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Open Souls –

(Film: 2011) In the women’s prison in little Bavarian town Aichach, 1954/55, right in the course of the German Economic Miracle known as the Wirtschaftswunder, two women deliver their babies behind bars. But both boys – literally part of a golden generation – are not born into a motherhood-apple-pie world. Oppression, misery and the quest for a home will define their paths through life.

Baptism of Fire – From the Voice of The Mischlingskinder

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Seaside is a military town located on the outskirts of Monterey, California.  It was also home to many Brown Babies back in the 60’s as hundreds of Negro soldiers (as they were called back then) were stationed at Ft. Ord. Five minutes down the road on California State 1 Highway, was the city of Seaside that provided a “Jim-Crow-Free” sanctuary for the negro military families as hundreds of new and cheap homes sprawling under the sunny skies of this northern California town was eagerly snatched up by way of the G.I. bill.  I believe all Brown Babies have an intrinsic connection that sparks inside us when they meet each other. As a child, I would sense this connection when we would pass each other on the playgrounds, movies and school.  It felt like we were connected from another place, another time – a place inside our souls that could not be fingered on, yet touching an unknown quantity. 

Daddy was stationed at Ft. Ord California and I can still recollect that fragrant smell of sapling that oozed from the tall majestic cedar trees that permeated the beach town of Seaside.  Our brand new pink house seemed like a fairy tale castle sitting regally on the corner of Judson and Broadway.  The bicycles that were made for children back in the 60’s were huge, heavy and cumbersome and for the first-time bicycle rider, training wheels were a godsend.  One day, one of the training wheels came off my big red bicycle, but that didn’t stop me!  Becoming an expert within a space of five minutes, my Dad, who was outside watching me, decided to take the other training wheel off to see if I could ride without them!  Daddy gave me a push and off I went wobbling unsteadily at first and then came the balance – I got it!  I was so excited and proud riding up and down the street as my daddy cheered me on!  Trying to hold my bladder that was near to bursting, I steadfastly kept riding as the thrill was more important until I urinated on myself!  Ashamed and chagrined, I ran straight into the house with dad chuckling in the background. 

I loved Kindergarten!    Taking to it like a duck swimming in pond, I immersed myself in the awe of painting, play and laughter.  My energy levels seemed a bit out of the norm as compared to other children as I couldn’t keep still and/or keep quiet when asked by my teacher.  It was like having Duracell battery inside me that kept me ticking as I tirelessly engaged everything on a near-manic level.  When nap time came, I just could not go to sleep as the other kids did and my teacher was not at all happy with my boundless excitability. I recall my teacher giving me a card to take home to my parents.  A sense of fear came over me and I asked the teacher what it was. The said, “this is your report card that tells your parents how you are getting along.” I asked, “Why is there so much writing on mine as compared to the others?”  She said, “Don’t worry; it is not all that bad.”  Oh yeah, it was a long walk home that day, believe me!  When I arrived home I begrudgingly gave my report card to mommy.  She read it and then exploded; hollering at me and hurling expletives at me like stones.  I was scared and I felt that I had done something dreadfully wrong.  She told me that the teacher said that I talked too much and was too excitable.  She then proceeded to give me a butt whipping like there was no tomorrow, however I was more hurt and ashamed from her scolding. 

Sticks and stones never broke my bones, but the names always hurt me.

I believe Music is a gift from God and a Balm of Gilead to the wounded soul.  It is like a fire shut in our bones.  Can these bones live? Well, I will let you in on a secret – these bones not only live – just slap on Motown and these bones will dance!

When I first heard rock and roll music, I knew there was a God.  It was too good – too tremendous and I had no choice but to dance.  When Chubby Checker jumped out of our new Zenith Hi Fi Stereo, singing, “Come on Baby, Let’s Do the Twist”, I became the Soul and the Train. My God!  It was something about the rock and roll beat that merged my soul into one.  Childhood fears and anxieties would vanish when I danced.  It was like being touched with the Holy Ghost in church where deacons and missionary sisters would circle around you until you danced and shouted it out.  I remember Mommy teaching me how to do the twist and I was so thrilled when I got a hold of it. From that moment it was on and popping!  My mother seemed so  proud and happy and so was I, because this was one thing that gave me a sense of connection, not only with myself but more importantly with my mother because she when enjoyed my dancing, my performance, all my fears were abated.

One night while Pam and I were watching television, we heard a commotion of sorts going on and next thing we saw Daddy running out of my room with a burning mattress. He quickly ushered Pam and me into the garage as smoke begin to fill the house. What?  Mommy is not feeling well?  Why was mommy in my room?  Why can’t mommy wake up!  Years later I would come to understand that my mother was addicted to barbiturates and fell on my bed with a lit cigarette and the mattress caught on fire.  My mother’s addiction was a fire that not be quenched and would burn through the lives of everyone in her proximity.    Even as a child, I knew my dad was upset about mother’s ongoing demise. I can recall one evening while mom was away in the hospital, Daddy took Pam and me to the movies at Del Ray Theatre and when the theatre lights darkened and the movie began – I saw my Daddy with tears running from his eyes.

Mysteries speak deep
embracing the bluest known sadness
translating marooned thought-lights
into a river swelled with tears,

The crystal dam broke
around our temple familiar
and as we began to drown
our cries out distanced receptive ears.

Desperately we fought
the baptismal of Mommy’s fire
but her pain was much too heavy
for one to earnestly believe . . .

In the mysterious surrender
where our mommy could
eventually find peace….….

Attractors versus Transference – The Voice of The Mischlingskinder

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I believe all children are born into this world with an open connection to the spirit and are able to identify and resonate with adults who share and possess a child-like innocence and spirit which I call “attractors.”  These adults (Attractors’) are special souls that have never lost their child-heart and they enter into a child’s life at a time when the souls of these children require an inedible touch from a Higher Ground of being. I believe these are special patches of synchronicity that leaves a lasting imprint on the life of the child, to which they can fall back onto in their adult years, reminding them of a greater agenda. I believe children can immediately sense an attractor as their love resonates and draws the child to them.  One such person who entered my life was Annalise, our baby sitter, whose language of the heart helped me to know that I was acknowledged and loved.

Christmas Eve was a very prominent day and the start of the holiday festivities in Germany.  All us kids were huddled around our babysitter Annalise as she told the story of Knecht Ruprecht – who according to folklore would ask children to perform tasks, such as a dance or singing to impress upon Santa and Ruprecht that they were indeed good children. Those who performed badly would be beaten soundly by Ruprecht, and those who performed well were given a gift or some treats. Those who performed badly enough or had committed other misdeeds throughout the year were put into Ruprecht’s sack and taken away to Ruprecht’s home in the Black Forest to be consumed later, or to be tossed into a river.

Annalise was so lively and animated in sharing the story; she had all of us kids in rapt attention and I was thinking when is this creepy dude coming to put me in his sack and take me away?   Each of us was asked to either sing or do a little dance and I danced my heart out.  Afterwards, Annalise went to another room and came back with a bunch of twigs wrapped in ribbons with little bits of German chocolate tied onto them.  What a sight and what a joy it was when she said, “Rudi, you have been a good boy, have a piece of candy.

We left Germany in December 1959 and I still have this memory of struggling to pick up a large tan leather suitcase across the room and my dad laughing.  In fact, I loved to see my Daddy laugh.  On to Bremerhaven where we would set sail on the USS Maurice Rose to America!

Steaming primarily between New York and Bremerhaven, Germany, The USS Maurice Rose completed more than 150 round-trip voyages while carrying military dependents and European refugees and rotating combat-ready troops. Standing on the deck of the ship with shoulder harnesses attached, we were on our way to America!  The ship took 14 days to cross the Atlantic and at the end of our journey, I remember dad pointing to the Statue of Liberty as we entered port.  We got our kicks on route 66 wheeling across the country in Dad’s new 1959 Galaxie  Ford Starliner.  Three days later, we arrived in the port town on San Pedro, California, home to Revd Dewitt and Christine Bradley.

My mother, Alva Richardson is the daughter of Dewitt and Christine Bradley.  Her father, my Papa, was a minister.  Yea lawdy, Revd Bradley was a minister; however, Papa was also a rolling stone.  Those head swaying sisters who attended Union Baptist Church with those infamous “church butts” stretching their garments to near breaking point never missed Papa’s roving eyes. Grandma Christine on the other hand, was one of the kindest and loving people that would ever enter my life.  Grandma had specialness about her and she treated all of her grandchildren like precious gifts.  Grandma Christine was the exact opposite of her daughter Alva.

Our mother’s love and affection for her children started to deteriorate as soon as we touched the soil of the United States.  The novelty of our adoption was just that; a novelty.  I believe our mother adopted in order to feel good about herself.  Perhaps she believed that adopting children would ameliorate her own feelings of inadequacy and brokenness, and to putty the cracks in her drug addiction to a level of social buoyancy and respectability, as her addiction to drugs began before she knew anything about Pam and Rudi.

One of the unfortunate tragedies of the adoption process and placement of Brown Babies to African American families in the US, was the failure of the adoption agencies to administer a comprehensive psychological profile in order to ascertain the mental health of our adoptive parents to ensure they were psychologically sound and capable to take on such a major responsibility. Tragically, this oversight caused a great many adoptees undue hardship.

 My mother carried a tremendous amount of pain inside her and she lived her life like an un-blossomed flower, vengeful and angry and if other flowers were blossoming around her, she would quickly attack its roots making sure to siphon the nutrients and knowingly inhibiting their growth.  This may sound hard and quite frankly it is.  Untreated emotional and psychological issues are inevitably passed from parent to child through transference.

The Dance of Transference

Anger, shame and fear were the demons that forced their way into my adolescent house.  Their ill-timed reverberations voiced and painted a painful history that masked into a tincturing knee-jerk reality.  Unceremoniously tethered to a pole in the middle of a carousel operating by a force not created by God; I was forced to dance and balance without falling.  Near exhaustion and at the end of my emotional rope and seething with rage, I blindly raced towards one of the horses and snapped the rope I was tethered to. Fuck yeah! I succeeded in saddling the horse!  Angry, mad and hurt I commenced to beat the horse!  The carousel went faster and faster!  Tears were flying from the horse’s eyes and my hands began to tremble.  The music started to sound blurry and then went to a crescendo as the carousal mercifully came to a halt.  All the horses were in tears and I crawled towards the middle of the carousel huddled by the fact that every lash thrashed upon the horse, was thrashed upon myself!  I cried into a fleeting reprieve.  Exhausted, I fell headlong inside dreamscape – the realm of my unconscious – safety – peace!

Brown Babies

Brown Babies where are you today?
Do dreams unlock your translucent gates?
Ah! We come in a variety of colors –

Intrinsically and kindredly attached to one another.
Some were young in the throes of growing,
Some were shattered – Their hearts stopped knowing
That undefiled love from the Father of Light above.

Brown Babies, Brown Babies – Where are you?
Are you thriving in a decanter stained in blue –
Looking at the world through unnatural hues?

Brown Babies I feel your plight,
As I sit here with the Originator of Light.
His Rainbow of Promise shall be seen in the sky,
And every running tear shall be wiped from our eyes.

Brown Babies I will keep in touch.
Brown Babies – I love you so much.

Swing Low Sweet Chariot to Schweinfurt Germany

Completing the final edits of my book. Memory lane can become quite emotional, but it will be worth it in the end.

Rudi King Richardson

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The Beginning of Days

In the year 1955, just a stone’s throw away from the town’s main center of Schweinfurt Germany, stood Conn Barracks and Ledward Barracks; so close in proximity the soldiers practically saluted each other. Approximately 25 kilometers southeast would find you in the town of Kitzingen, home to Harvey Barracks and Larson Barracks. And further down the road, dotting the Bavarian landscape surrounding the Würzburg Castle, were four US Army Installations; Leighton Barracks, Faulenberg Kaserne, Hindenburg Barracks and Emery Barracks.  Thousands of military soldiers stationed inside this fifty kilometer radius proved a bountiful opportunity for the young impressionable German women who were enthralled with the American G.I. and the American way of life that exuded from these young bombastic soldiers.

Juicy Fruit/Double-mint Gum, Babe Ruth Candy Bars, Lucky Strike Cigarettes and Johnny Walker Red were in endless supply.  Ration cards and Black-market Soirees parlaying cartons of cigarettes, whiskey…

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Swing Low Sweet Chariot to Schweinfurt Germany

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The Beginning of Days

In the year 1955, just a stone’s throw away from the town’s main center of Schweinfurt Germany, stood Conn Barracks and Ledward Barracks; so close in proximity the soldiers practically saluted each other. Approximately 25 kilometers southeast would find you in the town of Kitzingen, home to Harvey Barracks and Larson Barracks. And further down the road, dotting the Bavarian landscape surrounding the Würzburg Castle, were four US Army Installations; Leighton Barracks, Faulenberg Kaserne, Hindenburg Barracks and Emery Barracks.  Thousands of military soldiers stationed inside this fifty kilometer radius proved a bountiful opportunity for the young impressionable German women who were enthralled with the American G.I. and the American way of life that exuded from these young bombastic soldiers.

Juicy Fruit/Double-mint Gum, Babe Ruth Candy Bars, Lucky Strike Cigarettes and Johnny Walker Red were in endless supply.  Ration cards and Black-market Soirees parlaying cartons of cigarettes, whiskey and steaks. Juke boxes everywhere – cranking out Rock and Roll – rhythm and soul – Chubby Checker, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, and Thurston Harris singing, “Little Bitty Pretty One.”  Oh! What a Time, what a time, what a time! 

The Germans and the American Caucasian soldiers were “steaming mad “as they had to endure the semi-tones of the Fräulein and the coloured soldier, who were having a wonderful and beautiful experience enjoying each other’s company both on the Straße and in the bedroom.  The coloured man’s sexual prowess and size of his genitalia (imagined or real) tore into the psycho-sexual fears of “white maleness.”  The lines were drawn and the introverted re-cultivation of old “Jim Crow” borrowed from across the Atlantic, tried to make his stand in segregating the nightclubs.  However, Jim Crow, divisible or no, could not and would not scare these love-birds away who continued to roost and produce in the midst their corn yard.

Misery and tragedy fell upon the mix-raced child – born in a country that didn’t want us and whose citizenship continued to orbit around the globe, because of the cowardice and inability of both the German and US Military to fully acknowledge our God-given birthright.  These Brown Babies would never blend in with the thousands of Caucasian “war babies” and the mere sight of the them unleashed a callous and calculated hatred that spilled out from the archaic Germanic sense of reference, albeit coursing through the veins of our so-called “care givers” to whom the government in collusion with the Jugendampt judiciously downloaded.

When that pretty light-skinned black lady came through the door on that great getting up morning, the small battery operated globe I was playing with dropped out of my hands and my heart skipped a beat!  This was the first day in my life and memory when I saw colours – I mean Technicolor – because before then all my horrible and suffocating memories surviving in that Children’s Home were in black and white.

The light skinned lady spoke a few words to a gray haired elderly woman who was sitting at the table.  For some reason I felt anxious.  Swing low – Sweet Chariot, yea, I was whisked up hand in hand with the pretty lady who gave me a plastic candy cane filled with candy!  Wow! What is this?  She directed me to the grey haired white lady and motioned me to give her a goodbye hug.  She seemed like a stranger to me – I could not feel who she was.   I recall no feelings of affection in leaving that day. In fact, I felt a childlike sense to go.   Decades later, I would recall the trauma and abuse that I suffered in Schweinfurt and it was no wonder why I grabbed the pretty lady’s hand and never looked back. I was afraid to.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin’ for to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin’ for to carry me home.