October 21, 2021

Here We Go Around the Maypole Part 2

Dr Yemaja Jubilee, h.c.
Poet, Motivational Speaker
Photo By:Photo Attributed

The highlight of the festival day, the girls gathered around the May Pole, each one of us holding a streamer. We skipped and sang joyfully, while running  in circles around the  May Pole wrapping it from top to bottom as our parents and the neighbors watched. It was so much fun! I do not remember any boys participating in this activity. and a lot of them thought it was a girl thing. When we were done, we ate cake, ice cream and drank Kool-Aid. The sugar put us on hyper inner ride to some place that we did not even understand. We did know that it was one of the few times that we could eat  as much as we wanted.

The finale of a passionate prose.

Photo by Dr Yemaja Jubilee
Photo courtesy Dr. Yemaja Jubilee, h.c.

Spring, oh Spring how I loved the joy, of wrapping the May Pole, flowers, the smell of plowed land and the feel of fresh earth under my bare feet.

There were lots of sweets to eat, including a glorious display cakes; coconut, chocolate, and my favorite vanilla yellow cake serve with homemade ice cream-and gallons of Kool Aid to drink. You could hear the festival all over the neighborhood, the sound of children  age 7 to 14, laughing, shouting,  dancing  and celebrating the warm breezes of spring. The sweet smell of those cakes  permeated the air.

The May Pole, a wooden pole made of oak or maple wood, about 8 ft tall with U shaped nails at the top. It was as a permanent fixture on a field next to our school, built by Mrs. Morton’s husband, Mr. Ed Morton . Mr. Morton could be seen from our classroom windows early in April, evaluating the condition and safety of the  May Pole. The Mortons were a couple who supported each other to ensure the  Black community quality of life was well rounded even though funds for extra activities were extremely limited.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Morton brought green and yellow crepe paper and made 12 yellow streamers and 12 green ones. With the rest of the paper the girls constructed their dresses. Each girl had a choice of yellow or green skirts and a makeshift top. I always had both colors in my “May Day” costume. With a scalloped tail on my yellow skirt and loose blouse with a hole in the middle of the paper for my neck, I proudly put my outfit on over my clothes with a belt to cinch the two parts together.

Then, we all had to learn the  May Pole song. This is some of what  I can  remember and beware it is not precise:

“Here we go around the Maypole, The May Pole,

Here we go around the May Pole, Skipping all the way Home”

Home is where My Father Lives , Father Lives,

Here we go around the Maypole, Skipping all the way home!

 Home is where my Mother Lives, Mother Lives,

 Here we go around the Maypole, Skipping all the way home!

Home is where we all Live, we all Live,

Here we go around the Maypole, Skipping all the way home!

 The highlight of the festival day, the girls gathered around the May Pole, each one of us holding a streamer. We skipped and sang joyfully, while running  in circles around the  May Pole wrapping it from top to bottom as our parents and the neighbors watched. It was so much fun! I do not remember any boys participating in this activity. and a lot of them thought it was a girl thing. When we were done, we ate cake, ice cream and drank Kool-Aid. The sugar put us on hyper inner ride to some place that we did not even understand. We did know that it was one of the few times that we could eat  as much as we wanted.

None of children wanted the day to end, especially the children that lived far away who we only got to see once a year.  When their teacher prompted them  to get on the bus, we locals waved furiously and yelled to the top of our voices “Goodbye”  to all our friends. Tired, as we left with sheer delight in our souls, we all boarded our buses to go home. Some of us fell asleep to be awaken by our bus driver when we were at our stops. We talked about the festival for days. In my child mind, I desired for spring to never go away and wrapping the May Pole at least once a month, but of course, that was foolish. Instead, my priority was to learn all the requirements to  be promoted so I could go to Central High School. There I would feel all grown up,  started dating boys and made my way on to the basketball team.

Spring, oh Spring how I loved the joy, of wrapping the May Pole, flowers, the smell of plowed land and the feel of fresh earth under my bare feet. I was an innocent, fun-loving  beautiful, curly haired girl child who always appreciated frolicking and playing, which allowed my soul to feel carefree. And that what it was supposed to be.

Thanks to George Smith, Donald Roberson, Joan Jackson, Denita Dupee, Sherwanda Cawthorn, Janet Jackson, Martha Brogdon,and  Agnes Dusenbury Cawthorn for sharing information, some of which is contained in this article.

Dr. Yemaja Jubilee h.c.

Author, Poet, Inspirational Speaker

Landnluv@aol.com 434-808-2472

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