June 26, 2004

Ginter Park


After seeing Yoko’s photo of her young self, I found this picture of my second grade class at Ginter Park Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia. I’m the third girl from the right in the front row, next to Amy Perkins on my right. At the end on the left is Twyla (we called her Trudy) Wily. I don’t remember any one else’s name except that a boy named Billy gave me my first kiss in kindergarten and also that I had a major crush on a boy named Dabny Stuart.

My parents were acutely aware of the racial and religious segregation and did not enjoy living in Richmond. I liked it there. It was warm and friendly. I had good friends that I still think about. (We moved back to Bethesda, Maryland after The War.) A sore spot is when my good friend Trudy showed me how to cheat on math, to write the answers lightly and then when there was a time-test, we could race through and win. Of course we were caught. And I’ve never thought of math as fun since. I wonder if she did/does.

I went back to visit Trudy Wily a couple of times, once when I was in the fifth grade, and once when I was probably about 15 or 16. I remember getting on a bus with Trudy and starting to go to the back to sit and she quickly caught me, saying we couldn’t sit in the back, that was for the “colored people.” (The term “black” had yet to surface.) Trudy also told me that it was good that I had left Richmond. I wouldn’t have had an easy time because I was Jewish. I wouldn’t have been accepted with the children who had been my friends. I’ll never know. That decision was made for me. And prejudice wasn’t quite so bad in Bethesda. I'm glad my children grew up in New York City.

Posted by leya at June 26, 2004 01:06 PM