6- 1965 March Part 2, Family Insanity, a Spaceship, a Broken Hip & Selma
I delve again into the consciousness of Junior High in that springtime of 1965. As I re-experience life through my diary writings, I actually feel the moments of being 12 years old and the angst and joys of that time in life. I enjoy the everyday aspect of remembering; I am intrigued by the detail that is awakened in my own psyche today. A description of going into the Classic Art Shop or a friend buying me ice cream during recess takes me right back to those moments. I am in that shop and seeing and feeling the atmosphere; I am in the school cafeteria thanking Ramona for that sweet gesture. I see the ‘heart’ model that my Science teacher allowed me to use as a prop for my project; and probably like a few other 12 year olds, I see reactions and behavior in my family of origin that caused me to question even the sanity of it all. Outbursts over insignificant things, (at least insignificant to a 12 year old ) seem way overblown at times. And so it goes in trying to understand the adults in our lives!
“16 Mar 1965, I got a scholarship pin today for academics. I think Laurie kind of hates me now. I guess I’ll stick by her for awhile, although I’m second now. Daddy seems to be going insane. He and Mama went to some Brotherhood meeting up at the church. 17 Mar 1965, Friend Laurie was ok today. She and her other friend are good and mad at each other. Kay has the measles. I had my music lesson. Went by the Classic Art Gift Shop and bought Debby a friendship [ring?]. 18 Mar 1965, Today was so warm that I actually wore shorts after school. We played softball in PE at school. Wanda was sick today. Ramona bought me an ice cream snack during recess. Got me a ring today. 19 Mar 1965, Laurie was over here today. I rode out to Ms. Webb’s with Adie and Jackie to get Adie’s books. I chose my science fair project, “the Heart.” 20 Mar 1965, Laurie and David got back together. I washed and rolled Mama’s hair. I rolled mine tonight, too. In Selma Alabama, the Negroes are uprising.”
I had forgotten friendship rings as a passing fad. Interesting how friendships shifted in junior high school almost as frequently as each passing day. Seems that young romance suffered the same ebb and flow. ‘Going together” one moment; “broken up”the next. “Back together” was the goal achieved!
I can feel the tension amongst adults 50 years ago in our small communities, who upon watching the evening news were stirred nervously about the uprisings just 100 or so miles down the road. A country was in transition amongst the over 40 age group, as they pondered and examined the culture and norms which were shifting and beginning to adapt to a new era of civil rights reform.
Those people who were over the age 80 in this year of 1965, regardless of ethnic heritage could remember the era of reconstruction in the South from the 1870s into the turn of the 20th century and beyond. My grandmother who turned 85 in early March, born in 1880, had parents who lived through the Civil War. An awakening was transpiring and those of us who were kids were barely conscious of the history happening in our own backyards.
“21 Mar 1965, I went to Sunday School and Church. We went to Columbus and ate at the S&S cafeteria. Mama and I went to the first night of the Methodist Church revival. 22 Mar 1965, I had a music lesson today. Kay came down here and I helped her catch up in math. Today is Diane’s 13th birthday! 23 Mar 1965, It has been raining all day. A two-man space ship launched from Florida today. Mom, Dad and I went to the PTA meeting. Brownie is sad because she didn’t do well in Math. 24 Mar 1965, I went to the beauty parlor with Laurie after school. Had a music lesson. Brother and I washed the dogs, I washed Tiny, he bathed Buster. Daddy’s been a cussing and fussing. 25 Mar 1965, I went to the Methodist revival tonight. The preacher looks just like Hal! Oh so handsome. I washed and rolled my hair. Sleeping in these rollers is no fun. Laurie got very sick at school; stomach flu. 26 Mar 1965, This morning Grandmama fell and broke her hip. She was rushed to the hospital. We went to see her tonight after school and supper. She is doing a lot better than right at the fall.”
Small town church revival season was upon us. Locals hosted visiting preachers for dinner in their homes. Hometown ministers stepped aside to allow different voices from the pulpit for a week.
The country was super excited about manned space travel. Each launch was capsuled (excuse the pun)in the excitement of prepping for an eventual landing on the moon.
Everyone in my class bristled with anticipation of turning 13 as the year unfolded. Finally teenagers!
A life altering episode for my grandmother set in motion a change in her life extremely drastic and came with consequences so great that none of us anticipated what the next several months would bring.
“27 Mar 1965, I have been feeling bad today. We haven’t heard a thing from Grandmama. Uncle Leonard called from Virginia. I beat Adie in a gambling game. 28 Mar 1965, Went to Sunday School and Church. We drove up to Columbus and ate, then on to the St. Francis hospital to see Grandmama. She was operated on this morning for that broken hip. 29 Mar 1965, I had a music lesson today. I did not take PE . I think our little dog Tiny is going to have puppies. My sixth grade teacher is pregnant. She is 41! 30 Mar 1965, Got home from school and played basketball out back. I went to a circus in Richland today. It was all right. Borrowed 50. 31 Mar 1965, Instead of going to choir today, I went to Study Hall with Kay and Laurie. I had a music lesson. Dad went to Columbus to see Grandmama. She’s still in the hospital.”
Unexpected pleasures interlaced some of the sadness and tragedy that an accident caused for my grandmama. The juxtaposition of our family dog’s upcoming giving birth and a favorite neighbor and school teacher learning of a pregnancy caused elation and anticipation that springtime signified new beginnings.
A circus in the neighboring town had the town abuzz with delight. Usually such events happened in the larger cities of Columbus or Americus. Probably a reaction to the circus such as “It was all right” rather than total blowout of joy might have been related to the company I kept rather than to the event. Who knows? Was I with family or with friends? Was the mood dampened because of other life happenings?
The March of life continued. The March of a group of people tired of oppression began.