Robin and Hannah have gone to see “1408″ — I don’t do horror movies, so I stayed home. Just to prove I’m not chicken, I’m watching “Mississippi Burning,” which I ordered from Netflix. The movie opens with a shot of two water fountains. The sign over the one on the left says “White,” the other one says “Colored.” I remember those signs.When I was about 6 or so, I was in the A&P grocery store with my mom and my sister Gerry. I went to the water fountain and was getting a drink and Gerry came running over yelling at me “Oh, YUKK! That’s the colored fountain!” I remember being kind of confused. I went over and drank out of the white fountain, but the water tasted the same.
I also remember going to visit my sister Vicki in New York when I was about 12, and saying something about what a lot of colored people there were there. Her boyfriend starting giving me a lecture, and Vicki had to tell him that that was what polite people said back home. It was definitely not the word my dad used.
It’s kind of amazing how much things have changed in the last 40 years. Say what you will about covert racism, it’s hard for most young people to imagine how overt it was even in my lifetime.
Meanwhile, Robin’s decided that she can’t spare the time to come down to New Orleans right when I get there, but will come down after I’ve visited a few days to give me a ride back. The only major problem this raises for me is that I need to mail myself some clothes to wear, or I’m going to be wandering around the Gulf Coast in bike shorts for several days.