|Toward the finish line...|
Homeroom in the eleventh grade was the highlight of my rather dismal high school career. I didn’t mind being on time for sitting right in front of me was Dee (names have been changed to protect the guilty). She had just transferred in from the private school for rich kids that had jumpstarted in response to court-ordered busing for the purpose of a racial balance in all the schools. There were two such schools in our city: “the Academy” from which she came and the school at the Baptist Church where parents of more modest means sent their kids off to keep them isolated as they pretended to live in the antebellum South. But I digress…
One of the few things I remember about that homeroom in my junior year was De. I don’t even remember my homeroom teacher’s name, although from what I recall he looked a little dorky and wore tweed jackets. And I don’t remember any other students in that “class”—mostly homeroom was a waste of time, a place to take attention and listen to announcements as you tried to finish homework due in first period. But I can still conjure up an image of Dee. She was beautiful. Her long straight light-brown hair draped halfway down her back. Her petite body and shapely legs, which were displayed in the short skirts that were popular in the 70s, attracted a lot of attention. I thought she was smart and knew she came from a family with money. Perhaps that was the reason I spent the whole year thinking about her but could never venture the courage to talk to her. I don’t remember having any other classes with her, but that wasn’t unusual as this was a rather large high school. The next year she was eight or ten places ahead of me when we, all 750 or so of us, marched to the podium to receive our diplomas.
I had forgotten about Dee until a few years ago when she showed up among other friends from high school on facebook. I was glad to learn a bit about her. She’s still beautiful and with some of the photos she's posted of her family, she and her daughter could be siblings. We’ve not exchanged many comments, mostly “happy birthday" and things like that. I still haven’t let her know of my infatuation as an awkward teen.
With that background, let me now get to the point of writing this. For the past two years on or about Martin Luther King’s Day, Dee has posted some of the most mean-spirited and bigoted comments I have heard in recent decades and this would include watching Fox news when visiting parents and in-laws. I was shocked. When she repeated it this year, I was appalled. “I am so sick of the Civil Rights issue!!!” she wrote. The she began to shoot off about our President in a way that is not only inaccurate and inflammatory, but makes no sense. Her command of the English language is almost as appalling as her rant. And since MLK Day, she had continued to make derogatory comments about our President and his wife, all while insisting that she’s not a racist.
Beauty is only skin deep may be a cliché, but it also rings true. It was a good thing I was a shy and awkward teenager when I first saw her in homeroom…