A Woman of a Certain Age

Getting to know yourself and understanding past and present choices is a beautiful thing. What I like in a woman has changed over time and I hope my preferences reflect greater maturity although a bit of shallowness may creep back in from time to time. A college classmate once told me that I liked a “cheerleader type” which I vehemently denied. Further reflection suggested she may have been right as one of my first girlfriends if you can call her that was a cheerleader In college I dated four cheerleaders and married one of them.

What I liked when I was twenty was a woman age appropriate for a twenty-year-old. By the time I reached forty, what I found physically appealing was very similar in age and build to what I liked twenty years earlier. Almost any of the women in the Bell Biv Devoe, “Poison” video would have worked for me during that entire span.

Finally, I began to appreciate the qualities of a woman nearer to my age, including someone slightly older. Compatibility is such a wonderful thing! To me, that means having common interests but also, individual ones as well. I have a passion for politics. My soul mate doesn’t have to have the same passion as I but should be at least literate and not try to fake it. We would hopefully share many interests, but each should have some independent of the other. And then there’s that thing about age.

I’ve dated younger women, one was mature beyond her years but she wanted children and I was quite content with those I already had. We parted amicably, I still consider her a friend. She did go on to get married and have a child which is wonderful. The other… our parting had little I think to do with physical age, a lack of common experiences got in the way.

I want someone who gets the references. If I quote a line from a movie or cite a historical event that occurred during my lifetime. I don’t want the response to be, “what?” There are probably three or four Jules Winnfield (Samuel L Jackson) lines from “Pulp Fiction,” that I’ll be bringing up the rest of my life. I quoted Ordell Robbie (also Samuel L Jackson) from “Jackie Brown” in a piece just the other day. If you only know about Pam Grier from, “The ‘L’ Word,” we’re too far apart in age.

Something my younger self didn’t appreciate, is that my partner and I will spend far more time in conversation than in sexual relations. I want all aspects of our relationship to be meaningful! Don’t sell mature women short in the sex department either. Experience goes a long way, I’m just saying. And when you get into bed, reach out and touch your partner and feel yourself relax and your heart beats become as one. That’s love!

The still shallow part of me wants her to have at least one feature that I adore. Some of the possibilities are admittedly only body parts but my view has expanded to consider beautiful eyes, a pretty face, high intelligence or a brilliant smile. I also pray for the patience to wait and recognize those truths that are not self-evident but include patience, listening, and discernment. A peaceful spirit is far more valuable than a well-filled bra.

So now I’m far more likely to discount someone for being too young. They may well make someone else a magnificent partner. As for me, I’m looking for a woman of a certain age.

Trump Word(s) For The Day: Probable Cause

As part of my patriotic duty I will begin sharing the word(s) of the day to help our President prepare for what’s coming. Because he doesn’t seem to attach the same meaning to words like honesty, news, Constitution and transparency. I feel that if given a little time to consider the actual meanings of words he can do better. I will provide both the common definition and when applicable the urban translation. Today’s words: Probable Cause

Definition: Probable cause generally refers to the requirement in criminal law that police have adequate reason to arrest someone, conduct a search, or seize property …

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Photo: sikwikit.com

Used in a sentence: The FBI had to show Probable Cause when they got a search warrant and raided Paul Manafort’s home at 3AM.

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Photo: bet.com

Urban Translation: They’re starting with the little fish and coming for your ass Trump!

Next Word: Informant

Featured Photo: groundreport.com


Crisis! The Fool Went And Done It Now

We’ve all been watching Trump demonstrate his ineptness for the office of President since Day One. We’ve been blessed that until now we haven’t had a real crisis while he flailed about and tweeted irresponsibly. Another blessing is that he undermined Congressional efforts to destroy health care and his own to ban Muslims. Now that crisis has finally arrived and it’s one mostly of his own making.

We knew that Kim Jong-un, the one man whose hair is as bad as Trump’s is a madman. A petulant son of a former tyrant, looking to make his own mark and giving the world the finger. That exact description fits Trump as well, including the madman part. In the escalating war of words between two nations with nuclear capabilities. Which one if any of the two petty fools will back down first.

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Photo: youtube.com

Trump made probably the stupidest comment of his career (and that’s saying something) when he said, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen… he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

North Korea promptly responded by threatening to “destroy Guam.”

Can this all be about his need to distract us from rumors of Pence already starting his 2020 campaign? It could be the Russia investigation or could it simply be his low polls? His apologists suggest it’s possibly a part of a subtle, coordinated strategy with other Cabinet officials. To paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson from “Jackie Brown.” (Seems like Sam had the appropriate line for most everything) “If you know Donald Trump like I do, you know there’s no way in hell he’s part of a coordinated strategy.”

So what’s the idiot going to do now? The one in the White House. Maybe his Generals can talk him down and despite having left empty almost all the State Department positions in that and every other part of the world… exercise some diplomacy. We have a President that shouldn’t be allowed to speak, to tweet and when Mueller finishes with his ass… remain. It can’t come a minute too soon.

Featured Photo: youtube.com

Hair Issues.

Voncelle made it to the restaurant right at 7 pm and Derrick was waiting for her. She asked, “No Jackson tonight?” He replied, “He’s taking care of some business at home and because of the time difference, this is the best time to talk to them as it’s the middle of the work day.” The hostess showed them to their table which Voncelle noted offered a bit more privacy than most and wondered if it were by design. After they were seated, they made small talk until they had received their drinks and ordered dinner. Derrick had gone over the menu with French speaking Voncelle because he didn’t want a repeat of what happened to him and Jackson at lunch. They stopped in a small café and ordered pizza and when it arrived it contained anchovies and large slabs of Mozzarella Cheese. He deferred to her and let her order when the waitress came back. When they were finally alone she said, “So, hair issues?”

He looked confused for a minute. “Hair issues?”

“Yes, while we were driving in the car talking about deal breakers, you brought up hair issues which sounded like it would be interesting.” He laughed and sat back in his chair. “Yes, there is a story.”

“I had just finished med school and after four long years of college and five of med school I thought I was entitled to a getaway. I invited a woman I’d once dated from home in Covington to go with me to the Bahamas for a five-day trip. We were to fly to Ft. Lauderdale, take a boat over to Freeport, spend four nights at a hotel and then take the boat back. She was a beautiful girl and had always taken great pride in her hair.

We got to Ft. Lauderdale early and rented a car which we needed because I needed to update my passport at the Regional Passport office in Miami. After a few hours waiting in the offices, I got my passport and we drove up the coast to Ft. Lauderdale. Before checking in, we stopped at a drugstore because she wanted a couple things, then went to the hotel and checked in around 4 pm. The hotel was full and we got what was basically the last room although we did have reservations. It was a bit warm in the room and the air conditioning didn’t seem to be working properly. I called down to the front desk and tried to change rooms but they didn’t have anything else available. It was warm but not incredibly hot so we stayed.

She mentions to me that her cycle was about to begin and because this was our first trip together, she wanted to make love before it began. Well it didn’t take long before we both were sweating and when it was over; instead of basking in the afterglow. She got up and started staring in the mirror. She said, ‘Do you mind taking me back to the drugstore, I need to get a blow dryer for my hair.’

Now med-school finals were crazy and we were getting like no sleep for two weeks. I was tired, really tired. I tried to explain that I was exhausted but that she could take the car to the drugstore which was on the same street as the hotel. She said, “What if I get lost?” I said, “It’s on the same street we’re on now.” We ultimately didn’t go and she was a little pissed but seemed to get over it.

Early in the morning I turned in the car at the hotel and we took a shuttle to the port. Because we were leaving the country we had to go through customs which required we walk a long way carrying our own luggage to the customs area. I had two bags lightly packed, I think she had six. So, I ended up dragging my two bags and four of hers to the checkpoint before finally getting our bags checked. The boat ride was inconsequential; we didn’t have cabins but sat around the pool for the trip which was only a few hours. We took a cab to the hotel, got checked in and got ready to go to dinner.

She unpacked and suddenly proclaimed, ‘I need a scarf for my hair!’ I said, ‘We can handle this,’ we were one block from the International Bazaar where among the several shops, surely she could find a scarf. We walked over, found some scarves, although she did complain the only scarves she could find were silk. She found something that would do and after I paid for it she stuffed it in her purse. We then went to dinner which was fine and then stopped in the casino next door. I gave her a hundred dollars to spend and I was playing the slots. She came back about five minutes later saying she lost it all. She stood over my shoulder for about twenty minutes and we went back to the room to go to sleep.

The next morning, we get up and she announces, “I need to get my hair done!’ I said, ‘Okay, there’s a salon in the hotel and I’m sure we can get you an appointment.’ She says, ‘What if they don’t know how to do black people’s hair?’ I say, ‘It’s a black country, how can they not know how to do black people’s hair?’ Seeing I hadn’t eased her frustration I say, ‘We can walk over and take a look, I’m sure you’ll feel comfortable they can do your hair.’ We walked over, they had about six chairs in operation, of which five were being operated by black females. We made an appointment for 2 PM and went back to the Bazaar to do some shopping. While there she said, ‘I don’t know about getting my hair done, they might not do it right.’I paused before I spoke and finally said, ‘I wish… you would please go… and get your hair done, because I really don’t want to hear much more about your hair.’ She started crying and said, ‘Why do you have to talk to me like that?’

Ultimately, she kept her appointment and I walked back to the room where I had peace for the first time on the trip. I turned on the TV, settled in watching a sporting event, thinking I had some time. In the States, if a black woman goes to get her hair done, she’s gone all day. About 45 minutes after I got to the room I hear the key card in the lock and she walks in, done already. The rest of the day was uneventful. The next day we went to the beach.

The hotel we were at wasn’t located on the beach and we had to take a short shuttle ride. We rode over and I ridiculously asked, ‘Would you like to go in the water?’ She looked at me in horror and said, ‘I can’t mess up my hair.’ Around us were white women with corn rows looking like Bo Derek, black women in caps and I had the one woman who comes to the Bahamas and can’t get in the water. I went and swam, leaving her ashore, probably staying in the water longer than I should.

When the trip was over, and I finally dropped her off at her home in Covington. I literally kissed the ground when I pulled into my then condo. This is why hair issues is on my list of deal breakers in a relationship.”

If you have read this far. You may have considered what are dealbreakers for you in a relationship? Earlier in the book; Voncelle, Jackson and Derrick are discussing what’s on their list and I’d love to hear yours! If interesting enough it could get added to the list in the book.

For more info about “Strong Beginnings,” like the page at: https://www.facebook.com/StrongBeginningsaNovel/

Trump: The First Perfect President

America has had its share of good Presidents and bad ones. Never before have we had the perfect President as we now do in Donald Trump. I say this for three reasons:

  1. He hasn’t made any mistakes. Otherwise, he’d surely have admitted them and apologized.
  2. He is the most transparent President ever. Transmitting his every thought directly to the people in his Tweets.
  3. Many of his followers tell me often how perfect he is. Can 25,000 white nationalists be wrong?

It is the followers I wish to take a moment to consider. I admit I actually communicate with them in the comments section of various blogs. I see little hope in changing minds but do hope to understand their thinking. They say he’s, “Making America Great Again,” although the explanation of exactly how is a bit vague. They say he’s, “bringing back jobs” although the jobs reports and unemployment rate are following the trend established over years during the Obama administration.

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Photo: alleghenyfront.org

Among his base, he alone is honest while constantly besieged with fake news. No traditional news source is deemed worthy of paying attention to, even some I considered right leaning in their views. While of course, they refuse to accept anything from CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times or Washington Post. I confessed surprise that the National Review, Wall Street Journal, and even Fox News were, “often infiltrated by cucks who lie, trying to bring down the President.

While literally the rest of the world is concerned about the seeming instability of the man possessing the nuclear codes. His fans are confident that he is making excellent decisions and everything he does is, “America first.” There’s no concern about his conflicts of interest or his position on Russia, “It’s his job to create a working relationship with Putin.” Their hacking of our elections is of course fake.

New polls show Trump dipping into uncharted lows, Trump tweeted today that the polls were wrong, “The Trump base is far bigger & stronger than ever before (despite some phony Fake News polling).” The loyalists are now reassured that all is going well in Trump land. The chaos in the White House is a minor readjustment and nobody including the President is going to jail after the witch hunt is concluded. Perfect!

Featured Photo: sahilonline.net

Zain Jacobs: Shadow Warrior

Zain Jacobs was always older in her soul than physically. She began reading at three. At seven, she was writing about serious topics. Inspired by a 15-year-old cousin that was given LSD and jumped to her death, Zain focused on the impact of drugs on the community. She also wanted to donate her eyes to Stevie Wonder, believing that if he could write such beautiful music while he could not see, what might he do if she could give him sight?

Her maternal grandmother was named Zain also. There was no time in memory when she wasn’t taking in children in need of a place to stay. She led several of her church ministries and was always feeding or housing people.

Both her parents were activists in addition to their respective careers. Zain’s living room contained photos of various historical figures, Leontyne Price and Andrew Young to name a couple. There was a book with a signed inscription to her parents from Coretta Scott King. Her mother and father were founding members of the Circle of Friends which gave one of the first large donations to fund the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolence in Atlanta, GA.

Their church, First African Baptist Church in Savannah was once a stop on the Underground Railway. The pews were built by slaves and contain markings in their native African languages. Holes in the floor are shaped in the form of a Congolese Cosmogram representing birth, life, death, and rebirth. There is a subfloor beneath the lower auditorium floor that slaves traveled through before heading North. Perhaps these physical ties to slaves and Africans have led to the current connection that Zain feels to the land of her ancestors?

After high school, Zain matriculated to Savannah State University and studied business.  She planned to head her dream Fashion House as both Executive and Designer. With the proceeds, she would finance her passion to write independently about issues concerning her people, to give them a voice. She continued her writing for the school newspaper and was reminded of the power her words could have. She was responsible for the focus on and ultimate resignation of a tenured Professor, known for his racist attitudes. She changed her major to Journalism and English, still writing about drugs along with alcohol abuse and civil rights issues. She served others indirectly but felt the pull of her lineage to get more directly involved.

After graduation, she returned to her childhood home of New York, pursuing interests in law, history, and politics. She’d given up her dream of the Fashion House after she graduated from SSU. In what is an apparent fixation with what appears on her tombstone. She decided she didn’t want it to say, “Here Lies Zain, She Designed a Hell of a Skirt.” Her life working for corporations also left her wanting. She imagined, “Here lies Zain… Employee.”

Living in Queens, Zain took the city bus and subway to and from Manhattan. She witnessed something that changed her perspective. She saw a group of teenage girls describing a fight during which they kicked and beat a pregnant girl. They saw nothing wrong with their actions and attitudes. Nobody on the bus challenged them to do better… to be better. She decided at that moment that she would take on the mission of helping girls who needed a different path.

She went to a local private school and said, “I’ll clean toilets if you give me one class to teach!” After reviewing her credentials, they decided cleaning toilets were unnecessary. She was given a job at the school that allowed her to teach that class. It was a busy time during which she became certified as a teacher and met her husband and future father of her two children.

Teaching the class soon wasn’t enough for Zain. Over a period of time, Zain presented the concept of a “Rites of Passage” program for girls to some of the educational giants she had come to know in New York.  Writer and historian Yosef Ben-Jochannan, activist Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Professor Clinton Crawford at Medgar Evers College.She proposed her concept in hopes they would direct her to someone else to lead it. They laughed and said, “If you identify the problem, you have an obligation to be the solution,” adding, “Get to work!” She began the program in the first public middle school she taught at.

The “Blooming Lotuses Rites of Passage Group,” was based on an African model of teaching values. They met three times daily to accommodate conflicting student schedules with some attending one, others all three. They met during her planning period, lunch hour and after school. When Zain arrived home, she had to do the planning she didn’t get done during the allocated time. There was seemingly never enough time to get everything done that was needed but she found this period of her life empowering as opposed to draining. She said, “I needed them as much as they needed me!” Zain is still in touch with many of her early students. Many took Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Almost all went on to college with some getting advanced degrees. Not one of her girls had a child out of wedlock.

After a time, she moved to another School District in Long Island. She not only brought the Blooming Lotuses Program with her, Zain began conducting parenting classes so that she could begin to affect whole families. She began the Rites of Passage – Literary Program. Most rewarding to her was when the early participants of the first programs, returned to give back and reinvest in the community that supported them.

Zain Jacobs: Shadow Warrior

Photo: Tim Alexander

She furthered her own education, getting dual Masters of Science Degrees in Child Youth and Family Services and Youth Development & Human Services Administration. Zain was laying the foundation to be able to administer the recently launched P.I.L.L.A.R.S. 4 Success, LLC. The acronym stands for, Power In Life Learning And Resilience Strategies. Pillars offers organizational support, community education such as G.E.D./Post Secondary Prep, parenting support and mentoring.  She provides workshops on Cultural Competence. Zain works with trafficked youth, addicted youth, many on probation or otherwise involved with the justice system.

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Her clients often find her through word of mouth. They got help and tell someone else who needs it. She gets referrals from groups and families. All of five foot two and a half (she was adamant about the half), she goes alone into neighborhoods where her potential clients live and work, day or night. She literally meets them where they are.

Zain is a reluctant Shadow Warrior. She shuns the personal spotlight and wants to focus on her charges whose circumstances are “nobody’s business.” She said, “I never heard my grandmother repeat to another person how she helped someone.” There is no sense of aggrandizement. “I like where I am in my humility.” It gets tough sometimes, her empathy both blessing and curse. “Sometimes I can’t allow myself to feel the pain of those I serve in order to keep going. Other times I can’t serve without absorbing their pain to process my approach in serving them!”

Zain Jacobs was recently honored by the Black Charlotte Business Coalition as, “Servant Leader of the Year.” For now, she wants her epitaph to read, “She was Zain… one who found optimism in service and service in optimism.”

Tolitha Henry was one of the last of her New York Lotuses. When asked for a comment about Zain she responded with a book. Among the things she said:

“Mama Zain helped me form my identity as a Black woman.  Prior to meeting her, I battled with low self-esteem, depression and not understanding my purpose on this earth.  She suggested I participate in a writing competition; the requirement was to write what I thought was my purpose. I wrote that it was to give back to my community. I would not have known that I would receive, a nurturing, first-hand experience on what my purpose looked like from my ninth grade English teacher. She took me under her wings, she fed me what it means to be a black woman, how my dark skin translated to beauty, that I descended from a lineage of tenacious people, and how to self- love. She invited me to join Rites Of Passage and from that, I learned about sisterhood and simultaneously what motherhood looked like outside my familial roots. Furthermore, when ever someone asks me now who influenced you, who helped you to become the woman you are now I always, always go back to Mama Zain. I am a proud black woman, who celebrates other black women and loves my community because of the love and chance she took in investing in me. For that, I am absolutely grateful.”

What Zain does is not quantifiable in statistics. She measures her success in the progress and productive lives of her former mentees. She worries about them as she does her own children. “Have I prepared them for every situation possible? She wonders if anything were to happen would it be because of something she failed to impart? Fear not Zain for you have prepared them all well. Even those who experience negativity have been trained how to get back up and try again. That is a success… and why you’re a Shadow Warrior.

Each month Enigma In Black will feature a new Shadow Warrior. Don’t miss any by scrolling down and clicking “Follow”. Please share so that we can bring these Warriors and their work out of the shadows! Suggestions are welcome for future Warriors which you can leave in the comments section.

George Cooper

Glory Edim

Aramis Ayala

Dr. Crystal A deGregory

Kelly Hurst

The Wilson Academy

Sevgi Fernandez


More and more as women tell me their stories

I’ve come to believe that abuse is much more the norm than exception

Varying degrees

Different reactions

Lingering pain

I’ll strive to listen better

For many of these stories aren’t being told

One wondered if I now viewed her differently?

Another relived all the pain in the telling

Many try so hard to forget

I think I’ll listen better

Try to understand

Offer unconditional support

I’ll save my questions

She’ll tell what she desires

When she desires

If she desires

I’ll be grateful for any revelation

Knowing there was a cost

Hopefully wise enough to realize

It’s not about me

Trump Word(s) For The Day: Grand Jury

As part of my patriotic duty I will begin sharing the word(s) of the day to help our President prepare for what’s coming. Because he doesn’t seem to attach the same meaning to words like honesty, news, Constitution and transparency. I feel that if given a little time to consider the actual meanings of words he can do better. I will provide both the common definition and when applicable the urban translation. Today’s words: Grand Jury

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Photo: twitter.com

Definition: A grand jury is a legal body empowered to conduct official proceedings and investigate potential criminal conduct, and determine whether criminal charges should be brought. A grand jury may compel the production of documents and compel sworn testimony of witnesses to appear before it.

Urban Translation: They’re coming for your ass!

Next Words: Federal Penitentiary

Featured Photo: americanbusinessnews

Making America White Again

They never really pretended to be anything other than we thought they were. Trump, Sessions, Bannon, Flynn, Miller and the Trump sons. They all gloried in their “nationalism” and catered openly to the alt-right, alt-light and straight up white supremacists. The Neo-Nazi memes they loved to retweet. They are who we thought they were.

Despite the assertion that the Trump Presidency has accomplished next to nothing. In a couple areas they’ve been highly effective. They definitively answered the question he once asked Black people, “What the hell do you have to lose?”

The reason that the right-wing base of the Republican Party is in an uproar over the potential firing of Jeff Sessions is that he’s been doing exactly what they hoped for. Sessions has effectively reversed the efforts of the Obama administration to fight voter suppression. In Texas, where a Federal Judge found an intent to discriminate against minorities and possibly invoke even the weakened Voting Rights Act. Sessions made it go away and the Justice Department is basically saying, “no harm, no foul.” Texas did promise to rewrite the law and make it nicer while still suppressing minority votes.

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Photo: twitter.com

Sessions also promised to stop providing Federal oversight over local police forces. He will no longer pursue consent decrees and negotiate with local cops to do better. He even tried with no success to void the existing consent decrees in Baltimore and Ferguson.

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Photo: latimes.com

Not done yet, Sessions is ramping up to sue Colleges and Universities over their Affirmative Action programs. Many of these programs have in effect put a ceiling on minority enrolment and only exist because minorities once couldn’t get into those schools at all. The base cries of “reverse-racism” have found receptive ears in the Trump Administration. These Federal attacks won’t be handled by the career lawyers that normally monitor these matters but by the political wing that needs to accomplish something given the failure to impose the strict Muslim Ban and take millions off healthcare.

Every time Trump suffers a political defeat he comes after the people his base dislikes to distract from his failures. Right after the healthcare failure came the Transgender Ban from military service. Given the daily leaking news about Russia matters; the attacks on minorities, gays and immigrants will be fast and furious.

With the relaxation on EPA rules and failure to regulate pollution. If you live in a Black community whose water is contaminated, good luck getting Federal help. Stop & Frisk is still on Trump’s agenda and that Voting Commission Trump empaneled means minorities no good. With the signing of the Russian sanctions bill that Congress forced on him. Trump came back with an immigration policy favoring “English speaking” people. A reporter called Bannon acolyte Stephen Miller out on an immigration policy that basically favors England and Australia.

America was never a white country but the power has been held by white people for quite some time. Changing demographics where the relatively near future will see white people become a minority is causing some to use every trick in the book to hold that power. Gerrymandering, redistricting, voter suppression, immigration policy and a Supreme Court willing to bless it all. This is why that Trump base that sticks with him no matter what, rises above their shame and backs him. It’s because they’ve asked themselves… what do we have to lose.

Featured Photo: bostonherald.com

Coming August 7th, New Shadow Warrior

Each month, Enigma In Black will feature a new Shadow Warrior. We highlight people and organizations doing great work that have yet to receive national recognition. Don’t miss any by  following this page.

Please share so that we can bring these Warriors out of the shadows! I’d love to hear your suggestions for future Warriors which you can leave in the comments section.

Past Warriors:

George Cooper

Aramis Ayala

Dr. Crystal A. deGregory

Kelly Hurst

The Wilson Academy

Sevgi Fernandez

Featured Photo: patch.com