Rebecca Jade, the first niece

A Shade of Jade

Since Rebecca Jade, the first niece, is having a significant natal day tomorrow, I figured it was time to write about her again.

She and her parents lived in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC, for her first two years. I first visited her when she was a month old. For sure, I was at her first and second birthday parties. Then, her family moved to Puerto Rico.

Still, I’d see her on occasion. The picture above is after my Grandma Williams’ funeral at Trinity AME Zion Church in Binghamton, NY. It’s my favorite picture of us together, although the one of me walking with little Becky, when she’s wearing a red jumper, is cool too.

She, her mother, and I would converge on Charlotte, NC, for my parents’ anniversaries divisible by 5. We often had family photos taken. On one occasion, Rebecca had remnants of chicken pox on her face, which shows a bit in the photo.

I attended her high school graduation in El Cajon, CA. She played basketball for Berkeley, and I saw her play once at a road game in the NYC area; I also made it to her college graduation.  

She was at both of my parents’ funerals in 2000 and 2011. My mom’s was the latter when she first met my daughter. But my daughter had seen Rebecca on television in a competition called Wipeout on ABC-TV in 2010. My niece placed second.

Rebecca attended my last wedding in 1999, and I attended hers to Rico in 2005. My family, Rebecca and Rico, spent Thanksgiving 2013 together at our cousin Anne’s house in New Rochelle, NY.

Cold Fact

The first musical recording of the first niece was a three-song demo when she was a teenager. However, one of her earliest albums was 2011’s The Jade Element, which one can find here.

There are two Rebecca Jade and The Cold Fact albums, the 2015 eponymous one and 2019’s Running Out Of Time. You can get the former here or here. The latter can be found here or here ,or on vinyl – vinyl! – here or here.

In 2018, I caught Rebecca and the Cold Fact’s gig in a San Diego club. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen her perform professionally, but it was the initial time I saw her with her band. They won a humungous $5,000 check!

Peter Sprague

I’ve seen her sing with jazz guitarist Peter Sprague and his band several times during his Liveish sessions online. Even during the height of COVID, they performed by being in separate rooms or even outside. Check out It’s For You (2021), Are You Going With Me (2021), In My Life (2022), and Guinnevere (2023).

Peter and Rebecca recorded the excellent Planet Cole Porter in 2017, which you can get here. Check out the title song, the only one not written by Porter, live.

Being a bit of an RJ completist, I also have  Sparks and Seeds by Peter Sprague and Randy Phillips (2018). Rebecca sings four songs, with additional tunes by Emily Elbert, Leonard Patton, Lisa Hightower, and Allison Adams Tucker

At home


During COVID, Rebecca did about a dozen Home Made shows. Some are on Facebook. Episodes 10 and 11 11 on YouTube.

She’s put together a great new album, A Shade of Jade, which one can get at her website, along with seeing more videos, checking out her upcoming shows, and the like.

In 2023, I got to see Rebecca thrice. On July 4, she was supposed to sing backup for Sheila E. as she had in NYC in 2017 and at the New York State Fair in 2019. A thunderstorm canceled the show, but my extended family and I got to talk with her at the hotel where the band stayed.

In August, she sang in a Syracuse park. My wife, my daughter, and I saw her before the performance. Afterward, we got to hang out with her, a couple of the musicians, and promoters. Then, in late September, I saw her, for 10 seconds, in the Charlotte airport as she rushed to her connecting flight.

I would have gone to see her on the Dave Koz Christmas tour this year, as I did in 2021, when I went down to Long Island, but in 2023, they are not getting closer than Cleveland and near Pittsburgh.

Happy birthday, first niece! I love you, but you knew that, didn’t you?

I get my kicks on Route 66

Annually on this date, I muse about how I will remember how old I am. It’s not a number that’s divisible by ten or even five.

Roger and Trudy

Here I am with my mother, Trudy Green on my birthday in 2005. To be clear, I wasn’t dressed up for my natal day.

Actually, it was also the wedding day of my first niece, Rebecca Jade, to Rico Curtis, which I wrote about here. I noted that my mom wished me a happy birthday, first thing in the morning. What I didn’t mention was that no one else did that day, even my sister.

I didn’t mind (much) because their subsequent mortification was somewhat worth it. And, of course, mom remembering the birth date of her first born was golden.

Annually on this date, I muse about how I will remember how old I am. It’s not a number that’s divisible by ten or even five.

But it does have two things going for it. Well, four:
1) a repeating digit
a famous U.S. highway which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, though black Americans were not nearly as nostalgic about it
a TV show (1960-1964) about traveling said highway with Martin Milner, and George Maharis or Glenn Corbett, which I used to watch
4) a famous song about said highway, written by Bobby Troup in 1946

Since I don’t blog on my birthday, I’ll leave you with versions of a certain song
Nat King Cole, mom’s favorite artist
Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters
Chuck Berry
The Rolling Stones
Dr. Feelgood
Asleep at the Wheel
Glenn Frey

There are plenty more versions. Happy birthday to me. I’m how old again? And happy 14th anniversary to Rebecca and Rico!

Roger is 62; march on Selma 50th anniversary; Rebecca and Rico’s 10th wedding anniversary


I don’t really blog on my birthday, so I need to steal stuff from other people. Even myself.

How am I going to be able to remember how old I am THIS year, without doing the math?

Ah, the (19)62 World Series, between my two favorite teams at the time, the New York Yankees (Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford) and the San Francisco Giants (Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal). Great 7-game series.

Also, for some businesses, such as Amtrak, I’m a SENIOR CITIZEN.

Here’s a picture of me with younger sisters Leslie (l) and Marcia, probably from the fall of 1963. Virtually all the family photos come from Marcia scanning them, then posting them to Facebook.

When Arthur turned 56 (whippersnapper!) a month and a half ago, he wrote:

I’ve also become increasingly aware as the years pile up of how important it is to record all sorts of things that mark progress through life. Memory isn’t anywhere near as reliable as many people assume, but it tends to become less reliable as the years pass…

…it was through writing these posts that I realised just how highly I regard my birthday, not merely for the celebration or being the centre of attention… but because birthdays symbolise for me a fresh start, a new beginning, with the promise of unexplored territory ad, sometimes laying just at the horizon or maybe around a bend, but there all the same. Looking back, then, has reminded me how much I value looking forward, and moving ahead.

What he said.

I must note that today is the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the first disastrous attempt for civil rights activists to cross the Pettus Bridge in Selma. I was outraged, not only by the actions of the police, but by the fact that they dare do that ON MY 12TH BIRTHDAY. Talk about narcissism.

Here’s an article about a Japanese American activist heading back to Selma to commemorate the march.

On a cheerier note, this is the 10th wedding anniversary of Rebecca Jade, the eldest niece, to Rico Curtis.

The #1 song on Wednesday, March 7th, 1900 was Ma Tiger Lily by Arthur Collins

The #1 song on Thursday, March 7th, 1901 was Stars and Stripes Forever by Sousa’s Band

The #1 song on Friday, March 7th, 1902 was Tell Me Pretty Maiden by Byron G Harlan, Joe Belmont and the Florodora Girls

The #1 song on Saturday, March 7th, 1903 was In the Good Old Summer Time by Haydn Quartet

The #1 song on Monday, March 7th, 1904 was Bedelia by Haydn Quartet

The #1 song on Tuesday, March 7th, 1905 was Give My Regards to Broadway by Billy Murray

The 9/11 Memorial

The waterfalls, the memorial pools in the footprints of the Twin Towers, are quite beautiful, especially at night

Memorial-PoolAfter 9/11/2001, I had only been in Manhattan once that wasn’t in passing (train station to Charlotte, e.g.) and that was seeing a musical in 2003. I had never been particularly close geographically to Ground Zero, despite living less than 160 miles away.

When Rebecca (niece #1), her husband Rico, and a couple of their friends came out from California to NYC around Thanksgiving 2013, one of them items on the Californians’ agenda was to see the 9/11 memorial.

The museum exterior was at the site, but not yet open. There was no charge to get to the plaza at the time, but one had to order tickets ahead of time. We were booked for 4:30 p.m., the last grouping, and we had to pick up tickets beforehand.

At least at that point, the key to the enterprise was patience, for we spent over a half-hour waiting in line on an unseasonably cold November afternoon-to-evening. Then we had to go through screening, not unlike what happens when one goes to the airport.

I will say that the waterfalls, the memorial pools in the footprints of the Twin Towers, are quite beautiful, especially at night; wish I could find the pictures I took.

At the end, you end up, as all good museums do, in the gift shop. There was a constant barrage of videos about what happened “that day” and in the weeks thereafter. It was a bit numbing, actually, but not especially moving, oddly.

Only one of these pieces got me emotionally involved, and it was a cartoon – this cartoon from StoryCorps – that actually made me cry.

Now that the 9/11 Tribute Center is complete, I can’t imagine wanting to go back and relive the experience. The State Museum in Albany has some artifacts that I’ve seen, fairly often, and that’s enough for me, for now.

30 Day Challenge – Day 30: Whomever You Find Most Attractive In This World

Rebecca and Rico were dubbed “Lightning” and “Thunder”, respectively.

Jeez, Louise. I started this thing on May 6. I posted Day 29 on November 14. 30 days? HA!

This picture of my wife and daughter is from April of 2008 in Virginia, probably Jamestown or Norfolk, someplace near Williamsburg.

Oh, my niece Rebecca, who had one of those Kickstarter things to raise the $3000 to put together a music album reached her goal! It was interesting because, with less than a week to go before the Christmas deadline, she seemed stuck at about $2350. Got $1000 in the last week.

And speaking of my niece Rebecca, did I mention that she and her husband Rico both appeared on a peculiar TV competition program called Wipeout back in September? It’s Season 3, Episode 16: Food Fight. Annoyingly, I cannot find it either on the site or on, though other episodes can be found there. Oddly, though, there is a transcript of the show.

The hosts try to create artificial tension between Rebecca and another woman over Rico’s affection. Also, Rebecca and Rico were dubbed “Lightning” and “Thunder”, respectively. Though Rico was the third to cross the Shape Shifter (don’t ask), and the first to cross without riding in a shape, he was eliminated in the first round. Rebecca made it to the finals, where she ultimately came in second.

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