Jun. 26th, 2013

Memories

Jun. 26th, 2013 03:04 pm
medievalbooks: (Default)
Some things have happened and been reported in the news..we need to realize that civil rights is a relatively recent phenomenon. I am 62 years old and this is some of my life.

Mye elementary school years were spent in Mayberry aka Hartland Wisconsin and Harvard Illinois. Mom and Dad taught us never to use the "N" word, Jyp and other words of denigration. We never knew why. The neighborhood was pretty much Caucasian, mostly Catholic and Protestant. All we knew was we couldn't say those words or we would get a whuppin.

We moved to Harvard. Again the neighborhood was Caucasian, however there were class distinctions - Hillbilly , regular folks and rich folks. Religion was again Catholic and Protestant. I stayed over at a friend's house on the outside of town in a poorer neighborhood and asked what the shanties in the distance were. She replied "That is where the negroes live that work for Admiral TV". Which puzzled me since I never saw any blacks in the schools or in the town. I still didn't know anything about other cultures other than my own Irish culture altho was proud of the fact that we were part Native American.

Moved to Columbus Ohio, where I learned the blacks lived in the inner city, whites lived in suburbs. We had a helper that was black that helped introduce me to other ethnicities and learn that other cultures were not just an abstraction but a reality. She taught us how to make french fries and fried chicken which we thought were gifts from heaven. She talked with us after we were done with school. We loved her. Her family died in a fire shortly before we moved away from Ohio, we asked her to come with us. But she couldn't leave. Learned also about the ugliness of bigotry, altho I didn't understand it. At this time also learned about sexual crimes. A friend of mine was sexually abused by her father we had her stay with us for a few months, she left us to go back home because she needed to protect her little sister who her father would abuse next if she wasn't there. Our family could only do so much...things have changed alot. I took a typing class, walked part of the way home with a black girl after class and we talked about life in general. I had expectations of college, she had expectations of getting a good job as a typist after high school. Thought almost everyone went to college..at the time so this puzzled me.

We moved to West Hartford. At the beginning we weren't wanted there. We were a large Catholic Irish family that was kinda loud and we moved into a quiet, heavily Jewish neighborhood. We clashed with the predominant culture as it were. We had tried moving into the Irish ghetto in Hartford but there were no houses for a family of our size. We had some wonderful neighbors across the street. I wasn't really allowed in the house - the grandmother had been in the Holocaust and hated Christians - but the daughter snuck me into her bedroom. When I was caught I quickly and quietly would leave but most of the time, wasn't caught. We talked about the politics of the time and even made plans to join a kibbutzim in Israel altho I had feelings I wouldn't be allowed since I was Christian. Got my first job at an old people's home. Made friends with one of the girls there and invited her over. She said that she would not be wanted in the neighborhood there since she was black and she was was a bit scared. I was sad, but sortof understood. Was beginning to see the world was not white, Catholic or Protestant. The world was full of colors but also full of people that hated other folks.

This is my story...and I grew up in the North.

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