My son has a hard time wrapping his head around my childhood. He can’t imagine never living a full two years anywhere. In spite of my family’s high-strung, flighty temperament I grew up primarily in the central corridor of
When I was four to six years old I lived at Kingsbury and DeBaliviere. It wasn’t a wealthy neighborhood. I don’t think many kids were even born in a hospital.
I remember thinking black kids were anatomically different from white kids. When we peed in the gangway I’d stare with curiosity at their uncircumcised penises.
When I was six we moved to
My dad was a colorful
My mother told me a story the other day. My dad went into a black club somewhere in
My father even harbored a little old school racism. When he saw I was beginning to have girl friends, he decided it was time to have a talk. I never did get the sex talk. What he told me was, “It’s okay to date a black girl but don’t marry one.” “Society isn’t ready for that yet.” I was surprised to hear this from him. He had always been a paragon of tolerance.
Speaking of the sex talk I never had, when I was around nine my mother thought it was about time. She said she couldn’t really talk to me about it but she intended to get a book for me. I wonder if that talk would have prevented my girlfriend from getting pregnant when I was fifteen. We were using the rhythm method but had our timing incredibly wrong.
When I was nine we were living in the Shaw neighborhood. This was farther south than we usually lived. Martin Luther King was shot. A friend of mine told me he didn’t understand why everyone hated black people. It was like being hit by a car. Until then I hadn’t noticed everyone in the neighborhood was white. I couldn’t get over how unnatural it seemed all of a sudden.
My ex was always embarrassed when I couldn’t let a racist remark go by without comment. I have spent my entire life cringing at intolerance.
My son Dylan went to Fanfest with his mother last week when