Her Say

Her Say: A series featuring Women of color having their say about aging and living with spirit, style, and grace. #isthatold?

June Lewis Miklau, 77, lifestyle model, tech geek
June Lewis Miklau, 77, lifestyle model, tech geek

“When I was in my young 50s or 60s, my priorities were still dictated by a need to succeed. I would forego fun and was locked into competing as a black woman in the corporate world. Not anymore! At age seventy, I was signed by a major agency as a lifestyle model, I started an image consulting business and I became a tech geek. At 77, my hair may be gray, my body may ache, and I may not remember where I left my pocketbook. But, I feel young and enjoy living, laughing and loving my family and friends every day. I am always learning. I publish funny books for my grandchildren and produce movies of my family reunions.” ~June Lewis Miklau, 77, Oceanside, Ca. Lifestyle model, tech geek.

Diane Day Crump Richmond, 70, Las Vegas dancer, school teacher
Diane Day Crump Richmond, 70, Las Vegas dancer, school teacher

“Embrace your journey at every age. Following your passion can be a hard road full of sacrifice and difficult choices. I know. I had a show business career. I also went to college and became a public school teacher after 50 years old. Dance is still my passion and I perform with the ‘Las Vegas Forever Young’ dance troupe. Our ages range from 58-80 years old! I lived through everything. I’ve been a star and on the chorus line on many stages around the world. I survived racial segregation and everything that goes with unfair treatment of women and people of color. But I feel like I’m on top. I’m still here while many from my era are long gone. A positive attitude is everything. With a great family, terrific husband, grandchildren and friends, I have no complaints! I feel privileged to be 70 and still kicking up my heels!” ~Diane Day Crump-Richmond, 70, Las Vegas dancer, school teacher.

Gail Gant, 65, Brooklyn Snowbird
Gail Gant, 65, Brooklyn Snowbird

“I believe aging is a beautiful thing when you prepare yourself to live abundantly, as God intended. Some body parts may break down, but if you keep your health in check, you can enjoy life and ignore “Arthur” when he comes around. Who’s Arthur? That the nickname for ‘Mr. Arthritis.’ I exercise and can wear a beach bikini with confidence. I live life on my own terms. I’ve been through everything–two marriages, widowhood, divorce, parenthood, death of my mother as a child and murder of my son at 18 years old. I survived many hardships. And I prevailed by God’s good grace. I have a solid education and I retired from an executive finance career. I have many blessings, talents and interests. My philosophy is simple: Do what makes you happy. I travel, dance, and hike. I winter in the Caribbean and visit family and friends as often as I can everywhere. There will come a time when I can’t do those things. So, for now, I do me. I’ve earned it.” ~Gail Gant, 65, Brooklyn snowbird.

Do you know a woman of color who should be featured in our ‘Her Say’ series? Let us know.

photo by Sylvia Wong Lewis, from ‘Flying Home’ series’ by artist Faith Ringgold’s glass mosaic panel series in the NYC subway station at 125th street.

Boomer pride

Victoria Grant
Victoria Grant, Harlem-based, Brooklyn-born writer

Boomer pride
By Victoria Grant, Guest writer

(In honor of Women’s History Month.)

I am a Baby Boomer, born nine months after the end of World War II; raised within the social confines of the Betty Crocker fifties; broke those chains in the Age of Aquarius freedom of the sixties; matured under the fragile shelter of the not-quite-fulfilled female empowerment and racial equality promise of the seventies; starved during the It’s-All-About-Me eighties while I taught myself computing, and thus thrived in the tech-boom nineties when my computing skills paid off.

Believing in my invincibility, in 1973 I became a Single Mother By Choice. I’d say successfully so – when I’m not ticked off at my one-and-only. (I swear I should have had five more.) A native-born New Yorker born to native-born New Yorkers – the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, in fact – I’ve lived my adult life in the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, on a Caribbean island, and now the island of Manhattan.

At 55, I returned to college in an attempt to ensure that some brain cells survived during my years working for a pseudo-government organization while raising a man-child to be a college graduate. I graduated magna cum laude, but, more than this esteemed signature of accomplishment, I cherish most during that tenure my entrée into creative writing. In my enthrallment with creative writing classes, I almost forgot to take the mandatory courses for graduation.

NYC Subway tile art

For one of my class assignments, I wrote a brief ethnological study on MTA New York City Transit and its employees. Notwithstanding the fact that I may have been the only submitter to the English Department’s Ethnological Studies competition, I was pleased that the report earned me a City College of New York writing award.

I always thought my knowledge of what goes on with the workers and inner workings of a system that transports seven million people daily could produce interesting stories. While at Stanford I wrote the first draft of my novel of an out-of-town “innocent” coming to New York to make it big, and who winds up working for Transit. New York by itself can be a mindbender, but the microcosm of New York City Transit can be a mind shifter into an alternate universe. I know, I retired from there adding to my family’s aggregate 100 years of Transit employment. I want to offer readers revealing and entertaining tales. No one else is telling my story. It’s the 21st century, and about time I tell it.

(Victoria Grant is a Brooklyn-born, Harlem-based writer. A 2013 graduate of Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program, Victoria is completing her debut novel. Go to @TransitWriter1 on Twitter or https://www.facebook.com/TransitWriter)

(Cover art photographed by Sylvia Wong Lewis, is one of a 5-panel glass mosaic mural at the MTA NYC Transit’s 125th street station called ‘Flying Home” by Faith Ringgold, an internationally noted African American, Harlem-based artist. It illustrates Harlem notables and makes them fly. Go to MTA.info for details.)