by Ron Howell
For me, Bedford-Stuyvesant is a Mecca, always calling me back, demanding of me a style and commitment that, try as I might, I never fully give her.
My mother, Marian Baker Howell, was born there in 1925, in the house on Throop Avenue that her grandparents owned. Going farther back, my mom’s mother, Irene Baker, was born several blocks down Fulton Street. That was in 1901, before the name Bedford-Stuyvesant entered the urban lexicon.
As for me, I was raised on Jefferson Avenue in a haunting three-story brownstone that was built in 1886 and that my mother and I now own. That house has been in my family for more than half its 126 years.
(For the record: My father, Wilfred Howell, rest in peace, grew up on Jefferson Avenue, a block to the west of my maternal home.)
My goal, I suppose, is . . . Note: To continue, visit The Brooklyn Rail at http://www.brooklynrail.org/2012/12/local/the-brown-girl-of-bed-stuys-brownstones