Out of the ordinary comes the extraordinary—a tiny paradigm shift—
your reality is changed.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Crashing Asilomar waves broke on wet sand, spraying us with cool sea air. We huddled in the dunes, four white kids, four black. Strangers, all of us, wanting to reach out but not sure how.
Interrupting, a large black hand touched my elbow and a deep voice asked, “So why do you think that the Negroes in your school stay to themselves?”
A serious black boy answered, “Because they’re scared.”
A nervous white boy said, “But so are we!”
What a revelation for me. Dr. Martin Luther King had taken us to a place where we could connect.
In 1970 I flew to Chicago for graduate school, carrying many suitcases and carry-on items. The crew helped me board.
On arrival, a smartly dressed African-American man helped carry my things. He offered me a ride to the university in his chauffeured car. By the time we arrived at the residential hotel, I knew he was Mayor Hatcher from Gary, Indiana, the country’s first black mayor.He carried my bags inside and departed.
The woman at the desk, eyes bulging, asked, “Was that him?” and I became the white girl brought to school by the local hero.
Ana Manwaring writes, edits, teaches and connects writers with writers in Wine Country, California. She’s branded cattle in Hollister, out-run gun totin’ maniacs on lonely highways, rented casas to Canadians in Cuernavaca, slept in ruins, PEMEX stations and beached sailboats, hitchhiked through-out the West, discovered hot springs in Baja, lived on houseboats, learned Spanish, advocated for immigration reform, consulted brujos, prepared hundreds of tax returns, visited every California mission, worked for a PI, and swum with dolphins.