My name is Mara Lamont Hoskins, but most family and friends just call me "Montie." I am John Hope Bryant's older sister. Each week, I will be writing a Guest Blog piece outlining "MY" accounts of "OUR"childhood.
Timeframe is sometime in 1966, and we have a beautiful addition to our family, and his name would be John Bryant, although it was supposed to be Bryant Keith, but that is another story altogether.
Mara, known as Montie (because my middle name is Lamont) is about 9 years old and about to be the next financial leader in the house. After watching my eldest brother, Donnie for sometime now, this little cutie is ready to make money as well. At the age of 7, my mother taught me how to sew, but this little business woman was coming into her own. I would teach kids in the neigborhood how to sew, read and now crochet. Juanita Smith was no joke; she had her kids doing things. If the house was clean you could stay in or go out, but if you were the only girl, you are in the house sewing and crocheting. TV, yeah right; we got to look at an hour of television each night, not including the little bit of cartoons we got to watch in the morning.
But at this time, mom had to focus her attention on this little bundle of joy, so we got to hang out outside. That didnt last long. Donnie was always reading something, and came across a get rich quick solution. Selling candy by the name of Kady Dids (or something like that spelling wise).
The two of us, Donnie and I, would go from door to door selling candy for $2.50 a can. For some reason he always had me go to the door, and now I know it was because I was cute and adorable (smile).
We were pulling in $50 and more a week as kids. Mom got both of us (my older brother Donnie and I) a bank account with Bank of America, and we were loading up on our money, and watching our little bank books grow, and grow and grow (back then they were passbook accounts). No one else at our school had bank accounts, but we did, and we knew how to manage them. If the teller didn't put the interest in, we would ask her to do so. We "managed" our accounts.
Now dont think we were the smartest kids on the street. My oldest brother, Donnie woke me up one night and said "Mont, lets go climb the tree in the back," I asked "for what?" He said, "you know how mom and dad are always saying we have a money tree in the back yard, well we will find it!" Our dumb tails, lets say mutt and jeff here, got up at midnight with a flashlight, climbed the tree in the back yard looking for money. We never did find it, and I wonder why (smile)?
What I didn't tell you, at this same time we owned a 9 unit apartment complex, our own home, a Shell Gas Station on Vernon and Western Avenue, and a construction company. Everyone in our family were legal hustlers, and baby John (Hope Bryant) would later prove to be the best!
Montie (older sister to John Hope Bryant)
Mara Lamont Hoskin is an accomplished dancer who has cheered for two professional sports teams (Chargers and the Clippers), performed as a Premiere dancer on American Bandstand, Soul Train and Nike’s First Professional Hip Hop Dance Troupe, "Culture Shock." She is an ACE, AFAA, Body Pump, API, and Freestyle certified Instructor and Personal Trainer, she is also an AFAA Certification Specialist for Midlife Fitness for Women, Kickboxing, Primary, Practical Pilates, Floor Core and More, Group Resistance Training, Kickboxing Skills and Choreography, and Indoor Cycling certifying Aerobic Instructors traveling to over 35 countries and 50 states to do so.
Mara is a contributing writer for the First Afro American fitness book entitled, "Slim Down Sister." She also lends her talents to various journalist including Caller Times under the Health and Fitness articles. Mara also has appeared on "Crunch Fitness" on ESPN with Donna Richardson and The Cable Health Club (fitness show), with Tamilee Webb for 29 shows. She entered the world of Body Building at the age of 42 and won 19 "1st" Place Trophies.
Mara Hoskins was a 2009-2010 Cambridge Who's Who Inductee.