Momma Taught Me Purple, Daddy Taught Me Blue

by Tonya McCleary

Thank you for starting this journey with me. Momma's Broomwheat Tea is not just about a soothing product, but it is about the memories and the history of that product as well.

My parents, Oscar and Christine Haywood grew up in the country, but reared their seven kids in the city. When I say city, I mean the capitol city of Oklahoma City. But let's be clear, I always tell people we named my hometown Oklahoma City, so folks would be reminded that it is an actually city. No shade, just the truth. Oklahoma itself is country.

It's been called the bad lands, the unassigned lands, and became the new homeland of indigenous tribes forcibly removed from their land. There was even talk at one point of making the Oklahoma a black state where former slaves could forge their futures in solidarity. It is in that colliding culture that Broomwheat Tea emerge as not only a native tradition, but an African-American. 

Broomwheat Tea has been part of my life, born with pneumonia, I do not remember a time when I didn't have a cup or two of Broomwheat Tea during the long Oklahoma Winters.

I remember Dad would put a little "corn" liquor in it and Momma would chasten him saying "you are gonna make these girls" drinkers. So in the end, she would win out with her special lemon and honey blend. It was truly goodness going down.

I entitled this first blog, Momma Taught Me Purple, Daddy Taught me Blue because it describes the unique gifts they each gave me that helped me finally realize my dream of taking this tea to market.. 

My mother taught me purple is based on one of my favorite poems from childhood. I often thought Alice Walker, must have read the same poem that inspired her to write "The Color Purple".  Purple is a sign of royalty and my mother Christine was just that. Although she ldied when I was only 20, she has been the most influential person in my life. Read the poem and see if it inspires you as well.

My mother taught me purple
Although she never wore it.
Wash-grey was her circle,
The tenement her orbit.

My mother taught me golden
And held me up to see it,
Above the broken moldings,
Beyond the filthy street.

My mother reached for beauty
And for its lack she died,
Who knew so much of duty
She could not teach me pride.
Now, there my Dad, Oscar Haywood. He was a master storyteller, something he learned from hs mother, who was Black, Choctaw and Muskogee Creek, although not an admitted member of the tribe. We'll share that story another time.
Back to my Daddy, he was a man of little means but he was my hero and one of the richest of men when it came to those things that mattered. He reared seven children who loved him dearly.
His golden rules were simple; Stand Strong in your beliefs, learn to bait your own hook, and have a good time doing it.
He taught me the art of storytelling through his old USO Korean War stories and Life as a jazz saxophonist in Deep Deuce, and boy were they good.
 

I was blessed to go out along the North Canadian River and pick broomweed bushes with parents. While the broomweed bush from which Broomwheat Tea is derived grows wild.  It is not easily found in the city, but on grazing land in rural areas.

 I thank family and friends who have believed in me and my dream of making Momma's Broomwheat Tea blend a reality. 

You see, Momma's Broomwheat Tea is not only a Labor of Love for me and a love letter to my parents.

It Truly is GOODNESS GOING DOWN! ENJOY!