Firmum In Vita Nihil All The Racism I Know, I Learned At School

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Being a Navy brat in the 1950’s, I did quite a bit of moving around. Michigan, Maryland, and then Sasebo, Japan is my first recollection. That was about 1957 when my father was transferred there for three years. Needless to say, many of my first friends were Japanese. I actually learned Japanese prior to English. I recall Japanese, Kabuki, terraced hills, all of the bent over elderly, exposed womens breasts, the abacus, flying fish, and running home with a trail of Japanese kids chasing me down to get my cowboy hat. They were ultimately my friends, and I was theirs.

Dad got his transfer papers in 1959, and we took a plane back to the states, having to make an unplanned stop in Hawaii for a couple months ’cause I got sick. I made friends there too with some natives, but it was time to move on.

We ended up in Linda Vista, a suburb of San Diego, California and lived in what was called K-Part Housing (military). Back in those days there was already a physical division line between where the white folk lived, and the minorities, primarily black folk. Perhaps this meant something to somebody, but it didn’t mean anything to a little white kid who hung out with anybody his age.

As per usual, dad went off on another West-Pac tour of duty, and I finished out roughly a year and a half at Holy Family Catholic parochial (elementary) school. I used to love that school, I remember having to ride my bike from my house through the “other” neighborhood to get to school each day. Never a worry, never a care. People were still just people then.

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