Verlondia was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Saint Albans, Queens. Her greatest accomplishments and sacrificial offerings to this world were her remarkable offspring, Shawana Gardner, Keith Gardner, myself and Kharlique Gardner. At the age of 20, she moved to Harlem, NY in December of 1983, with her first child, her 11 month old daughter, Shawana. She remained in Harlem until 1988, giving birth to her oldest son, Keith, in October of ‘84 and meeting the man who would help create me, in ‘85.
In December of ‘88, one month after the passing of my aunt, Tyra Gardner, one of the world’s greatest souls, Verlondia moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, inheriting the apartment of her late sister. All the while, a growing seedling was maturing in her womb that would become the Shaquana Gardner, born in August of ‘89.
Givng birth to her last child and youngest son, Kharlique, in July of ‘92, Verlondia soon after decided to end her child bearing abilities, opting to undergo a tubal ligation. A product of the government funded sterilization campaign of the late 20th century, targeting Black, Latino, and poor women, Verlondia’s intent to forgo childbearing appeared only possible, as taught to her and all of her peers, in the form of female sterilization. It was from then on that she dedicated the rest of the next 22 years to raising, nuturing and fulfilling her role as a mother, as best she knew possible.
Raised by her oldest living sister, Verlondia grew up without a mother, as hers passed from psorosis of the liver in 1969, when she was just 6 years old. Conceived in part by a married man, whom clearly held no formal interest in adding to her upbringing, Verlondia never knew a wholehearted father figure. She was brought up in an often, very callous and unloving environment, perpetually reminded of her inadequacies as a motherless child and insufficiencies as an unwanted mouth to feed.
Though, filled with many forms of love and appreciation, Verlondia’s childhood was in many ways, severely devoid of the truest form of love, most often found in a mother’s touch, smile and kiss. Her phenomena of growing up feeling severely unloved, unwanted and desparately uneeded, and still, in spite of it all, finding and projecting the most substantial form of love I’ve ever known, still ceases to amaze me.
As such, it is my greatest and most esteemed honor to spotlight my first love, my first friend, my first mentor, my first cheerleader and champion, and now, my first business investor.
There would be no Gardner Creative Inc., no dream, no vision, no Shaquana Gardner, if it were not for the most beautiful woman I know, Verlondia Gardner- Patterson, my mother.
Thank you for always believing in me and my dreams. And thank you for putting your money where my mind is! You won’t regret it!