Never having any guidance, or direction, he has always seemed to work through all
obstacles. Langston was a young man, roughly beginning his first year of medical school.
Everyone he knew saw it a miricle that he ever made it as far as a bachelors degree, much
less a Medical Degree.
Born a mistake never knowing his mother, or father he spent much of his
childhood and adolescence running from foster homes east and west, he had never known
unconditional love or the feel of a true family. At the age of 24, only one person in his life
had ever before cared enough to keep in touch with him. She was a young woman he
called Mams. Natalie Green Entered is life when he was around the age of four, as his big
sister. She was only 18 and needed community service hours to receive a scholarship,
never anticipating that such a loving relationship would grow with the young boy. Mams
was an only child to a middle class black family, raised with a father that believe you must
earn and work for everything you receive. Even then the nature and history, of Langstons
life, at the age of four, shocked her. For the 12 months they spent together, in St.Louis,
every weekend, and twice during the week they escaped from their lives. She took him to
plays, book readings, social events, anything she thought would open his eyes to the
opportunities surrounding him. As a result Langston was well on his was to success. Even
after she left for collage, and he moved to a new home, every birthday, Easter,
Christmas, Halloween, and any other special event, Langston would receive a letter or
post card with just enough words to make him keep trying. She was the main and only
motivation in his life.
On a Sunny day, in the beginning of September, Langston hopped on his bike and
hurried home to his apartment to change clothes and rush to work, his daily routine. The
door flung open, his shoes flew across the room, he ran to the bathroom he turned on the
shower, then ran into the kitchen, and was then brought to a paused when he noticed the
mail he must have overlooked when first entering. The shower still running, he grabbed
the mail, not expecting anything in paticular besides the usual junk mail. When suddenly he
was suprised to see a peach envelope with purple ink writing, reading Langston Brown
though, he didnt recognize the handwriting. With a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach
he ran to the bathroom to shut off the water, then slowly walked to the living room were
he sat squeamishly in the most uncomfortable chair, and nervously he began to open the
The first words of the letter brought him to tears, Dear Langston, your probably
wondering who this is, I am Julie Morris, Up until two days ago I was Natalie Greens best
friend. Knowing you were a dear friend to her I felt obligated to inform you… He
stopped, he knew what had happened, not being able to read anymore, the letter dropped
to the floor and he froze in silence, for what seamed a decade. Mams the only person who
held any significance in his life had committed suicide, she was only thirty eight. Since the
beginning of his life all the insults, set backs, and rejections; none of this compared to the
emotions he was faced with at this time.
The impact Mams suicide had on Langstons life was tremendous. Although he
only got four or five letters a year from her and they seldom saw each other, she was still
the one that drove Langston. With her gone he felt useless. In the months following,
Langstons 3.8 GPA had taken a cliff dive to a 2.5, he went from job to job, not being able
to handle the once seamed easy requirements and responsibilities. Langston was depressed
and drowning in self pity. Even the few shallow party friends Langston had come to know
in college couldnt redeem his spirits. His hard work, amazing accomplishments and
overwhelming ambition were slowly being flushed down the toilet. Yet the only thoughts
rushing his mind were, why her?, what could I have done?, how could she do this to me
and herself?, why is life so unfair? with other pending questions, the confusion overcame
On a Wednesday Afternoon, about 2:30 p.m., half an hour after his first exam
began, He barely rolled out of bed, Eyes half shut he floped down the hallway toward the
kitchen, expecting to find something to eat. He opened the freezer, no Eggos, he opened
the fridge, empty, he went to the pantry, hoping he would find cereal, though nothing but
bareness. Then he noticed a piece of unfamiliar paper lay dusty and stained on the pantry
floor. Out of pure curiosity Langston found the energy to kneel down and pick it up.
Upon flipping the paper Langston found a poem. It read:
Well son I tell you:
Life for me aint been no crystal stair.
Its had tracks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor-
But all the time
Ise been a-climbin on,
And reachin landins,
And turnin corners,
And sometimes goin in the dark
Where there aint been no light.
So boy, dont you turn back.
Dont you set down on the steps
`Cause you finds its kinder hard.
Dont you fall now-
For Ise still goin, honey,
Ise still climbin,
And life for me aint been no crystal stair.
Filled with astonishment Langston realized those were the closing words of Mams
eulogy, Langston had been so greif stricken he totally zoned out the entire funeral
ceremony, even the lasting momentos she left for him. Mams hadnt forgotten him, nor not
cared for him, for whatever reason she felt she had to die, she wanted Langston to know
how much she was proud of him, and how much she believed he was capable of acheiving.
Such a small, yet overlooked aspect. Who knew how much these few words
could change Langstons life. Suddenly he felt powerful and ambitious once again. He no
longer blamed himself, or questioned the ways of life, he learned to accept the past and
prepare for the future. Though some people looked down on Natalie Green for her
cowardly death, contrary, Langston still holds her in the highest respect, for she changed
his life in ways he can never repay. She gave him hope and strength when there was no
one else around to care if he woke up the next morning. She understood how much he
needed her in his life. Natalie Green was his Mams, warm hearted, strong, independent;
the most influential, loving person in his life.