Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The 1970's was a time when women were addressed as Mrs. or Miss. (Picture on right is Ieula Ann Dick Baird as a young woman)
Although her income was small, Mrs. Baird always had enough money to loan or share with any friend or neighbor. This had been true as far back as I remember. I learned much from my mother about many things and one was leanring how to "stretch a dollar." Mama also had enough money to pay her utility bills, and she had enough to buy any groceries, pay her doctor and pay for any medicine she needed.
She had electricity, a telephone and indoor plumbing; luxuries that were not available to her in her early years. She had a television, where she would always tune in to hear Billy Graham and other pastors when their preaching was televised. She kept up with the daily broadcasts of The Guiding Light soap opera and read religiously the Bible , other Christian books and the daily newspaper.
The Atlanta Braves! Mama was their biggest fan. Although Mama had a hearing loss, she turned the television up loud and listened until the game was over, even when the game continued after midnight. One time her closest neighbor (the lady who shared the duplex) complained, “Mrs. Baird, I cannot sleep with your television on so loud, could your turn the sound down?”
Mama told her kindly, “Mrs. Mathis, I am sorry but I cannot hear it if the sound is turned lower. But I am going to watch the Braves the brief time they play.” Mama then went on to explain to Mrs. Mathis how she herself had worked at night for a time and how she could sleep soundly during many daytime noises by training herself to shut out the daytime sounds. Mama told her, "Mrs. Mathis, now when you hear the Braves playing on my TV, you just think to yourself, 'Mrs. Baird is enjoying listening to the Braves,' and then just put it out of your mind, turn over and go back to sleep."
As the youngest daughter, I visited my mother probably more often than any of my siblings. But she would tell me not to neglect my own family or my own church to visit her - that she was fine. But I would visit and while there, do any shopping or chores she needed done.
Wonderfully, I did need to not worry about her as much because she had wonderful neighbors in and out of her house often and a nice "Grocer man“ who come to the door to take her order as long as she lived.
It was Mr. Barkley who owned and operated a small grocery store between Porterdale and Covington. I was visiting one day when he stopped in to see what groceries Mama needed.
He came into her unlocked and opened back door, sat down on a chair near Mama and said, “Mrs. Baird, what do you need today?
Mama replied, “Mr. Barkley, I’m about out of apples," Then she added, “I need a sack of flour and some co-colas and a few eggs.” He seemed to already know the amount of each item.
Later in the afternoon, Mr. Barkley was back with the groceries, lifted them out of his box, sat them on her kitchen table and gave Mama the bill. She counted out the cash and paid for her groceries.
Mama also had a doctor who had known her for a long time and was almost as old as she. Dr. Sams made house calls and was always ready to come to see her at her home whenever she needed medical care. This was a great situation as Mama did not drive.
I am told that my mother had been quite adapt at driving a “horse and buggy" early on but had no interest in learning to drive a car.
As Mama was getting to the end of her life, I visited her more often and had told her to please call day or night when she needed me. She called one day and said, "Ruth, you told me to call you when I needed you. I need you." I went down immediately and decided as soon as I arrived (about an hour away) I needed to call Dr. Sams and take her to the hospital in Covington.
Mama lived only two more days. As my oldest sister Louise and I stood at her bedside, Dr. Sams said with tears in his eyes, "Ruth, I am so sorry about your mother." Mama died on Dec 7, 1973. She would have been 89 the next March sixth.
Dr. Sams, her doctor, died 4 months later. Mr. Barkley, her grocer, also had a fatal heart attack a few months later and his grocery store was closed after his death.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
They tell about "Brittany," at age 16 was drugged into oblivion while pimps sent as many as 17 clients an evening through the door in a sleasy hotel in Atlanta.
A "john" could even pre-book the pretty young blonde for $1,000 a night, and where the world's busiest passenger airport provides a cheaper, more convenient and safer underage sex destination for men seeking girls as young as 10.
"Men fly in, are met by pimps, have sex with a 14-year-old for lunch, and get home in time for dinner with the family," said Sanford Jones, the chief juvenile judge of Fulton County, Georgia.
A new federal law passed in 2003 ensures that American sex tourists landing on foreign soil and hiring prostitutes under the age of 18 can get 30 years in prison.
But in Georgia, punishment for pimping or soliciting sex with a girl under 18 is only five to 20 years, according to Deborah Espy, the Deputy District Attorney of Fulton County.
"Men are coming to Atlanta to have sex with a child," said LaKendra Baker, project manager for the Center to End Adolescent Sexual Exploitation (CEASE).
Half of the street-level prostitutes in Atlanta are believed to be under 18, according to experts.
Others are booked through Internet sex sites and from social sites like Black Planet, where girls innocently post profiles, said Baker.
Just in March, police arrested a Canadian man meeting a 14-year-old girl he found through the Internet, said Cathey Steinberg, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Fund, which funds treatment for abused girls and prevention.
Another man drove from North Georgia, with a bag containing a teddy bear, a love note and condoms, snorting methamphetamine on the way.
He expected a 13-year-old girl, but instead found Heather Lackey, a corporal with the Peachtree City Police Department.
"People are stunned that Atlanta's the No. 1 sex center in the country," said Steinberg.
The FBI has identified 14 U.S. cities as centers for the sexual exploitation of children. In addition to Atlanta, they are Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.
RUNAWAYS AT MOST RISK
In all, an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 underage girls are prostituted in the United States, according to a University of Pennsylvania study.
Most youths caught up in the sex trade are runaways, like Brittany, whose 19-year-old "rescuers" soon demanded a return on their investment.
"I didn't have any place to go. My mom hated me for what I was doing to the family," said Brittany, who did not want to be identified by her real name.
Up to 90 percent of runaways are believed to end up as prostitutes, with a third lured into prostitution within 48 hours. Some are sold into sexual slavery by their parents, according to a 2005 study by the Atlanta Women's Agenda.
Some get seduced by recruiters. Pimps use handsome young men and sometimes girls as fronts.
"A 16-year-old controlling a group of girls will not face the same penalties an adult would receive," said Patricia Crone, director of the Office of Juvenile Justice Demonstration Project.
Once snagged, the grooming process begins. Typically, the pimp's friends sleep with her, then come threats, beatings and gang rapes. Caresses and gifts, including drugs and alcohol, follow abuse, the Atlanta Women's Agenda study found.
Brittany said she was showered with fancy dinners, clothes and methamphetamine. But she also describes horror. "It made me feel dirty. It was demeaning," said Brittany.
The sex slaves are trafficked in and out of cities to supply sporting events, conventions or rap concerts.
During the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, one man kept boys and hosted sex parties nightly, said Baker of the group CEASE.
The pimps even held an annual "Player's Ball" in Atlanta in 2003, openly buying and selling women and naming a "Player of the Year," according to the Atlanta Women's Agenda study.
The risks are worth it. While there are few reliable statistics, child sexual exploitation is believed to be the world's third-biggest money maker for organized crime, said Stephanie Davis, policy adviser to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.
One reason for the demand is the false assumption that youths are disease-free.
On the contrary, with tissues not fully developed, they are more prone to lacerations. HIV infections among females aged 16 to 21 are 50 percent higher than for men, a 1998 study in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes reported.
Atlanta has won two new federal grants to establish units to fight the trafficking of underage sex slaves and to hire more undercover detectives, said Carole Morgan, director of the North Central Georgia Law Enforcement Academy.
But the experts fear that may not be enough.
"It won't stop until people say, 'My city isn't safe for kids anymore,'" said Crone.
"This is a place where you can buy, sell or rent kids. It must be stopped."
© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.
Friday, January 01, 2010
WHEN A SOLDIER COMES HOME ...IT IS SOMETIMES HARD...
...to be tolerant of people who complain about the hassle of getting ready for work.
When a soldier comes home, he finds it hard....
...to keep a straight face when people complain about potholes
IT IS SOMETIMES HARD
...to be understanding when a co-worker complains about a bad night's sleep
...to be silent when people pray to God for a new car.
...to control his panic when his wife tells him he needs to drive slower.
...to be compassionate when a businessman expresses a fear of flying.
...to keep from laughing when anxious parents say they're afraid to send their kids off to summer camp.
...to keep from ridiculing someone who complains about hot weather.
...to control his frustration when a colleague gripes about his coffee being cold.
...to remain calm when his daughter complains about having to walk the dog.
...to be civil to people who complain about their jobs.
...to be forgiving when someone says how hard it is to have a new baby in the house.
The only thing harder than being a Soldier.. Is loving one.