Today is my father’s 86th birthday, and I’m grateful to be able to spend it with him. He was a storied high school basketball coach in North Carolina and played the game in high school, college, and the Air Force. Here, as a center on Saint Augustine’s College’s team, he takes a jumper over future Globetrotter Curley Neal.
My grandmother worked as a dietician at Dorie Miller Recreation Center in Newport News, Virginia. The organizers of a teen beauty contest were looking for more contestants, and my 13 year-old mother casually entered.
“And the winner is … Beverly Allen!”
Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 15 August 1951.
New Journal and Guide (Norfolk, Virginia), 25 August 1951.
The summer after high school, to while away the hours until enrollment at Hampton Institute, she entered the Fancy Pants and Sport Shirt Ball at the city of Hampton’s African-American beach resort, the Bay Shore Hotel. In a midriff-baring genie outfit whipped up by my grandmother, she took second. (But really? You be the judge….)
New Journal and Guide (Norfolk, Virginia), 30 June 1956.
Sixty-two years later, she’s still beautiful … inside and out.
Happy 80th birthday to this abiding blessing, my mother, with love.