The Taylor family has reached the 21st century with a proud history through its accomplishments, relying on God and using education as a means to guide them from its humble beginning after slavery. However, there are still many struggles that face them now.
What about the Taylors???? takes a look at the family today. Through five moving stories that show a sense of values and humor, it deals with how the relatives cope with daily situation such as joyous occasions, arguments, or even the loss of a loved one. The family soon realizes that the best thing to do is to stick together for the future, knowing this is important for the family's sake.
Buy your copy!
Barnes & Noble.com
Terrell Taylor’s family lived on 24th Street, part of a working class neighborhood on the west side of Brookdale, Arkansas, which was located south of Little Rock. Most of the families there had parents or grandparents that had attended old Lanton High School back when the schools were still segregated; were members of one of the six churches scattered around the west side; or worked at one of the five major companies in town. People knew one another, and they looked out for each other’s children. They said hello or waved to others while driving by in cars, and found out the latest news from either television, the newspaper, or the latest gossip said at barbershops, beauty salons, and either social or athletic events. They were also fierce fans of Westside High School’s football team, which had won the last three straight class 3A championships in Arkansas.
Brookdale High was built into a much larger high school two years ago in 1982, while Westside High had been built when segregation ended in 1965. Though it did not have the facilities that its sister school had, people within the community took the initiative to see that the students got the educational experience that they deserved as they had done with Lanton High. From Westside High came future lawyers, engineers, doctors, teachers, and business owners. But these days, the well-to-do families were moving out toward the newly built upscale neighborhoods by Town Square Mall, which was soon to be constructed. And slowly, the neighborhood that surrounded Westside High was starting the lose the identity that it once had.
Though both high schools took pride in the education of their students, it seemed that the local newspaper would report more about the events and scholastic achievement awards at Brookdale than at Westside. Brookdale also had one of the best athletic facilities in the state. However, there was one thing it couldn’t do, and that was to defeat Westside High in football. People would come from miles around to see the annual game versus the two schools, and the Cobras usually won.
Terrell wanted nothing better than to play for the Cobras once he got older. One day he wanted to be a defensive back. Then two weeks later, he might decide to “bulk up his frame” by eating more in hopes that he could be a linebacker. But for now, he was 10 years old, and these days, he loved playing with friends in Lindsey Park, or playing war with the kids down on the other end of 24th Street for fun. And since this was still June, he had at least two months before school would start again--and a few weeks before he play football for his elementary school’s 6th grade team.
His cousin Lonnie was coming down from Kansas City to stay for a month. Uncle Albert and Aunt Marietta would be here tomorrow. Terrell figured he’d show Lonnie the best he could of Brookdale. They would visit relatives, occasionally go to Little Rock, and just have fun--just as long as Terrell wouldn’t have to run into Shonda Carter.
When his aunt and uncle did arrive, everyone stopped by. Cousin Adrienne was so excited about heading to college in the fall, and it seemed like she couldn’t stop talking about that the whole time that she was there. His uncles were talking out on the porch talking about various issues--cars; women; and the fact that one of the local plants might close down soon. While Terrell heard bits and pieces of what they had said, he quietly walked in the house and went back to his room.
He and Lonnie were supposed to sleep in his room for the night. However, Lonnie had remained quiet whenever Terrell tried to ask him about anything. And the more that he thought about it, the more he couldn’t understand Lonnie at all. So Terrell decided to ask his mother about it the next day.
When Terrell asked his mother about Lonnie, she explained to him that Lonnie acted like a loner. To Terrell, it just sounded like something crazy. But she had to be telling him the truth. For one thing, he always noticed that Lonnie always seemed to stand off a distance away from everyone else when all the kids their age were playing together last night, as if he was off in his own world. And if there was anyone that was odd and didn’t seem to belong with the rest of the family, it sure was him. He knew that Lonnie’s behavior would cause problems soon. Lonnie would probably end up crying to go back home because Terrell’s friends would soon make fun of him.
So after breakfast was eaten, Terrell decided that he and Lonnie would head to the movies in town. Then they would visit some of his friends’ and see what they were doing before heading back home. He knew that his parents would be with the other relatives at home listening to the blues all day. He decided that it would be best to leave because there would be no people their age around the house.
Lonnie was watching TV in Terrell’s room when he walked in. If this was how he spends the summer by staying in the house all the time, then he sure is boring, Terrell thought to himself.
“Lonnie!” yelled Terrell as he surprised his cousin. Lonnie almost jumped out of his chair. That’s when Terrell laughed.
“What’s up?” Lonnie replied shyly.
“Let’s go outside,” said Terrell.
“Where we goin’?” asked Lonnie.
“We‘re going to the movies,” said Terrell.
“Oh, ok. But ain’t it hot outside? Can‘t we just go later in the evening when it’s cooler?” said Lonnie. Terrell thought it was bad enough that his cousin was starting to complain. It was only a little humid, he thought to himself. It wasn’t even 90 out there. And besides, he probably needs to get out in the sun in the first place.
“Let’s go man. We just going around town. This heat won’t hurt you at all,” said Terrell.
“Ok,” Lonnie said, quietly complaining to himself, as he got up out the chair to head outside. Why did it have to be like this now, he thought to himself. Why couldn’t we wait to go until later? Besides, he hadn’t finished watching the last of Saturday morning cartoons, and to him, it was still too early to head anywhere.
Lonnie rode Terrell’s older sister Lauren’s bike, while Terrell rode his own. They visited a few of his friends, and stopped by the convenience store to play video games as they drank Nehi sodas and ate potato chips. Later they went to the movies downtown to see Breakin’ (though both had seen it already). Terrell just wanted to see that his cousin would have fun, but Lonnie looked as if he didn’t want to be here at all.