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Workshops
New York TimesYes Magazine
By PATRICE GAINES

It was the summer of 2009. I was on my second day of work for the U.S. Census Bureau, knocking on doors in rural South Carolina.

 

My cell phone rang. It was my supervisor.

 

“Patrice, headquarters called me and told me to send you home immediately and to take back all government property,” she said. “I don’t know why.”

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New York TimesThe New York Times
By PATRICE GAINES

I think I'm the only black person living in my South Carolina neighborhood of 1,100 residences. If there are others besides me, I haven't seen them. I certainly have looked.



I didn't think I cared who lived in this gated community, though I took note of its unfortunate name: River Hills Plantation. I moved here because it's just outside Charlotte, N.C., where I lived in my younger days and still maintain friendships. I was looking for peace and quiet in my middle age, and when I saw this place, I fell in love with it...

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After A Violent Death
By PATRICE GAINES

(When the killing of young black men strikes home)

 

Hank “Henry” Lloyd, Jr., was killed on a summer night by a gunman who fired wildly into a crowd of young men sitting on the steps of a Washington, D.C. church. Bullets also grazed my nephew, Brian, in four places and two of his friends were shot in the legs. Hank, who had just turned 19 and was headed for college, had stood up to make a point, the way boys do when they tell stories. Some believe that when Hank stood up, separating himself from the others, the gunman was able to shoot him in the head.

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Led home

PATRICE GAINES

Author Patrice Gaines living in Washington, D.C.,
feels called to her new location in South Carolina

Charlotte Observer

 

"Welcome to the River Hills Plantation," the woman at the homeowners association said to me, delivering with a smile the greeting she must have repeated a hundred times over the years to new residents of my Lake Wylie community. After the second "plantation," I couldn't contain myself. I burst into laughter.

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Living With Yourself As a Reporter
PATRICE GAINES
(Some of the writer's personal experiences as a reporter and the spirituality of journalism)


The report on the police radio came about midnight. A woman had been shot and taken to a hospital. I was the only reporter available at The Miami News. The editor asked me did I want to check it out. “Why not?” I replied.


Twenty minutes later I was sneaking into the dark lobby of the hospital, past the reception desk where no one sat. The place smelled like a funeral parlor, fragrances of mixed flowers standing in the air.

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This Old House
PATRICE GAINES
(When Patrice's parents died, it was time to let go of the family homestead.)


When my mother was dying, at the point when her body was weak but her mind was still alert, I took a lawyer friend by the house to help Mother make out her will. Her largest possession, the only thing she and my father had ever owned that was worth any money, was the house where they had raised their seven children, the house we moved into in 1963, the summer before I was in ninth grade.

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Vive Les Femmes! A Villa Vacation to Cherish
PATRICE GAINES
(A humorous tale of the vacation of 8 1/2 women in France)


ViveI call my most recent vacation “One villa, two weeks, and 8 1⁄2 women.” Of course, there was not half of a woman. It’s just that my friend Romenia Singleton, “The Goddess” from Tucson, was with us in the South of France for just one week – or half of our planned two-week vacation.

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