After serving 20 years in Angola for a murder he didn’t commit, my friend is home.

 

me and jerome morgan

Bayou Creole and Jerome Morgan

Jerome Morgan went to Angola State Penitentiary at the age of 17 for a murder he did not commit.

I remember that day all too vividly.

It was a horrible day for our entire neighborhood.

Jerome is a very good friend of one of my brothers, but you know  how it is when your brother has friends that are always around…pretty soon they become extended family.

And that’s what he is to me…one more brother added to the branch. We all grew up in the same neighborhood and Jerome was always such a sweet kid.

Which is why we knew from day one that they had the wrong person when they carted him off to prison.

And sentenced him to life without parole for murder.

Thanks to the Innocence Project of New Orleans, he is now a free man. If you want to read the story, you can find it here.

He was let out of prison in 2014, but the D.A. had plans to appeal and retry him. However in 2016, the D.A. decided to drop the appeal.

Thank goodness.

The nightmare is over for him. He can  now go and live the rest of his life out in peace and love.

When he hugs me, I cry.  It’s a hug that says “I never thought I’d hug you again, I’m so happy to be hugging you right now.” He never wants to let me go, I always have to break the hug.

I think he’s still amazed by the fact that he’s a free man now.

20 years is a long time to be locked down for something you didn’t do. And to be at “the Poderosa” at 17 years old…I can’t even imagine.

It didn’t break his spirit though. He’s just as sweet as he was before his entire life was turned upside down. He now has his own barber shop  and he mentors young kids.

I’m so proud of that dude.

Welcome home Rome…we love you.

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BEACHES

One of my dearest and closest friends died from breast cancer when we were 35 years old. We met when we were in the 7th grade(13yrs old) and were like two peas in a pod ever since…we even used to coordinate our school clothes so we’d be dressed alike often. When she passed, she left behind two daughters ages 12 and 3 years old. I had not seen her daughters in quite some time because, their dad moved away and remarried.

Yesterday, I was FINALLY getting a facebook account and somehow when I hooked it up, on the side under suggestions for friends were a bunch of people… one of them with the same name as my best friend’s daughter who was three when her mom died (she’s 15 now.)

I took one look at her and KNEW that was my dear friend’s child….she is a mirror image of her mom when we were that age. I just looked at the picture and cried, it was like seeing my best friend again. Her daughter is sooo beautiful with that killer smile just like her mom.

It brought to mind that movie, Beaches with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey…remember Hershey died and left Bette to raise her daughter and Bette had all of these memories to share because they had been friends since forever.

I haven’t contacted her yet but, I will after I contact her aunt (she popped up under my suggestions also and that’s my friends sister who had moved to the islands many years ago and I had lost contact with her after my friend died 11 years ago.)

I am not sure how that facebook thing out of all of the people on this planet put those two pictures on my suggestions for friends, heck my own family members who are on facebook names did not appear.

The world is too big and too many people are on facebook for that to be merely a “co-inky-dinky”…especially since I used my married last name on facebook that they know nothing about.

I guess maybe….just maybe, that was my dear friends way of telling me hello.

Hello Barbara. I got the message, she looks just like you and I will tell her all of the crazy things we used to do….and my memory is long….very long.

Best Friends Forever

Today, while I was painting my house, I had an unexpected visit from one of my oldest and dearest friends.  I really can’t remember a time when I did not know her.  We grew up three blocks from one another and went to the same elementary, middle and high school.  We also went to the same church, ran track together, was on the flag team together, went to every school dance or function together and we are both nurses. She was the maid of honor in my wedding and I was hers.  She’s smart as a whip(  our graduating class  had 335 students, she was ranked #4) and beautiful. 

 Due to the daily grind that is life, we don’t see each other that often but, somehow, when a crisis is happening, we seek each other out.  When my mom passed, she was the first person I wanted to talk to. When her mom passed, she came to my house.  Today, she told me that after being married for 20 years, she’s getting a divorce.  She needed a rock in her life and I gladly obliged.  We laughed and giggled like the crazy, goofy high school girls we used to be.  We have so much history we share that, it’s like talking to a piece of yourself. I know she must be hurting,  20 years is a lot of time to be with someone and have it come to an end.

I am just glad that she knows in her heart that, I  am a constant force in her life.  Someone who will always be there, even though we don’t see each other or talk too often.  Someone who will help her forget that hurt for a minute by making her laugh so much that she is holding her stomach, begging for me to stop.  Someone that I love with all of my heart….. my best friend forever.