By James W. Wade III
Hello everyone, it's Black History Month; I have always said it's unfortunate we celebrate it during the shortest month. I celebrate my heritage all 12 months, and we have such a rich history despite the trials and tribulations we endured doing slavery time.
My mother would always share that her life seemed better during even years. I grew up feeling that, too, because she instilled it in my head. In life, any year has ups and downs, and I have grown to realize what God has for me is for me.
Funeral Homes and Hospitals are very crowded these days; Omicron is easier to catch and affects more people. My friends who work in these places have shared with me the number of funerals they are having in weeks.
I was touched yesterday when a childhood friend of mine who recently lost her mother told me, "My mother had Dementia but would always ask about James Wade." My life was blessed with so many great mothers I enjoyed spending time with and just sitting and talking about everything.
I often share with my two best friends how much, while in high school, I enjoyed spending time at their house. Howard and Bilal's mother was vital in shaping my life, and I will always have fond memories of them. Some may feel you are living in the past; well, my past has made me who I am today.
I have had a blessed life; even with my health issues, I am thankful for opening my eyes every day. I miss both of my parents and the talks and laughs we shared. If your parents are still alive, be thankful and spend whatever time you can with them.
I have been around some extraordinary people in my lifetime and still meeting more. Have you ever laughed when people think they are doing you a favor and introducing you to someone you have known for a long time? I have had the opportunity to spend time with some mighty influential people, George Forbes, Arnold Pinkney, Honorable Louis Stokes, Don King, and many others. But I think out of everyone; my father impacted my life.
My father was one the most incredible men I knew, the suits he wore, the cars he drove, and the way he played the Hammond B3 organ in church. I used to brag about my father having a phone in his car back in the day. Not the cellular one; he had that big phone that reminded you of a house phone. You would have to pick up the receiver and tell the operator what number to dial, no privacy at all (smile).
He had an excellent job as a banker who helped so many Black businesses in the state of Ohio made me proud of him. I remember a few like Kings Men clothing store in Lee Harvard, Boot n Shoe, Narlie Roberts, a prominent businessman who purchased the first black-owned McDonald's franchise in Cleveland, which my father helped him get. I even remember a man named Don Weston who owned the Fly Shop men's clothing store in downtown Cleveland and the $12.00 pants company and a woman's clothing store called Sophisticated Lady.
Weston hired me on my father's strength helping him, and I was grateful for that experience to give me money to spend while still in school. I am honored to carry my father's name, which has opened many doors for me.
So to start Black History Month, I am honoring my father, who did a lot and helped a lot of people throughout the state of Ohio. My father had a big heart; even after retiring, he made sure people ate and often gave individuals money they didn't pay back before he passed.
So, dad, I am privileged to pay honor to you, and most of all, I miss you.