I grew up in a home with my mother and father married. My sister was in her mid-to-late teens when I was born, and when I was fully cognizant, she’d moved away to live her life. So I grew up an only child, for the most part.
My parents were pro-black people — they never bought me dolls that weren’t black, they taught me that black was beautiful. I wore out my brown crayon in coloring books.
The light-skinned/dark-skinned thing never came up in my house. My father is lighter-skinned (he’d deny this). My mother is darker-skinned. My sister has my mother’s skin tone; I have my father’s. No one ever mentioned it. Same thing with hair — I think all of our hair is a common, kinky, “African” texture.
My parents rarely argued in front of me. I only remember one major argument they had, and I can’t remember what it was about. But it embarrassed them for a long time because I brought it up over and over, as a child.
We lived in an apartment up until I was 5 or 6. They’d build a neighborhood of houses near these apartments, and it seems like almost everyone from those apartments moved to those houses — and if they couldn’t afford that, they moved to some better apartments within walking distance of the houses. We all went to the same elementary school (which was NOT close). It was named after that black astronaut that went up on the Challenger space shuttle and it exploded before it left earth’s atmosphere…
We were outside children — we played outside all day long, all year long, and especially in the summer. During the summer I’d get so tan I’d be a purplish-dark brown color — it was amazing. I wore braids pretty much all year — like, extension braids, cornrowed extensions. This was the mid-to-late eighties, when people weren’t really wearing braids in Dallas, and they called it weave if you added hair to it. And people were NOT supposed to wear weaves in Dallas back then.
So I’d get picked on for that.
I also got picked on because I don’t have the accent other people in the area have — my parents are from two small country towns in Texas that are nowhere near Dallas. So to Dallas people, I “sound white”.
Then my name — a “white girl’s name. I wished for a long time that my name had been Lakiesha or Latasha or Shamika or Tamika or something. Because people called me Becky and Becca and Reba McIntyre, lol, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, lol. SMH
My mother bought my clothes at a higher-end consignment shop. So my clothes were name-brand — yes — but they didn’t look anything like what other kids in my neighborhood was wearing.
There was alot of mistreatment of me OUTSIDE of my parents’ house. At home, there was love, goodness, kindness, sweetness…there was intellect, consciousness. My parents discussed politics and had views and opinions on important things. I played quietly, on the floor by myself, while they and my sister discussed or debated big things. So I learned alot by just being there. I absorbed what they said.
My mother was full of sweet smells, hugs, cuddles and kisses. She was feminine and girly, but was still heading forward in her career field — computers. She always told me she loved me, and even when she was working late, and I couldn’t see her most days, she’d call me an hour before bedtime and we’d talk about everything…
My father would talk to me, answer my questions — when I was real little he’d let me sit on his back while he watched football or boxing, or he’d zone out on tv while I put barrettes in his hair, lol. He’s a disabled vet, and was in his late 30s when I was born, so wasn’t any running around with the ball with me. But my dad would cook, he’d read to me, help me with my homework. He read Robin Hood to me, multiple times, and a book called ‘Just So Stories’…
So when I’d go out of their house, and into the world — I was different. And I’d get picked on.
We took vacations, we went down to San Antonio a lot. Most of my extended family lives there. We went to Florida to visit my sister, we went to Los Angeles — again, to visit my sister, lol (she’s an actress, singer and dancer, and was often on tour somewhere). We went to JAMAICA.
Kids in my neighborhood weren’t doing these things.
So when I’d go out of my family, and into the world — I was different. And I’d get picked on. lol
I met a girl at age 3, who laughed at everything I said. (“Yer funnie,” she’d say. “No I’m NOT!” I’d respond, angrily) We met in preschool. Our parents realized we were great friends and we started spending the night at each other’s houses. When we went to school, she went to a private school, and I went to public school, but we were still best friends. Around 2nd grade I started meeting HER school friends, who became MY friends, as well.
None of us were the same, but we got along well.
We didn’t even live in the same neighborhood. And I have to say — the neighborhood kids, we all got along okay. We’d fight, and be friends again after a while. They were people you couldn’t get away from — I’d known them all from age 3 on, as well.
We’d play huge games, like “War”, where it’d be 20 kids of varying ages, spending the entire day split up into teams whose headquarters were on opposite ends of the neighborhood — we’d kidnap each other all day long and scream and run and fight and before the streetlights came on, we’d determine who’d won. The kids from the apartments would come over and be involved in the games as well.
At 11/12 — 6th grade — we moved out of that neighborhood to an older, but better, more established area.
It was time for middle school — me moving guaranteed that I would not be going to middle school with the kids I’d grown up with. I was OKAY with that — the middle school Id’ be going to was an “academy” — meaning it was more about academics than anything else.
So I was excited — I often tested off the charts in my subjects.
Went over there — and those people — were so MEAN — and EVIL — and WICKED —
…I should have gone to the other middle school.
Middle school was horrible. Rumors spread about me, by popular girls who I shouldn’t have EVEN been on their radar.
But I was.
I won’t go into it all — I think I have before, somewhere on this blog.
But I Don’t want to. Fuck those bitches, these are happy memories. lol
But in middle school, I met my last two besties (one of which is still a bestie) — and I think that was the end of my friend-making period in my life, really.
My point: I had a good childhood. It had it’s imperfection here and there. But in my parents’ house, it was great.
I THANK them for creating a happy, peaceful, orderly place for me to grow up in love.