In 1941, I was five-years-old, just back from living with an aunt and uncle for almost a year. I didn’t know any of the kids on the block so when a girl from across the street invited me to play with her, I skipped to her house, filled with excitement.
She invited me to go down to the basement where a group of girls was waiting. The smiles on their faces didn’t make me feel good. The girl who invited me said, “We’re going to play a game. We’ll make a circle. Go into the center. You’re it.
In high school, I applied for and was accepted to Leaders, a club for athletes and dancers who taught part of the huge gym classes while the teacher stood on a kind of pedestal and watched. After being in Leaders for a time I decided to try out for Varsity, a prestigious club that accepted very few people.
In 1953 I was a first-year college student, rooming with seven girls in the attic of an old Victorian house. One day, while lying on my upper bunk bed, I heard the housemother speak to two girls inquiring about the remaining two spots. “It’s a nice group of girls even though there are two kikes and two n.....s in the group.
That night, I told the other girls about the housemother’s comment and that I needed to find another place to live. When I asked if anyone wanted to come with me, one of the Black girls said she would. I was relieved, yet I wasn’t naïve enough to believe landlords weren’t prejudiced.
Life tales from a woman different living in The City Different.