Nina Simone and Senegal, Africa

Shared by Cecile A on April 21, 2019

In 1982, after a divorce, Mom decided to take a long trip on her own. This was something she had never done before.

She was moved to visit the Ivory Coast, but her plans to go there fell through when neither she nor her travel agent knew that she was supposed to have a visa for that area.

So, in the airport in New York, someone suggested she redirect her destination to Senegal, where possibly she could decide to still venture to the Ivory Coast.

Once in Senegal, greeters encouraged her to stay there at a Club Med. While there she met Nina Simone and had an hours-long conversation. It's not clear in my memory, nor in the stories shared in the Santa Maria newspaper, but during the stay, Nina encouraged Mom to sing, which she ended up doing there with a German Jazz backup band. She ended up staying there longer than planned, and launched her side career as a singer.


When Mom got in a German newspaper back in the early 60s

Shared by Cecile A on April 20, 2019

Mom and a friend where in a German airport near where we lived when I was a child. They got the surprise attention of a well-known German boxer and it got in the local paper.

Translation: “Although a small flirt before the fight is not part of a professional boxer program, Peter quickly caught himself when he had to make the check that both ladies live on the airport grounds in Spangdahlem and are happily married to Americans.

Mz. Shirley

Shared by Sanda Lee on April 20, 2019

Mz. Shirley, Momma Shirley, Aunt Shirley, Shirley Girl... you were all of that to me. Caring for you was more than just my job, it grew from my heart... you grew in my heart. I can't thank you enough for allowing me to love on you, take care of you and be protective over you in this last year of your life. Our conversations, our secret moments we shared, the hugs and kisses were priceless. Your eyes and the way you looked at me as more than my position, was priceless. Every time you whispered "I love you too" to me will forever stay in my heart. Getting to know you was a blessing. I can't thank you daughter enough for allowing me to steal a piece of your heart. I am so grateful you knew that you were more to me than a "patient" or "resident" at work; you became my Aunt Shirley, my Momma Shirley and my friend. I know you are in a better place and you are jazzing it up, dressed to the nines with your hair, nails and makeup "beat"! Your beauty was undeniable and your smile and laughter was contagious. Your words of wisdom, commonalities and uplifting spirit were priceless. Thank you. Now shine down on us. My Shirley Girl  Pasadena Highlands will miss you, but I do more! So glad I got to give you love, one last time before my "vacation"  MUAH! Rest in heaven.

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