thepublicblogger: Happy 50th Birthday KP. How does a half century feel?
Kendall F. Person: It feels… like Wow. Thank you Jesus. (big smile)
thepublicblogger: Well, do you feel a little crazy, answering questions from your alter ego?
KP: Crazier than what?
tpb: Just crazy.
tpb: Well, with that informative response, lets move to the next question. Who is your favorite rapper?
the late great Tupac Shakur
tpb: Let’s count by 10s.
KP: Let’s do it. Should I start now?
10 years old
The Walker Clan of The Rocky Mountains
I had no way of knowing that my 10th birthday would be my last in the Rocky Mountains. We arrived in Sacramento 1 day before I turned eleven. We left a city full of relatives and familiarity and snow, but my Mother – like her sisters – was a warrior and with six kids in tow, she headed west and 4 decades later, my family has made Sacramento its home.
tpb: What do you miss most about Denver?
KP: My Grandmother. She died quite a few years ago. But now I miss my oldest sister Roshelle and my brother Kevin
tpb: Formative years?
KP: Grant High School (Class of 84)
When asked where I’m from, I say Sacramento. When the question is where did you grow up, my answer becomes The Heights. I went to elementary in Colorado, middle school in the parameters, college in Davis where my fraternity brothers and my inner circle would make a huge impact on my life. I will always cherish Davis and will always be grateful that I took the opportunities to live in Providence, Memphis, Los Angeles and Seattle. But for whatever reason, that I stopped questioning long ago, I always knew that I could go home – with a lot or a little – and to me that meant from downtown north to Citrus Heights with the epicenter being Del Paso Heights With open doors from The Ruckers’ in East Heights to Anna Simms in Strawberry Manors and home, the one my mother created for us by and the village too.
May 17, 1987 the Line of Kazana would become Brothers of
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Theta Eta Chapter UC Davis
the Terrible Turnback
My roommate was Lawrence, who had a girl (now his wife) named Nelly, whose best friend was Suzette, the 3 my inner circle. But while I may have actually spent more time with them, no other voluntary experience even lives in the same universe, then pledging a Black fraternity before hazing was outlawed and banned. The six weeks spent as pledges, was so mind-boggling brutal, so physically exhaustive and economically draining for years we wondered how we made it across those burning sands.
The benefits of brotherhood were not simply social, although they too were stratospheric. From Chico to San Diego State, a made-man from the Theta Eta Chapter of UC Davis was respected throughout the Golden State And the process was the ultimate in I am my brother’s keeper. And a driving force behind a never give up-perseverance, but what it did most memorably, was to connect human emotions at a level so deep, an unbreakable bond between 5 young men was created… on a line called Kazana.
Happy to Sad in Record Time
There were bigger lives being lived, I am sure, but it did not matter if others had more, I was living the life of Riley. Trips around the nation and back forth to the Caribbean was common place and when my Bayliner crashed down on the Sacramento River I actually remember thinking “If I die young, what a life I’ve had.” Until I was 31 years old, I had few days that were not happy. I can remember the pain of a first love and the agony of sports defeat, but never unhappy at being me. And happy came with being good to people too.
I have never understood why, but once my humility begin to slip away, in a vacuum, depression swooped in to fill the void left behind. Depression was foreign, as I did not even believe it was real, in retrospect, karma was that you? Then one day, I would lose my way completely. Before my 31st birthday – less than 12 months removed from absolute happy – everything I had was lost and the person that I knew had been wiped out as I chose to combine the depths of depression with the insanity of a drug addiction. And it was nearly curtains to an imaginative life.
KP: I had written and published 3 novels and even completed my first nationwide book tour over a decade earlier, although there were 3, it was Capturing Spring that kept my name alive for 15 years. One of my line brothers, Stephen was also a fan. But one day, rather he could no longer watch the slow-moving disaster or he just wanted something to read said “if you’re not going to write another book, than why don’t you blog” .
Self-esteem still battered, skills all tattered, but it was the day I realized that we are controlled by our imagination Unable to write as Kendall F. Person, but enough self-awareness came through the fog, saying if I didn’t act, l would be doomed, so imagined thepublicblogger
tpb: So that’s the day, you begin talking to yourself.
FAVORITE MOVIE: HUSTLE & FLOW
FAVORITE TELEVISION SHOW: MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE
FAVORITE SONG: MY HEART by IvySoul Robinson, written by Kendall F. Person
thepublicblogger: 3 memorable moments with lasting effects on you
Kendall F. Person: 1984: A 97 yard touchdown-making run, in a demolition of Bella Vista high, as a running back for the storied Grant Pacers, would be the first time I noticed as I looked into the jammed packed stadium stands, and an explosion of noise overpowered the air, and the sounds of music coming from a band gave it this rock star feel – that they cheered for me.
1990: I picked up my mother from work one day, and with no fanfare whatsoever, I reached into the backseat and pulled out my degree from the University of California. I had left the campus in 89 so when I received the actual degree, it was old news to me. But my mother was so proud. And I kind of chuckled but did not know why she was suddenly crying. A few years later, my youngest brother was shot in the head at point-blank range and died as the rain poured down and the ground beneath turned red. The sound of her voice when she called to say her baby was dead, it was so piercing and her heart was so broken, I nearly missed the epiphany moment: I realized what it meant to dedicate one’s own life to being a mother. We were her victories and her defeats. Not sure how she managed. But she did.
2016: The moment we are in. In a place of my imagination and realizations. An online community of all inclusion that toggles with extraordinary agility and amateurish beauty; between great writing and original imaginative shows. Thank you for sharing my 50th birthday with me and spending time in The Neighborhood with us. 50 is special. Going to absorb every minute of it, but I had to begin here. (big smile) and much love.