My Father, My Legacy (work in progress)

In My Father, My Legacy I share a historical journey through the story and legacy of my family. It begins with my grandmother Ruby Berkeley Goodwin’s achievements in publicity, film and writing and chronicles my father’s accomplishments as a Tuskegee Airman and administrator for Cal Berkeley. My hope is that readers will discover how it felt to be a bi-racial child of a Polish Jewish mother and an African American father who met at Cal Berkeley on the debate team in the 1950s. There were challenges on both sides of the family; worry from the African Americans and expulsion from the Jewish family. Through my words, I show how my family’s life and love changed the hearts and minds of so many, then how their shared accomplishments affected the community. This journey culminates in Jim Goodwin (my father) accepting an invitation to attend the inauguration of United States President Barack Obama with his daughter (me) by his side.


My Father, My Legacy
(title poem)

My Father, My Legacy

A living part of history,

A young Tuskegee fighter pilot

Who graduated from Cal Berkeley,

Then worked in the community

Organizing with Dr. King.

My Father, My Legacy

A fighter for peace

A lover of nature

An eloquent speaker;

He could have been a

Beautiful actor like Sydney Poitier,

Instead he chose to change minds and open doors  

Working in minority affairs at Cal

My Father, My Legacy

He taught me so many things

The fine arts

The golden rule

The meaning of love

How music can make the soul sing

My Father, My Legacy

He means the world to me

He has seen so many changes in this great nation

And soon he will witness Obama’s inauguration

My Father, My Legacy

There is no place I would rather be

Than right by his side

Still his little girl

Hoping that maybe

A piece of his greatness
will spring alive in me

© Leah Goodwin | 2008

High Flying Pat

I began writing stories and songs in verse to entertain and educate children while I ran Happy House Childcare in Berkeley, California. I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and it was from this organization I won Honorable Mention for High Flying Pat (read the story below on this page). Other children’s stories I’ve written include A Song for the Moon, Lazy Lily, Mary the Sleepy Dragon, Or Maybe a Horse, I Lost My Blanket and two stories about Kendra, a deaf African American girl who goes to school and to the doctor.

High Flying Pat

© 1991 by Leah Goodwin

There once was an airplane named Pat,

Who dreamed and wished as she sat.

I want to fly, fly way up high,

I hate being down,

down here on the ground.

Now whenever she got her chance to fly,

She marveled at how the time would go by.

I love flying up with the clouds in the air,

I’ll never go down to the ground,

way down there.

She glided, she flew,

Through the air, clear and blue,

This was the life that she loved,

it was true.

The people inside

Were so tired of flying,

They yelled and they cried,

That pilot kept trying

To bring Pat the plane down.

But Pat just kept flying around and around.

She said, “I love to fly, way up high

in the sky,

I’ll never go down to the ground,

No not I!”

“We must land!” said the steward.

“Stop this plane now!”

“I can’t,” said the pilot,

“I just don’t know how.”

They pushed all the buttons,

They pulled all the levers.

But Pat was just tickled,

She was smart and so clever.

“The flying is up to me!”

She shouted with glee.

“I love to fly, way up high

in the sky,

I’ll never go down to the ground,

No not I!”

Around and around Pat the plane flew,

Around went the people, the pilot,

and the crew.

Then the pilot looked down

and he suddenly knew

That Pat would soon land

in a minute or two.

Meanwhile young Pat, not sensing a thing,

Kept flying around and she started to sing.

“I love to fly,

way up high in the sky

and I’ll never go down to the ground,

No not I!”

Then right in the middle of her happy song,

Something was happening,

something was wrong.

Pat’s engine was stalling,

the pilot held fast.

At last Pat the airplane had run out of gas.

She couldn’t keep flying up high all around,

Her time was all over, she had to go down.

The pilot carefully steered,

The people all cheered.

When Pat touched the ground,

They were all safe and sound.

Well, Pat the airplane, I am happy to say

Still loves to go flying up high everyday.

But Pat learned the rules

And she keeps them in mind.

They’re easy to live by and easy to find.

Every plane that goes up in the air

Must come down

To help all the people get home

safe and sound.

The End