26 Jan Senior in Action –Alyssa and Gregory Moore
Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.
Senior in Action –Alyssa and Gregory Moore
By Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Question: Were you born in California?
Alyssa: “Both of us are native Californians. My Mom and Dad’s family came from Texas during the great migration, and Greg’s parents came west from Arizona and Alabama, all trying to get away from racial segregation and Jim Crow laws in the south. I grew up in Carson, and Greg grew up in Athens, an unincorporated area in L.A.
Greg: “I remember a classmate who had a huge Afro named Leon Sylvers III. His desk was in front of mine and his hair blocked my view of the blackboard. He and his family had a band called The Sylvers, and years later he became a famous singer, DJ and record producer.”
Question: Alyssa and Greg, how did you meet?
Alyssa: “Greg used to date my babysitter. Sounds weird, but when I was a kid she was the baby sitter. When I went to college, I of course no longer had a sitter, but I used to watch him drive up in his yellow Volkswagen. After they broke up, he remained friends with the family and eventually we were introduced. We dated for two years, then were apart for 15 years. Got back together, were married in five weeks and have been married for 23 years now.”
Greg: “I lost my mind temporarily, and it took me awhile to convince Alyssa to marry me once I had it back.”
Alyssa: “Greg’s ex-wife moved out-of-state, so I’ve helped raise Greg’s son Jamaal since he was 5 ½ years old. I always told Jamaal I’m not replacing mommy in Arkansas, you simply have two moms now.”
Greg: “Jamaal played varsity baseball for four years at Westchester High School and his team won CIF Championships in 2010 and 2011. I enjoyed watching all his games and took him to the park to hit balls and practice his pitching. Jamaal’s RBI team (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities -a MLB initiative) was invited to play baseball in Japan, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Alyssa insisted that he be back in time to attend his high school graduation. Coach made special arrangements, and Jamaal arrived back at LAX the night before graduation. We’re proud that Jamaal was a 10th round draft pick for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he hurt his arm in 2011 so he never signed. He played baseball on teams at Harbor City College, West LA Community College, and was recruited to play at Georgetown College, Kentucky. Jamaal fell in love when he was in high school and married his HS sweetheart Kourtney before he left for Kentucky, so it wasn’t long before he chose family life over baseball. And they have blessed us with two wonderful grandsons.”
Question: Are you retired, or working?
Greg: “I retired from Los Angeles Unified School District, Food Services Division. Now I’m very involved with my two grandsons; Aydin who is 5 years old, and Aurelius who is 7. They call me PawPaw and jump all over me.“
Alyssa: “Once a month, our grandsons spend the weekend at our house and afterwards we feel like we’ve been wrung through a knothole, but I would never trade that feeling or the time we spend together. They love going to the park with their scooters or bikes, playing tag and wrestling in the grass. During the pandemic closures, we had to stay indoors and the boys were off the walls. They almost shook Jamaal’s trophies off the shelves. They had to learn how to land softly.”
Alyssa: “I’ve had numerous careers; first with Pacific Bell where Dad worked, which was bought out by AT&T, then I worked for an entertainment magazine where I had the honor of interviewing Prince and other celebrities. Next, I was hired by BaumanCurry and Company to be Vice President of Ecumenical Affairs to promote HIV awareness in Black churches. That was one of the most fulfilling jobs I ever had; training church congregations from San Diego to Sacramento. In 2007, I went back to AT&T and did door to door sales of U-verse television until 2012. Then, I received a call from USC asking if I’d like to teach. I already had a Bachelor’s degree from Cal State Dominguez Hills in English and Computer Programming. They talked me into enrolling in the USC Master’s Degree program and I graduated in 2014 with a Master’s in Education. From 2014 to 2022, I’ve been teaching Journalism and senior English at August F. Hawkins High School, a community school with Magnet, Gifted, Black Student Achievement and STEM status that adheres to upholding the four pillars of a community school in Los Angeles.”
Question: What hobbies keep you busy in your spare time?
Alyssa: “Before the pandemic, we used to go to the movies, and camped in the summertime. We like to go walking together. Although Greg has Lupus, he doesn’t let that get in the way of being active. We had a scare in 2014, but nothing major since then. He watches what he eats, and helps our son Jamaal and his family as often as he can.”
Greg: “Alyssa plans fantastic outings. Recently we visited New Orleans for the first time. I planned our last two Valeversaries (Valentine’s and Anniversary – our niece Renee started calling them that) to San Diego and the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. ”
NBY Readers: Please consider surprising your single friends with a thinking of you card on Valentine’s Day. Many seniors are isolated due to COVID-19 and would appreciate receiving a special card in their mailbox.