Guess you could say my upbringing
Was a little on the Wonder Bread Side of white.
White family, white neighbors, white school.
We had a maid,
And a yardman named Jessie,
Who added a dimension of color
To my world --
But colorless was basically the rule.
I thought gay meant happy
And that the two retired schoolteachers
Down the street,
Were just very, very good friends.
I had a difficult time understanding
The reason folks talked so badly of Mr. Stein
When he drove by in his Mercedes Benz.
“He’s a Jew,”
I heard people whisper
On his way to the bank downtown.
I smiled, because Jesus was also a Jew,
I had learned.
And Mr. O’Reilly, father of nine kids,
Who owned the little grocery store
On the corner, gave gumballs
When you brought your pop bottles
In for return.
I thought he was right nice,
A generous soul,
Full of smiles and laughter,
But Mrs. Miller from church,
With a frown, always said
He was a “damned papist …”
Looking back I know I was confused
These wonderful people were always kind to me
Yet were treated
Like scalawags, thugs and rapists.
My children’s lives are not Wonder Bread white
But truly wondrous in experience -- Thank God!
Their world Is filled with many colors, shades and hues.
People of all backgrounds, different faiths,
Equally their friends and confidantes.
We all grow -- Hopefully still expanding our views.