In the end of all the sadness, in between, in the beginning. you will find happiness.....

I have been writing it seems forever. Fascinated with some great poets and writers before me. Nora Zeal Hurston, Langston Hughes, Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Countee Cullen, Walt Whitman. And many more, these are just some of the favorites.

And then there was the music. Oh my gosh the music! It was the renaissance era that I fell so Goodman, Artie Shaw, Guy Lombardo, Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne. To put it quite frankly, I loved anything that was reminiscent of the 1930’s and 40’s. Something about those two detransfixed with. I will try to make this as painless as possible. Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Benny cades fascinated me. And it was also in that time that some other famous people would evolve. Quincy Jones, Mile Davis and many more. Too many to mention. I loved the big band sound, jazz, and it didn’t matter what creed, color, or background. If you were in that era, and it was good music and writing. I was hooked!

So it was my pleasure when I was placed on a assignment that I had been begging to do for a loooong time. I write of course on my own. And I have two books that are published that have done very well and working on my third one as we speak. But it wasn’t until my boss came in and told me that he had found Lila Taylor. The longtime lover of “Speedy Sapphire” whose real name was Mauricio Mendez. When he told me this, I was truly excited. Speedy was just as famous if not more than Billie Holiday and Artie Shaw put together!

Speedy had come here from the Dominican Republic. His parents were refugees. And when they came here, they moved to New York. Well Speedy’s dad had left the family before he was even born. Leaving Mina (his mom) with three children. Two girls and one boy. And one on the way, Speedy. He had the rough and haggard life that it seemed most had at that time. Speedy’s mother was a singer. But the type of music she sang, well a lot of people were not interested in. They were into the new, the fads. So she adjusted herself to such. And sang, waited tables, cleaned houses, watched kids, did laundry. All and more of anything to keep food on the table for her now four children.

However, as Speedy had started to get older. She had noticed his innate ability to bob his head to a beat. How when he was just a toddler he would make the sweetest noise with her pots and pans. So much in fact that she had did whatever she could to give him lessons. Lessons in what you ask…..everything! Speedy could play piano, drums, sax and trumpet. But it was his most acquired love for the sax and the flute that made your heart flutter and your blood boil with passion.

When Speedy was only thirteen he was asked by many clubs to sit in with the house band when a musician wouldn’t show. Because he was so talented, he could play by ear with or without the sheet music. And he was at home with any instrument. It’s funny because Speedy was too young to be in such clubs, They would paint a mustache on his face and put a hat on his head and cover his eyes. Speedy was tall for his age. So no one ever really questioned it.

I was in the bookstore one day, and I had picked up a biography on Speedy. The book was great and I loved it! But I always felt and wished that I could speak, or even know what Lila his lover had to say about what and how she felt for his music and him personally. Until now……

Lila was going to tell me everything. And I think I would put my book on the shelf for now. And feel everything she said to me. So now I will take you to the day, the home, the memories past and present of Speedy and Lila Taylor his lover for over twenty years.


It was cold…..and though I was born in the winter. I love the cold, but not when it is so cold you tense up and your back starts to hurt. Man! But as I still had to feel the cool breeze on my face. And wrapped up in my fur, jeans, high heeled boots, hat, gloves, and scarves. I loved New York! So it was with pain, pleasure. Joy and cold pain that I walked into Café Coffee and More to have some hot caramel apple cider. I would drink this before I head over to Ms. Taylor’s Brownstone in Harlem. I would also be taking her her favorite muffins and Danishes. I had done my homework, I knew her favorite foods and beverages. I wanted Ms. Taylor to feel comfortable with me and enjoy spending time with me as she shared her story with me. I knew I would give Upbeat a nice interview. But I had made up in my mind. I would write her biography.

So as I sat at a table near a window. I closed my eyes real tight. And I took a deep breath, inhaling from my nose and exhaling from my mouth. And when I opened my eyes. It was 1940. The men were looking gooood! Hair all conked and straightened. The women, fine and beautiful. Every hair in place. The music was solid and filling the streets. And I was ready, ready to embark on my journey.

I left with a fresh and warm box of pastries for Ms. Taylor. I knew exactly where she lived. And as the chill and the briskness of the air had hit my face, I felt revitalized! I could not feel the cold, and as people scampered and walked briskly down the street to hurry and get where they were going. I walked at a nice semi smooth slow pace. The day was bright, clear, and the beauty I could feel and see all around me.

I of course had done my research very well. Ms. Taylor was by far a broke and a destitute woman. Very smart and extremely intelligent. She mad a lot of wise financial decisions when she was younger. Decisions that led to have and own seven brownstones all on the same street. Which had all been refurbished completely inside and out. She also was the soul heir of any and all of Speedy’s royalties. Through out the years she was able to buy the masters of all his recordings. So if any body re-recorded his music or sampled, played it on any commercials or movies. Ms. Taylor was getting paid! And please believe that she has banked some nice change.

Ms. Taylor didn’t have to work either. But what she did was run a profitable party planning and catering business. Something she has been doing for years. And she takes only the jobs that she wants to.

Ms. Taylor only rented out two of her apartments in the brownstone she lived in. She had three stories in hers. Well, of course the basement, and then what others would consider a two story home. And from what I had been told, and seen in previous pictures her home was simply filled with history and beautiful modern cotemporary furnishings. And some wonderful rare antiques. What I call “vintage”

As I was now outside of her front door, I buzzed for her to come to the door.

“Yes…is this Renee Bouvier?”

“Yes Ms. Taylor.” And she buzzed me in. I opened the main doors. And just as I stepped in, she had already opened the door. And was smiling so beautifully. I walked over to her. And she hugged me. I hugged Ms. Taylor so tightly. I felt loved, warmth, care, and compassion coming from that hug.

“Come on in sweetie. I know you didn’t have a hard time finding me. And mmmm…I smell ‘em. You brought me some fresh and warm pastries from the bakery Café. Girl I was sure craving some of them. I have some hazelnut coffee with some exotic creamers. Some green tea. Fresh cranberry and freshly squeezed orange juice for you.” I stepped back smiling, and then I laughed.

“How did you know that those were my favorite drinks and how I like them?” She winked her eye at me and said, “Just like you have done your homework, lady I have done mine. Now. Let’s set some rules up. First of all. You will not call me Ms. Taylor. It is Lila. And second of all, you will feel comfortable in my home. You will take your shoes off, sit on your feet, the floor. Just respect my home, me, and I am an open book. So no question is too crass or rude.” I smiled deeply, and my eyes watered a bit. I was in the home of Lila Taylor! The woman, the impressionist, the beauty! And as they said about Lena Horne was an ageless beauty, so was Lila. She looked as if she was more in her forties than in her late sixties. And I am talking early forties late thirties! Lila was still curvaceous, and looked to me as if she probably still worked out! And how could I be mad or even be envious of any woman like that? I couldn’t.

Lila was a short and of small stature. Her hair was not completely down her back, but just past her shoulders. It was straight and flowing, and I had assumed she colored or rinsed her hair. Because there was not one grey hair in her head. She was Creole woman with hazel eyes, high cheek bones and naturally long lashes. Her teeth were white and the most beautiful smile you could imagine. I saw the beauty she was in pictures of old. But now that I was seeing her in person. I could see what Speedy saw on the outside! She was gorgeous and could put any woman to shame!

I followed Lila to her parlor. And it was then she had her personal assistant bring out a tray of fresh fruit, juices, cloth napkins, a bucket of ice, glasses, coffee and juices. I was impressed. Her personal assistant struck me to look very familiar.

“Renee, this is my niece Charlotte. Charlotte this is Renee form Upbeat. The lady I was telling you that was coming over here to interview me.” She reached out her hand and we shook with a nice firmness.

“Woooow! I am so honored to meet you Renee. I have read a lot of your work. I have both of your books. You are a great writer. You put me in the mind of J. California Cooper and Langston Hughes. Your depth is so real. And you paint a very well thought out picture.” I was impressed right now. And my eyes were widened. And my mouth fell slightly open. To get a compliment like that was like getting an Oscar!

“Thank you, thank you so much for the sweetest compliment I have ever received.”

“My pleasure. I am sure if you need anything Aunt Lila will let me know. But please, before you leave. I would like you to sign my two books.”

“I would be honored to.” And she walked out of the room.

“Your niece is so sweet. I thought when I saw her I seen a resemblance.”

“Yes, she has been with me it seems forever. I guess I am a little selfish.”

“And why do you say that?”

“Well, my brother use to play with Speedy. He was a trumpet player. Ohhhh that boy could play. Honey Louis Armstrong didn’t have nothing on him! This is when I had gotten my mini tape recorder out of my bag. Oh go head honey, get your things ready. I apologize.”

“No, it’s okay. I just assume not to miss anything. And that you are ready for this session. A girl chat.” She smiled.

“I am. Have been ready for a long time now.” I slid the tape recorder out, and pressed play. I nodded my head for her to continue.

“Well, anyway. My brother was what people would call a natural. And just like Speedy he would sneak into clubs and try to play. But unlike Speedy. He would get kicked out. Or they wouldn’t let him in. It was the fall of 1943. My brother Andrew was on the corner playing his trumpet in front of the club that would not let him in. He was fourteen at the time. And Speedy was seventeen. I at the time was still a very much little girl. Just about to hit thirteen. And honey let me tell you. I was a stone cold fox back then! We both laughed.

“And you still are Lila.” She shook her head no.

“No baby, trust me. Keep living. And when you see that things start to sag and fall. You will understand what I mean. My mother and father had to have a strong leash on me. Because I was getting picked up by grown men allll the time. Trust me when I tell you this.”

“Oh I believe you.”

“Well, Speedy heard my brother playing. And he was impressed. He asked my brother why was he playing outside. And they both struck a conversation. Speedy at this time was playing in the clubs being underage. But he was such a wanted and needed commodity in the scene back then. Musicians were literally fighting for him to play with them. And it was not until then that Speedy had realized he could and would do better on his own if he branched out and got his own band. So he had asked my brother would he be willing to be apart of his band. Of course my brother jumped to the chance. Speedy had a rep already, and my brother had stars in his eyes when Speedy had come up to him and talked to him.”
“How did they start a band? I mean, Speedy was underage to get into the clubs and so was your brother.”

“Honey back in those days at the Cotton Club you had a lot of underage kids working to put food on the table. All mafia owned and ran most of the clubs. So there were a lot of clubs that had underage kids working in it. Lena Horne, The Nicholas Brothers, most of the showgirls and performers were all under the age of eighteen.” I knew that, I just wanted Lila to break it all down. I loved hearing her talk. And I just wanted to ask something at least. I smiled to myself.

“Speedy of course still played gigs so that he could get paid. But he made time to scour talent which was lined up in the streets of Harlem. You could find guys tap dancing on wooden boards, people singing on corners, dancing. Just hoping someone would give them a break. They did this in front of the Cotton Club all the time. They knew if you got inside of there. You had hit the big time!”

“But there were other clubs that a lot of the artist worked back then and still became famous. And those are the clubs that I would like to think put a lot of musicians on the map.”

“Yes this is true. Harlem back then had tons of speak easies. And you played a lot of the speak easies Uptown so that you could get to a club Downtown. That was only a matter of minutes away. So there were options.”

“And Speedy chose those options.”

“Yes he did. Speedy had formed his band. Andrew was his trumpet player. Moss Man Mo was his pianist. Big Beat Gary was his drummer. The Shaw Man played bass, Chuck “The Saint” was his tenor and soprano sax player. They all were good. And they all played until the end together. Even when the band had grew larger. The ones who started off, they never left.”

“So how did you come to meet Speedy? The first time you two saw each other.” Lila smiled and blushed as she recalled the memory. She had poured herself some fresh orange juice on ice and took a couple of bites of her danish.

“My parents knew they could not keep my brother out of the streets. He would sneak out just to play on the corner in front of clubs at night. Speedy knew the deal. And he had come over to our house on a lazy Saturday afternoon. He came with all the band members he had put together. When he knocked on the door, I was the one to answer. We locked eyes, and we were stuck in a strong trance with one another. I mean one of those unbreakable trances.”

“Wow!” She chuckled.

“Wow is right. But as I had let them all in, instruments they all had in tow. They stood in the living room until my parents had come in the room. Speedy introduced himself and all the guys. He was well mannered, gorgeous, and extremely charming. Too charming if you ask me. Because he had charmed my parents. With their permission, the guys including my brother had played for them. And that is when my brother had gotten permission to play with Speedy. Speedy had hired his Aunt Grace to be their Chaperone and manager. Of course they all eventually met. Grace was a chaperone. But just the front as the manager. Because it was truly Speedy who negotiated each deal.”

“So just like that your brother was allowed to play.” I snapped my finger. Lila nodded her head yes.

“Honey my parents was moved deeply of how well my brother and that small band played. They told all their friends about them What would now be called VP of A&R Marketing and Promotions. Honey, my parents did that job for free!” And she started laughing.

“How sweet was that! Wow!”

“Yes, my parents let them rehearse in the basement. My mother cooked for them. So our house had turned into their spot. And this is when Speedy and I saw a lot of each other. Speedy I had already knew was a man.”

“Okay, when you say man. How are you referring, or meaning that?”

“He wasn’t no virgin. And women was throwing it to him! Girl left and right. Because when I would hang with the boys to sometimes pass out leaflets, or what is called fliers now. I would watch as Speedy flirted with the women. And how they flirted with him. This is what made me so jealous. Because I knew Speedy liked me, and how strongly we were attracted to each other. But I was young, and it wasn’t that easy to just hang out and go places with them. I told you my parents had a tight leash on me. And Speedy knew this. So he had to stay away from me. But it never stopped him from staring, flirting, or us some way or somehow touching each other every now and then without getting caught.”

“So what did you try to do? In regards to trying to at least make some time with him?”

“It really wasn’t too much that I could do. I saw girls come and go with Speedy. And that would break my heart to see him kissing, or holding hands with some other girl. So I started to talk to some of the neighborhood guys. All I could really do was sit on the front of the stoop and talk. And we could never be too close on each other. And Speedy was jealous too. He would question the boys more than my parents and brother. And they liked that Speedy looked out for me. They knew I liked Speedy and Speedy liked me. It was obvious, but they respected Speedy more for not crossing that line. So Speedy at first played the big brother roll.”

“So take me now to the place and time when Speedy got married.” Lila shakes her head at this.

“I was just a day away from turning fifteen. And Speedy had just turned twenty. It was at this time that the boys were doing very well. They were like Americas most wanted! It was a great time. Because they had really put in dues. Toured a lot of small town, big cities. Aunt Grace was the one who drove her station wagon with their instruments on the roof of the car. They had just gotten their big break from playing at the Apollo for the seventh time. They were well liked by Apollo audience. And it was then that Curtis W. Jacobs had seen the talent the boys had. He owned a small Indie label. And had produced and put out some great talent and had quite a few hits under his belt A lot of artist came to his office trying to get signed. Because it seemed he had the golden touch. And he had heard a lot of talk of Speedy and the band. Of course Speedy was the headliner. And Curtis was a sharp Jewish business man. But Speedy was even smarter and sharper. He did his homework. He did not, and was not going to get raped for his talent. And wanted to have the best deal possible at that time. So they all talked and negotiated a deal and contract that Speedy was happy to have. And they first came out with a single. And it was my voice on that single. Well, just singing a little chorus like back up thing.”

“I was going to ask you when and how did that come about you singing with them.”

“I was in the basement one day playing an instrumental of an Artie Shaw record. I had made up my own words. Speedy heard me singing. And I at the time didn’t know he was in the room. I was cleaning it up, just dancing and moving to the music and playing around. When I turned around and seen him. He immediately ran over to me. Kissed me on the lips. Picked me up and spun me around. He said that this was what they were missing. And he wanted me to sing a chorus on their first single. My parents of course gave me permission, and it was then that I had begun my singing career with the band.”

“How amazing is that?”

“Pretty damn amazing! Because I would never let anyone hear me sing. And that was not my dream to sing. But Speedy sort of pushed me in it. It was also at this time Speedy had met Louisa Martin. She was Dominican and colored as they said at the time. Oh, she was hot, fast, and sexy grown. And she had caught Speedy’s attention. She was at one of his shows. They hooked up, and she got pregnant. And Speedy married her because of that. Speedy was never ever in love with Louisa, but because he was catholic. And so was she, he wanted to do the right thing by her.”

“How did all of this make you feel?”

“I was devastated. Hurt and in major pain. Because it was around this time that Speedy and I would go and make out. I was still a virgin, still a baby. I was just sixteen. But we could no longer hide those passionate feelings. So I would leave a session of rehearsal. When I was no longer needed. I would wait for Speedy at a secret place. And it was then we would walk, hold hands. Sneak on a side of a building and make out passionately. This man made my body fill with heat! Do you hear me? I mean my heart raced! My blood boiled, I stayed hot for him. He taught me how to kiss and be as passionate as he was. So you see, I knew Speedy loved me. He bought my dresses, perfume, gave me flowers, and kept money in my pockets.”

“So when did you and him actually start an affair?”

“Well, it is a little complicated. The whole time of Louisa’s pregnancy. She was out on the road with us. And Aunt Grace was now my chaperone. And she watched me like a hawk. She sat in on every show. Walked me back to the motels we stayed in. So there was no sneaking around. And Louisa was very insecure during her pregnancy. When she had the baby, their son Enrique. I was now seventeen. And I had grown up real fast. I had seen and heard some things that would pull your wig back. And that shy girl was no longer. Since Grace loved vodka, I made sure that I had a bottle for her every night! And she would drink herself to sleep. And that is when I had started to see what my brother Andrew and the rest of the band members were doing.”

“What was going on?”

“Well today it is no big deal. But they smoked pot, had orgies, got drunk. Women were used, abused, and the men were the biggest tricks I had ever seen! Some of the things these women did and said were horrifying to me! And the things I saw the men do were even more crazy! Drugs were heavy. Coke and heroin were the drugs that you had to have money to do. Anyone could get alcohol. But you were considered to be in this secret society of such. An elite society. Especially if you got really good dope at that time.”

“Were any of the band members doing heroin at the time? Or coke?” Lila shook her head no.
“Nope none of them did that. At that time they frowned on it. They were satisfied smoking pot, weed, or whatever you want to call it. They liked the creativeness it gave them when they jammed or went and cut a record. Do not get me wrong, they were offered it all the time. But they kept their nose clean”

“For awhile”

“Yes for awhile.”

“So were you indulging?”

“Yeah, a lil. I wasn’t really into drinking that much. So I would hit a joint here and there and liked how it made me feel. My brother at this time was keeping an eye on me. But not that eagle eye. So this was at the time that I had met Kenneth “Strong Arm” Washington. He had just been hired to play with the band. He was another trumpet player. My heart you must understand was always with Speedy. But I liked Kenneth a lot. And I was lonely. I was hurting, and he was the perfect person to hang with.”

“Did you sleep with Kenneth?”

“Nooo. Not at first.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Well, when Louisa had the baby. It was then she had went back to New York and lived with her parents. She stayed with them for six months. Her mother helped her with the baby and watched over her. Speedy had a nice house up in Harlem, where the bougie people lived at that time. It was a place that served as a status symbol for those who had money and were doing very well for themselves. Doctors, Lawyers, this is when Jack and Jill only had light colored people in their organization. It was not the organization it is today.”

“Yes Lena Horne’s family was apart of the black bourgeoisie of that time.”

“Yes they were very influential and instrumental with how it got started. Back then, dark skinned people were still looked upon as the lower class of folk. And lighter skinned colored were looked as if they were a better class of people.”

“So your looks, as well as Speedy’s looked had that cross over appeal.”

“Indeed. More acceptable. Which I do not, and never agreed with at all. But it was the darker of the colored people as they use to say back then that worked harder to get what they wanted. They went to college. Opened up business’ and were going to make sure they were indeed seen in the eye of the world.”

“I like that.”

“I do too. Because we were all people of color, we all had to work hard. And there were dark skinned, and light skinned people who were very talented. But the bottom line was, we were all treated the same way. The lighter ones may have gotten just a few steps ahead. But they were still people of color. And you had a lot of colored at that time passing. Women were having affairs with some heavy hitting dudes that were apart of the underworld as we called it at that time. And were taken care of very well. And it was known, of course it was. But they knew their place. And they could never be seen out or around town in public with anyone who was white. Curtis loved women of color, or black women. That was all he dated. But because of his ties, and because he had money. No one ever messed around with Curtis. And I respected him for his choice of whom he was attracted to and wanted to be with.”

“Okay, so did Curtis ever hit on you? I know it is a silly question.”

“Of course he did! But that part of the story comes later.” I smiled.


“Speedy had saw how Kenneth and I would talk and flirt with one another. And it wasn’t until we had made it back to New York to play the Apollo for the umpteenth time that after the show he told me that we needed to talk. And this is when Speedy had broken down his undying love for me. How he felt for me the first time he had saw me. It was then after that show, that talk, that I had made love to Speedy and lost my virginity. It was the most magnificent night ever! He took his time with me, and made me feel like a queen! I was so deep in love after that night. We made love until the sun had risen. Speedy had gotten a motel room across town. I had lied and told Aunt Grace that I was going to go home. While telling my family I was staying with Ruth, my best friend. No one was the wiser. Coming home sore and elated, I was now a full fledge woman! And was damn happy about it!” I blushed. But Lila didn’t, I could feel the seriousness in her tone.

“So where did things start going from the first time you two had made love?”

“Chile it was a battle for a long time it seemed. For the first year of our secret affair we had to duck and dodge. Restrain how we really wanted to be around each other. And that was all over each other. Touching, kissing, hugging. That had to be put all on ice. And then there were times when we toured that Louisa was insistent in coming on the road with us.”

“Do you felt she knew what was going on?”

Nope, I felt Louisa knew that Speedy was being unfaithful . But didn’t have an idea it was me. My brother I think knew. But for awhile he didn’t say anything.”

“So what happened to Kenneth?”

“Well Kenneth was my cover up. I was still very much attracted to Kenneth. But I made sure that I didn’t get so close to him where we would end up in bed together which was hard. Kenneth made it known he had feelings for me. And Speedy didn’t like it one bit at all!”

“So tell me what was it like touring with Speedy? Losing yourself in him and the band.”

“It was fun, adventurous, hurtful and shameful all at the same time. When I had made twenty years old. Speedy and I had come out of the closet with our love affair. Record label execs knew, his wife knew, my family everybody! It was like one of those things know one wanted to really talk to me about. My mom and dad tried at times. But they knew there was nothing that they could say or do to stop me from being with Speedy. Speedy was so romantic, loving, giving, compassionate and wonderful. He took care of me very well. As his fame grew more and more. Of course he made more money. Our tours had us in Europe, Canada, the Islands, even back to the Dominic Republic. Speedy would just spice the music some. To be very clear, Speedy did very well over in the European market. Now they loved his music here in the states. But Speedy was so much more appreciated. And Josephine Baker was still doing her thing over there. She was on another level of her career. But she was still in the public eye. And with all of this going on with a bigger band, more tour dates, records selling very well. Of course Speedy was wanted by a lot to produce and play on other’s records. Money was just rolling in. Speedy had bought me my first house. He also taught me how to drive. And every year we were together, the furs and diamond rings he gave me. Chile!”

“Wow…what about Louisa? Did you have any remorse sleeping with Speedy?”

“Of course I did! Chile too many times Louisa and I had run ins. She would come over to my house and get Speedy from there a lot. We would have these loud raucous arguments. She had even came to the club a few times and tried to jump on me a few times, noooo the situation was not pretty at all. This it seemed went on for a longtime. She would bring Enrique with her to make Speedy feel bad. Having that child all in the mix. And it was one time that she came over to my house just after we had gotten from Italy. I was tired beat down and worn out. Just so happened that Speedy had just left to drop some sheet music off to the studio. And was going to buy some groceries for the house. It was nice and fun being in another country. But when I got back home. I stayed in the house for three days catching up on beauty rest. Taking care of my body.”

“Okay so what happened when Louisa came to your house?”

“Oh yeah. Chile it looked as if she had been run through and through. The lady had bags and dark circles under her eyes. She had been crying so much that her eyes were burgundy! Whoo! I let her in. She already knew that Speedy wasn’t there. And she begged me to please leave him. She knew that I was not going to stop singing with the band. Because now I enjoyed it immensely. It afforded me to do and see so many things. And I loved the attention. But anyways, she cried honey on my shoulder for a good hour. And I promised that I would leave him alone.”

“Yeah but it wasn’t for long though.”
“Well it was very hard. When Speedy got back to my house. I cooked, we made love like there was no tomorrow. Our love making to me got more and more passionate as time went on. After we had woke up. I told him what happened. And for us to stop this. I knew Speedy loved his son. It may not have seemed like it. But he really did. There were times that Speedy would take Enrique with us on the road, to see all these different places and meet people. He would hire a nanny to come with us on the road. Louisa allowed it because she knew that Enrique was a very active child. And it gave her a break. And in turn I bounded with Enrique and fell in love with him myself. I was his second mom.”

“Louisa never had anymore children with Speedy.”

“No she didn’t. She got pregnant again. But she told Speedy that if he didn’t stop seeing me she was going to kill the baby with an abortion. And that is totally against their religion to do so. And of course Speedy tried to leave me alone for awhile. But it didn’t last but for three weeks. When Louisa found out that he had started back seeing me. She went and had that abortion. The doctor messed her up so bad she could not have babies anymore. I wept for her. Speedy was the saddest around this time. And that is when he had started to pick up drinking.”

“So you sent Speedy home back to Louisa after she had come by. And what happened from there?”
“Well, it was hard on us both. But we vowed to keep away. My guilt was eating away at me all the time. And seeing Louisa like that that day did something to me. About two months had gone by. And everyone knew that I had stopped seeing Speedy. And this is when Kenneth and I had started sleeping around. Now that only lasted for about a month or maybe two. Because Speedy had told him if he didn’t stop he would be kicked out of the band. So Kenneth Stopped calling and seeing me just like that.”

“He threatened Kenneth.”

“To the 125th power. But I had this high sex drive like no other! It was all due in part to Speedy. He and I did some wild and crazy things together. And there was not a place that we didn’t make love or have each other. It was very hard for me to put sex on the back burner. And since I had always had this attraction to Kenneth. I thought we could mess around with one another. And that he would be secretive about it. But he had to go and run his mouth! They were all having drinks after a set they had played at the Orpheum in Los Angeles. Kenneth said that I was a mother in bed. And Speedy got up and punched him in the mouth. And Kenneth wasn’t expecting that. Not in the least, he was so stunned and hurt by what Speedy had done. Eventually Kenneth left the band because he was embarrassed by what had happened. He left me alone as well. Couldn’t even look me in the eye.”
“What did Speedy say to you?”

“Girl it was tension between him and I for a loooong time. And I admit, I was wrong for pursuing Kenneth. But when you are out on the road so much. And you spend time with these guys. You know them inside and out. And for me going out of that circle was not the right thing to do. I felt I would be handled differently by a man who was around me and knew me. It was hard for me to just go into a country or city and have a one night stand like the others did. Hell, Speedy didn’t talk to me for a good three months. It was just business.”

“So how did you two come back together?”

“Speedy was miserable without me. And so was I. But I made a vow to stay out of his married life. He chose to marry for the wrong reasons. And I knew he was not going to leave her and Enrique. I had to move on with my life. And it seems as if Speedy was still holding me back. Like he held all the cards to my life.”

“So what did you do?”

“Well one of the things I had started to do was hang out a bit more away from the band and him. I had now started seeing some of the same faces that would come to the concerts in different cities. I had places where I could go and have a home cooked meal. Sleep in all day. Take long hot baths. Go shopping, I didn’t have many girlfriends. And so it was that when I had met Mona. She was a doll, and I was now I believe twenty-three. And Speedy was Twenty-seven, and his son Enrique was turning seven soon. Anyways, Mona was a die heart fan chile. She wrote me, and I called her. She would send me all the good reviews we had. Tell me about what she was up to and doing. And Mona was a genuine sweetie. She was eighteen when I hired her as what would be called a personal assistant. There was no such thing as that back in the day. It was like you had a wardrobe person. But not a real personal assistant. But Mona was happy to leave her dull life and come on the road and live with me. So she did everything and anything. I gave her an allowance every week, and we were as think as thieves. So we did a lot of girly things together. And it was Mona that had gotten me on the right track with my eating, taking vitamins and herbs. Using certain things on my skin. She was a vegan, and I had turned into one myself. Now Mona wasn’t an easy girl. And she stayed away from the boys in the band. They wanted her. But she knew better. If she wanted to be with a man, she kept it outside of that camp.”

“So Mona was a good friend to you and helped keep you from Speedy?”

“It worked for awhile until one day we were at the house and there was a knock on my door. There was a flower delivery for me. My heart was rushing with joy because I knew it was Speedy that had sent me the flowers to apologize how he had been acting. But to no avail.”

“And who were the flowers from?”

“Have patience, I am getting there. She laughed. I was sent flowers twice a week with a card attached. I was sent all types of gifts. Jewelry, fruit baskets, clothes from the latest designers in Paris. This went on for two months. The last gift I got was a brand new car!”


“Yes! And I was now in this confused delirium, who would buy me a car?”



“Curtis Jacobs bought you a car and was the one sending you all…..”

“Yes! Curtis was a beautiful man. I mean women vied for his attention all the time. But at this time Curtis was now thirty-six. And to me that was too old.”

“Not really”

“Well for me it was. Curtis had qualities that every woman would want. I mean he was smart and astute, He spoke four languages. French, Spanish, Italian, and English. He was well traveled.”

“So what was the problem?”

“I guess I was scared. I felt what would someone like him see in someone like me. And it was at this time that Speedy and I had not been in each others bed for a little over a year.”

“That long?”
“That long. And I knew Speedy was still sneaking off on the side. It bothered me. But that was Louisa’s problem and not mine any longer. I was keeping my promise to her.”

“So this is when you started dating Curtis.”

“Well, he wined and dined me. Took me on trips alone. He had bought my a house in the suburbs. It wasn’t a house it was a mansion! He poured money upon me all the time. And it was that money that had let me started buying up property here in Harlem. I had bought two brownstones on this street.”

“He was really, as we say breaking bread.”

“Honey he was breaking a lot of bread. So it was then that we had begun our affair. There were so many people that were jealous and envious of us. But they dared not say anything about it. Like I told you, Curtis loved women of color. Italian, Spanish, any from the Islands, and African American women. He did not hide that at all.”

“So how long did you two see each other?”

“We lasted for about three years.”

“Three years? Did you love him?”

“I loved him, but not like I loved Speedy. Honey there was a place inside of me that wanted Speedy so bad. That yearned for him night and day. It was not until I saw Speedy’s decline that I had went back to him.”

“What do you mean?”

“Speedy was drinking very heavy and this was at the time he had started using.”



“The marriage was over before it had even started. But Louisa did not want to leave Speedy. She was drinking real bad. And they always had the worse arguments in front of everyone.”

“So it was the fact that he was using that made you go back.”

“Yeah, he wasn’t an addict yet. But he was using. And it was me that was trying very hard to keep him focused. Curtis, the band all talked to him about his using. We all knew where it would lead. And though Speedy was still on the top of his game in the music word. Records selling, sold out tour dates. His mental was not at peace. There of course was prejudice and bigotry. Problems with people we had encountered. Not all being able to stay in hotels because they didn’t want colored people there. And his family did not approve of a lot of things he was doing. Then there was the pressure to make good music and touring is so very grueling!”

“So was it Curtis that had pushed you to talk to Speedy?”

“In a way yes. You see, I was the only person that could get through to him at times. He had went and got help for the drinking. And he had stopped that cold turkey it seemed. But he was using heroine, and that was not good at all. So Speedy told me he would do anything to have me back. He would give it all up and give me anything I wanted.”

“But that is not what you wanted.”

“It was and it wasn’t. I wanted Speedy. But I didn’t want Speedy to compromise his life or his son from using. We had see what it had done to a lot of people. I was still young when I had met Billie Holiday, And around the time I had met her she was hooked lined and sinking. She had already done time twice for using. And when we had toured with her, she was nothing but skin and bones chile. And that was scary! Miles Davis was using, Ray Charles was using. And to be around these people when they needed a fix was crazy! They sometimes scratched holes in their skin. Their temperament was always on edge. And when you get hooked on that liquid dream queen. It can be over for you.”

“That is what you called it?”

“Yes. It was my own personal name for the lady herself. I have seen things I would not want anyone to see. When you see someone high on the liquid dream queen, to me it was sickening. It was like you were looking at the living dead. They nodded and seemed to be in a different world. They were and were not coherent. Some drooled, and to see a woman on it was absolutely disgusting. I seen the women go in looking like a sophisticated woman. And later you walk in, and their dress is hanging on them. Like if you asked a child to hang a $5,000 designer gown on a wire hanger. Your eyes roll to the back of your head. Their legs would be spread wide open. And a lot of women back then honestly did not wear panties because how it made a tight fitting gown looked. So you would see all their business. And it was even more horrifying when a woman was on her cycle and you could see all her extra personal information literally leaking out!” I shuddered at the thought and sight of that.

“Oh my gosh!” Lila nodded her head yes. And then finished the rest of her second glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. She helped herself to another danish. She looked so elegant as she re-spread the cloth napkin across her lap.

“It was a serious uncouth thing. You wonder how a woman so beautiful could walk off a stage and then go back and look like a two dollar hoar in a matter of minutes. That shit was poisonous. Excuse my foul language. I could tell that this was a very sensitive and sore subject. I knew the history of Speedy. I wanted to know how he had gotten to that point.

“So of course you were willing to leave and give up Curtis?”

“Honey I had been ready to give Curtis up. I was not the only woman he was sleeping with. I was the number one lady, the Queen Bee if you will. But a lot of beautiful women through themselves at Curtis’ feet. And some were even bold enough to do it in my face.”

“You were faithful to Curtis?”

“Yes I was. And for whatever reason, it didn’t bother me what Curtis did. I was getting tired of the business. I was ready to retire. I had saved a lot of money up. I had people renting the apartments from the two brownstones I had bought. And Mona had been on me about opening a business. She’s wonderful cook! Can cook anything. When we were on the road. Mona bought and collected cookbooks. And taught herself to cook all those meals and dishes fabulously. And she taught me as well.” We knew all the right people, had a clientele on the entertainment scale. So we would have made lots of money.”

“But you do now.”

“Of course.”

“This is a great story.”

“This is just the beginning of it. Curtis I could tell was getting restless. He was a ladies man, he loved me. I knew that, well in his own way. But he was now going through his mid life crisis as we know today. So he fronted the money for Mona to get her business up. He helped her with attorneys, business fees, and her product. Purchased her a building in Harlem that served only as a kitchen. Mona loved me. But she was now ready to get off the road. She had become to despise the debauchery of human lives. And I told her I would be her silent partner and financial backer until I had finally decided to finish singing. Then I would be right there with her in the trenches.”

“And Mona is still right here running everything with you.”

“Yes she is. And I love her so much. That is still today the only true and real friend I have. Now she still kept my homes and brownstones together. She ran my errands, and kept things going. Stayed on those accountants and attorney’s to take care of my business. There were some crooked folk back then. And if they could screw a person of color over they would. I first learned this part of the business with Speedy. HE was my teacher for a long time. And then there was Curtis, he taught me even more.”
“So now you and Curtis are no longer together.”

“No, like I said. He wanted to be on his own. And I was tired. And deep down in his heart. Curtis loved Speedy very much. And he felt he had done all that he could do to get him off the dope he was shooting in his arms. It was at this time that I was getting weary with a lot of things again. You do go through all of this over and over in that lifestyle.”

“So what is it that you do to help Speedy?”

“I had taken a break from the road. Well we all did. Curtis made sure that he had given us a break. And even though he said it was nothing else he could do to help Speedy. He still earnestly tried and did everything he could. At that time drug treatment centers weren’t as popular and well known as they are now. They would put you in a hospital and give you little by little to try and slowly wean you off of it. Which is still a practice used today. But with better methods and much more research.”

“Was Speedy happy to have you back?”

“It wasn’t that easy. As I told you earlier. Louisa’s drinking had gotten out of control. And Speedy was shooting up. So Enrique was now living with Speedy’s parents. Louisa’s family had disowned her. She was making a fool of herself and her family. So with all this going on. It was so much more harder to talk to Speedy. But we did. And he went and got help. We did no make love until he was fully clean. Once he was clean, he had thrown his self back into his music harder than before. This is when he came and recorded The Lady of The Night.”

“I know that piece oh too well. It was the record that out sold all his previous recordings.”

“Yes it was. And Curtis and all of us were very happy.” And then all of a sudden her eyes got watery. I did not know what was coming next. It took her some time before she could compose herself. She was hurting so much that I had gotten tears in my eyes.

“My brother Andrew had overdosed. I didn’t know that my brother used. He was good, and I was blind.”

“What do you mean?”

“I was so busy running up behind my life, Speedy Curtis, touring, Mona. I didn’t pay attention that my own flesh and blood was killing himself with that shit! He was a closet dope fiend. He got some bad dope, and that is what killed him.”

“Where did he die at?”

“He was found in the bathroom of a cheap motel. I still have not forgave myself for his death.” And Lila reached down and shut the tape recorder off. She got up from the sofa and walked towards her kitchen. I sat there , feeling her pain. Knowing that there was nothing I could do to make her feel better. What a guilt to walk around with your whole life………….



When Lila came back, she seemed more poised and composed. Lunch was approaching so she had her niece, Charlotte order us some lunch to be delivered. And when she was ready, she turned the tape recorder back on.

“We buried my brother on the ugliest day New York has ever seen. It was black, gray, clouds tortured the sky. It was cold, dreary the world seemed as if it were very still and lonely. Solemn. There were so many stars at the funeral. And it was a stone media circus. Cameras flashing all over the damn place! I was mad about that. People were hanging at the door and in back of the church. It was one, just one of the many sad days in my life that I will never forget.”

“It must have been pain on your parents.”

“Yes. My parents took it real hard. My mother and father lived a very good and long life. My brother and I took care of them very well.”

“I am sure you did.”

“It was after my brother died that Speedy and I got closer and closer. We were inseparable. I never cheated on him. And he never cheated on me.”

“How could you say that? He was still married.”

“They were married. But it had been long ago that Speedy and Louisa made love. The fire had gone out right after she had that abortion. This is why he slept around with women on the road. Some here and there, not many. I knew he wanted me.”

“So did you go back to living with one another?”

“We did. And it was then when we had Enrique come live with us. And the nanny that Speedy had before was hired back full time to stay in the house. Nina loved Enrique very much. And was around for years to come. When she died, that tore a big piece of me too. It wasn’t much that Speedy could do for Louisa. He did make sure the house was taken care of, and someone would go in once a day and check on her and keep the house cleaned. And clean Louisa up to. You can’t imagine the vile things she did when she was in a drunken stupor.” I held my hand up.

“I do not think I would want to hear it. Just let me imagine it.” We both laughed. But it was a sad melancholy laugh for Lila. And she turned her head and looked away. Out of the window. Took a deep breath, and continued.

“Again I was being selfish. And I had broken my vow with Louisa. But it was four years that I had left Speedy alone. And it was the roughest four years ever.”

“I do not know of such a love. A love like the love you two shared.”

“Honey, there are a lot of times that have wondered if I am the only one on this earth to go through all the trauma and drama for a lover and a man. How could two people love each other so damn hard?”

“And you still have not figured it out.”

“No sweetie, I really can’t say that I have. I know that my life was just not complete. And I wasn’t happy unless Speedy was there with me to share it. And he felt the same way. When my brother died Speedy took it very hard. He was very close in getting a shot up in his arm. He got real depressed. So much in fact that I had to cut my grieving short and deal with his. But with each of us going through it and being there for each other. We cared less of any outside people not approving of what we were doing. We raised Enrique and loved each other. And Enrique was calling me mother. His mother had disappointed him oh so many times. But he had a love hate for me as well. I was the cause that kept his parents apart. I was the cause of all the drinking, drugs, and bad life. But I was all he knew. And I loved him, showered him with love. Let him hate me and give him space.”

“Does Enrique still come around to see you? Do you two have any type of relationship?” She smiled.

“Yes we do. I am his mother. And we love each other like a proud mother would do. And a son who has respect. I had an accident when I was a young girl at fifteen. I do not want to get into the specifics of it. Another sad memory I will not forget. But my parents and I found out I would never be able to have children. And so this is why I never had kids of my own. Why I clung to Mona, my brother, Speedy, and especially Enrique. There have been many times I was selfish with him. And I think made him love me more than what he should have. I wish he was Speedy and my child. I love Enrique. It was when I was thirty, and Enrique was thirteen that Louisa had died of alcohol poisoning. She had drunk herself dead. She had been in and out of the hospital for the last year or so. We were all watching her die. And here was another life I felt I was responsible for taking. Had it not been behind me. Her and Speedy could have been happy. But she drunk herself to death over Speedy and me.”

“You blame yourself for too much. Louisa was no dummy or fool. She knew…”

“She knew…but they were Catholics my love. Divorce was not an option. Abortion was not an option. And she did everything she could to keep Speedy. I know she did. Honey in this lifetime you will regret some things. And be sad about some things. It just seemed to me as if I had made a lot of bad things happen to a lot of people. I could have quit the band. But I couldn’t. I had to be near Speedy at any cost.”

“That is why I say I have never known a love like this.”

“I am beginning to think so. She shook her head and smiled. So it was now that I had Speedy truly to myself.”

“Were you happy?”

“Yes and no at times. But yes I was majority of the time.”

“Why did you never marry Speedy?”

“He asked me a lot of times. But I always said no. I liked things they way they were. I knew he loved me. I was going nowhere, and neither was he. We had our family.”

“You sure did. So what was next for everyone?”

“Well, it is 1963. And big bands were dead, Civil Rights era was coming on and moving forward real fast. A lot of the people we knew had died off, were poor from bad business decisions. We were still doing very well. The band of course had dismantled. Some would come every now and then and play with Speedy when he went on the road. But heartache was to come to me once and again. I was thinking we were doing very well. However, Speedy had hired another singer to take my place. I only sang here and there. I had threw myself in full time with Mona. I was sick of the road and all the tragedy. Only when Speedy would go out of the country did Enrique and I go with him. I loved Europe.”

“Did you sing when you went out of the country with him?”

“Yes I did…..It was one night though that I had noticed something different in Speedy. He was acting funny to me.”

“What type of funny?” Lila looked away. And she started folding and re-folding her hands inside of her hands.

“I think this was a time where Speedy had gone back to the liquid dream queen. She was calling him. We were on the road with Ray Charles, Miles Davis, The Duke himself. It was like the tour of all tours! It was truly unbelievable! To really be around all that talent. Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald. All headliners putting their ego to do this huge concert. Back then, to buy a ticket for Fifty dollars was like spending two-hundred dollars today on a concert ticket. The promoter Shaun Matthews was the best of the best at that time. He made the impossible possible. Each star had all their wants and demands. And he made all of that possible. The money was right for each person performing. Yeah I remember Shaun.” And then Lila smiled.

“Why the smile?” She smiled even harder then blushed.

“Shaun was a young guy. Well younger than me at the time. I was about thirty-four at the time, and Shaun was twenty-nine. Shaun had quickly made his way up in the ranks of the entertainment world. I remember when he was on the radio. Just as a side kick to main radio jock, “King Kong” Morris Tamper. He was as famous as a singer. But you could hear in Shaun’s voice and the way he spoke that he would not be there long. He would be at every club, any event you could think of. Opening of stores, burger stands, at the concerts that were giving in the city. At the Apollo handing out fliers. Yeah…Shaun was all over the place.”
“I am seeing a serious gleam in your eye.”

“Yes you are. I met Shaun over in Europe. Well…not really. I spent time with Shaun over in Europe. Because we had come into each others presence a lot. Shaun had opened up a business under his fathers name. Still doing business today. They are one of the top management agencies in New York today. Humph. Managing the rapper Jay-Z and many more rappers and actresses that would make you take interest.”

“Yeah…yeah….I know the agency very well.” She nodded her head yes. Shaun died over four years ago. Great man…very great man.”

“I remember his murder. He was killed by his wife. So I assume you and Shaun had something going.”

“You assumed correct. As I was saying Speedy was acting strangely. And your first mind never leads you wrong. My heart had told me that he was back dibbling and dabbling with heroine. I was now the one who had made as much time as I could to be with Enrique. He was at a very vulnerable time in his life. He had what is called home schooling now. But a tutor traveled with us. His nanny NIna that he has known all his life. And we all are sticking together, working together to make Enrique as comfy as we could. He was seeing, and had seen, gone through so much from place to place growing up. I wanted Enrique to know he would not be going anywhere and uprooted again as long as their was breath in my body. This is one promise and vow I knew that I would keep and not break.”

“So you raised Enrique?”

“Yes I did. And it was at the right time. I mean all things happen for a reason they say. It was not even a full year that we were dealing with all these deaths in our lives. And all the emotional and mental weight. I had had it up to my head and over. I was being there for everyone and not myself. I was feeling neglected a lot by Speedy. I was no longer number one. And I could feel him slipping away. Shaun had come over to the hotel room one night. Told me we were going out. And I said nothing and that night I left with Shaun. We went back to his hotel suite, and we drank wine and made love over and over. My body had not gotten that attention in months.”

“You and Speedy were not making love?”

“It was like we were. But we were so busy. It was like we didn’t have the energy. But it didn’t mean by any chance that I felt Speedy was cheating on me. It was long rehearsals, getting wardrobe and being perfectly fitted. Taking care of all the loose and gritty ends of leaving for and on a tour. There was a lot of preparation. And I was happy to have most of the original band members there to play. And of course if Speedy wanted to get high. He could not get high in front of me. Or be high around me. So this cut in on oue making love time as well. ”

“And Speedy was still dropping an album here and there. All of his music has kept up with the ever fickle music industry.”

“It has. It did. And it still plays and sounds smooth and wonderful.”

“So how long did you and Shaun have this affair? Or was it just a one night stand?”

“No…..this went on for three years.” My mouth fell open.

“Three years?”

“When we got back from tour. It was evident that Speedy did not care that I knew he was back using. Didn’t care if Enrique knew it either. I tried to shelter that boy as much as I could. But Speedy would do something to mess that up and be sitting around in the studio he hade built at the house high. I tried and tried everything. My love was no longer enough for him. I was no longer enough for him. Speedy was still very young. And here we were getting close to the seventies. Only thirty-eight years old, and he was feeling like a wash out. But Speedy was tired. He had been doing this for over twenty years. Music. The way he made love to his sax, his flute. Those were the days, those were the instruments I loved to hear him make love to. The way he could bend a note, the way he could hold a note for a looooooong time. Not too many artist can do that. Speedy could hold a note for up to five minutes! And the crowd would go wild!!! He was tired. But he loved what he did.”

“I can’t say that I have ever seen anyone on heroine.”

“And baby, it isn’t something you would want to see either. It is the nastiest high ever. And it was when the flower power hippies bullshit started to come around where it seemed to make doing any drug was acceptable. And a lot of people fell right over into it. Pot got back real popular, acid, heroine, coke. It was all the end thing to do. You would know that when you seen Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, The Grateful Dead. They were high as all out doors. Looking like damn zombies. Jazz was sorta put on the back burner. And I was only hanging in there for Enrique.”

“The music did change.”
“A lot. Shaun kept Speedy working. And Speedy never missed a tour date or went on stage high. I will give him that. And he was still paid good money. It was Enrique that I was most proud of. Speedy was too. He loved that boy, of course he was spoiled. And it was when Speedy did not get high you would see the love that had emanated from the both of them. They were inseparable, those two were. He taught him to drive, talked about girls and sex. And they loved shopping together, play ball a little.” Tears had formed in the corner of Lila’s eyes.

“These were happy moments.” She shook her head yes and grabbed a Kleenex out of the box in front of her. And just then the food had arrived. Her niece had everything in dishes and displayed and set up so nicely. We quietly fixed are plates, and blew on our food and ate silently.


“When Enrique graduated from college. It was I that made double sure he would be okay. He had four years of college paid in full up front. A very smart young man he was. I made sure he stayed in books and learned other languages he did. Italian, of course he spoke Spanish and English like his parents. But I also gave Enrique time alone, time to date, I didn’t hold him in a noose. He knew how far to take it.”
“I see and feel the love.”

“You should. I was thirty-six years old when he graduated from high school. Not long ago remembering when I had finished school. Never went on a prom, I was on the road. So I relished his high school events, games, and moments. I lived vicariously through him. Speedy would make sure he was sober for the important ones……So Enrique had decided to leave the nest and go to Howard University for Business Management, and a minor in English.”

“Oh he was doing it huh?”

“He did it! The boy stayed in school and got his Graduate Degree. I am so proud of him.”

“So back to Shaun.”
“Well, Shaun and I had this affair for three years because Speedy had a sex drive. But he was high so much I was disgusted by him. I told myself that when Enrique had left for college. That was the day that I was going to leave. It was also shortly there after that I had found out the truth.”

“The truth?”

“Yes. That Speedy was dying of cancer.”


“Speedy had knew about this for three years. The length of the affair I was having with Shaun. This was the reason why he had gotten back on shooting dope. He was depressed. And figure why not go out with a bang. He was getting treatments, but I thought it was the heroine that had him looking tired ad raggedy, losing weight. It was and it wasn’t at the same time. The chemo was eating Speedy up.”

“How did you find out?”

“A call from the doctor telling me that Speedy was in the hospital. So I take off there in a heartbeat. Thinking Speedy was on his last leg. He was, but the doctor said he needed to keep him there. He needed him off the dope. And in certain spots where he had seen cancer. It was no longer there. That the radiation and chemo was helping. So this made me feel good. And Speedy was happy to hear it.”
“So he stopped doing heroin?”

“Yes he did. Kicked and never went back. He was in the hospital for awhile. And I was right by his side. It was like I was a permanent fixture there. Speedy was underweight, very much so. And it was a good friend of the both of us that convinced me and him that he should smoke weed so he would want to eat. He was deep into herbs and holistic medicine. I was dead set against it for a long time. Thinking that maybe Speedy would get back on dope. But he never touched the dope or alcohol. He did smoke the weed and it did give him an appetite. He walked, the started a daily workout routine. Took all those natural herbs, and was doing very well.”

“So there were major signs of hope…..but…”

“Well….you know Speedy is dead. He held on for five years I had him in my life. And we were happy. We were living fruitful lives. We traveled so many places! Egypt, Morocco, Australia, you name it we went there! We ate at the best restaurants, tanned on the best beaches and laid out. Made love like there was never another day to do it. And Speedy had proposed to me each time and I said no.”

“I still can not answer that question today.”

“But you loved him.”
“More than I can ever show or tell you at this instant. Speedy was my first and my last love of everything. I will and have not ever loved a man like I have loved Speedy. And I truly believe that there is no woman that was placed on this earth but me to love him.”

“That is a very profound statement to make Lila.”

“It is. But even with my small affairs, which were not many. And Speedy’s affairs. We both were never fulfilled unless we were together. We knew each other like no other person could know us. We were put here to love one another I truly and dearly believe. I will take Speedy’s love with me to my grave when I die.”


“Speedy and I were at home. And he wasn’t feeling too well. He asked me to take him to the hospital. I did, and the cancer had come back in full swing! It had eaten up most of his body. There was no saving him at this time. Ohhhh…this was so crucial. Enrique came to be by his side every waking moment he had. I was there and close family and real friends came by all the time. His room looked like death with all those flowers. I would have the nurse go and take the flowers and give them to other patients. I knew I would see plenty of them at his funeral. It was a Monday, 3:30 p.m. Speedy looked over at me. And he asked me one last time. Will you marry me? And I said yes. We were both crying, the silent tears. Tears streaming down our face. My heart aching so bad for her. And we had to wait to compose ourselves………………..


“We got married right there in that hospital room. And one hour later to the minute. 4:30 p.m. October 25th Speedy died with me and Enrique there holding each of his hands. Enrique was his best man and our witness.”

“I don’t understand. Reporters said you never got married. I would have been able to get that information.”

“Honey…I kept it hush hush. Very hush and secretive. Speedy had done his will a long time ago. I was sole heir to his estate. Of course he left money and property to Enrique. But he knew what I would do with his legacy. When I buried my husband, I buried a lot of hate, hurt, shame, guilt, lies and pain. I have my moments when I may feel guilt and shame here and there. But for the most part. I am free.”

“And how old were you when he died?”

“I was forty-two. It took some time for me to jump back into life. Mona had moved in with me. Enrique came home and stayed with me for a few months. He had graduated from Graduate school. I had lost weight, went into a depression. Cried for weeks until my tear ducts were sore. I couldn’t get out of bed. If it were not for Mona and Enrique. I do not know what I would have done.”

“This is one powerful story.”

“It is….it really is. And once I had gotten my head right. I went full fledge into our catering and party planning business. I bought up more brownstones on the street. I gave Enrique the house. I could no longer live there. To many memories there for me that made me cry tears of joy, and then some of pain, and some because I missed him. I started to look over the estate of his music. It was shortly after his death that so many offers came in. Documentaries, movies, artist wanting to redo certain songs I sang. Or sampling his music. Which they still do a lot of.”

“But you did love again yes?”

“I have. I met a wonderful man named Jordan. He came at the right time as well. It was a full year after Speedy had died. And still I feel that Speedy would never approve of any man for me but him.”

“He has that much hold on you.”

“Very much so.”




Dedicated to Mr. Dave Mc Murray…a wonderful talent and new reader whom has as he says ,”gotten addicted” I appreciate that another artist of his caliber has become a fan and is impressed with my work. As I am with those who are musicians. And I am so impressed with his work as well. Mr. Mc Murray has played with Kem Khemistry, Jill Scott, and is going on tour again with Kem and Kid Rock. These are just some of the artist he has worked with. There are many more! (Just had to give him his just due-smile) This talent has performed to sell out tours and can hold his own.

Dave, I do hope that you enjoy this piece. Because she was indeed a labor of love for what I do and you do. And this is why ALL artist should continue to do what you do when you do what you do. Much love and respect to your “ART”

So please do go to his page and listen to what he has to offer from his soul. Like this piece I wrote. I had no idea it was going here, had no idea it would be this long. Whooo! But I have enjoyed it, and guess what? I cried at the end!

I am an artist, and I am sensitive about my shyt! Thank you for reading. Thank you for feeling me. Thank you for your time. Thank you for all the feedback. Thank you…..

“Just Toy”

“Written Expressions


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