Our lives have many twists and turns. Not every day is pleasant, and sometimes there is conflict.
For a brief time, I was raised in the 19th Ward of Rochester, New York. It was the late 60’s. Integration was at the surface of discussion all through the U.S.A., but where I grew up, WE WERE INTEGRATED.
No partiality was shown to anyone——equality lived in the neighborhood.
Do people of color and caucasians live next to each other in urban areas anymore?
We were all neighbors on equal footing in our homes, and as neighbors. When we moved in, if my memory serves me correctly, we were the new next door neighbor to the Barnes. Great, great people. Mrs. Barnes, in her colorful defining kerchief headwrap, brought us over a pastry…not sure if it was cake or a pie, but it sure was welcoming. My Dad had taken a job at St John Fisher College.
My second grade teacher, Mr. Harris. You want to talk about cool? Mr. Harris had personal characteristics reminding me of Roscoe Lee Browne and Clarence Williams III.
He was a sophisticated person from a cultured circle—-though an elementary teacher, he carried himself with professor level college intellect——and the coolness of a racecar driver—-and he showed up each day ready to teach us second graders everything we were willing to learn.
Mr. Harris could have taught us advanced Calculus and I think we would have been able to learn—-because he was that good of a teacher. Always wearing starched shirts, and sophisticated ties. We respected him, and you know what, he respected us. I remember sitting in the front and Mr. Harris never told me to go sit in the back because I was white.
And I remember the college kids from the University of Rochester, who must have been studying education or urban studies, picked up all us urban kids as part of their program and support for the community, took us to a park for a day of food, running down hills and just great memories.
Sure there was conflict at times in the neighborhood, sure there were remembrances of tension in the neighborhood…but it was never there the next day.
Each day was a new day. A new morning. A fresh start.
Today, it just doesn’t seem that principal prevails. Grudges are held and vindictiveness is a priority, and things are never let go of.
How about taking one week, and just letting things go? I’m not saying to overlook something that needs attention personally, or from a civil servant standpoint (e.g. the police).
I’m talking about the little things. Those tit for tat words, gestures, etc. that irk you; that get under your skin…which you can’t let go of. I encourage you…let it go.
You’ll be surprised how much you move forward as a result.
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