Blast From the Past

Today I received an email from youngest daughter asking me if I remembered a friend of my eldest son's from long ago when both were in grammar school and Cub Scouts named Lydell. I not only remember Lydell, I also remembered his last name, Marsh.

As it happens, this now grown-up man plays keyboard for a Christian Rock Band that's been playing at my daughter's church. He told the pastor he thought he knew her, called her the carrot-top (she has red hair) and said he played at our house all the time when he was growing up.

Lydell was a skinny black kid. We lived in this marvelous mixed racial neighborhood during the 60s and 70s. I ate chitterlings for the first time at his house when visiting his mom.

Of course we were all poor, but we'd all managed to buy houses for little down. I was PTA president at the grammar school for two years. I remember one of the black mom's telling me, "All you white PTA ladies look alike." Made me laugh.

Our kids didn't see color. We had all shades running in and out of our house, spending the night, eating with us. It was strange, because it was during a time of really strained racial relations, but our neighborhood, black, white, Mexican, Oriental and who knows what else, managed to get along.

I can remember hoping that each of my five kids would marry someone of a different race so my grandkids would all look different. I managed to get part Native American grandkids and some part Mexican, but that's all so far. (I don't have any trouble telling anyone apart--though I do have trouble coming up with the right names sometimes.)

My son, Mark, who was friends with Lydell is no longer with us. At age 42 he lost his fight with multiple myeloma. Of course we miss him. But it was fun and a bit of tug on my heart to take this stroll down memory lane where Mark is still alive and well and bringing home all sorts of friends to meet his family.



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