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About the author:
BL worked for a city agency that specialized in housing preservation and development. In 1978, she joined the agency as a Real Estate Manager. She became a Senior Real Estate Manager in 1984. In 1988, she became a director of Central Harlem's Crisis Management Unit until 1998. In 1998, she exchanged her field hat and combat boots for a business suit and pumps when she went to work in the agency's main office as a staff analyst. In 2001, she switched hats once again to join the education unit where she currently worked a curriculum developer, designing courses to educate the public about housing issues. By 2008, as sometimes happens, the education unit disbanded and she was dumped into a budget unit to become a bean counter until she retired 6 years later.
On the home front, BL is the second oldest daughter in a family of six and comes from a long line of educators. Her grandmother, Lucy; her mother Leona, her sister Judith and her niece Elizabeth all taught in various school systems from Orange County Virginia to Kent State to Akron Ohio to Clinton Iowa to Baltimore Maryland to New York City.
Her father, Melvin, practiced family medicine in Akron Ohio for over fifty years and devoted his spare hours to community service until he passed away in 2001. Her mother, Leona retired 29 years ago but that hasn't slowed down her commitment to volunteer activities in her church, her AKA sorority and the community at-large. BL took a page from her social activist parents' community service notebook when she became a Sloan Award winner in 1990 for her excellence in public service. The Sloan Award has been described as the equivalent to Noble Prize for civil servants in New York as its only awarded to 5 civil servants per year out of some 130,000.
BL also writes about her personal life. She has other memoir projects in the works. One of her next projects is a coming-of-age autobiography, Fishcreek Road, source of my hatred, source of my strength, describing how she and her siblings integrated a small, lily-white, farming township in northern Ohio. Her second project is Screwed, what I learned as a Black woman living in a world that isn't. It's a continuation of the coming of age memoir that follows BL's journey as a naïve but rebellious country girl from Ohio to the Big Bad Apple and how she becomes who she is today. It takes place during some
Mr. Jefferson's Piano
& Other Central Harlem Stories
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Mr. Jefferson's Piano & Other Central Harlem Stories is an anthology that weaves together a rich tapestry of 68 short stories, agency memos, and letters of events that take place during the late seventies, eighties, and nineties as seen through Melba Farris' eyes. Melba writes notes about everything work-related, chronicling her journey into the field of property management as she tries to help her less fortunate brothers and sisters with their housing woes.
She meets the oldest woman in Harlem in the title story Mr. Jefferson's Piano. 101-year-old Nora Jefferson and her kid sister, 96-year old Minnie, enchant her with the story of how their father acquired the baby grand that sits in the middle of their living room.
Melba becomes an exorcist when a routine call about a broken stove turns into removing an invisible devil from Ms. Johns' oven in The Devil Made Me Do It.
In Neisha, Melba writes a series of memos to her boss asking for help to improve the hazardous living conditions of seventeen-year-old Neisha, an independent minor, her two young children and a teenage brother-all of whom Neisha is responsible for since her mother died of AIDS.
These three tales represent some of the delightfully funny, sometimes perplexing, but intriguing personalities the author encountered during twenty-five years as a property manager performing her job duties in city-owned buildings.
- Publication Date:
- 1536825883 / 9781536825886
- Page Count:
- Binding Type:
- US Trade Paper
- Trim Size:
- 6" x 9"
- Black and White
- Related Categories:
- Literary Collections / American / African American