Thursday, September 6, 2007

Monday, September 5, 1977

(I think I screwed up a date... have to go check when I get home... I had screwed it up; I missed a day. All fixed now.)

Psalm 98

Got up medium. Dressed. Took a walk to the A&P, I feeling a bit stuffy. Came back. Watched a little TV. Ate dinner. Rested. Got up. Played. Rested, watched TV. Put on pjs. Ate supper. Watched TV, a race (quarterhorse) was on TV. Sure looks different in color. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O, Thank you.

Boy, were we bored. And we couldn't really go out to play, like we could in Jamaica.


Tuesday, September 6, 1977

Psalm 99

Got up medium. Dressed. Took a looking walk to Sears. Then came back. Went to the office and looked in yellow pages. I found Willy Decker's phone number. He's in Ill. Pops went to A&P.


I've no idea who Willy Decker is or why I was looking for him. Maybe that was Speedy's brother?

I sound depressed.


Wednesday, September 7, 1977

Psalm 100


Got up medium. Dressed. Had school - awfull. Hope I don't have to go to public or private school. Finished school. Went to Sears, got markers. Helped with preparing lunch. Ate Rested. Took a walk. Ate a snack. Put on pjs. Watched. TV. Went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

That fall, they were busing black kids into white neighborhoods in Chicago, Ohio and New York. The TV was filled with images of angry white people waving signs telling the black kids to go home. I distinctly remember one with a drawing of a monkey on it, or something about "no bananas." The protests, like the story, grew and followed us to New York where we ended up in a few weeks. By then, it was really disturbing.

When we were in Jamaica, Poppy had told us about racism. He had told us a story about his trip to Tennessee in the '50's, to visit his father's family. He had brought his box camera, and taken a picture of a water fountain that said "WHITES ONLY". The photograph was dark and grainy, and barely visible, much like the picture of racism that I had in my head. I had no frame of reference. As a 3 year old kid in Paris I had experienced one incident. We went to the playground in the Luxembourg Gardens frequently and I loved the slide. One day, a small blue-eyed girl with glasses told me I couldn't get on the slide. "Why not?" I'd asked. "I always play on the slide". "Because you're Black," she said. I had no idea what she meant. But she was a little older than me, so I figured maybe she knew something I didn't know, and wandered off to the side. The next time I went to the playground, she wasn't there. Since no one else, including the bigger French boys, said I couldn't get on the slide, I snuck on. After a while, I forgot that I wasn't supposed to be there. Years later, I figured out what the girl was getting out, and when I'd asked the Parents about her, they said she was an American girl. But that experience was buried in a sea of other brownskinned people like myself, in a country where--even though there was a serious "caste" system--there wasn't the same idea of discrimination.

But watching the protests on TV--in color--was a whole new world.

Welcome to America, children!

2 comments:

professor said...

I remember going to Sears...I was flipped out by all those people and all that stuff...but remember we used to read the Sears catalouge? it was cool to see it up close and in person...

The Bear Maiden said...

Yes :) We had the big Mondo-sized Sears Roebuck Catalogue someone had sent us while we were in Jamaica. It had EVERYTHING in it, and we'd spend hours looking at it :)