Here is the last part from Chapter 1 from my novel, Ungolden Silence.
If you like what you have read, please click the cover to purchase your copy of the book. Please leave comments! I would love to hear from you.
When she was twenty-two, Elaine enrolled at Texas Southern University, one of the major universities in the city. Willie and Helen were both graduates of TSU and had affection for the school. While there, Elaine majored in advertising with a minor in journalism. One of the things about her speech is that it is unique and unforgettable. In one of her classes, Beatrice James was a guest speaker. Elaine remembered Beatrice from the time that she had worked with Josephine. Beatrice was now working in another advertising firm, which published a small bi-weekly community newspaper.
After Beatrice talked to the class, Elaine spoke with her. Although Beatrice did not remember how she knew Elaine, Beatrice knew that she had heard Elaine’s voice before. Elaine did her report on Beatrice and in the process, discovered many different things. One of these was the fact that every year the firm where Beatrice worked sponsored an activity, “Be Thankful for Thanksgiving.” This was a campaign where people donated food for the hungry on the Friday before Thanksgiving. The drop-off points were post offices all around town, with the primary collection facility being the main post office downtown. Elaine didn’t know how the food drive got started but was pleased that Beatrice was just practicing her Christian faith. The food drive was meant to be something done in the company, however, it became a city-wide annual event. After working with Beatrice, she grew to love Beatrice and to respect her work in advertising as well as the community.
During her research, Elaine found that Beatrice was raised by her mother. Beatrice never mentioned her father, and Elaine never asked. Beatrice had a younger sister, Judy. They grew up in Houston’s Fourth Ward. A neighborhood started in the 1800s by newly freed slaves. While Beatrice had grown up in extreme poverty, she was not ashamed of her situation. She was rich when it came to self-esteem. Beatrice attended Prairie View University on a scholarship, and she majored in journalism.
Beatrice said that she had an uncle that she loved as a child; however, for some strange reason he disappeared from her life when she was sixteen. Elaine noticed an uneasiness as Beatrice spoke about her uncle. Beatrice said that she had not thought of him since his disappearance. However, when Elaine asked her about her childhood, her uncle ran across her mind. She remembered
that when she was about five her uncle made her feel special because he filled the void caused by not having a father. He was her mother’s youngest brother and was Beatrice’s favorite uncle.
They spent many hours together. However, when he disappeared from her life, strangely, she did not miss him. Beatrice confessed to Elaine that she could not understand why she never missed him.
“How strange it is that we never talk about him,” she said sadly.
Josephine came to another class of Elaine’s and spoke: “Elaine will worry you to death. She will call at the wrong time, but she gets things done, and I admire her for that.”
There were not many things that Elaine did not like about herself. However, because of her disability, she felt that she had to prove herself.
Elaine’s family on both sides, supported her all of the way and she was always grateful for that. It was to people that did not know her that she wanted to prove she could do whatever she wanted or needed to do.
For her internship, Elaine worked in Josephine’s office. She had to produce three commercials for cerebral palsy. It was fun and rewarding.
After she graduated from college, Elaine began to look for a job. The first place she looked was at a new firm in town, one of only a few that were owned totally by African-Americans. Daniel and Naomi Calloway former New Yorkers, were just setting up the firm. Elaine had an interview with Naomi. She had her resume and three letters of recommendation. Two were from her professors and one was from Josephine. All three of the letters stated that she could handle anything that was put to her mentally when it came to advertising. However, due to her physical disability, she did need a little help in putting the idea on paper. Elaine did her best work on the computer.
Naomi had Elaine’s materials before the interview, and she was not sure about hiring someone that could not physically do the work. After all, this was a new business in a new town. Would it be fair to the other employees? However, the campaigns that Elaine did in college had been impressive. Beatrice James had resigned from the firm where she was working to come to work for Naomi and Daniel. Beatrice wanted to see this firm work because African-Americans owned it. Just before her interview with Elaine, Naomi met with Beatrice.
“I am impressed with her work, but there are things she cannot do like talk on the phone.”
“Yes, she can. If people are patient, they can understand her. Look, when she called Josephine she got her message across. I thought about her being a part of this firm last night. I can see God’s work in her and I would trust her with my life. She has the zest, zeal, and the self-esteem to do what she wants.”
“Yeah, but what about the work?”
“Look, you said that we are going to be working as a team. There are some things that I cannot do.”
“I don’t know, but I will keep an open mind,” Naomi said reluctantly. Elaine’s appointment was for eleven o’clock. She was there at ten-thirty and was dressed in a business suit. Elaine was so nervous that she stumbled and fell. Daniel was watching Elaine from his office and went to help her up. He also was not sure about hiring a disabled person. Would she be falling all the time?
“Nope, this is not going to work,” Daniel seemed to say to himself as he walked to help Elaine.
“Are you okay? Let me get your purse for you.”
“Yes, I fall all the time. When I was little, they taught me how to fall without hurting myself.”
“Are you sure?”
“Come on in, I want you to meet Mrs. Calloway.”
“Hello, Mrs. Calloway. I am sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
“No, don’t worry about that. Are you sure you are okay?”
“Do you know that this is my husband and that we own the firm?”
“Yes, I do. I read the write-up that Beatrice James did on you a couple of months ago.”
“She is a lovely person,” Naomi replied.
“She also has a great big, beautiful smile,” Elaine responded.
“I love that smile also,” Daniel agreed.
After Daniel closed the door Naomi sat behind her desk and began to ask Elaine about herself. Naomi decided to ask: “Do you ever ask why me?”
“Yes, when I am frustrated.”
“I am sorry but I need you to repeat that last word,” Naomi said calmly.
After the second time, Elaine spelled it for Naomi.
“Frustrated, I am sorry.”
“I am used to this. I only get mad when people lie to me and respond in the wrong way. When my grandmother died and I went back to school, a girl asked me if I had a good weekend. When I told her that I went to my grandmother’s funeral and she responded that that was nice, I repeated it and she felt bad.”
“Yeah, I bet.”
“My favorite scripture is John 9:1-4. As Jesus walked along he saw a man who had been born blind. His disciples asked him: “Teacher, whose sin was it that caused him to be born blind? His own or his parents’ sin?” Jesus answered: “His blindness had nothing to do with his sins or his parents sin. He is blind so that God’s power might be seen at work in him.” I was a teenager when I first heard that. When I get frustrated, I remember that scripture.”
Daniel and Beatrice were in the next office and could hear the conversation. Daniel’s doubts were slowly becoming questions. How could he make this work? One thing was Elaine needed a handrail so that she could come in and out of the office. Daniel and Naomi were Christians, and though they brought that to their firm every other word was not God or Lord. Daniel and Naomi, like Beatrice, practiced their faith by doing for others. As Daniel listened to Elaine’s strained voice, he found he could follow her speech pattern.
“She will need a computer to work on,” Daniel said slowly and in a low voice.
“We can make this work; she has the mind,” Beatrice responded in the same low voice. “We are going to be working in teams so no one person will be working on an account alone.”
“Right,” quipped Daniel.
Naomi was thinking as she talked with Elaine. Each word was clearer than the word before. Beatrice’s words kept dancing around in her head. “I can see the Lord’s work in her.” Naomi, like Josephine did years before, could see the spunk in Elaine. She asked Elaine: “As you know, we are new and we don’t even have a slogan yet. Off the top of your head what theme or slogan would you suggest?”
“Calloway ads are so good that they are music to your ears. I would use
the fact that Calloway is a famous name in the music world.”
“I like that idea. Will you please excuse me?”
Naomi stepped next door to where Daniel and Beatrice were. Beatrice started to walk out, but Naomi said: “No, this is a big decision, we are the only staff and this will not be easy. I have a good feeling about her and those letters support her.”
“I am willing. Anybody will be a risk,” Beatrice said softly.
“I think that we now have four on staff,” Daniel said with a laugh. Naomi
smiled, agreeing with her husband and without saying a word; she went back to where Elaine was waiting in her office.
“Welcome aboard. You are the second person to join the staff.”
“I got the job! I got the job, Mrs. Calloway?” Elaine could not believe her ears.
“Yes, and I want you to call me Naomi. Please come with me.” Elaine got up from the chair and followed her new boss. “You already know my husband, and you know Beatrice James.”
“Beatrice, I’m working here now!” Elaine said in an excited voice. Elaine could not believe her luck.
“Yes I know,” Beatrice said as she went to hug Elaine.
Copyright ©2008 Lydia E. Brew. All Rights Reserved.
If you like what you have read, please click the cover to purchase your copy of the book.