I often enjoy rooting around in my basement. If you haven’t gathered by some of our past conversations, I’m a bit of a sentimentalist and from time to time I’ve been known to take a stroll down memory lane.
Such was the case a few days ago when I was going through some old books. Maybe this has happened to you, but when I pick up an old book, I not only think about its content, but I immediately think back to where I was in my life when I first read it, what was going on in my world and the world around me.
One such book is Brothers and Sisters by Bebe Moore Campbell. Released in 1994 (Right in the thick of my striped tie and suspender wearing wanna be buppie days), Brothers and Sisters is set in Los Angeles during the aftermath of the Rodney King beating and the subsequent riots (Forgive the digression, but ain’t it funny how history has a way of repeating itself). The main character of the story is a woman of color who’s trying her best to ascend the corporate ladder and have some semblance of a personal life.
It’s a decent story that 20 plus years later still stands up as a good read.
It’s such a good read, that while rummaging around the basement I thought to myself, what is Ms. Campbell up to these days. It’s been awhile, and I’d love to read any of her new material. So I took out my trusty mobile communications device and asked Siri (Because I’m a geek like that) to give me all she had on Bebe Moore Campbell.
Sadly, the first item among the search results was an obituary. Bebe Moore Campbell lost a fight with cancer In 2006.
Upon learning of her death, I uncharacteristically made things all about me. I was annoyed that I wouldn’t get any new material from her. I can count on one hand the scant number of authors I enjoy, and now that number was cut by one.
Campbell left behind a family for whom her death means more than just not having a good book to read. This reality fortunately snapped me out of what was an embarrassing atypical display of selfishness.
A wonderful feature of books (Paper versus digital is a debate for another day) is that they last and the stories they tell — especially good ones like Brothers and Sisters — endure.
Sorry I’m late, but rest in peace Bebe.