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    Cheri Bryant Hamilton is a former District 5 Metro Councilwoman. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

    As told to Michael L. Jones
    Photo by Danny Alexander


    “I listen to the mayor and governor on most days, but I can’t take too much of the nightly news on a steady basis. I’m concerned about my son who works at UPS and making sure he practices social distancing. He’s been the one to secure supplies of toilet paper and Lysol, and we’ve donned our masks he secured when going to the grocery, pharmacy or hardware store.

    “I play Wordscapes on my phone and crosswords in the New York Times to keep my mind active. I’ve also really enjoyed listening to DJs on Instagram, like Questlove or D-Nice, who has Club Quarantine several nights a week until early in the morning. Music is a healing force and I’ve encouraged friends to join the party on Instagram with 100,000 other strangers who are partying at home alone and listening in as a community as we are home trying to stay safe and healthy.

    “Even if I’m not going anywhere, I make sure I get dressed and made up daily. I’ve drawn inspiration from Tom Sawyer while painting a recently installed fence and using muscles I haven’t used in a while. … I’m working on a coffee table history book of the Chickasaw neighborhood from the 1940s to 1970s with a group of childhood friends. We’ve changed our deadline to July 1, and we’re encouraging our contributors and former residents to take advantage of these days of solitude and social distancing to reflect on memories of what our lives were like and what we’ve learned from our family and village.

    “It was a close-knit neighborhood and many of the families had three, four, five and even six children, so there was always someone your age to play with and grow up with.  Many of us are still friends to this day. When the COVID-19 virus struck Louisville, we found that three of our childhood friends had been impacted and hospitalized on ventilators. It has been touch and go for them, and one still remains hospitalized in the ICU.

    “One summer before we entered high school, my friends and I had 13 parties between May and September when we all went to different schools again. And every Derby Day, Carl and Margery Provette and their children Larry and Marcia held an annual Kentucky Derby lawn and house party for 25 years, complete with wagering. You could always count on seeing old friends who had moved away at this annual affair, the best food and Larry’s famous mint juleps — much tastier than the juleps served at the track. But perhaps the best-known Derby party in the West End was the fabulous affair held by Dr. Ralph and Lois Morris at their home on South 44th Street for many years. It was attended by a guest list of their friends, a who’s who of local and national figures in the black community who were often seen in Jet and Ebony Magazines and the Louisville Defender newspaper.”


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