't recognize my world. Of course, I expected things to change over the years. However, it feels like we are going in the wrong direction Support the show
50 minutes | Apr 8, 2022
Our Mental Health Journeys
Today, I am with Dr. Keba Richmond Green. Professor Green is doing a series of podcasts introducing her classes entitled “Eating for Your Mental Health.” Professor Green is a licensed marriage and family psychoanalyst, relationship coach, consultant, published author, and international speaker. She is dedicated to helping women become self-aware of past and present life experiences. In this podcast, one of two parts, we discuss our mental health journeys. Disclaimer: Nothing in the podcast episode should be considered medical advice—the information in this podcast is personal experience and opinion. Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/wambuistories )
6 minutes | Mar 15, 2022
No Cursing! I Got It When I Need It ***Not Explicit, but I do say a few curse words***
***Not Explicit, but I do say a few curse words***When I grew up, we were not allowed to curse. The word 'curse' was considered a curse word and we could only use the words 'bad words' to describe profanity.We could say, "Oh, they were saying bad words." Or, we could say, "They were cussing." Because even the word 'curse' was considered a bad word. But it was ok to use the word 'cuss'. The word 'hell' was considered a bad word. And to this day, it is still ingrained in me not to curse. I have a hard time cursing or using profanity. And that's probably a good thing. I think it's a good thing, and I'm proud of that. It's just that sometimes I wish I could lighten up a little bit and throw some words around to some people in situations where they are warranted. Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/wambuistories )
10 minutes | Mar 7, 2022
My High School Parties - Greensboro, Norh Carolina -1960s
In 1968 in Greensboro, North Carolina, I was a senior at James B. Dudley High School. I loved weekend parties! On the weekends, someone at my school - at least one person, would be giving a party on a Friday night or Saturday night. Sometimes there'd be several parties on Friday night, as well as several parties on Saturday night on the same weekend. I made it my business to be at all of them! Now, I was not necessarily invited to all or any of them. However, I made it my business to be at all of them.
7 minutes | Feb 21, 2022
That Time I Decided That I Wanted To Be A Waitress
It is Greensboro, North Carolina. The year is 1968. I am a senior at James B. Dudley High School. We're all just trying to find something to focus on. At least I am. Because we were left feeling 'some kind of way' when they killed Martin Luther King, Jr. last month. I know I'm just trying to focus on graduating. I'm focused on going to college - and I want to make some money. So I saw in the paper where Tex and Shirley's Pancake House was looking for a waitress. Support the show
18 minutes | Feb 16, 2022
I remember when you could smoke in a restaurant. I remember you could smoke just about anywhere. In fact, your cars - cars were built with ashtrays above the door handle in the back and front seats. Also, there was a cigarette lighter built into the dashboard near the driver. Cigarettes were recommended for morning sickness if you were pregnant. Some people recommended cigarettes as a laxative. I remember, of course, cigarettes were recommended highly as a way to relax or something to use to calm your nerves or to help if you had anxiety.Real doctors did actually encourage people to have cigarettes. Now, I grew up, as you know, in North Carolina, and North Carolina, as well as Virginia, were considered the "tobacco states".
13 minutes | Feb 11, 2022
Bags Full of Money
I'm living in New York City. It is 1984/ 85. I'm now the mother of two wonderful, beautiful little girls. But I'm struggling. I am struggling financially. I am struggling mentally. I am struggling emotionally.I am struggling spiritually. I am struggling with my marriage. I am struggling in almost any way that a person could struggle. I am struggling in that way. I am also very much a part of the mental health system . . .Now, every day, I was praying that I need to get out of New York City because knowing New York City as I did, I knew enough to know that we did not want to be poor in New York City . . . Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/wambuistories )
7 minutes | Sep 15, 2021
Why and How I Got A New Name
Wambui was born to Mr. and Mrs. John Louis Washington of Greensboro, North Carolina in January of 1950. Her mother thought she could predict whether she was going to have a boy or a girl. She predicted that Wambui was going to be a boy. Wambui was a girl. However, her mother named her John Washington anyway. She changed the middle name from Louis to Ann. Wambui's birth name was John Ann Washington. In this podcast, Wambui tells the story of why and how she legally changed her name from John Ann Washington to Wambui Bahati and how her mother reacted.
8 minutes | Sep 12, 2021
My Aunt Thelma Lived and Died On Her own Terms
"My Aunt Thelma was 85 years old when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. The doctors told her without immediate surgery, she would have from a few months - or maybe just a few weeks to live. I am told that my aunt said to the doctors, 'I ain't not having no surgery'. We all tried to convince her to have the operation, but she refused. To make a long story short, Aunt Thelma lived a wonderful and active life on her own and reached the age of 94. She had kept up the payments on her insurance and planned her funeral. She had given the funeral home her insurance papers to make sure her services were covered. She had been in the hospice Goldsboro, North Carolina only a few days when the funeral home called my brother to say that the life insurance policy had just expired. How ironic. My Aunt Thelma and her insurance policy expired on the very same day." Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/wambuistories )
5 minutes | Sep 10, 2021
MY Mama Should Have Been The Border Czar
Wambui Bahati tells a story of how, when growing up in Greensboro North Carolina in the 1950s and 1960's, her mother kept an eye on which children could and could not enter their home. Wambui believes that her mother was so good at investigating the children that she did not recognize - that her mother could have been a border czar.
10 minutes | Sep 8, 2021
Mama Meets My White Boyfriend
At least one of Wambui Bahati's husbands was a white man. In sharing her personal history, she shares this story of when she took her white boyfriend to her home in Greensboro North Carolina to meet her mother. It was the very early 1980s, however, both Wambui and her mother had lived through Jim Crow laws. Was her mother ready for interracial dating? And what about the idea of her daughter being in an interracial marriage?"At least one of my husbands was a white man. And I remember when I wanted him to meet my mother and for my mother to meet him. OK, we're talking about the early, very early 80s. We were making a move from New Jersey to California.And so we made a special trip before going to California, made a trip down from New Jersey to North Carolina to see my mother. Now, before we'd gotten there, I had arranged that we were probably going to visit her around noon.I didn't want to go at night because I figured, well, I didn't want to keep her up. And I knew that my mother went to sleep early. My mother is a very social person in her own way. She's not a partier or a drinker or a clubber. She's never been one of those people that just, you know, lived like that. Most of our social activities were centered around her church or around people who went to her church. So I thought noon would be a good time. It was a weekday. And when we got into the city, I called and I said, so we're going to come by at around noon.Right. And she said, noon. Oh, she said, Oh, honey, I don't think that's a good time. She said, I think, hmm. She said, I have a meeting at the church at noon. So can you make it a little later?And so I said, sure. Well, how about two? And my mother said, well, you know, I don't know if the meeting will be over. But even if it is, you know, a lot of times I give people rides home after the meeting.And I said, OK, well, we're talking three or four. And she said, three or four. I said, OK, what about by what, about five o'clock? She said, what day is it? I told her. She said, Oh baby. Mm hmm.How did I forget that? I have a hair appointment today. I got to go to the beauty shop at five o'clock. I said, OK, well then seven. She said. Seven. OK. OK. I just don't want you to come here and I may not be here, because when I go to the meeting at noon today . . ."
12 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
How I Got To New York City
My family and I, in the 1950s and 1960s, in Greensboro, North Carolina didn't travel a lot. When we did travel, it was usually within the state of North Carolina. Occasionally we would take the train to the state of South Carolina because that is where my father was born and we still had relatives there. By the time I was in Junior High School, I already knew I wanted to be an Actress. I had also learned that it wasn't wise to tell anybody that I knew in Greensboro that I wanted to be an actress. In high school, I read about a new school in New York City where I could study acting and theater all day. I applied. I was accepted. We couldn't afford it. And, then - out of the blue - a bitter-sweet miracle happened. I found myself saying, "Ma, I'm going to New York City! Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/wambuistories )
9 minutes | Sep 6, 2021
Straighten Your Hair!?
Wambui talks about her hair - from the straitening or straighten hot comb to afro and many things in between. She shares the story of when two students showed up at her high school one day in the late 60's with un-straitened or natural hair and what the reaction was. "Every now and then I got an ear, burnt - nothing too badly, though, but I did get a burns on my ear sometimes and sometimes a little burn on my neck. But that was that was a big deal when I think about the fact that somebody had this thing in their hand.You don't know how hot it is. And they're saying, come here, let me straighten your hair. I know when I was little, we always wanted to have straight hair. We want it straight here. And I guess that was because we were seeing images on the TV.Those of us that had a TV could see images of the TV and in movies and magazines of women with the straight hair. The Caucasian women had straight hair. And so we want it straight hair, too. We wanted to be able to make those ponytails and make curls and just have be able to flip it like that.Chemical straightening was not really part of I didn't know anybody who got it wasn't a thing back in the fifties and sixties. Not in my community. Chemical straightening, but we use royal crown of jelly. It was a there was a a grease, I guess you would call it grease, but your hair called Royal Crown.That's what we used. It was it came in a red jar, had a red label that looked pretty like it was royal, had a crown on it, had a silver top. It's called Royal Crown. And so we will put that on our hair.And then my mother would straighten our hair. And so these two girls showed up at my school and they had Afros. Now, I didn't see them to this day. I wish I had seen them, but I was hearing about it.I mean, it went. It just spread all over the school. Oh, my God. And they would call their name. Oh, my God. They came to school with Afros. They didn't straighten their hair. And this was in sixty five or sixty six.I graduated in sixty eight. So I'm thinking it's somewhere around sixty six, maybe sixty seven. And the news just spread like wildfire. Oh, my God. They showed up at school and they did not have their hair straightened. That was a big deal because we didn't know what where that went, where that fit in any place.And so I don't think they were not suspended, to my knowledge. But they were sent home and told they couldn't come back until they straighten their hair. And and we're talking about a black school. But it was in the 60s and nobody knew how that fit in to where that was supposed to go.So nobody was sure what to do with that. My sister, who was at Howard University, came home for Christmas break and she had an afro. And I just was like, she was my hero. I was so impressed. Oh, my God, how brave you are not to straighten your hair.And I just I just thought it was pretty amazing. I didn't know if I was brave enough to do that, but I just thought, wow, my sister's got guts. And and she had an afro. And I remember my mother saying to her, you know, you can't go to church unless you straighten your hair . . ." Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/wambuistories )
23 minutes | Feb 25, 2021
On Being Black
I'm not feeling the racial tension in our society that I keep hearing about today in the news and social media. I grew up in North Carolina with Jim Crow Laws. However, I never felt anyone or any race was superior to me and my race. There are some white people I like and some that I don't like. There are some black people that I like and some that I don't like. I can't think of anything a white woman can do that I can not do. Economically I may be a little challenge. However, I feel that there were times when I could have made better financial choices. Today, I am good. And, I feel good. Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/wambuistories )
10 minutes | Jan 8, 2021
Never So Happy to Walk Among the Dead
My mother's mother, Beady Davis Howell, was the granddaughter of slaves and the daughter of sharecroppers. They lived in the area that is now known as Goldsboro, North Carolina. My grandmother, a beautiful woman, who had she been born a few decades later would have been sought after by the fashion magazines and the top model agencies.She was slim, tall, had high cheek bones and was a very fashionable woman. My grandmother made a living from picking cotton and tobacco when she was younger. And then, during the time I knew her, she made a living by taking in washing and cleaning other people's homes. I don't remember having long conversations with my grandmother . . .My grandmother's funeral would have been normal if the woman driving the car we were in had not burped. Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/wambuistories )
17 minutes | Jan 6, 2021
Gone With The Wind and Me
I'm going to start with a story that starts at 1976. I'm 26 years old living in New York city. I'm an actress, of course, as an actress, you're always looking for your next job. So I get a call that they're looking for a Prissy for a musical version of Gone With the Wind.Now I had heard about a musical version of Gone With the Wind a few years prior. I think it started on the West coast and then it ended up in London. I don't know what happened to it after that. So this was a call -they were trying to cast a Prissy for a Dallas Summer Musicals, a production that would go to a few other cities.And if everything went well, it would come back to Broadway in the fall. So I wanted to audition. Plus I, I loved watching, Butterfly McQueen in that movie. And so I thought, well, yeah, I'd like to be Prissy and a musical version of Gone With the Wind. Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/wambuistories )
15 minutes | Jan 3, 2021
Church was very important in our lives. It was the place where we would go to meet new people, be with our friends outside of school, and socialize. Because of Jim Crow laws, there weren't a lot of places where we could go to do these things. So church became that place. Our Lives revolved around three different places. They were school, church and work, if you were an adult. I loved church. One of the things I loved best about church was that we got to dress up. It was the one place I could go and wear really special, pretty dresses and wear all those crinolines that made my poofy dress stand out, far far from my body. My mother dressed us well, not just for church.My mother believed in dressing, but then, the whole community seemed to be about being dressed and taking pride in how we looked. It's not that we had a lot of money. We didn't. My mother was a domestic. She made 25 cents an hour. My father worked for the United States post office as a mail handler. My father was an alcoholic. So a lot of times we didn't see a lot of that money. So it wasn't about the money. It was about pride. It was about feeling good. Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/wambuistories )
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