The Color of Family

The Color of Family

by Patricia Jones


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A poignant and provactive novel of truth, race, and religions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060509651
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/30/2004
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

Patricia Jones was a native of Baltimore but lived inNew York City with her daughter. Throughout her writing life, her work appeared in Ms., Essence, Family Circle, Woman's Day, and the New York Times. The Color of Family is her third novel.

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The Color of Family

Chapter One

Antonia shrugged on her furry coat. That's what she called it, not a fur coat, but a furry coat, because to her that made it sound truer to its vanity. But she wore it because it was warm and just right for a day like this when the wind and cold seemed to be an entity with heart, mind, and spirit. She hooked the coat closed all the way down to her knees, gathered up the Thermos of hot chocolate with one hand, and then wrapped that arm around the Tupperware container of fresh muffins she'd just gotten from her weekly food shopping at the Giant. Those girls out there on the boulevard need to eat something on a day like today, she thought as she positioned the container more comfortably in the crook of her arm. Antonia just knew they couldn't possibly be eating right and keeping themselves up, given their sleep-around life. They had been run off of Baltimore Street and somehow found their way to Garrison Boulevard, landing practically on her doorstep. She'd fed them every now and then, ever since the day she saw the first of these wayward strollers two years past shivering on the corner nearly in her bare bottom.

With her free hand, she opened the front door, fixed the latch so as not to lock herself out, then stepped across the threshold, closing it behind her. She hurried down the porch steps and along the pathway to the street with a quick short gait that made her teeter from side to side.

When she got to the end of the walk, she looked one way, then the other. "They were just out here," she mumbled to herself. Then she looked across the street as the number nineteen bus passed by, and there was Jackie. So she waved her hand in the air and yelled, "Jackie, honey." And when the woman looked over to where she stood waving, Antonia descended the three steps to the curb and said, "Come on over here, honey. I've got something for y'all."

Jackie darted across the street as fast as she could in four-inchhigh stilettos and a stretched-on swath of fabric that was actually a skirt. When she got to the sidewalk, she trotted over to Antonia with an innocence that, in that moment, seemed to peek out from behind the naughty-girl business of fulfilling the carnal pleasures of men. And almost like a giddy girl who'd just seen her mother, she asked, "How're you, Miss Antonia?"

"I'm fine, honey. Now listen, I brought you some muffins here and a Thermos of hot chocolate." She gave them to Jackie, noticing the girl had no gloves covering her shivering hands. So she scolded, "Where are your gloves, child? You need to have some gloves on your hands or something."

"I've got pockets, Miss Antonia. I'll be all right." She opened a corner of the container that held the muffins, took in their aroma, and smiled. "Aw, man, Miss Antonia. Blueberry muffins. This is so nice of you."

"Well, you take them and eat them. Share them with the other girls if they're around. And keep yourself warm with the hot chocolate." Antonia regarded Jackie for a few seconds with the heartbroken eyes of a mother. She put her own gloveless hands in her pockets, then said, "Now, you know I don't like what you girls are doing out here. You know that. The Bible says that your body is where the Lord lives, you know. But I brought you those muffins and hot chocolate because you've got to keep yourselves up, and keep yourselves warm. And try to stay safe."

"I know, Miss Antonia. You tell us that all the time." Jackie pinched off a piece of muffin and popped it into her mouth, then said, "But you know, Monique went on back downtown. She said it was just too weird being up here near you, since you was her fifth-grade teacher, and all. So it's just me and Gina, but we'll be all right, Miss Antonia. And you know I'm gonna be okay long as I have this," Jackie said as she patted the pocket of her short, some-sort-of-fur, jacket.

Antonia's mind left Jackie as she stood there thinking about Monique and how it was such a futile exercise, the business of wondering what a child might grow to be. When she thought about the bright-eyed, interested child she taught and the woman that child grew to be, it was anybody's guess what happened between those two points that brought her life to prostitution along Garrison Boulevard. And so as Jackie stared into her distracted eyes with puzzlement, Antonia merely hoped that the lost woman would one day find her way back to the promise of her girlhood; and she offered up an instant prayer in thanks for her daughter, Ellen.

"Yeah, well," Antonia said, "that switchblade isn't always going to protect you. You just be careful." And she turned to go back to the warmth of her home. A home, she thought, the like of which these poor lost girls may never know. Bless their hearts. Over her shoulder, she added, "I'll see you later. If you're still out here, I'll bring you some pork chops from dinner. When you're finished with the container and the Thermos just bring them back up to the house."

"Okay, Miss Antonia. And thank you again. You're our guardian angel, that's what you are."

"Well, just remember that this old guardian angel can only do but so much," she said as she climbed the three steps to the pathway.

"Oh, and Miss Antonia? By the way, what the Bible says is: 'Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?' It's from Corinthians one, chapter three," Jackie said, grinning with a certain pride ...

The Color of Family. Copyright © by Patricia Jones. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Color of Family 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Color Of Family, the third novel by author Patricia Jones, deftly explores the impact that racial bias in society has on two families. Both have strong, pride filled mothers at the helm, one Black the other White. Emeril Racine and his twin sister Antonia were inseparable until his amorous goings on with Agnes Marquette. In the 1950's, a tryst such as their was almost certain to end in tragedy . Antonia was hell bent on saving her womb-mate from himself. But fate, takes him from his sister in an unrelated accident. After the grief has finished destroying what remains of her family, Antonia marries her long time companion and childhood friend Jackson Jackson. He is now a successful doctor and they raised two seemly successful children. Decades have passed and the obsessive tracking of a famous pianist since his earliest public notice is about to explode with these two powerful women in a showdown that threatens to destroy everything they have worked so hard for. Is it even remotely possible that this renowned man borne of a white mother could actually be the love child of Antonia's long deceased twin brother? Clayton Cannon is about tofind himself torn between two women that threaten the very person they claim to love. I have promised my self to read the first two novels by Patricia Jones. It saddened me greatly to learn after finishing the novel that she had passed away May 30, 2002. Reading the testimonies about Ms. Jones, she sounded like a truly remarkable woman. I loved the book and knowing that her family brought the birth of this work or literary art to publication posthumously truly made me respect not only the capabilities of the author, but too, of those that were determined to finish the process. I highly recommend this book.
harstan More than 1 year ago
African-American Antonia Racine Jackson has kept a secret from her beloved spouse and her cherished two children as well as other family members. Back in the 1950s in New Orleans, her brother Emeril and wealthy white Agnes Marquette had an affair that led to the birthing of a child raised as a white man............................. Now years later her secret nephew highly regarded concert pianist Clayton Connor is in Baltimore where Antonia and her family reside. Antonia considers it is time to reveal the truth about her blood ties to Clayton. However, with Emeril dead and Agnes in denial, no one believes Antonia though her words creep inside Clayton¿s mind as he begins to wonder if it is possible that he is of mixed race. Antonia¿s revelation causes troubles and doubts in her family and that of Clayton¿s.............................. THE COLOR OF FAMILY is an intriguing look at racial relationships inside a deep bi-family drama. The story line starts in the segregated 1950s south, but is at its best in the present day as secrets kept by the two female antagonists (Antonia and Agnes) are being revealed. Though Antonia comes across as mentally unhinged with a rationalization for her actions that fails to consider consequences on others and thus detracts from a powerful character study of race relationships then and now...................... Harriet Klausner