Do you know what I discovered this week? This weekend I will be celebrating my 38th wedding anniversary and my sixty-ninth birthday. (When I say “weekend,” that is not a slip of the tongue—I plan to party for three days straight!) I am so thrilled to have something else to think about other than Donald Trump. He is turning out to be such a consummate liar, grand manipulator, and narcissistic, racist muckraker that I can barely breathe. I am convinced he is a very mentally unstable person, and I can’t help wondering if God has quit his day job because the more King Trump/Bannon reigns the more I feel as if we’re slip-sliding into Hell as a country. One of the things I’m going to do during my birthday weekend is see Wonder Woman, and boy would I love to be her for just one day, and be left alone with Trump. Me and my truth-telling lasso would do some serious damage against Herr Trump.
Of all the things that Trump has done that upsets me the most is how he has been like a pied piper to the racist elements in our culture. I was feeling pretty sad this week about that until I ran across the most amazing article in the NY Times by Sheryll Cashin about how “interracial love is saving America.”* WHAT? She has this premise that even though it looks as if our country is sinking into a racist quagmire, interracial couples are “chipping away at White supremacy” in a way that makes you want to stand up and cheer. Cashin cites how Thomas Jefferson stressed with great emphasis that interracial sex and marriage should never be allowed because it would “stain” the White race since he considered the Negro to be “inferior in mind and form.” (I have two words for you Thomas Jefferson—you hypocritical dog, you: Sally Hemings—slave and mother of six of your children.) Ms. Chashin states that it was love that overturned the miscegenation laws in America in 1967 (Loving vs. Virginia), and now at least “one quarter of Americans have a close relative in an interracial marriage,” and when polled, “91% of respondents said that interracial marriage was a change for the better or didn’t matter at all.” Boy, we’ve come a long way, Baby, from our forefathers’ days!
Suddenly it dawned on me: I am part of the “salvation” of our nation—me and my man (WW—“White and Wonderful”)! Hot damn! And since our 38th anniversary is coming up this weekend, I thought I’d meditate on our love story and share the hope I feel with my readers that no matter how things look now—the killing of innocent Blacks, Muslims, Hindis, Latinos, and Asians—we are never going back to the days of our ignorant forefathers. Interracial love and understanding is here to stay, and it is growing.
Below is a snippet of our love story of hope. Enjoy!
WHEN ELLIE MET JACKIE
(A Story of Interracial Love)
Forty-five years ago, a Black girl from the inner city of Cleveland and a White boy from the sheltered suburb of a New England town bumped into each other in a hippie commune in the early 70’s. Those were heady times and full of experimentation, but just because their paths crossed didn’t mean they should have been attracted to each other. Most of the White people the girl had known (except for an occasional student in college and a couple of teachers along the way) were ones she feared or hated because of their cruel and horrid treatment to her. In fact, the girl was often heard to say to anyone who would listen about her views on interracial dating that: “There ain’t nothin’ no White man can do for me, Chil’!” The boy grew up in an all-White neighborhood, and even though there were a couple of Black kids in his school, the only Black person who ever came to his house was the mailman, which the family dog continuously chased and tried to bite because the dog “didn’t like Black people,” or so the story goes. (The dog never chased anybody else—just the poor Black postman.)
The girl belonged to a theater club in her hippie commune, and one day she snuck into the dark hallway of the balcony of the theater during auditions. She wasn’t in a position to see the actors who were auditioning but she could hear their voices. When a booming voice that sounded like the voice of God and resonated like James Earl Jones filled the auditorium, the girl’s heart skipped a beat. She had never heard such a mellifluous voice. The girl instantly knew that only a Black man could have a voice like that, and in a community that had no Black men but scores of White men, she scurried as fast as she could to see what fine Black male specimen encased that heavenly voice.
The boy’s white skin wasn’t the only thing to surprise the girl. When she introduced herself to him, she discovered that his name was “Jackie.”
“What kind of name is that?” she said.
“It’s a New England nickname for John,” he said. The girl looked into his gorgeous blue eyes and almost lost her breath when he spoke to her.
“Well, my name is Eleanor although some people call me ‘Ellie’ which I really don’t like because REALLY—do I look like an ‘Ellie ‘cause seriously would anyone have called Eleanor Roosevelt ‘Ellie’ to her face and that is really who I’m named after at least that is what I’ve been told but then again my mother was crazy and my name could be Diana for all I know…” she said in one breathless run-on sentence. (The girl was blushing but since she was a golden mocha color, the boy did not notice. I don’t think the boy ever figured out when the girl was blushing.)
The boy laughed—a deep ground-swell of a laugh that the girl remembered thinking was of a timbre that Santa Claus would kill for.
The boy won the audition into the theater club, but the girl was too petrified to talk to him after their initial meeting. So she had her girlfriend invite him to a dinner party in which the girl would be present as well.
The girl thought the boy was arrogant as Hell.
The boy thought the girl was argumentative and pushy.
The girl said, “I hope we see each other again.”
The boy said, “Sure, I’ll give you a call.”
Weeks went by, but the boy never called the girl.
The more the boy ignored the girl, the more she pined for him.
“I can’t believe he said he’d call, but I haven’t even heard a peep,” the girl said to her girlfriends one day.
“Do you like him?” asked one of the girlfriends.
“I don’t know… I just thought there was a spark there,” the girl mournfully replied.
“Then why don’t you call him and ask him out on a date. This is the 70s, Girl! You don’t have to wait for him.”
That is what the girl did. She called the boy. It turned out that his car was broken down and he had no money. All he had was a beat-up company truck. He wanted to arrange a date where he picked her up in style and took her to a fancy restaurant.
The girl said, she didn’t give a damn about riding in a truck just so long as it didn’t leave them stranded on the road, and as to a fancy meal, if he could boil water, he could invite her over for dinner for a couple boiled eggs.
He made “Shrimp Wiggle.” (Can of shrimp, can of Campbell’s mushroom soup, and a can of peas on toast.) All the girl could think was, “Oh, Lord Jesus, if this is how White people eat, then no wonder they don’t have any rhythm!”
The girl ate the Shrimp Wiggle and loved it because that night they talked for twelve straight hours. As the girl’s roommates wondered whether they should file a missing person’s report, the boy and the girl spoke about their fears, their abuses, their rejections, their pain, their scars, their ambitions, their likes, their dreams, and their goals. They looked into each other’s souls and they loved what they saw.
The next morning when the boy took the girl back to her apartment, they both knew they had met the love of their lives and that one day they would spend the rest of their lives together. The End.
ELEANOR’S “SELAH” (“AHA”) MOMENT
I am discovering that my man and I are pushing back bigotry and racism one interracial love at a time. There once was a time when neither of us could have imagined our life together. Now that we have lived the reality, we know that “perfect love casts out all fears.”
Oh, and Happy Birthday to me. (The girl and the boy married on the girl’s birthday in 1979.) I gave myself the greatest birthday gift a girl could ever get: the love of a very, very good man!
QUOTES TO CHEW ON
“I have never had the least apprehension that I or my friends would marry Negroes if there was no law to keep them from it, but as Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might, if there were no law to keep them from it, I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with Negroes.”—Abraham Lincoln, The so-called “Great Emancipator” (1858)
“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay, and red, and placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend the races to mix.”—Virginia trial court Judge Leon Bazile, who heard the case of Richard and Mildred Loving in 1965 and ruled against their interracial marriage.
“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”—The 1967 Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Loving v. Virginia
“The secret to a happy marriage is if you can be at peace with someone within four walls, if you are content because the one you love is near to you, either upstairs or downstairs, or in the same room, and you feel that warmth that you don’t find very often, then that is what love is all about.”—Bruce Forsyth
WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT “ELLIE AND JACKIE”? CHECK OUT THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK: “THE FETUS CHRONICLES: PODCASTS FROM MY MISEDUCATED SELF” ON AMAZON!
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE: www.eleanortomczyk.com
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