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Monday, November 3, 2014

My First Friends

This will kinda be a replacement/reprise of the Monday Mug Shots that I haven’t done in a while. Where appropriate I might show a mug or photo. Retired Not Tired hosts the new Memory Monday meme. It’s recording our memoirs a week at a time with a new prompt each Monday. This week’s prompt is:

My First Friend

I don’t remember my first friends but I remember my Mom telling me about them. In the late spring before I was even a year old we’d spend afternoons in our fenced-in yard in front of our Detroit home. Fenced was good because I was crawling and Mom was pregnant with my brother so she could let me play in the grass and sit in a lawn chair to watch me. There were a couple of girls that stopped by the fence every day on their way home from school and gushed over the baby. Mom told me they always made me smile and laugh and they enjoyed their visits with me too.

Sadly, that was the spring of 1967. During the summer there was a 5-day riot in Detroit that ended with 43 dead and over 1000 injured in the city. When fall came I was sad because my friends walked right by and didn’t stop anymore. After that summer young black girls didn’t stop to play with little white girls in Detroit. The girls knew the tension and that they had to walk by without stopping and my mom knew she couldn’t try to ask them to, but I was just over a year old and didn’t understand.

I’d like to think that I did get a little of a life-lesson from it at that young age. Maybe it was the first time I knew how silly the color of someone’s skin meaning anything about them as a person was. It was definitely the first time I was involved in grownups doing something stupid that ultimately hurt kids. Maybe that’s why I’ve always understood that every choice I make can affect other people in a good or bad way. People being stupid hurt the whole city and I’m not so sure Detroit has recovered from that riot yet.

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

5 comments:

Nonnie said...

Wow! In the spring of 67, my thoughts were of my upcoming graduation from high school and my future. I think you may be right that Detroit has never really recovered from that. How sad for your Mom and those young girls.

Rory Bore said...

So sad that such an unnecessary event has left it's mark upon a city all these years. It really is such a silly notion; to dislike someone or think they are Less due to skin colour.
In remember we had a very lovely and wonderful Coloured (or do you say "black?" - I don't know what it supposed to be PC anymore, sorry) family in our neighborhood that we were great friends with. I played with their sons the same as any of my other friends. Their mom welcomed us into her home like we were her own children. They were just good people, and I never saw anything other than that. But it's how I was raised too, and I think that hatred is taught. No one is born hating I think.

retired not tired said...

Thank goodness a lot of prejudices have gone away. Thanks for joining me meme. Look forward to more memories.

Edna B said...

I agree, it is so sad that so many adults felt it necessary to carry on their hatred of people who were different than themselves.

When I was three or four, my best friends were Skippy, the little boy across the street, and Ricky, the coloured (black) boy who lived on the other side of the two family house that we lived in. Skippy was my sweetheart, and Ricky played the drums and shared his love of music with us.

My brother and I were taught that you judged people by their ways and actions, not their religion and color.

BTW, we were the only protestants in the neighborhood. I grew up going to services at the catholic church with my friends, and then sunday school (plus singing in the choir) at my own church. My sundays were full.

It was a good life. I tried to raise my children with the same beliefs and I guess I succeeded when you look at the array of beautiful grand and great children that I have now.

Today is beautiful outside, and Pogo and I are going to pick up some lunch and go visit an old friend. We wish you a super day too my friend. Hugs, Edna B.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I think a fenced in front lawn is cool! Reminds me of houses on the TV shows like Father Knows Best. That is so sad about the black girls not talking with you anymore. We didn't have any black people in our neighborhood so I never felt/saw any repercussions from what happened in Detroit.