I don’t know much about the creative talents in my family. I don’t doubt that there was and is a lot of creativity in the family. But I suspect that folks just didn’t let the lamp out from the bushel basket until recent generations. Here are a few:
The Dancer: Annie Florida Corrine Long
All she ever wanted to be was a dancer. No doubt dancing was on her mind every night after supper, when the family read the Bible. There were dancers in the Bible, after all.
But her father was the pastor of the Sunnyside Baptist Church. Even if there were dancers in the Bible, there would be none in the Baptist Church—especially not in Rev. James William Long’s Baptist Church. Flo almost gave up her dream of dancing. Since she couldn’t take lessons, she managed to sneak away to places where people–man and women–danced together. And maybe that’s what the Lord wanted. One evening in 1925, in a dance hall, Flo met the irresistably handsome, irrepressibly happy, Eddie Gines who had come to Kansas City from Shreveport. And their “creative genes” led to six children and “a lot” of grandchildren (including me), great- grandchilden, and great-great-grandchildren.
The Pianist: Rosetta Bell Long
Aunt Rosie at age 77 (1977)
The JazzMan: Quentin Vennis Harold Manson
Born in Rockdale, Texas, Quentin (for reasons not clear) attended high school in Corpus Christi. Somehow, somewhere, he got his hands on an old clarinet and found he could play! He could also play the trumpet and the xylophone. Music became his passion. In the war, he was in the band, “blowin’ eight to the bar.” Afterwards, he went to Los Angeles where his oldest brother Carl lived and where the postwar music
scene was exploding. Although he was known in the Central Avenue clubs, he preferred the swing style in other venues. He passed his love of music to his son, my father (who also played the trumpet and is a published songwriter).
Then that generation-skipping thing happened to the creative gene . . . I can’t sing or dance and I was an utter failure at the trumpet. But I am a passable writer and a reasonably entertaining storyteller sometimes. I won’t speak for my siblings (but the Osmonds we’re not!) But creativity lives on in the next generation:
The Hip Hop Artist: David Mannuel Manson
May 30, 2007 Wednesday at 1:16 am