Jonesing For Tracey


               Favorite- Color Brown             I love earth tones

                                                                Note from the Creator

One of my goals for Designing Culture is to bring stories of entrepreneurship to you.  With this ever changing world, the path that once was is no longer and you must find another way. We have all been given gifts that have either come naturally, have been passed down or given to us through an unexpected circumstance.  I believe we have a responsibility to share our gifts with others to give inspiration, to help heal and even help uncover someone else’s gift.    

Tracey’s story includes the gift that was taught to her as a young girl but was not fully explored until an unexpected life changing moment happened to her.   

Tracey Jones was born in (Chill) Town, Jersey City, New Jersey, in the same hospital that her father and her grandmother were born in.  Her family moved to Plainfield, New Jersey (Queen City) in 1973.

“Do you miss Plainfield?”
“I do.” She says without hesitation.  I love where we live now but at times I want to see people that look more like me and I also miss the sense of a tight knit community.  When I lived in Plainfield, I could go up and down the block and know who lives in each house.  We made a lot of memories on the corner of Myrtle and Browkaw.  As big as this block is now, I never see any kids and I don’t know too many of my neighbors. It just doesn’t feel the same.”

To set the scene for my next question, for those of you who don’t know Tracey, she is biracial.  Her mother is African American and her father is Caucasian.  Currently there are so many movements and support groups for LGBT, Me Too, Civil Rights, just to name a few, and you can run to anyone of these organizations and try to get justice especially now with social media.  Back when she was growing up it was everyman/women for themselves even with support groups.  You didn’t report things you just dealt with it the best way you knew how and continued on with your life.

“Did you have any troubles growing up in a community that was mostly black?”
“Yes, we did.  Because I’m the oldest, I remember more than what my two siblings remember.  People would call us Oreo cookies, I remember people challenging me that my father wasn’t white. There was no reason for me to deny him or lie about it.  I remember going to a fast food restaurant and someone saying to my father, “What are you doing with those black kids?” I remember a rock being thrown through our front window.  Now as an adult I wonder how my father felt because he was not use to being in that type of environment and trying to fit in.  Another young black kid asked him if he lived upstairs because a black family lives there.  So yes, there are a lot of things I remember unfortunately.”

 As Tracey gives her accounts of some of the obstacles she has faced, it’s clear that the memories still have an effect on her.

“Do you know who threw the rock through your window?”
I don’t want to give too much away but we had an idea of who did it because the next day, after my father got up really early to fix the window, certain people in the neighborhood stood in front of the house staring and wondering how it was fixed so fast.  They were looking for shock or some kind of aftermath and they were not going to get that reaction from us.”

“When and how did you meet your husband Charles?”

“We met through a mutual friend, she was one of those friends that helped me through some of the tough times I spoke of earlier.  She wanted me to send her a picture and I didn’t have a recent one just laying around. We didn’t have Facebook and Instagram back then where I had access to recent pictures so I took a current picture and sent it to her.  She introduced us through email and that’s how we started to communicate. 

Our first date was about three weeks after our first email conversation.  We went into the relationship knowing that we were going to start out as friends, especially because I was newly divorced and I wanted to relearn myself.  I also didn’t want to bring people in and out of my girl’s lives, so I waited to see how this was going to play out. We didn’t start getting serious until six months later. Chuck also has two kids, Chuck lll and Maiyah.”

“How was the transition with bringing your families together?”
“There were some growing pains as many blended families have but we did a lot of family activities with the kids so that they can get use to each other.”

** Getting Down To Business**   

“Why are you no longer with Verizon after 20 + years of employment?”
Well, they made me an offer that I couldn’t turn down.  I was with Verizon for 23 years and went through several roles, ending my career as a service manager. This was a very stressful position especially because I was on call 24 hours a day and had to see each issue through to the end.  I couldn’t go to a party or a family functions without worrying that I was going to get a call. During the summer time, it was hell trying to find someone to cover you to go on vacation.  You had to make deals with others to get time off. 

Verizon was sending a lot of jobs to the Philippines or down south, paying people less money and paying one person to do the job of two people.  Rumors were flying and numbers weren’t looking good. The writing was on the wall and it was either I take the buyout now or get laid off unexpectedly.   Over time I also had some health issues so when the offer was presented to me, my husband and I sat down and discussed it.  I was very hesitant because this job played a big part in my life and I didn’t know what to do.  Once the buyout offer came along the final decision was up to me.”

“Were you nervous or scared?”
“I’m still nervous and it’s been four months since I left my job. My husband said he saw the stress and the toll the job was taking on me and urged me to take some time to get my mind right and my thoughts together.  Work was carrying over into my home life.  I was cranky and irritable all of the time and I just couldn’t relax, my brain wouldn’t shut off.  I didn’t have any personal time to myself.  I would always have my work nearby and constantly checking my emails outside of work.  Even after I left the job, it took me two months to stop checking my computer for work assignments and if I heard a strange noise I would think it was my work phone ringing in the distance.  My daughter said I had post Verizon stress disorder, not to make light of anyone’s situation but, like I said I felt chained to the job even after I left.”   

“Did you make any long term friends at Verizon?”
Yes, Dina and Antoinette.  They were both in my wedding and they are my sisters for life.”

**During our brief intermission we refreshed our glasses with chilled wine and played toss with her dog Jax. **

“You’ve turned your hobby into a business. How did that start?”
Well, my grandmother on my father’s side taught me how to crochet when I was about ten years old.   Every summer I would stay with her for a week and I would see different crochet pieces throughout her house.  She would have dolls wearing dresses that she crocheted, toilet paper holders and blankets on the back of the couch.  I guess to keep from me being bored she taught me how to crochet.  I picked it up very quickly but never really did anything serious with it until now. 

Throughout the years I would make little blankets for my friends when they had kids, but what’s funny is, I never made blankets for my own kids.  Over time, from being stressed out from work and seeing people that look like me crochet funky designs like bikinis, I picked the needle back up.  I follow different Facebook and Instagram groups that support these hobbies/businesses.  It’s not considered an old lady hobby anymore and I realize that I don’t have to spend a lot of money on trendy scarves and other items because I can make them myself. As time goes on and I get older, I really want to create multiple streams of income and not rely on one check or one employer.”

“How often do you crochet?”
“Every day.  I have yarn on the floor next to my chair in the living room, I have a bin in the den which is going to be my craft room and I have it stored in the chaise. I’m giving away some of my hiding spots. My husband is always asking me why I keep buying yarn. If I see yarn on sale I’ll by it because I know I’m going to use it.  I’m currently in the process of making demo pieces for Facebook, Instagram and Etsy accounts.”

“I saw a post of a bathing suit cover on your Instagram but it was actually a bathing suit that you can wear in the water. What kind of yarn did you use, because I thought yarn gets heavy once it’s wet?”
“I used a cotton yarn which is a light weight yarn that will not absorb the water and will also keep its shape once it’s wet.  There are different types of yarn for different types of projects. Once I started seeing my beautiful sister’s creating these pieces, wearing them and showing video’s in the water, I knew I could do the same.  Sometimes I have issues going to stores looking for bathing suites trying to fit two different styles of bathing suit pieces together because I have issues trying to fit certain body parts.”

“Tracey is talking about big boobs!  Although they provide a certain comfort, they sometimes get in the way of fashion.”

“Do you think this is going to be lucrative for you? Not financially but emotionally?”
“This is very fulfilling for me because I love to crochet and it’s another form of income but I don’t plan on it being a full time career and it’s not intended to be.  It’s something that I love to do so I don’t mind taking the time creating designs.  At the same time when I decided to become a business I wanted to push myself to become more knowledgeable and learn different stitches.  I also want to put different content out there, not only to make money but to create designs for what people can’t find in the stores.”

“One of your favorite hobbies is reading. I’ve counted 7 books on your coffee table along with some crossword puzzles.  What are you reading now?”
“Well, I like to keep my brain active.  I love reading and sometimes I read two and three books at once.  Right now I’m reading a James Patterson book.  He is one of my favorite authors because he has those twist and turns that I love.  I would also recommend the Alex Cross series and The Women’s murder club.  One of the three books I’m reading is Becoming by Michelle Obama.”   

“What’s the fasted you’ve read a book?”
“The Maintenance Man” by Michael Baisden. I read that book in one day.”
“Yes that was a great book!” I said remembering the juicy parts.

“What’s next for Tracey Jones?”
“Well, right now I’m going to take it one day at a time and focus on my business for the next couple of months.  Later on I will add some additional tasks to my to-do-list but right now, I’m enjoying my-me time.”

**In Conclusion**

“I’m proud to say that Tracey Jones is my first cousin and we share olden and golden memories!  She is part of a network of people in my life that are essential to my growth.  Tracey has a great sense of humor and is lots of fun to hang out with. Her laugh is contagious and when the drinks start flowing, it’s a wrap!  Just don't drive slow in the fast lane while she's behind you!

             “My interview with Tracey was full of gems that we can all use.”

**Let's Recap**

-Don’t be afraid of change.  I take that back. You will probably be afraid of changing something that your use to because it’s familiar and sometimes comfortable.  But you have to ask yourself:
 (if I don’t change, where will I be in years to come.) 

-Creating multiple steams of income is so important in today’s society because many jobs are being eliminated by man or machine and having something else to fall back on while going through a transition, helps to relieve the pressure a little. So for those of you that have a hobby that you’ve wanted to turn into a business, go for it!  Use the internet and social medial to your advantaged.  Gone are the days where you need a brick and mortar to have a business. Etsy is also a great way to get your product out there to millions of people as well as creating your own website.  Most of these options are low to no cost to use.

-Most importantly, know your worth!  If you’re not happy with any aspect of your life, you have to believe that you deserve better and then take the steps you need to move forward.  Keep in mind that everyone has their own path so enjoy the process of designing your own!

To see more of Tracey’s designs, please click on the links below:


If you have any questions or comments about this article, Please leave them below.  In the mean time, check out the designs by Trae!

Please log on to Crochet by Trae's link's above to purchase any one of these beautiful, handmade designs!

~Monika Griffin
Designing Culture~

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