Sunday, January 18, 2015

A SPECIAL DREAM, A SPECIAL FRIENDSHIP




August 28, 1963

It's not very often that two strangers meet on a place called Etsy, and form a deep friendship.  That's what happened to Sandy and me. She had been on Etsy for several years when I joined. I felt like a stranger in a foreign country, I loved her shop, and was amazed at her sales. SO, me being me, I just started asking her questions. AND she being she answered them. She gave me advice, told me not to worry, sales would come, and made suggestions for my shop. And while that was going on we'd exchange little bits and pieces about our families and one day we realized we KNEW each other and LIKED and RESPECTED each other. In fact, we're still trying to figure out how we were separated at birth because we know we've known each other forever.

BUT there is a twist to the story. WHO would have dreamed that we two, with different skin colors, one a northerner, one a southerner, one who speaks proper English and one who speaks southern :+), (sorry Sandy, I couldn't resist)  would become closer than sisters?  Who would have thought it possible?  Well, there was a man, a man who dreamed it, a man who spoke eloquently of it, a man we loved and a man whom many hated because of their ignorance. Tomorrow we celebrate that man. And I think he looks down at Sandy and me and says "now THERE -- that's what I was talking about back in the 60s".

Sometimes when Sandy and I are talking about "remember whens" it breaks my heart. One day I said to her "remember when we went to Kresgees and listened to the new records in the music booth?" She said "Well, I wasn't allowed in the music booth, or for that matter, at the lunch counter." MY Sandy of course went through that, and much much more, and it makes me angry and sad that my beautiful friend had to endure it.

And of course, what Sandy didn't know back then was that her someday to be best friend was listening to that man who had a dream. And that one day her someday best friend and her friend's cousin were in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska with the approval of his mom, my aunt, to go see a movie. We had all intentions of going but instead were sidetracked by a rally in front of  the state capitol. We walked over to where the rally was being held. We were what my grandma called "old souls", taking everything to heart, and seeing the absurdity of people being judged by the color of their skin. So we raised our seven and eight year old fists in the air, in support of integration, and a reporter with an eye for a story snapped our pictures. (And WE were supposed to be at the movies) . Next day we were on the front page.

When my father came to pick me up from my cousin's the next day, the paper was lying in the middle of the front seat of the truck.  He started driving back to the little town in which we lived, asking if I'd had fun, and when was my cousin coming out to stay with us. Chit chat. Then he said "did you see the paper today?" I hadn't until I hit the front seat so I said "no, well yes, well kinda just now".  He pulled the truck over and gave me a big hug and said "Annie, I have always been so proud to be your Dad, but you've made me even more proud than I could imagine by what you did yesterday --- BUT you should have told your aunt WHERE you were REALLY going!".  I explained to him we WERE really going to the movie but then we saw the crowd and joined them and he said "well I'm glad you did".  AND when we got back home, he framed the picture of the two littlest protesters and it hung in his store until he died.

At that same time my friend Sandy was attending a segregated school, staying in "her place", not allowed to do so many of the things that I just took for granted.  I never had to think where I might get a drink of water.  I never had to think about who I could make eye contact with. My friend lived through this, in a supposed land of freedom.

Then came three men, all destined to die by murder, the two Kennedy brothers, because they believed, and Martin Luther King, Jr. because he not only believed, but he spoke his dream aloud --- I Have a Dream.  Sandy and I, and thankfully many, many others, are part of his dream finally realized.

2 comments:

  1. Geez, you had me getting all emotional and teary by the third paragraph! I so would have liked your dad and definitely you two gals as well. Wonderful story, thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thank you Melissa B --- sometimes getting misty is a good thing :+) I'm glad you liked it! Ann

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