Amanda Marcelle, of Glenelg, had an exciting time at the Great American Cake Show and Wedding Cake Competition in Waldorf in October. This was Marcelle's second year entering a cake in the competition, which is one of the largest on the East Coast. Last year she placed third in the beginner class. Since this was her second year, she was allowed to enter as a beginner again, but the judges said the tiered cake she made should be judged in the intermediate class, and the cupcakes belonged in the advanced. There was greater competition in the more advanced classes and Marcelle was delighted to discover that both of her entries received first place ribbons and then were chosen for additional accolades.
The tiered cake she entered was inspired by the Legend of Zelda video games that she spent a lot of time playing when she was younger. That cake placed best in the division. The six cupcakes were all different, and designed to look like tea party settings from around the world. One cupcake looked like a proper English tea with teapot, flowers and a plate with scones. Another looked like it was set up fo... http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-ho-n-glenwood-1217-20151215-story.html
Spring weather, puts up a pole festooned with flowers and dances around it (actually, kids that go to Waldorf schools still do that.) It's the day when working people take the day off and honor the dignity of labor (actually, they do that just about everywhere in the world except the U.S., where we do a sort of hybrid holiday called Labor Day - - probably, now that the oligarchs have taken things over, working people don't get either Mayday or Labor Day off.) It's the thing you say when you're the radioman on a ship that's caught in the middle of a storm and the waves are running high and the lightning is flashing and the thunder is rolling and you turn on the radio and yell "Mayday! Mayday! We're going down by the port beam!" (or something like that) and hope that someone will rescue you and the rest of the gallant crew (actually, they probably don't yell Mayday [or anything else] anymore - - it's probably all done digitally). It's the day (this year, anyway) that's one week before the day when you say "Happy Mothers' Day, Mom!". (Actually, the only people who really celebrate Mothers' Day are the greeting card makers. [By the way, I will be playing a Mothers' Day song on Tuesday, called Remember Dad on Mothers' Day.])
To make a short story long, Tuesday's show will also be called Concert for Mayday. I hope you join me.
We love you, Babee," she says. "We will be back."
Memories of Ji'Aire are everywhere inside the rented blond brick rancher in Waldorf where Romechia lives with her mother. Romechia retreated here after she was released on bail from the Charles County Detention Center in December. She spends most of her time in her room, except for twice-weekly appointments with her therapist and support group meetings.
On a recent afternoon, Romechia, barefoot, opens the door of her bedroom and walks down the carpeted hallway and through the living room, passing a poster-board photo collage devoted to Ji'Aire: Romechia holding him as newborn; Vontasha kissing him on the cheek; Ji'Aire sitting in a baby car seat, dressed in a blue winter cap and his first baby shoes; Ji'Aire in a black jacket waving to the camera, a front tooth missing. In the final row of images, the boy's funeral program is taped to the poster board: "Ji'Aire Donnell Lee, Sunrise 8/22/11; Sunset 5/22/15."
Romechia heads into the kitchen to make a tuna sandwich. She is wearing a sweater and blue jeans. She has gained 70 pounds from taking her antidepressant and antipsychotic medications, and it's made her self-conscious. She opens a jar of mayonnaise, spreads it on a slice of bread and spoons the tuna on the other slice. She grabs a cup of juice, cleans the counter, takes the plate with the sandwich and returns to her bedroom.
Inside, she sits on the bed - two mattresses on the floor - in the corner of the room. She has her son's toys in boxes - balls, books, stuffed animals. "He loved this one animal," a tan monkey, she remembers. "He called it his little baby. He would pat his little monkey and say, 'Go to sleep baby,' the way that I did him."
She still has his clothes packed away. She has not been able to bring herself to give anything away.
"Sometimes I find myself doing weird things, like I will grab his socks and just hold onto his socks," she says. "Or I will grab one of his toy balls and hold onto his ball - anything that helps me to feel close - that I know was his."
In the corner sits a blown-up photo that has run in newspapers all over the world. It was taken just two months before he died, right after his first haircut at the St. Charles mall. She's bending down and brushing her cheek against her son's head. They are both smiling.
"It's one of the last pictures me and my son took," she said. "I want that somewhere on the wall. When I get a frame, I will hang it here."
Her bedroom window looks into a grassy, fenced back yard. Ji'Aire would have loved to play out there.
In her room, she often listens to music. She's especially fond of Aaliyah and Tupac Shakur. "My favorite singers are both dead," she says without emphasis.
She's a singer, too. In high school, her choir director made her a soloist. Her voice is clear, able to hit every note in Adele's "Hello." Romechia would love to sing on stage, perhaps make a career out of it. But then she stops herself.
"People will judge me," she says. "For what happened. Someone will point a finger and say, 'There is that mother who . . . ' " She stops. "Nothing like that has ever happened before," she says. Her eyes are blank. The details of that night are blank.
A child's death at the hands of a mother is extremely rare in the United States, according to a USA Today analysis of FBI homicide data collected from 1976 to 2012. It showed that an average of 450 children a year are killed by a parent an...