The short story. . .

After 23 years of teaching, I still LOVE it! And in 7 years, I want to retire still feeling that love. But the way my finances are set up…

I cannot AFFORD to retire. So unless I supplement my income, I will be forced to continue teaching and will die on a stack of papers I’m checking. So, I’ve created my own summer job that will take me in to retirement; BIG MA’S CONEY CART!

What makes my cart different? I’ve created my own special chili sauce! It’s more delicious than any coney island you’ve ever had, but without all the junk. What’s better, I offer beef (certified halal) as well as vegan coney dogs, chili fries, and a homemade dessert you’d smack your mama for!

Please donate, and I’ll get to $10,000 by May 13th! We can do this! I *greatly* appreciate every, single dollar!

All additional details about my story, the business, and how the funds will support my launch can be found in my story below.
You *will* enjoy the LONG story if you keep reading... 
The story you didn’t know you needed in your life. . .

I am a high school dropout. I hated high school. When I turned 18, I got my G.E.D. (Good Enough Diploma – just kidding) and figured I wouldn’t do too much schooling after that. I got married, had two children, got divorced, and while doing all of that, I earned several certificates. You know those commercials that come on late at night and say things like, “You ain’t doing nothing but sittin’ in yo momma’s basement! Call this number and become a certified something-or-other!” Yeah – I called those numbers – several times. I got a bartender’s license, I was trained to be a computer programmer, and I even started a court reporting program, to name a few. I was trying to be gainfully employed without putting in too much effort. I was doing ok. I was always pretty smart and resourceful, so I had decent jobs here and there, but never a career.

One day I started thinking about how my life may have been different if I took high school seriously. I was a voracious reader and I know that I could have done well had I put my mind to it. I asked myself why I didn’t like high school. I realized the main reason was - drum roll, please - the teachers. If I had even one teacher who inspired or motivated me, or convinced me I could and should do well in school, just maybe I would have. I related to virtually none of them. They all seemed to dislike or even hate both their job and kids. The only teacher I liked at Cooley High School was Miss K. She was only a few years older than us and she was the speech and drama teacher. I convinced myself that I would be a famous actor when I grew up so I only needed to attend her class. I spent 90% of my time in school on the stage. Assistant Principal Dupree (I hated him too) came to the stage one day and told all of us notorious skippers that if we were caught skipping again, we would be AT’ed (administrative transfer). One day soon after, I was on my way to class (I was trying, y’all) when I realized I left something on the stage, so I went back. I started running my mouth and that was it. Dupree caught me and gave me a choice – Mumford or Redford. I chose Redford and hated it even more than Cooley because their drama department SUCKED. There was nothing for me in school anymore. I never actually officially dropped out, I just sorta – faded away. One day when my friends and I were skipping on the police station grass across the street from the school (yes, that was a thing), someone asked what hour it was and what class we were supposed to be in. I realized I didn’t remember my schedule. That was the last minute my brain attended school (my body had stopped going weeks before, apparently).

Fast forward to college – I decided what I really should do is forget all these certificates and quick ways to make money. What I needed to do – what my calling was – was to become a teacher! I vowed to become the kind of teacher I wish I had in high school. I am still to this day trying in every way to stay true to that. So – *become a teacher*, the universe said. *Figure it out*, the universe said. I didn’t even know where to begin other than I knew I would have to go to college.

Marygrove College. When I was a teenager, my boyfriend lived near Marygrove and we often passed the campus. I didn’t know what the place was but my boyfriend told me his mother was an, “adjunct professor." I didn’t know what that was either, but all I remembered is I thought the campus looked –magical. So, “Magical Marygrove” it is! No research, nothing. I just drove on the campus one day, went to the Registrar’s Office, and asked to “sign up.” When they asked for my high school diploma, test scores, and college credit, I told them about my G.E.D. and certificates. I asked, “Do those count?” And while I do not actually remember, I think they looked at me funny or laughed at me or something. But I DO know I was told to go to a community college, take some classes, get good grades, and try again. I went to WCCC, took a full load, earned a 4.0, and went back to Marygrove. I talked to the same person. I reminded him of who I was and he said, “You actually DID it?!” I said, “That was what you said I had to do! SO, I did!” They enrolled me, for both classes AND financial aid. With my background, all I could do is take out loans. Loan after loan after loan at this expensive, private institution. I funded my whole undergrad and master’s degrees with loans. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is why I will be paying student loans until after I die, plus a few more years after that. I had no idea what I was doing to myself, however, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Marygrove’s motto of the three C’s – Competence, Compassion, and Commitment is etched in my soul. Marygrove played a huge part in who I became as a teacher and I will love it forever even though it does not exist anymore (tears).

Cass Tech! My whole teaching career has been at Cass Technical High School and I have loved every minute of it. When I started teaching at Cass, both my children were in middle school. Since then, they have both graduated from Cass and moved on to do wonderful things with their lives. I have worked under three principals and countless department heads and I am still in the classroom because that is the only place I ever wanted to be! My goal is 30 years – all in the classroom working directly with young folks. Even though I am almost 60, I haven’t done *anything* else as long as I’ve been a teacher. Well, not unless you count being a parent, but being a parent of kids vs. adults isn’t the same so – no – I haven’t done anything for 30 years. THIS will be IT. BUUUUUTTTTT...

I cannot AFFORD to retire. Not now and, realistically, not in 7 years either. I can only afford to die, so unless I supplement my income, I will keel over on a stack of papers, or worse, drop dead in front of the classroom while trying to explain some salient point about the fragility of life. What’s worse than me getting too tired and possibly growing to not like teaching, is the number of students who would suffer. I absolutely HATE teachers who HATE teaching and wished they didn’t have to teach. The KIDS suffer from that the most. I abhor folks who only teach for that little check or the benefits. I don’t – I WON’T be that one. So, what will I do? No investment portfolio you ask? I don’t even know what you are talking about. I hate money. I am so incredibly serious. I don’t like thinking about it – talking about it –planning for it – none of that. I don’t even want to have a lot of it. I just don’t want to worry about it. All I want to be able to do is pay my bills and take a trip every few years. DASSIT. (FYI - I won't even manage the funds of *this* business I am starting. I have a professional and trusted money management company to handle all the FINANCES related to the cart. I only cook and enjoy serving the people. ) 

So, how then will I supplement my income? My very first job was at Onassis Coney Island on Fenkell and Freeland. I was 14 years old and was paid “under the table” as they say. I was so good that within a few months, the owner had me working BY MYSELF on Sundays. I enjoyed that job. I liked waiting on people and doing the little “cooking” the job required. I ended up managing several coney islands and other restaurants over the years. That coney island chili though! Almost all coney islands use the same brand. It’s “not bad” but it ain’t good either. If you like coney island chili, you don’t want to know what’s in it. I also can’t be the only one who “taste” it for the rest of the day after I eat it. Ughh. I’ve researched, tested, tried again, had family sample multiple recipes – and EUREKA! I have developed a chili sauce recipe (that’s right – it’s chili SAUCE, not chili) that I make from scratch, and it will put coney islands to shame. Not only have I made halal beef and vegan recipes so everyone can enjoy a coney dog and chili fries, but I have a special dessert recipe that will make you push your summer body goals to 2022!

Here’s where you come in - HELP ME! I have started a GO FUND ME to raise the required $10,000 starting cost.

$10,000 will fund/purchase:
 Non-recurring costs: The cart, car hitch, initial licensing, inspections and courses, first annual inspection, etc.
 Recurring costs (the first summer): Propane, utensils and paper goods, food supplies, carnival and fair fees, merch and advertising, salaries (I will need at least one other person working with
me at all times).
Please donate! My goal is to fund the CART and the supplies for the whole first summer by May 13th! 30 days! I APPRECIATE EVERY DOLLAR!!!
And PLEASE SHARE THIS TOO! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. :)

Donations (347)

  • Brother Maul (Maul Davis Cass Tech 2003)
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Nicole Thirkield
    • $25 
    • 3 yrs
  • Julia Chudzinski
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Veronica Killebrew
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs


Vicki Green
Detroit, MI

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