Hoards of Children
"This depression Iíve
suffered is a result of being alone, too much alone." I pressed Rodney
to hear me out. "I know how to remedy that. Thereís a whole city of
people surely I can find them."
"After the meeting I want
to drive around this town. We have really not seen very much of it.
Sunday is a good time to drive down town, too. There wonít be any
Rodney didnít know what
my plan was but he was willing to do what he could to make me happy.
We did drive around the
town. The downtown area was particularly of interested because this was
where the Hightower Building showed lovely pieces of art displayed in
Reno street was another
section altogether out of this world as far as being unique. The old
street has been done away with in the sense of what it was then. An
unending number of junk stores once lined both sides. Every antique
imaginable could be found.
"What a treasure this
is!" I was excited. "We must come back when they are open."
Rodney loved that sort of
thing too, so it was a nice find for him as well, and how many fun times
we did come back to poke through all the found troves of interesting
Here was a drug store and
we got out for a soda only to discover after ordering that we were in
the segregated part of town. The proprietor was friendly, even though
some of the folks walking by didnít seem to be happy with our presence.
It wasnít a time to dawdle and with a few sips on our drink we left in a
hurry and laughed so hard after we had driven off because of our
It could be said this was
a sign of the times in 1960 but sadly the conditions are still there.
Just a few years ago we stopped in a Churchís Chicken place in this part
of town and still we were treated with distrust because of the
difference in the color of our skin.
I who loved my mother as
my mother and didnít wonder about the warm browns of her skin other than
this was a most beauteous part of her and I could only laugh, if not out
loud, about these entrenched behaviors. There is no anger, not an
understanding, no belief in one or another stigmas of such. What other
emotion can be called up other than nervous laughter from someone like
me who feels like a flat board marked with squares where people are
playing a game. White checkers in direct conflict with black checkers
with each jumping over the other in order to win.
"Crown me! Crown me!" I
laughed out loud. "Iím all across the board now."
Rodney had not an idea of
what I spoke and didnít even ask.
The capital building was
special. There was such a big area of grounds around it. Neither of us
wanted to walk that much so the sites were seen from out of our car
windows. It was lovely to see the beautiful old homes around the
capital. All was sedate, quiet and looked to be uninhabited. Not one
person made an appearance on the sidewalks.
Rodney took our car
around the Classen Circle and up that drive. Oh my! The homes were so
beautiful in 1959. These were huge old mansions like no one could
imagine. I only wished we could have stopped and walked through each one
of them, but, of course, that was a foolish thought. They must surely
have owners, although, no one was available outside or around them.
Finally, we came to a
much older part of town on Elliot street, close to Northwest 10th. The
houses were large but it was evident that these places were rental
properties. Gone was the polished look of a house owned by an
individual. Instead, shabbiness in some careless repairs and drab color
made for what could be called a slum area. There was a bright situation
there and I was quick to see it.
"Look,! Rod! Do you see
all the children playing outdoors? This is the first Iíve seen
inhabitants. They are a bit tattered looking but; nevertheless, visible.
Letís drive some more in this neighborhood and see if there is something
here to rent. Iíll bet there is.
"You donít want to live
in this part of town?" Rodney wasnít too happy about that decision.
"Well! Yes! Yes I do,
that is if we can find a place.
Sure enough, sandwiched
in between two or three large houses was what looked to have been
something like an old servants quarters which had been turned into four
apartments. As we were getting out of the car to look there were hoards
of children who were asking us all sorts of questions.
"Lady! Is that your kid?
How old is she? Can she talk? Are you going to move in here?" One of the
older boys was the leader and wasnít afraid to ask and know what our
business was to be in his neighborhood.