Friday, January 29, 2010

Deep in my heart..........I do believe

Dear Ralph,

I wanted to answer your question about whether I felt even a little uneasy years ago when we paid a lady only ten dollars a day to come to our house to make biscuits, iron our clothes, clean our home and care for our child while we went off to work determined to raise issues of civil rights and save the world from Mississippi Racism. And I have pondered that question for months and months wondering if I had a better, deeper more PC answer than the simple uncomfortable truth. The answer is, the irony is,I can't remember feeling uneasy. Mostly I remember how grateful she was that we paid her cash and how good the biscuits were. Mostly I remember that we could barely afford the $50.00 a week that made it possible for both of us to have jobs. Looking back I do know that we treated her with great respect, trusted her with our treasured child and showered her with gratitude. I wish I could tell you that I was more awake and aware! Mostly I was a young white yankee liberal trying figure out how to live in the south without getting killed by rednecks or snakes. I don't know where she is today. I don't even know her name. I do know that I am glad you asked the question.

6 comments:

Ralph said...

My dear LR--I beg you to send me a private email at ralphcherry714@yahoo.com. This is very fertile territory for me that I'd like to explore, but not in this public forum. You are beyond sweet to thank me for my question--I'd like to explain to you where it came from. You at least allayed my fears that I had offended you with a question I worked hard to couch in non-judgmental terms. Thank you so much.

PS: if your privacy fears are such that you don't want to give me your email address, I understand. You can simply create a special email account only for this particular correspondence, and then delete it when you decide the conversateion is through.

LONELY RIVERS said...

Though I will respond via email, this post was Public On Purpose! I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It is quite the read - and offered a glimpse of the women who did the work and the ladies who used them,often badly. It also gave me a chance to do some soul searching on the subject. Deep in my heart..I do believe! LR

Helen said...

The perfect response to a very deep question .............

One Woman's Journey said...

Your response - would be mine.
I was a mother with 4 children and a baby at home. I ran a family business. Oh, Miss Willie Mae - my children loved you and I loved you. When I was home - we all laughed, ate together and worked together and I would take you home at 3:00 Pm. Twice a week.
You were pleased to receive that $16.00 (that was the going wage at that time) and I loved you like you were my mother. I remember the braid that was coiled at your neck and I remember that you had such a sad death.

Susan said...

My father was born in Indianapolis in 1923. My Grand mother was a liberated woman before anyone else knew the word and worked in an office... what a "flapper". My grandfather worked for the newspaper. My father spent his days with a lovely woman he only remembers as calling her "Pretty" and he would pat her face. She was paid pennies a day because that was the wage that everyone accepted at the time.
When they moved back to Canada when he was about 6 yrs. he said was devistated. She was a plain woman physically but she had a beautiful soul and he never forgot her.

proswet654 said...
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