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DARE TO DREAM CHAPTER 1 FAST BLACK & JUNE BUG “The start of my life was kaleidoscopic adventure, Lam the daughter of John David Clemons and Elizabeth June Booker (a.k.a Fast Black and June Bug). In theie mind, they were the se proclaimed King and Queen of The Hill Diserice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Life a fll chrottle was the only way olive! “They loved The Hill and The Hill loved them back! Te-was vibrane! Ie was genuine! Ie was Black! Known as the Harlem of Pennsylvania, The Hill was overflowing with black owned businesses and dynamic cultural experiences. Jaz was the music of the day and not just any jazz. Iewas the music ofthe greats, like Ray Charles, Seanley Tarrentine, and Louie Armstrong, Immersed in che nightlife, hey specialized in entertaining after hours. ‘The spirit of entrepreneurship was alive and well! Adding litle spice to the mix, my Godfather was Billy Dee, not the movie star, but just as handsome. ‘When Fase Black, June Bug and Billy Dee walked into a room there was no denying their presence! Especially with a pink Cadillac parked outside! The world chey created for themselves wasa fantasy come true. In the midst ofall ofthis, chey wanted a baby. Enter Vera Flizabeth Clemons. My frst name came from my father’s mother, Vera, meaning, truth, The middle name, Elizabeth, came from my mother, meaning, cither ‘oath of God’ or ‘God is satisfaction. What a name to grow into on this journey alld lif. DARETO DREAM “There isa difference between fantasy and iving ina fale reality. The teality was a baby didnt match thes lifestyle no matter how cute she was and no matter how much they loved each other. The reality baby, and a pink Cadillac don't go together. The reality, who is going to care for the baby twenty-four hours a day; seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year? Most ofall, what happened to the dream of the house with the white pickee fence? There were hard decisions to make, Encer Grandma Delia and Aunt Minnie, Grandma Delia was sel proclaimed Pentecostal Evangelist. Aunt Minnie, my father’ sister, was turban chic, blending chat Pittsburgh Hill District and North Philly persona. Both | ~ There was a harsh of chese women were willingto open both | theirheartsand theichomes, So,acthe | relismn to falling agcofrine months, Iwenccolve with >y | ayy g pit sp deep Grandmother. Truse me, here is wothing fatheraway oma pink Cadillacthana gd dark the only Pentecostal Evangelist Black grandmother ‘ “There was one primacy book in the house, ay out is a miracle, the Bible, and i hid the foundation for everything we did and believed. According to Aunt Minnie, Iwas not only reading a the age of five but also teaching Bible studies by age four, These two women became my guardian angels. For nine years, there was the collision of ewo different worlds, two different mindsets, Delia Booker vs. Fast Black, Delia was adamant, ‘You got the daughter..you will NOT get the baby’ Both Johnny and June were ministry centered, however the influences ofthe world had shifted their entize perspective. Within Johnny dwelled an intense power of influence, strong enough to change the direction of June’ life. She walked away from everything that had formed her foundation, She left both her family and “ ‘Chapter I: Fast Black & June Bug hhigh school inher senior year to stand firmly by is side, “This beautiful juxtaposition of Fast Black and June Bug cruising in a pink Cadillac, listening to jazz, eating barbeque and living large had a dark side, Woven into the fabric of their existence were drugs, alcohol, number running and more. ‘To thei child, they gave the gift of endless possibilities releasing her to the person that would be steadfast in her convictions and lay strong foundation. James and Delia Booker lived tucked away on Watt Lane, ina small ‘comfortable home with a pantry atached to the kitchen, ‘The sister could ‘cook! Memories of yeast-aised rolls and an aroma of home cooking filled the ait. Pair this with barbeque from the loca pit and fied chicken that sometimes came in a brown paper bag compliments of Johnny..ife was good. Let’ be clear - Dad was only allowed to come to the curb for drop- offs and pick-ups. Enery to the house was not allowed. However, he ‘memories from those arly years have lasted a lifetime. He would pull up to the house with the Caddy glistening and I would slide into the front seat of the car barely able to see over the dashboard. We were off to Isley’ for ie cream cruising through the park to the best ice-cream parlor in che world. I was a Daddy’ gitl ‘With che death of my Grandfather, Delia’ life turned upside down. Considering the crazy amount of money that flowed through the hands of Johnny and June, there wasn't enough to save the family home, Fast money is exactly that, it comes and goes fast. Forall the comfort had become accustomed to, the new reality was poverty. Undaunted, Grandma still provided. There ate memories of standingiin line waiting for surplus cheese, canned jellied pork, powdered milk and of course the five-pound block of cheese. Did Delia complain? No! 5