Roxane Battle, the KARE-11 television journalism legend is, of course, a household name. She’s been featured in Ebony, Working Mother, Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press. She’s also been a keynote speaker for the Girl Scouts, Team Women Minnesota, and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, in addition to being a contributor to mariashriver.com.
What’s not common knowledge is the veteran’s personal journey, which Battle shares in Pockets of Joy: Deciding to Be Happy, Choosing to Be Free (Whitaker House).
She certainly comes from determined stock. One readily surmises the doggedness with which she pursued and prevailed at her career and transcended life-changing setbacks, all the stronger for it. “My dad…was the first African American with a master’s electrician license in the state of Minnesota. While working as a department store janitor and at a meat packing house during the day, he went to night school for six years.”
Indeed, reflecting warmly on her childhood and family, time and time again pausing to give God His due, the author clearly drew lasting mental, emotional and spiritual sustenance from her origins. You could characterize Pockets of Joy as a Twin Cities homegirl makes good both here and abroad (traveling extensively for work), resolutely adjusting to the curve-balls life tosses her way.
After an apparently amicable divorce, it was pretty much her and son Jared against the world from the onset. She recalled: “The nurses were a little upset with me because I refused to put Jared in the nursery overnight: they kept insisting that I needed to rest, but there was no part of me that wanted to be separated from this beautiful tiny life I had just been introduced to.”
From becoming a high school state track and field champion to going off to college, the mother-son bond is unshakable. So much so that, at one point, beat reporter Battle turned down the journalist’s dream — an anchor chair — because it would have meant scrimping on time with and commitment to her growing boy.
As it turned out, despite colleagues questioning just how serious she was about getting somewhere important in the profession, Battle shrugged them off and wound up doing better as the KARE-11-NBC Today co-host for just as much visibility and the same salary.
On a fairly humorous note, though she was by no means laughing at the time, Battle eventually took on the trying task of returning to the dating scene. With less than promising results, proving that even — or perhaps especially — a news celebrity is not immune to running up on quite a few frogs with no prince in sight.
There’s indication that, though she’s not mean-spirited enough to come right out and say so, at least a couple men were enviously resentful of her success, and in just about so many words told her, on the first date, that she wasn’t all she was cracked up to be.
The less said about one trifling, broke as a joke, hygienically challenged prospect the better. “I wanted to kick myself for going out with such a loser. Was I so lonely, so desperate that I had overlooked red flags?”
Among the fascinating highlights are her encounters with the likes of Mariah Carey and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and catching his Royal Purpleness, himself, Prince, at famed Paisley Park. Front and center, though, is not the work-related hobnobbing or otherwise holding down a very interesting job.
You finish Pockets of Joy with an appreciation for devoted single-motherhood, period, and admiration for this particular individual’s steadfast positive attitude, not to mention the power thereof. It’s not a guidepost or self-help cure-all for everyone dealing with life’s most daunting difficulties. It’s simply the story about someone winning at life and how she got there.
For book information, visit Facebook/Pockets of Joy or Amazon.com
Dwight Hobbes welcomes readers’ responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403