A Warm Blanket: Celebrating the Life of A. Tish Mercer

A Warm Blanket: Celebrating the Life of A. Tish Mercer

by Pamela P. Mercer


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469794884
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/29/2012
Pages: 332
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.74(d)

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A Warm Blanket


iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Pamela P. Mercer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4697-9488-4

Chapter One

Part 1

This is not about Me—A summary in the 60's and the 70's

This is not about me but I must put me in the picture to identify the surroundings and clearly depict the love that blossomed in a rural area or a rural era. She played such an important role in all of lives even when we were not aware of it. The woman that we all knew and loved so very much was really about success. However, she was also about family, about goals and dreams and about building others. She dedicated so much of her life to building a foundation for others to grow that she often put her needs on the back burner. In the complicated configurations of success drills she sat still and took on the task of social healing and successful strategic development. She made time for others when she did not have time for herself and like hungry vultures the needy world circled waiting to pounce at every opportunity. It is imperative that I put everyone I can in the picture to describe how marvelous she really was. To draw on this point also emphasizes how much she is missed. To build the structure that fills the void and it of course goes all the way to the sky. Tish was the hopes and dreams of so many, even in her youth. I emulated her in dress, in work activities and artistic focus. Sometimes I wanted to be her even when she always directed everyone to be their own person. We emulated her in so many ways but she believed in you when you didn't have a true belief system and she had a road map to repair your dreams if you started rambling on about the night mares. She escaped the stereotype of rural Englewood and excelled in so many different ways. The point being in order to really talk about Tish all the lives she has impacted in the years will be exposed. So this really isn't about me but I must put my self there to give the clearest possible depiction of the woman she was the friend she is and the sister she will always be. In this I can peacefully emphasize that it's about all of us who are exactly who we are because of Tish Mercer.

I can't go all the way back to 64th and Rhodes because I was much too young to remember but I do clearly remember 1122 & 1120 West Marquette. My Mom can tell us about Rhodes, about 1122 W. Marquette, about the Lowry's who usually lived next door or up stairs from us for many years. They did not play a dramatic role on the lives of Tish Mercer and her family but they were there and they were there for a long time. The southern existence and all the elements of the south were born with that family relationship. There were sometimes live chickens in the back yard, cooking coons or squirrel. Ms. Minnie or Mamma Lee as they called her made the best fried pies on the planet. There was Hazel, Ms. Carol, Tutsie the oldest, Larry, Ann and Wilson. We still hear from Larry even though he could not be reached for Tish's home going services and I believe Wilson lives in Europe. But my mom even in her senior years can tell you about all of this and all of them. She can tell us about 89th and Dauphin which was my grandmother's house and she can fill in so many things about Tish's growing up that I could never fill in. Which reminds me, they protected the memory of my grandmother and kept the house. I'm sure that was the reason why they kept it. It's been rented out for over 20 years and I bet the profit was astronomical. Of course, Aleda the younger and only sister of my mom and my only known aunt had everything. She shared nothing with my mom but that's cool because this is not even about my mom, this is not about me. This is about my big sister and how she is remembered by so many people in so very many ways. Debbie or Deborah which is on her birth certificate can also fill in a lot of blanks too but I doubt that she will and I simply refuse to ask her again. Aleda, her aunt who's the same age as Debbie could probably provide some credible information to their youth. Sadly they are much too busy to remember their sister, their niece. But I'm asking, I requested and I'm writing using the available resources and the blessings of the creator to direct my words and even the keyboard if you will. This is a part of the Mercer Family History. Tish Mercer in my eyes and in my heart is truly historical. She made a mark in her work all over the globe and she left a lot of warm and wonderful memories back at 66th and May, Marquette Park, a place we know as Englewood.

There is so much about Tish Mercer that I'm sure the world would love to know and there are so many friends who would love to be remembered with in her life and in her heart. The mostly clear yet still gray area of her teen years and my absolute youth was 1120 W. Marquette and 1122 W. Marquette. There's nothing standing there now. Both buildings have been torn down. However, I can draw on a litany of people, places and things that might help to recapture some of those memories and paint them on the foregoing pages. Tish was the first of seven siblings to leave home and step out on her own. Some of this may jog your memories and you might even find yourself filling in a page or two. But this isn't about me and it isn't about you either. Still we have the absolute right to enjoy the memories we made together. I truly believe she would have loved that.

Tiny, talented and incredibly photogenic. She owned the space on both sides of a camera and took control of a room whenever she entered. This was one of Mom and Debbie's favorite photographs. Mom found it during her holiday cleaning sprees and I could not resist including it. She was a very mysterious woman in her youth and everyone loved her.

The ongoing parade of pictures continues to take us to a place to remember and hold on to the special moments and the wonderful times that can only return to us in our dreams.

This is not about me—a summary in the Sixties & Seventies

Part 2

This is so not about me but it is so important to put my youth and my early development in retrospect trying to find every wonderful memory that Tish left us with. My heart remembers her, my soul remembers her and my spirit dances with her. Reflecting on those moments in the past that I can clearly remember my presence was so vague but it was always family, small parties, gatherings, and business. This is not about me is exactly that. It reflects the early years when we were young and I was younger. The friends, the family, the parties at or around her apartment in the vicinity of 99th and Halsted. I still call the area the turn around as the street turns off of the expressway and runs into 99th and Halsted. Those were good times. It reflects on some of the friends that we knew from Englewood around 1122 W. Marquette. Ogden Park and 66th and May Street. There is a lot to tell and a lot to talk about.

(Once there was a lot of love and a lot of family; 1122 West Marquette Road is a vacant lot.) It was a familiar place while it was far from a comfortable place.

There is a lot to be said about 1120 and 1122 West Marquette road. We will see a familiar in retrospect tracing the lines of history. Our sites are familiar with the memories and the skeletons. We can also silently reflect on the haunting little ghost that lingers there.

Taking a short turn back to the house at 1122 West Marquette Road, I can remember every neighbor and every friend. I remember the man who burned the house down while smoking in bed one winter night. Mr. Johnson was an old man who lived on the third floor at 1122 W. Marquette. This had to be in the early sixties or somewhere around the 1967 snow storm when Chicago was completely shut down. It was not during that period but clearly before or shortly after because I remember being outside in my stocking feet as we watched the house in a total blaze. While smoking in bed one fall night, Mr. Johnson burned the apartment building down and all praise to God, everyone survived. Little or nothing in the house was salvageable. Early stages of a blessing could label this event. Life does get better. The house was old, raggedy, had a horrible smell coming from the basement. Rats the size of puppies and a sinking floors. I can't remember when Tish stayed in that house because even when she was quite young she was so incredibly success oriented and independent. Mrs. Covington lived in the nice red brick that's was three houses over and is still standing today. We also lived at 1120 W. Marquette. There is nothing at either location now, not even the frame or the skeleton of the building remains. I can point to the vacant lots that have marred the space for many years. There are some remarkable, warm and even tragic memories from this period and I could capture all of them in a few paragraphs. The more I reflect on that location and we were yet very young, I still can not place Tish in the house. I remember some parties. I remember some fun times when Mom was not at home. I can even recall the dog that drank Old Grand Dad Whisky. But I can not place Tish at that location. She always wanted something better and inspired others to seek better things. Somewhere in the confines of her existence someone spoke of her living in the fast lane and I even addressed that comment repeatedly, however Tish was success oriented even at a very young age. She was destined to make it and she did. Along the way there were obstacles, there were friends, there were growth spurts but there was nothing like Alicia. Englewood was the beginning of an awesome journey.

The years ahead, as we will easily learn was a total metamorphosis for Tish. She carried so many friends along the way inspiring family as well.

While I don't see Tish in the picture at 1122 W. Marquette it's probably because I've personally blocked a lot of that whole arena out. I do remember 6810 South Green. A red brick two flat were we lived on the second floor. Three bedrooms and a real back yard, air conditioning and central heating system replaced the old pot bellied space heater. It was a huge step up from 1120 and 1122 West Marquette. This was one of the first rails on the ladder to better life and better living. We might talk about these places again as we move forward and revisit some of these areas even while I am reflecting on the pass there is so much that makes Tish stand out in so many of our lives. She was the big sister that inspired good things, let you hang out but she was also the big sister who would check you when you were doing something really stupid. Here is one of those big sister moments.

Daphne was and still is one of my very best friends. When our house burned down on May street I stayed with their family for a while. When we moved to 6810 South Green we were high school teenagers who attended the same school. One night, over the week end of course, we were out hanging out with friends and decided to stay out way past curfew. We arrived home after the sun came up so to cover up our screw up we took off our clothing in the hallway. There was a second hall way leading to the second floor apartment where only the second floor tenant, which was us, had access. Tish heard us or saw us and put the chain on the door. When we got to the top of the stairs and tried to get in she opened the door as asked us what were we doing outside with no cloths on. I'm sure she got a laugh because we were so busted but she never told on us. Her catching us was more than enough trouble. That's the kind of sister my big sister was. She let you know when you did something stupid but you didn't have to get a lecture about it and you definitely were not going to do it again. If you did you'd make darn sure she was not the one to catch you. That was a good memory and funny to say the least. We were not saints and my sister was no model for a saint but she was a good person, a person of integrity and a person you could trust. Over thirty years passed and she never told anyone our little secret. It was in deed an educational experience for both of us and absolute training for when we had children who became teenagers.

But this is still N O T about me. I constantly remind myself that in order to depict the star someone must be producing and what I am trying to produce are the real memories that made our lives what they are today and draw on my much Tish impacted each of our lives. This is about a wonderful older sister who nurtured, protected, motivated and inspired the growth of her younger siblings as well as her friends and many of theirs. She would let you hang out but she always kept a watchful eye on you and the people who were around you.

Everybody met and or hung out at her place even in her younger days. She always made sure you felt welcome and she always made family know that her family values were on the top of her list. This is the little apartment on 99th Street just west of Halsted. The folks in the picture include her brother Halahliel, "Gregory" standing beside her at the door. Her older sister Debbie is walking in first followed by Aleda her aunt and Aleda's first husband. Yep, these were old days and older times. Halahliel has been living out of the country for over 30 years and everyone has had some major changes in their lives. Tish never really changed in manner of speaking, she continues to grow and she grew in so many different wonderfully, astronomically ways. As she grew she caused a metaphorical changed in people everywhere she worked, everywhere she walked and in everything she touched. Even her closest siblings will reflect on how she impacts their lives. Only the green eyed monster would cause you to deny or refuse to recognize how much the second oldest sister helped the careers of those in her family. She knew people, she knew places and she need things. She was not afraid to step out of the circle or bring something new in.

She and my oldest brother were the thicker than thieves before he left going to college out of state. He was in between us in age but with the three of us of course he's still the big brother. He was two years older than me and two years younger than Tish give or take a few months on both ends. Their relationship is reflected in the mutual friends as well as the many business endeavors they embarked upon before college, during college, after college and even internationally. We are molded and shaped like soft clay when we are young and as we develop we gradually or radically become that imprint leaving an impression for the entire world. So many doors opened to her not because she was but because she is.

Her energy complimented her education. The things that made her most profound cannot be attributed to the Chicago Public School System but it was Alicia A. Mercer. It was her destiny to lead so many out of the ghetto. She was the Harriett Tubman of Englewood and the Sojourner Truth of the ghetto. As the second sibling in a family of seven she was different. She was one who made a difference by her quest for success. Lives have changed and been nurtured because of her success. She always made a difference and that difference is a true reflection of her legacy. There are people even siblings who never would have grown had she not nurtured the spirit and sowed a seed of faith in their lives. Although she had many faces she evolved over the years to become such a dynamic professional that others emulated her and wanted to be like her.

A great leader and a great leader worked side by side. To compare Tish to the Mayor or a great Mayor to my sister is not so strange. They were both great leaders and extremely powerful motivators. Because of this and so very much more they will both be remembered in a very special way in our hearts, in our hopes and in our history. Mayor Washington was a man of the people and Alicia A. "Tish" Mercer was a people person who worked to improve the lives of others at a very non-political level but at a very public and positively motivational level. I revisited the media blitz on the day the mayor passed to reflect not just on his life but on how incredibly hurt Tish was and how connected she continued to be. Tish came to be part of the office as a volunteer. I spoke with another volunteer, Tris K. who offered his recollection of her work.


Excerpted from A Warm Blanket by PAMELA P. MERCER Copyright © 2012 by Pamela P. Mercer. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Memoirs of A. Tish Mercer....................xxi
Opening the Door to Celebrate Her Life....................xxvii
The Estate of the Estate of Alicia Ann "Tish" Mercer....................xlvii
Bits and Pieces....................lv Chapter #1 This is not about Me—A summary in the 60's and the 70's....................1
Chapter #2 Not the Fast Lane—Setting the Pace....................13
Chapter #3 Back When We Were Young....................47
Chapter #4 A Parade of Pictures, People Places and Things....................86
Chapter #5 Not Enslaved by corporate America—do your own thing....................122
Chapter #6 A lot of friends, a lot of memories What the world wanted to share....................129
Chapter #7 Corporate Mercer and Mercer Corporations....................146
Her Brother Archie Mercer....................155
Theft, Deception and Family Friction....................157
Pulling The Covers Off!....................166
Fred Flintstone Feet....................183
Reflections from her Mom....................195
Reflections from Her Youngest Sister Cynthia....................198
Chapter #9 Bad Karma will bury itself....................201
Chapter #10 The Books, the balances and some of the bull....................204
Chapter #11 The Men and the Boys Secrets we share....................206
Chapter #12 CHA—The Dark Truth More than a Rumor....................220
Chapter #13 Keeping the Legacy Alive....................238
Chapter #14 Her music, her method and her message....................243
Chapter #15 A personal journal from family, friends and extended family....................246
Sermon Notes....................253

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