“Some people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime” is a saying that has been around for ages and there hasn’t been one person in my life whose lips it hasn’t passed through at one time or another.
Fatima Washington is a very well respected Hollywood filmmaker and educator, who came into my life for a reason through a mutual friend. At an event she shared that her Mom wrote a book about an affair she had with Ivan Dixon.
My inside voice was like “The same Ivan Dixon from A Raisin in the Sun and Hogan’s Heroes”? Even as a little girl I thought he was sexy…lol. So, Fatima sent me a copy and I read that bad boy from beginning to end in one sitting.
You see, I realized that this wasn’t a juicy tell-all book about a star, as much as, a very intense tale of a woman’s journey to self-respect, love for oneself, others and Christ.
Betty grew up poor in Baltimore and like most people of color during that time one’s worth and importance hinged on your skin color and education.
You see “back in the day” in our “community” the lighter the hue of the skin and fine-textured hair the better you were treated. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true!!! I witnessed that ridiculous madness firsthand within my own family and in college.
It was also expected of a young woman to marry well, have kids, tend to the needs of your husband and run the household. After all…it WAS the 50’s and 60’s. It was unthinkable to divorce your husband for cheating or to speak out of turn.
This was the world in which Betty found herself revolving in. Married to a handsome, educated man incapable of being faithful, she gave up her dreams and aspirations for her husband to succeed realizing this existence was not enough.
A lifetime had been spent having her beauty undervalued and made to feel inadequate in the company of George’s (her husband) peers and constituents.
An evening to escape by seeing a production of “A Raisin in The Sun” would be the first time she laid eyes on Ivan Dixon. It was love at first sight.
However, when they finally met, a torrid affair would ensue not knowing they were both married and with children. This affair would bring Betty joy, sorrow and Christ, but most importantly she discovered that trying to build a life on someone else’s happiness never has a good ending.
In dedicating this book to any woman who would fall in love with a married man she cautions …”Run. Don’t Walk. You are on sacred ground”.
Betty Washington danced off the cliff of forbidden love, betrayal and sanity all to find herself with both feet planted firmly on the ground knowing that her next chapter would lead to self-love, respect and dignity.
You can find The Cliff Dancer on Amazon. com and and tonight at 7pm Weds., July 8th join the authors at Book Soup 8818 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood for a Conversation and Book signing. The event will be hosted with journalist/host Maleena Lawrence.