Everybody has a story that they want to write, and Write Around Portland gives you the opportunity to do that. That journal helped me bring myself out.—Rebecca Tayvies
Rebecca Tayvies first wrote with us in 2015 at Home Forward, Ruth Haefner Plaza for adults living in affordable housing. Her piece below, “Story of a Single Parent,” was published in our Summer 2015 anthology, Paper in My Shoes, and the title of this anthology comes from her piece. We interviewed Rebecca back in 2015. You can read that interview to learn more about Rebecca and her experience in a Write Around Portland workshop.
Pictured: Rebecca (right) with her daughter.
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Story of a Single Parent
by Rebecca Tayvies
My children came along when I was very young. And I often wondered how things were going to come or turn out. Down through the years I had to move from one place or city or state to find a good place. Starting from down south—in Selma, Alabama where I was born and raised—I had to do things I was afraid to do such as make that fifty-mile walk from Selma to Montgomery because I wanted my kids to grow up with a good education and have a good future. I only got one pair of shoes a year, and after a while the soles had got very thin. As we started to march I had to put paper in my shoes so that I would have some kind of padding. My mother and grandmother said I was very hard on shoes. They bought me a pair of ripple-sole shoes to last. After that march I was sent to New York—I was the only black face in the classroom. I said, Well Lord, here I am. I was destined to see this through.
After a year I became pregnant with my first son. My dad flew me to Compton, California, tried to take my son and raise him as his own. I left and went back to Alabama to see my son. That didn’t work. By that time Rev. King was dead. I had three children. I had gotten training between those times and my kids had got big size by then. I was back in Port Chester, New York, met a new person in my life, got married, moved to Portland, came out here, had my kids transferred from a black school to mixed, across the bridge.
Times went on. As my kids grew up, I took care of mentally handicapped people in my home for thirty years. Doing that for thirty years, I had my ups and downs here in Portland. My husband ended up in prison. I kept trying to overcome. Time went on for my babies—one went in the Marine Corps, one became a parole officer here in Portland, one went to the National Guard. And one went on causing me problems down through the years, including working on Martin Luther King Boulevard. So I feel with all of this I can say, Well done. My kids look back on things in the past. We laugh about the funny things and cry sometimes about the bad times. But that’s life.
© 2015 Rebecca Tayvies & Write Around Portland, from our anthology, Paper in My Shoes