Mr. Kirk Clyatt, Charlottesville resident, 208 Meade Ave., said he is a son of the south and is proud of his southern heritage, but he says it is time to give up Lee Jackson Day.
… When my mother brought me to Washington, DC I was about 4, I became largely a feral child and while living in the city one of my earliest memories was a sound of Africa … the late night roaring of lions at the National Zoo.
While living in South Carolina both of my grandmothers had black maids/nannies, I have very kind memories of Mary, much more so than of my own mother, who took care of me before leaving for Pittsburgh with her own child in search of a better life for her son who was not much older than I was, I hope she found it.
Once in Washington even as a very young child of four and five, I would wander the streets near The Park Crescent Apartments, they are still there, and play on the huge stairway next to the building … huge at least in eyes of a five year old. The crumbling old stairway led down to the basement. It was also where the ‘Fallout Shelter’ was. In the early 60s those yellow and black signs were a ubiquitous part of life. The building’s super would often let me into the shelter, I was amazed with the amount of supplies it held waiting for the bomb, but I never worried about the bomb that never came, maybe I didn’t grasp the concept? For me, it was a place where I listened to his stories, sometimes supers from other nearby buildings would stop by to tell of the journey of their lives. As a young white boy, I loved to listen, to hear about the path of their lives these black men told while we would dive into the supplies and enjoy what seemed an endless supply of tuna and crackers from the fallout shelter stash, at least a tiny part of all those cold war supplies weren’t totally wasted … maybe its why canned tuna is still one of the staples of my diet?
In the heart of the Civil Rights movement, a 5 year old white boy whose ancestors all fought for the Confederacy to keep the forefathers of these men bound to slavery … and now did they not only look out for me and take care of me, but in DC were really the only family I had.
I have long forgotten their names, but I’ll never forget the warmth and care they gave to a young, lost and lonely child. …