The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (part 1)

I got a mysterious phone call at my parent’s house about 5-10 years ago. Time sense is faltering. The person said they had a book from the late, great Dr. Maya Angelou that was signed to me and they wanted to get it to me. It was close to when she had passed. I tried calling the number back but it was a fax machine. I hung up and left it to God.

About 5-10 years later, Stephanie Johnson, wife of Guy Johnson, Dr. Angelou’s nephew, left a message last week telling me that she had the book and wanted to return it. I received this today at my PO BOX exactly as the note details: “After more than 2 decades your book has finally made it’s way back to you.”

Dr. Maya Angelou ended up signing it twice. The first signature is on the first title page reading: “Leslie, Joy! Maya Angelou, March 12, 2000.”

The second signature is on the publication page, reading: “Dear Leslie, This book was discovered five years later, so I am signing it again. Joy! Maya Angelou, 4/30/2005.”

The serendipitous nature of the repeat signature and the repeat phone calls is uncanny. I am completely flabbergasted and have already dipped into the collection.

I don’t remember where or when I bought this book. I remember taking some students of mine from the local high school to see Dr. Angelou speak at an event in Oakland. I believe we were reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in class or had recently wrapped it up. I brought the book to the event to try and get it signed. During the event, we sat in the balcony and it was hard to hear. I remember after the speaking event was over we were invited to go backstage. We saw her very close up but never spoke. There was a lot of people there. Her staff told us to leave the books and she would sign them and mail them back. The book never came and I assumed it got lost in the shuffle. Either delivered to the wrong address, lost, stolen or forgotten. I remember thinking and feeling about the book and the situation. I often wondered what happened.

Dr. Maya Angelou’s message is clear and repeated: Joy! The cover of the book is a quilt and I remember this cover. The spirit of quilts wrapped up in my mother. My mom has been gone a year and her spirit is in the joy of this.

%d bloggers like this: