Hoooray for Commoners!

I love weddings just as much as the next girl, but in my opinion, a good love story trumps a wedding any day.   And who doesn’t love a story that unfolds against all odds?  This seems to be the story of Kate Middleton – a young woman that grew up in a solidly middle class family, went to college and fell in love with a real Prince. 

Of all of the young girls that grew up in England dreaming of one day meeting and falling in love with the Prince, she was the one that caught his eye and kept his attention for eight years.  And finally she was the one that inspired the young Prince to ask for her hand in marriage, sealing the deal with not just any breathtaking bauble but the very ring that his mother received for her engagement.   

As I read the articles about their engagement and look at the footage of them together I think of Jack Nicholson in the final sequence of Something’s Gotta Give…he tastes the surprising saltiness of the foreign liquid rolling down his face – clearly shocked that he’s crying – and he says in a disgusted tone “Guess who gets to be the GIRL!.” 

I am quite the “girl” when it comes to stuff like this.  I grew up loving musicals and the classic love stories that they told.  Who can forget Eliza Dolittle making the transition from gutter-snipe to stunning beauty and Professor Higgins’ range of emotions as he realized he’d fallen for his protégé; the young governess Maria who unwittingly inspired the Captain’s affection over the Baroness’s in the Sound of Music; or Tony and Maria’s unlikely love in West Side Story…these are the stories that made me the hopeless romantic that I am.  In the midst of chaos the thought of true love gives me a feeling that there is power within us to make things right.   

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On the radio the announcement of their pending nuptials mentioned the fact that a royal hadn’t married a commoner since <insert some long ago date>.  I particularly love the reference to Kate being a commoner.  Being a commoner seems to be a demeaning reference at first, but after you think about it, that’s what makes her so lovely – she’s just like you and I (or at least she was!).

From the outside looking in, how could you not like this girl next door type?  She’s got a casual yet refined sensibility…the white jeans look as if they were selected from a J.Crew catalogue, the grey shirt looks like a cute target piece, who doesn’t have a cute pair of black ballet flats, and the simplicity of a grey dress with a flowing jacket – come on, you gotta love this girl.

I wish Kate and the Prince the very best.  I hope that in spite of the pomp and circumstance that will certainly surround them, they never forget the ordinary circumstances in which they fell in love…may they never forget what it was like to be young at heart.

– Here’s to the hope that each of us meets our own Prince or Princess and that when we do we cherish them for a lifetime.  Have a lovely weekend!


What My ‘Home By The Sea’ Means To Me.

***The outpouring of love that this piece has received is amazing – thank you!  It’s a true testament to the love that we all share for this special place***

A couple of days ago I sat down and attempted to put pen to paper to fully describe what Hampton University means to me.  In a succinct essay I wanted to express my feelings for the school, the magnitude of the experience, and the implications that the experience had on my life.  After I looked over what I had written it just seemed as though I was rambling.  There was an easier way to make you know and understand my love for Hampton University.  If a picture says a thousand words, then you’re about to get an ear full.  Hopefully the narration below will translate the depth of love that I have for my “home by the sea”.

When I talk about going back to Hampton for homecoming I’m often confronted with a look of disbelief, almost as if the person is saying – “how could your school’s homecoming still be relevant to you after all these years???”  And the expression that I give back to them says “how could your school’s homecoming not be??? – you need to request your money back!.” 

We may have graduated almost 10 years ago…

but we need each other now more than ever.

Hampton was more than just a place of brick and mortar…more than just a series of classes and requirements that led to a degree; it was a major experience that formed the foundation that would steer the course of the rest of our lives.  I have parents and a deeply rooted family who believed in me and firmly planted my feet on solid ground from the beginning.  One of the true gifts that they gave me was the gift of understanding the importance of the HBCU.

My folks graduated from Hampton University (original Ogre Phi Ogre class),  my paternal grandparents finished St. Pauls College and my maternal grandparents finished Tennessee State University…just like many cultures have a tradition that’s handed down to them…the HBCU is a part of my family’s tradition.  At this moment I am truly on the verge of belting out Reb Tevye’s TRADITION – TRADITION!! (Fiddler on the Roof reference, click here for full effect) …Why is this tradition essential?  Why is it relevant?  And why will it always be?

Because an HBCU affirmed that we were beautiful despite the standard images of beauty that were shown to us.

Because many of the people that we met at the beginning of our journey will undoubtedly be there until the very end.

Because an HBCU taught us what it means to have real friends, friends that you love like sisters – friends for life.

Because an HBCU put us through some of the roughest times.


And an HBCU made it possible for the times in which we rejoice.

Because an HBCU gave us our sisters.

….and brothers

An HBCU gave us a second family.

And as a family we celebrate each others’ successes…

We lift each other up and choose never to buy into the media’s negative depiction of who we are.

We are friends, scholars, leaders, mothers, fathers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, aunts, uncles, godmothers and godfathers, sisters and brothers who firmly remember from “whence we came.”

We will take our Hampton memories with us, firmly committed to let our lives do the singing and make new memories every step of the way.  As we walk around the yard, even if we don’t remember names we remember the faces, we remember the moments, and we’ll never forget the people that came along on our journey.  Because of the love and respect we have for our home by the sea, we will come back as often as we can to party together because we understand what it means to be family. 

We may not see each other often but when we do it’s all love.  Here’s to a lifetime of building each other up, to making many more memories and to holding this special place near and dear to our hearts.

– Much love Hampton family.