Saturday, June 21, 2008

Geography on Wheels

My mom could hardly be called a traditionalist; she never did things the old fashion way. She longed to raise us in a Muslim country but when she could not make it happen, she decided to do the next best thing, make her own Islamic community. So what did she do, to the astonishment and horror of her mother and family, she sold our home on east 31st and bought 5 acres of land in the middle of nowhere. While other kids went to school, she home schooled my sisters and I. Our home was our school and the library was our classroom.

When my brother graduated from High school, mama decided to give us a geography course we'd never forget. My brother was going to school in Washington DC, so she loaded everyone in the station wagon and took the family cross country. One of the highlights of the trip was when the whole family sang "Images" by Wali Ali and I got to sing the lead :) It took us three or four days to get to Georgia where my dad lived. Along the way, we stopped off in Arizona where we got to see an Indian reservation. It was fun, though I didn't see any teepees which was rather disappointing. We went to a mine a searched for jewels. In Texas we visited grandpa's sister, Aunt Viola. I think at the time, she was the oldest living relative in our family. It was so interesting to meet that side of the family. She lived in an old house that was built just like the homes of slaves you see in the movies. It was a miracle that we went there when we did, because two or three days later, Aunt Viola died.

We continued our journey. I remember while driving through Mississippi, my brother told Bro Fateen not to stop because the scenery reminded him of scenes out of "Mississippi Burning". When we finally arrived in Georgia, it took us for ever to get off the freeway because Mama kept missing the exit. Every time she passed the exit she'd shout "SHOOT!" and hit the steering wheel. I think it took four or five tries before we finally got off the right exit. We laughed the whole time, she even gave a chuckle once we got off.

The trip back to California was even more fun because we got to spend all the coins my dad had saved up over the years on Fish sandwiches and french fries at Mc Donalds, Jack in the Box and Burger King. In the end, we traveled through Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. I guess that was the beginning of our travels together as a family. We later went on to travel to Jamaica, Sudan, China, and Malaysia.

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