Soul Survivor

Soul Survivor

by Mary Ross Smith

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Soul Survivor explores the depths of human emotions, both real and imagined. That any of us reach adulthood in one piece, emotionally or physically is a miracle of no small proportion. That any of us reach adulthood to contribute back to society and become highly respected in the community is truly a gift of time and place. Soul Survivor is a true story of fortitude, an iron will and looking to the future in the hope that tomorrow will be better than today. Soul Survivor is nothing less than a story of triumph. "Little Mary" Reese spent her childhood living, working and playing in a funeral home. Her mother, Mrs. Mary ("Big Mary") Reese, was well known and respected in the African-American community in Los Angeles through the operation of a prestigious black funeral home. Little Mary's story tells what really happens behind the embalming room doors- the light and dark side of life. Soul Survivor is both humorous and mischievous, and talks of sex, murder, voodoo, preachers and deviate gravediggers. Famous entertainers that passed through Little Mary's life include Redd Foxx, Lou Rawls, Sam Cooke, Billy Preston and Johnny Cochran. Little Mary was born in 1944 in the South, reared in the Southwest and was often disparagingly referred to as "high-yellow." During racial tensions of the '50s and '60s, Little Mary found her hue to be a major issue but not her only problem. Mary's mother caused her to endure life threatening situations due to her drinking and wild ways. Little Mary's childhood experiences, the mental and physical abuse faced each day, led her to believe that her only true friends were the dead people in the funeral home. Indeed, Little Mary received a BS degree (Be Smart) at an early age. It was the only way she knew to survive. Little Mary's story is an unlikely but revealing peek into the unexpected and in the end, truly a story of a Soul Survivor.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781452061047
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 08/16/2004
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 332
File size: 531 KB

About the Author

Soul Survivor, is the story or triumph over abuse, depression, and poverty.  This is a unique story .I am a black woman who because of my fair complexion was many times mistaken for white, which led to identity problems when I was younger. My mother was the funeral director and co-owner of a highly respected mortuary in South Central Los Angeles. Her status brought celebrities into our lives, including Lou Rawls, and Redd Foxx and Johnny Cochran. In public Mother was a solid citizen; privately she was abusive, self-centered, and controlling.

The embalming room was my refuge and the dead people were my friends. Often suicide seemed to be a reasonable alternative. When attempts were made to sexually assault me, Mother sided with the men and not with me. Her lifestyle forced me to endure life-threatening situations due too her drinking and wild ways.

At age seventeen, I was encouraged to marry a man who I barely knew and was himself an alcoholic and very abusive. We had little to eat, slept in a car while I struggled to support the two of us with menial jobs. When our son was born my life changed. First the husband had to go. Next, I was determined to break the cycle of alcoholism, abuse and be a good mother and role model. After years of hard work and self-education, I achieved success, self-esteem and eventually a happy marriage. The book has sex, humor as well as tragedy, and it conveys the message that obstacles can be overcome, no matter the circumstances, life is worth living.

Mary Ross Smith


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