Wednesday, August 16, 2017

50th anniversary woes

My mom and dad got married on 9/24/67, and that means their 50th anniversary is coming up.  Their plans were to do the one thing they love best- to take this senior citizens' bus to a casino in Louisiana.  However, with all the KKK stuff now in the news, my dad doesn't want to go.  The towns along the TX/LA border are infiltrated with KKK.  I reassured him- it's not that serious.  They'll just be on a big bus passing through.

My dad gets triggered easily with white supremacy, because of being born and raised in the south side of Chicago and being stationed with the Navy in 1960 in the deep south of Mississippi.  He has a million and one stories of the culture shock regarding segregation that was the norm in Mississippi but definitely not in Chicago.

It got worse when I taught my father the story of Emmett Till.  Emmett was only 14 when he was murdered, but he was a year older than my dad.  He lived in Chicago with his mother and wanted to visit Mississippi to see his cousins.  His mother let him, but she knew that he was not accustomed on how to act in the south.  She was from Mississippi and before he went, she taught him how to act and how not to act.  Nonetheless, Emmett chose to whistle at a white woman working in a shop and was brutally murdered for it.  His mother chose open casket to show the world what was done to her son.  It triggered my dad immensely.  He often tells of getting off the bus and walking with a black woman and two small children, helping her with shopping bags and getting spat in the face and roughhoused because they thought she was her husband.

I would say it isn't like that anymore, but- it is.  We just push it under the rug.  I hope my parents find a way to celebrate 50 years of not knowing how to live with and not knowing how to live without each other.    

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