Oneta 84

Today and tomorrow I am reblogging posts from last year.  I want them in this series.  If you remember, good.  😀  Probably be worth a re-read.

I can’t tell you much about the racial makeup (of my first class) except that there were no blacks.  The blacks were in the neighboring school district – other side of the bridge they had to cross to get to school.   One boy was killed on that bridge.  I don’t remember the particulars; I guess a car hit him.  Good kid.  I don’t think he was likely to have been “horsing around.”

Those two community schools were combined in 1966, I think, my second year of teaching.  Students were a little older.  I think fourth and fifth graders.  There was conflict – not in a physical way, but in the way conflict is caused by an enforced law.  My opinion is that the blacks did not want to give up their neighborhood school and be forced to be outside their comfort zone – tossed into an unknown sea.

I was overly conciliatory, trying to prove myself to them.  I ended up in tears.  I’m forever thankful for a black principal who asked me a question which was very insightful – “Why are you putting up with what is going on?”  He then reamed me out a bit and sent me back to my classroom.  😀

That initial encounter was summer session  When regular school started in September, I had a class of students many of whom I will never forget.  This brings to mind a girl who left a note on my desk.  I found it after school.  It said, “We know you love us.”  What an insightful child!  At the age when all kids write “I love you” or “Do you love me.”  I wonder how she knew I needed that.  I’m sure I did not verbalize that.

  Over the 17 years I had heartbreak.

A boy who killed his father with a vacuum hose.  I don’t think he served any time.  Mostly because he did it because his father was beating his mother.

A boy who stabbed a girls hand with a pencil – he committed suicide when he was about fifteen, tied a cinder block on his leg and jumped out of a boat.

A boy who arrived at school with dog feces on his back thrown by other children.  I visited him in jail a few years later.  He had killed someone over a drug deal of some kind.  He remembered me.

A boy whose burned body was found in a motel bathtub. He had fake ID on him.  Someone apparently thought they would fool the police.

A boy who said out of the blue, “Teacher, what would you do if you were robbing a house and the police came?”  Upon my answer he said, “That’s not what my dad said.  He said to run because the police wouldn’t shoot a boy in the back.”

A girl whom I encountered as I served as Asst Chaplain in the county jail.  She was badly beaten.  I recognized her name; she remembered me.  I told her I was surprised to see her in jail.  She told me she started drugs when she was twelve which led to the guy who she lived with; the one who beat her up.  She was moved up to trustee then released.  I saw her about three weeks later.  Again beaten up by the same guy who did it the first time.

A fourth grader who was pregnant.  link

And the little one who left me the note?  Yes, I found out about her online.  She has a string of drug arrests.  I’m so sorry, Baby Girl.  I wish I could have protected you.

Whites – Browns – Blacks

As I sit here with tears running, do you possibly believe I care to which race these children belonged?  Do you care about their race?  I could tell you if it is important.  I’m sure you agree, it is of the least importance!  But there were some of each.

HEARTBREAK.  But nothing to do with race.

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. Frank Hubeny says:

    I agree. That heartbreak has nothing to do with race.

  2. Ruth M. Solitario says:

    I’m so happy I found your blog, Grandma Blogger.

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