Surviving the Storm

I was at my Aunt Lola’s house—a second home for me. My mother picked me up around dusk to take me back to our house. I was only six years old when Hurricane Hugo barreled into Charleston on September 22, 1989; it was a strong Category 5 storm. Johnsonville is only 88 miles from Charleston…

What Joeleen Taught Me

This school year marks my tenth year as a teacher, my fourth at Spring Valley High School. This is the longest I’ve ever worked at one place. I usually work in threes: a journalist (2005-2008), a teacher at Carolina Forest High School (2008-2011); and a graduate student at the University of South Carolina (2011-2014)—with a…

A Good One

“Hello, my Amerikees!” It was one of my father’s favorite greetings whenever he would come home. I’d hear his truck on the gravel path of our driveway. I’d look out the window and see him driving his dark blue 1987 Ford Ranger towards the shed. Sometimes I would even come out to the back porch…

Stuck at Start

The research on Bluefield includes hours of interviews with elders of the villages, some of whom have since passed on; water and soil samples to determine if nature is the cause of so much cancer deaths and diagnoses; and the journal entries I wrote documenting my mother’s fight with colon cancer. It’s about five years…