I am watching television at the moment, CNNs The Sixties to be precise. I have seen it 2-3 times in the last few days. It is riveting, just riveting. I will never forget it, where I was and what I was doing during those times. When I was a young girl the N word flowed from my mother’s mouth with much to great an ease. Even as a very young child it revolted me. Her racism was palpable, lethal and disgusting. Of course she did not like anyone. Not anyone at all, she always found something “not” to like in anyone. My siblings and I loathed her behavior. We knew something was very wrong.
I have been communicating with my sister in law, we are the same age, of the same era. I must ask her where she was, what she was doing, what she was feeling during those years during the summer of The March On Washington. I was in a Greyhound Bus on my way from Manchester, VT to Monkton, MD. I was sent there to learn more about fox hunting and horsemanship by increasing my exposure to both. It was undeniably a way to keep me out of trouble. Fox hunting was a once disgusting sport where people took great pleasure in watching a pack of hounds tear a fox to shreds. I much preferred drag hunting. Before a drag hunt, the sent of fox was dragged all over the countryside via a bag. I loved the “steeple chase” aspect of the hunt – but that was all. That part was exceptionally exciting, an adrenalin rush. The whole thing seemed to represent something my mother wanted to be, not something her children cared to become. In that bus, on that trip, I held my little transistor radio to my ear and listened to the “March.” God how I longed to be there, to be a part of this movement, to be contributing and doing something useful. They were painfully bloody and violent times. I do not understand segregation, racial hatred and separation. It disgusts me. And I wanted to get off that bus, stop in Washington and join that march. But as a timid young girl I could not do so.
I did not learn to drive until I was twenty-four years old. I was raised to believe that I would fail at anything that I attempted. I was raised without a shred of self-confidence. I became a late bloomer. I would try nothing. It kept me from acting upon my beliefs this made me sad. But my time was yet to come. I had much learning and living to do before I really became who I was meant to be.
My time would come in the mid eighties and early nineties during the AIDS crisis. I was a health care worker in home care. Early on I was exposed to the denial of care to young men dying of this disease called GRID. I became incensed, enraged. I could not accept this, especially this treatment to a part of the population to which I had been so close since I was a very young adult. As a result, I became involved in this towns emerging AIDS organization. I was involved in the grass roots movement in every way possible. Later I would go on to create the best AIDS program of its kind in the world. I am very proud to be able to say that, I am not bragging, it is simply true. I know this because I created and ran a medication program for persons who were HIV+ or who had AIDS. I was able to compare my program to the programs in NYC and in San Francisco. I added to my program a lending library. I did crisis counseling with my patients, their friends, their families and their lovers. I made sure that all of my patients had all of the social services to which they were entitled and that they needed. The doctors who referred their patients to me were very grateful for what I was doing. I was not a counselor, nor a social worker, but I knew what I was doing I knew what was needed. No one else was doing this here in town. I contacted the directors of the NYC and the San Francisco programs. Neither of these programs did anything but deliver medication. In terms of my career this was the most rewarding time of my life. I am grateful to have had this opportunity. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to affect so many lives.
Today it seems so very long ago. I often feel as though I should be doing more, rather as though retirement is not something one ought to engage in. But that just isn’t true is it?
I do not like Blogger. Sorry for the confusion – I deleted my Blogger blog. Bare with me please, I am remaining here at Word Press.