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René Marie Remembers Aretha Franklin

The jazz singer/songwriter pays tribute to the Queen of Soul (3/25/42 – 8/16/18)

Aretha Franklin. (photo by: Hank Parker/Sony Music Archives)

“You’re no good. Heartbreaker.”

It’s Saturday morning. Late summer of ’67. Our 40-year-old mother is down on her hands and knees. The smell of Johnson’s Bowling Alley Wax wafts through the air as my mother, rag in hand, uses small, tight circles to coax the wax into the wood floors. Less than a year after leaving our controlling and abusive father, Mom has learned how to drive, how to write checks from her own checking account, and moved us into a two-bedroom duplex. Three of her seven children are witnessing, for the first time, this emergence of her “can-do” spirit. I am one of them.

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