Chapter 4

The Journey to True Origins

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

—St. Augustine

There are times in your life when you are given glimpses into the life that will one day be yours. These moments can come at any time, without warning, and usually, on their face, they seem quite insignificant when they occur. Their power often only coalesces into brilliant clarity years later when you are standing safely on the shore of your future looking back from where you sailed. Then it dawns on you: Destiny was whispering on the wind.

In the early 1950s, when Frances and I were attending Banneker Junior High School and living with La Savage in our home on Columbia Road, such a destiny not only whispered, but stood right in front of me. At the time, I had no way of recognizing the true meaning of what was unfolding before me. My mother, now comfortably settled into her global identity as Madame La Savage International, had turned our home into a sort of hub of hospitality. She always loved people. But since she had attended her first International Beauty Show in New York, she was especially drawn to people from distant lands.

She was frequently entertaining foreign dignitaries and their families at the house. And our home reflected her tightening embrace of the greater world in evenings filled with the music of exotic accents, of warmly told stories of cultures and lifestyles that held little direct relationship to the working-class, Washington streets ...

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