Tag: London 2012

Special Connection with First Famous Female

For many African American famous firsts, it is either getting late in the evening or night has come for their final rest, as is the case for Alice Coachman Davis, the first African American woman to win an Olympic Gold medal.

Mrs Coachman-Davis, who won her medal for the high jump at London’s Wembley Stadium in 1948, died on Monday, July 14 at the age of 90. Though her achievement itself is enough to celebrate, where it happened and where she is from makes the achievement that much more special for me.

From Albany, Georgia (the place I have called home for years now, though my family originates from nearby Leary) the record breaker won the medal right up the street from where I live now, if you will. More than 60 years later, Wembley Stadium continues to host some sporting events such as football, also known as soccer to some. Years ago, Paul and I saw Tina Turner and Lionel Richie perform there.

How appropriate for me to be in this space about now.

Somehow I can’t help feeling a special connection. Though I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Mrs Coachman-Davis, I have known of her for years, if only through the school that bears her name in Albany.

Interestingly enough, my sister Carrie, who has been in the Dougherty County School System for many years now, landed her first teaching job at Coachman Park Elementary School. And the story gets better.

Her then principal, Mrs Obzeine Shorter, was one of my first grade teachers.  In those days, the class was split between two teachers.  The other was a Mrs Boston, also from Albany.  To the best of my knowledge the latter woman died some years ago. Mrs Shorter lives on.

Wonderful firsts but not the lasts, I am sure. At London 2012, for example, women continued to make history. Females secured 29 of Team USA’s 46  medals. The women’s basketball players  won their 5th consecutive Olympic gold medal in London.

What a fitting to time to look at some of the noteworthy firsts in life. Share your memories here. As for now, I join thousands, if not millions, of others in celebrating the life of Alice Coachman-Davis and extending my condolences to her family.

No rain, no wind can stop the heat of London

June 11, 2012 – If you are in London today, my advice is to stay in, unless you really have to go out!

I know, I know, that’s not sound advice for tourism, coming from one of the capital’s biggest fans. Sorry but the rain is dogged and wet and cold, so much so that I cannot think of another thing to write about this week. Honestly.

All I can think is that I hope the rain, as soft as it is, doesn’t carry on for Wimbledon, for the Olympics, heck for summer.

But what if it does? We can’t stay in all summer. Some people have to get out to work, albeit I can stay here and work, and God knows I have plenty to do. But I do have things to do outside you know such as getting to the hair salon.

And as the famous Ain’t No Mountain High Enough lyrics go: “No wind no rain or winters cold can stop me baby.”

Call me conceited, but this is a proven fact. I went this morning.

So why am I telling you to give up your holiday for the rain. You came here to play. After all, London is one of the world’s greatest cities. Apologies, I stand corrected. Tourists and Londoners alike get out and enjoy the capital.

Here are the top five things (in my view) to do when the rain won’t go away:

  • Get thee to the Tate Modern. You can spend the day there browsing from floor to the floor and when you’ve had enough, check out one of the cafes or the restaurant on Level 7.  Even if you don’t dine there, you can see one of the best views in London, including the Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral. And when the rain lets up, make your way across the bridge to St. Paul’s.
  • If you don’t want to venture as far as the South Bank, get thee to South Kensington and enjoy the museums, all of them–the V & A, the Science Museum, and the Natural History Museum–if you can squeeze them in. And somewhere in between have a bite to eat at one of the trendy restaurants in the area.  I can highly recommend the Hummingbird Bakery for the world’s best cupcakes. Not a meal but some have been known to make a meal out of the carrot cake cupcakes.
  • If you’re sixteen and you think art galleries and museums are for your parents, get thee to Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush. It’s all there, but you’ll need plenty of dosh for this upscale haunt. So drag your parents along if you can. If you can’t, well, never mind! Go anyhow. Also, Westfield has a centre in Stratford, near the Olympic Village.
  • Don’t really want a mall, can get that at home, so you want something indigenous to London–Harrods! Yes get thee to the celebrated British department store, located in the heart of Knightsbridge. You could spend the day there, browsing and gawking. And when you’ve had enough, take your pick of restaurant or café right there.
  • Exhausted now… Get thee to a spa for a pedicure, manicure, or facial, whatever you fancy. My favourite at the moment is Hush on Pimlico Road. Ask for Cindy for the world’s best manicure.

Anyhow, whatever you do, kit out in a good rain coat, rain hat and umbrella. If you don’t, you might need a good hair salon and I know just the one — the Award Winning Junior Green in Knightsbridge. If you can, see one of the owners Joy or Junior. If not, any stylist there will do. Promise!

There, all dry and comfy now and feeling the heat again. Umm, maybe the warmth will have to do.