A Native Newarker

This Thanksgiving was our turn to travel and we went back home to Newark, NJ.  If you’re new here, welcome and just to familiarize myself, I’m a native Newarker/Jersey Girl now living in a southern world (So. Carolina)… which I’m dubbed as a black southern belle with northern swirl…(wink-wink).  I love love love going home to visit because in addition to seeing my wonderful family,  I also get to chow down on the best pizza, and visit my friends I grew up with from the old neighborhood .  Yes, we are still connected and some still live on the block which makes it just like going home.  This house is the home we grew up in and looking at it brings back such memories.  Time sure has flown by and it’s like I remember the fun times so vividly, and it seems like yesterday.

There’s so many stories you hear about Newark, but  in my opinion, we lived in one of the best neighborhoods with some wonderful people and we all were friends who enjoyed hanging together.  There aren’t many who could say they enjoy going back to visit their old neighborhoods and friends, but that’s one of the many blessings I’m thankful for.  I was also thankful for my sister,  who planned and hosted such a wonderfully delicious dinner for our family.

I’m just sharing a few pics of our circle of love.  This handsome group is my husband, sons, brother-in-law and nephews.

This beautiful bunch of lovely young ladies are my nieces whom I adore immensely.

and this muffin face is the newest addition to our family.. my nephew – Karriem.. I could bite those cheeks all day.

and the glue that holds us together is my mother.  She is truly our rock of gibraltor.  

So this is our blood tribe from Newark and in addition to that, we are blessed to have our block family – aka –  The Pomona Ave Crew #wegotnumbers.  We never forget our circle of love and hold our numbers dear to our hearts.  Pomona Ave is where I experienced the meaning of living in a neighborhood, getting involved with the community and caring about our surroundings.  We learned the importance of having a block association, knowing who lives in your community and understanding the vital role we played in the dynamics of our great city of Newark, NJ.  These are the heartwarming stories you never hear about Newark, but know for sure, there are many to be told.  Back on the block we visited long time neighbors and was so happy to see them.  We had what was called “block moms” and here are two of them, my mother and Mrs. Brown.  The Browns was the first family we met when we moved on the block back in the early ’70’s and Lisa was our first friend.

It’s so funny because a while back Lisa was going through old pictures and found some from our block parties and we all cracked up at the joyful memories.  You couldn’t tell us we weren’t the bomb-diggity!! LOL.. all decked out in our red & white.. ready to perform.

We would spend hours creating and rehearsing our dance routines and get excited about the shows.   We were called the “Chill-Outs” because we were cool like that..lol.. I know.. corny (now) but hey, it was the 70’s.  Thank you Lisa and The Browns for storing our Kodak kids moments.  What’s so extra funny is that we’re all the same age (or maybe a year apart and yet me and Amina looked like pip-squeaks compared to the others..lol.. oh well.. )

Lisa’s cousin Denys was also at the house which was an even more pleasant surprise.  Denys was our introduction to gymnastics.  She use to teach us how to cartwheel, flip, tumble and split.  Although we never made it to the Olympics, it was still fun learning.  As we sat around the table talking and laughing about all the good times, I just became more thankful of a blessed childhood.  In addition to having the patience to teaching us youngsters the art of flipping, this pint-size beauty also mastered the art of African Interior Design.  In 1996 her passion led her and a friend to become co-authors of a top rated interior design book “Spirit of African Design” which further inspired others to incorporate African fabrics, prints, and masks into interior decorating.

As I perused the book and listened to her tell us all about how they created the book,  I became so excited (all over again).  Listen guys, this book may have been published over 20 years ago, but the styles showcased are timeless and still hold their own stance in today’s styles.  If you’re looking for a designer book to inspire you to decorate African style (which is also a touch a boho) then this book is for you and it’s an excellent coffee table book.  You can order your copy (or a gift for that special interior decorator) on Amazon.

You can follow Denys on instagram at DesingZuri where you’ll see more of her powerhouse designs and talents.   Our impromptu visit at the Brown’s home was like walking into warm hugs and our afternoon delight was filled with joy and laughter.  As you see, this is why I love coming home to visit and this is some of the Pomona Ave native Newarkers who makes it all worthwhile. 

Having lasting friendships is something to be Thankful for –  I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and re-discovered what you’re truly thankful for in your life.  Next up on the blog – I’ll be sharing what we found hitting a few estate sales while I was there… (now you know I couldn’t go home without hitting a few).  So, I look forward to showing you what we found.  Until then – happy hunting while you thrift your house into a home!!





8 thoughts on “A Native Newarker

  1. I smiled the whole time…ok a joyful tear or two dropped too.OMG…The Chill-Outs…too too cute!! Fantastic read…And the book, I have had for years. It’s my go to book and I love it. I too featured it on my youtube video “Afrocentric Fall tablescape, it takes a village” That book is my bible! I can imagine the laughter and fun around the table at Amina’s and I know the food was delicious. Great post Jamala. enjoyed it very much.

  2. This is a really beautiful tribute Jamala! So sweet & fun, can tell there’s a lot of love in your (extended) family.
    I live in the same city I grew up in but I still miss the old neighborhood – things are just “different”. I don’t want to go backwards in life, but I DO want some old school things back.

  3. Look at you looking like you were ready to audition for Beyoncé’s halftime show troupe!!! Go on, girl! And I’ve got to tell you that the young man on the far right of the guys’ picture reminds me of Junior on “Blackish”!!!!! Kinda looks like him! Nice house you grew up in, and sounds like a really super tight knit neighborhood. That’s the way I remember growing up, too, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Great that you got to indulge yourself with some of that famous pizza 🍕 while you were home. The South has fantastic food, but I’m pretty sure New Jersey wins in the pizza department!!!

    • LOL! Yes Alycia! We thought we were hot-shyt lol.. the good ole days were fun and you’re right – wouldn’t trade them.

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