For Mother’s Day this year, my daughter gave me a book of writing prompts. I am having a wonderful time filling out the book. While I am waiting to go to the library to print off the newspaper article about the bluebirds, I will share some of the prompts and my responses to them.
“What is the most offensive thing you have ever heard anyone say?”
Racism has upset me, even as a little girl. Part of second and all of third grade, I went to a school that had a special program for kids with disabilities. The muscles in my hands did not develop as they should and I had trouble even holding a pencil. I remember the doctor telling Mama to give me a handheld, metal nutcracker to exercise my hands. While at the school, my best friend was a black girl with braces on her legs. Her name was Chiquita.
One day, Mama packed me a chocolate pudding cup in my lunchbox. Back then, the pudding was in little cans with pull top lids. It was a very special treat! Chiquita did not have any pudding, so I shared mine with her. That afternoon, when the bus dropped me off at home, I was excited to tell my mother that I shared, because parents are always happy when their children do something nice.
I was unprepared for Mama’s response. She was not happy at all and fussed at me, saying that I should not have done that. She said that she would never even eat at the table with a black person. She broke my little heart. I did not know racism before that time. Not too long after that, I realized that Mama was not just a racist, she was also a hypocrite.
One Sunday at church, a missionary from Africa spoke. He was a little black man. Mama invited him to our house to eat lunch. She sat right next to him at the table as he enjoyed her cooking. I could not understand why she was eating beside him after what she said to me.
I guess a missionary was far more
important to Mama than a little girl with braces on her legs.