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My parents were Republicans, though they came to that same track from vastly different sides.
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My mother remembered, with great fondness, how her parents sent the help home each evening and did the dinner dishes themselves, so they could chat about their day.
But my mother and father, born in 19 respectively, prided themselves on their social liberalism.
And like all children who grow up with all parents, I had nothing to compare them to, and therefore no idea how truly remarkable this was considering the time and place.
My mother worked as a chemist during part of World War II, and never tired of telling me how she and her lab mate shared a beaker to drink water from.
He happened to be African-American, though in Norfolk, Virginia in the mid 1940’s, one said either “Negro” or “colored.” She never thought a damn thing of it, as she would have said herself.
I thought my mother might explode with pride when a new child moved into my 4th-grade classroom in the middle of the year, and became my best friend.She was Mexican, from the country itself, and I thought every single thing about her was wildly exotic and perfect – her flowing, jet-black waves of hair, her circle skirts with donkeys and cacti and such.I walked around my house saying her name, slowly savoring each syllable of E-LO-DI-AH. And when Debbie Allison – one of those prim 10-year-olds whose youth is an entirely wasted slog in their march toward the thin-lipped spinsters they were born to be – conspiratorially whispered in my ear, “I don’t like Tommy Whitesong; he smells funny,” I was completely baffled about what she meant.All I could think of was when my father’s cheap after shave (that I had undoubtedly bought for him) was around for a bit too long, it took on some rather rank undertones.I told all this to my mother when I got home; and whereas my mother was not one to throw her arms around anyone or make a show of feeling, she did straighten her skirt and say, “good for you.” Tommy was one of two – count them, two – black children in my elementary school.Even as a kid, I thought it must be kinda hard to have just one other person who was like yourself in an entire overcrowded school, and I thought Debbie Allison was a mean little twat.