Oneta 84

Those who know me at all, know I was rocked in the cradle in Sunday School and Church.  From as early as I can remember we sang Jesus Loves the Little Children.  We had missionaries visit us regularly – with artifacts and pictures and films.  But always those children who looked different than we did were from far away.

But we little children who loved Jesus were quite often inspired to be missionaries.  My mother prayed diligently for me at the altar.  I remember her crying as she prayed that Jesus would always be with me – even if He wanted me to be a missionary, she would be willing.  I would be her  sacrifice.

When I was probably no older than five or six, mother and I were sitting in a car in Denver when a black man walked by on the sidewalk.  The first black I remember ever seeing.  I remember her talking to me. I don’t know what she said – she probably called him a colored man – but I do know she gave me no reason to see him as inferior.  Just different.

Just how different came from my Granddad Jim.  I write about him a lot.  What I learned from him was that he loved to go to the “colored” churches.  He loved them – their singing, their preaching, their enthusiasm and worship. And he loved the way they called out to the preacher while he preached.  I don’t know whether or not he ever was invited to preach to them.

Even when coming to Oklahoma City for college and marriage, I knew no blacks in school, church, or work.

My first black “say-hello-to” married couple lived in an apartment next to us in Alamosa, Colo, when I went there to finish my teaching degree in about 1962.  I wanted to work with disadvantaged children so I obtained a minor in sociology.

When I came back to OKC and applied for a teaching job, the Personnel Director said he would hire me but he couldn’t say for sure to what school because he assumed I wanted a placement in north Oklahoma City – meaning  a white school. I told him, No, I had a minor in sociology and I wanted a placement “downtown.”  With a pleased expression he grabbed the phone and that afternoon I interviewed with two principles and took the job with the first one.

Downtown! I got!  Just in time for busing!  That’s where LOVE began.  For seventeen years, I taught third, fourth, fifth, first, second grades and reading labs.  Whites, blacks, Indians, and Mexican.  Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World, Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, and White; all are precious in his sight,

I filled every slot where a teacher was needed.  I taught in at least six different classrooms.  That wasn’t because I failed in all of them!  😀

It broke my heart when I had to move because of my husband’s job change.  I went from there to a reading lab in an all white junior high — highly disciplined.


About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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  1. I remember singing that song as well. What memories that brings back. I grew up in the deep south and survived our transition from Jim Crow to civil rights.


    • oneta hayes says:

      I see on google that that song has been around since the late 1800’s. That covers us. 😀
      I’m sure your testimony regarding the transition is much different than mine. The Christian churches have not been a “model” for integration. I might get on to that later. However, Michael, I have never seen a picture of you. I have not know whether you are white or black but we have been blogging friends for a long time. I assume from your comment above that you are white. But either side had to survive transition – but according to their own cultural traditions. It cannot be forced.

      • Oneta, I’m white. I grew up in a Baptist church but it was a little more “progressive” than many. My community didn’t have many blacks in it so not much opportunity early on to have black friends.

        You’re right, it can’t be forced.


  2. pranabaxom says:

    now can you explain how to interview principles, as in “interviewed with two principles..” 😀

  3. oneta hayes says:

    You knocked me down and got the spear to my throat. P – A – L Principal like a Pal.

  4. Dawn Marie says:

    Thank you for sharing a bit of your “history” today, Oneta. I always enjoy listening to the journeys one has taken, which has led them to where they are today. Hugs to you for taking the time to share and put a song in our hearts.❤️

  5. I’ll come comment when I have the proper time— we’ve got the kids babysitting for a few days as Abbys school works out its pandemic school in or out bumps in the road

  6. Faye says:

    Thank you for sharing Oneta. Yes the same song influenced my youth and all my life I have seen GOd’s People as brothers and sisters , Differences did not separate, It began when we removed snow white images of Jesus from our colouring books in Sunday School. Why did He come as a jew (probably with a very brown skin) God knew how hated and rejected Christ would be and indeed the hatred and rejection of all jews not for colour but for race, His message…….. I give my life for ALL RACES, Colours and tribes – without exception. ”””’ Amazing God! we are indeed His blood-bought children. Keep blogging keep making us ‘think’ and smile.

  7. oneta hayes says:

    Yes, Jesus was a Jew – an extremely attractive group of people in my opinion. But it made God not a whit of difference. He made no effort to color our spirits. But I do think our spirits will be put back in the same kind of bodies we have here on earth. No bias against the Samaritans then, no against any other tribe or kin.

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