Sunday, February 5, 2017

Frederick Douglass, Best Friend Forever Mail & a Brown Girl


I'm sure Mr. Douglass needs no introduction although this post isn't absolutely about him because we dust him off and drag him out every February for Black History Month. What's left to say about FD that hasn't been said before. He's handsome? I won't insult the man, so I'll tell you, maybe yet again, about the history behind the postcard. No, no, no.The card must speak for itself first.


"I just wanted to wish you two a Happy Juneteenth. Take care. Love you alot. Tammy." That's the kind of friend she was. Although Juneteenth is a Texas celebration, my friend cared enough to share this month of moments in American history. 

We met in art school. We remained friends . . . A postage stamp cost twenty-five cents in 1990, and we lived in Easley, SC, one of the most racist towns in America. I unknowingly walked in on a clan meeting my first month there, and to give them credit, they were so taken aback by my ignorance (?), they were polite and  . . . See, it was inside a little country store that sold slices from blocks of cheese, icy Cokes in the old fashioned coolers with the bottle top remover on its side. I waxed nostalgic while the clerk rang up my purchases--never saying a word beyond the amount I owed. I didn't know what I'd done until after I told my new friend about finding such a quaint place, and she explained things. The moral:  Being nice can save you life? Ignorance can be an innocent defense? 

Then again, Erin and I witnessed our first clan rally in downtown Easley. Stunned, angry, and hurt, I rolled down my window and screamed, "Can I join???" at the head idiot holding a recruitment sign on the sidewalk, not knowing a news reporter was filming the scene. I was part of that night's newscast, identified as an unidentified woman asking if she could join the KKK. The most frightening part of the event was the primal flux of emotions that coursed through me. I still don't understand how idiots think bedsheets and burning crosses are meant to frighten people. I pray that I never "get it" because if I did I'd have to get inside the mind of someone who thinks that way.




Of course my postcard to Tammy is oldish, has my finger prints in plain sight, and it is upside down. But I give her Lady Day in return. In my mind she sings "Strange Fruit" on repeat until I cry. Then I laugh. Tammy and I are polite from-a-distance-friends, yet friends nonetheless, since we share a history unlike any I've ever had before. We are forever friends. Her son, Daniel, is a teen now. I bought his first pair of shoes, enough onesies, and everything I imagined a newborn boy might need right away, except for a teething ring the week I heard of his birth, he and I have never met. 


I wrote a letter last night. A pen friend visited Japan recently. Guess who found this stationery two days ago? Stationery from an ex-pen friend no less. Life has its mysteries.


Brown Girl mail goes out tomorrow too, 'cause brown girls lift themselves up! I do believe my mojo is on its way back. There's a lot of mail that needs answering, unless I claim Mail Amnesty first! And I'll play the card if I still feel overwhelmed. A little mail is better than no mail, and the mail police cannot put me in jail! *grin*

Write on, and on, and on!






2 comments:

  1. I love finding old postcards and letters people have written me. I now have a special place for them but back in the day, I just threw them in piles with photos and stuff. I recently found a letter my sister-in-law wrote to me in the late 80's. She mentioned her sweet daughter in it. Since my sister-in-law died in this most recent December, I mailed that letter to her daughter and I know she will treasure forever. I've been a letter writer all my life. It is better than therapy.

    I cannot imagine what it was/is like to live in the south. I traveled through once in 2001 and witnessed outright prejudice while filling our gas tank. It was shocking. I'm with you ... I can't wrap my mind around it and don't want to.

    On a side note, I looked down yesterday at our little coffee table and there was a postcard from you dated January 14th. I do not know when it arrived but I suspect my hubby got it out of the mailbox and it floated around a bit. I will be sitting at my desk this morning, returning the favor. Have a super day, my letter writing friend!

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  2. hello again my lovely friend ..great post again . Now let me ask you is that you in the photo with the flower in your hair ? have you ever seen the movie a patch of blue with Sidney poitier and Elizabeth Hartman ? sad story about her life outside of the movie . But I watched the other day and I was blown away . How did I not know about this movie ? well talk to you later wonderful post ...btw the kkk pisses me off too sorry for the salty language .

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