Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What to talk about?

Well honestly I don't know what to talk about today. So I am going to post something that I wrote for a class. This is a very true story that happened to me and really affected me.  This is the hardest racial thing that I have had to deal with thus far in my life:

  It was that time of the year, crisp trees, cold air, long pants and jackets. The time of year when people hang bright lights outside their homes and when family’s head to the local farm to cut down large trees to put in their homes.  Its the time of year that everyone looks forward to, even me, its one of my favorite times of the year, Christmas season!  This Christmas season for me was quite different, the way I felt this time was not the same that I felt in the past.  This day when most are happy, I was sad, the day where people felt loved, and I felt lonely.  A night that I never want to live again.
      It was fun and laughter on the drive down from Knoxville, Tennessee to Athens Tennessee, Jake and Bethany‘s home town.  There was a trail of about  seven cars ,twenty plus people all headed down to Christmas in the square!  This is Athens annual town gathering in the towns square where many families and friends gather. They had hot drinks, homemade cookies, Christmas carols, and the fresh smell of pine trees.  Oh yeah and antique shops, I love antiques shops, at least I did until now.
      I feel alone, no one understands, no one can possibly comfort me at this point.  Am I the only one who  seems to even care, they are just going on their marry way having  a good jolly ole time, enjoying the Christmas season.  Not me, I hate my life right now, I hate the people around me, I want to sink into a dark whole and weep.  What just happened to me has never happened to me before in my life, I have never felt like such an outcast. These are the thoughts that ran through my head after we left the antique shop.
      We walked into the antique shop, glitz and glamour, where do we start?  I looked around at the old antique jewelry, I love old jewelry, the big shiny earrings or the thick bracelets, I wanted it all.  Then the hats caught me eye, I anxiously walked over to the hats and picked out many hats and tried them all on. “Loren, do you like this hat on me?” she laughs and jokingly responds, “You should so get that, I love it”. I walked around the store looking glamorous in this blue laced cap. I then wanted to try on warm old mink coats, I looked like a 1960’s diva.  We were all acting  silly trying on old hats, coats and jewelry, all laughing and enjoying ourselves.  We then decided to leave, as we stood out side planning our next stop, freezing, standing very close to one another, then walks up Katie, “Mary, a man in the store is asking for you,” I reply, “I don’t care, I don’t know him, I am not going to go talk to a stranger”.  Suzanne rapidly walks my way, “Mary, he says you better come back or else you are in trouble”, at this time I am so confused, my face went from glowing to a harsh gaze. I have no idea what’s going on, then walks out an older white man. “ What is in your pockets, I work for the cops and if you do not give it up right now, you will go to jail”, all eyes on me, “ What are you talking about, my gloves are in my pocket”.  “I saw you with that hat, young lady, give it back” I am furious inside, “I put everything back, it’s in the store”, he replies, “show it to me, then”.   At this point everyone around me are looking at me as if I was guilty, even my friends.  With an attitude on my face and a heavy feet hitting the ground, I walk in the store and hand the man the hat, then he says, “well that’s not where it belongs”. Do I not get a thank you or sorry for wrongly accusing you I thought then said,  “well excuse me this is an antique store, nothing is in a specific place”.  I have never felt so alone in my life, I wanted to break down and cry. 
      Prior to this occurrence I was happy, enjoying the hot chocolate, the live reindeers, and great conversations with my closest friends.  Then this happens and my whole world changes, I couldn’t even discuss things with my best friend, she wouldn’t understand me. No one did.  I just wanted to hear my dads voice, of course he could bring me comfort, so I dialed, ring, ring, ring, “you have reached the voicemail of ***-***-****”, then I hung up. “You have to be kidding me, where the hell is he”, I thought, then I dialed again, ring, ring, “Hello darling, how are you doing?”, “Dad what are you doing? Where are you?”, as if everything was ok, “I am at home doing nothing, what are you doing?”.  “Dad I am ready to come home, I hate this place”, with a fearful voice he replies, “What happened?”.  Then I explained to him what had just happened, trying to keep from crying.  I couldn’t believe what just came out his mouth, “Mary, how many times do I have to tell you to not go to these types of places with these people, if they were your friend they wouldn’t take you there”. I thought to myself, “these people” he is talking about are my friends, frustrated I said, “My friends didn’t know this was going to happen, I feel so alone”.  In one breath I wanted to defend my friends, but in the next, I wanted nothing to do with them. 
      On the drive back from Athens to Knoxville was a silent drive for me.  I set in the back analyzing everything in my head, over and over.  “What’s in your pocket?”, “Show it to me then”.  This old white face kept appearing in my head.
      The next day didn’t feel any different, I woke up feeling sorry for myself, feeling angry, and with hatred.  I got up got ready for church looking in the same mirror as my white roommates, “Is this outfit okay”, Loren ask, “Sure”,  I replied only thinking about what happened to me the night before.  Then off to church, the whole two hour service, all I thought about was how it was not fair to be treated that way.  “I did nothing wrong”, I thought, “Why did they single me out when everyone else was doing exactly what I was doing?” “Why me? Why me?”.  “Amen”, pastor Bill completed, church was over, I had no idea what he talked about. Jake’s mother, Mrs. Simmons sent people out to find me after church, I knew exactly what she wanted to discuss.  I then went to find her, before any words were exchanged, she hugged me.  I wept on her shoulders, tears rapidly rolling down my face.  “I am so sorry Mary, that was wrong of him, you did nothing wrong”, I couldn’t even respond.  Mr. Simmons walked up, humbly took out his handkerchief, I sadly took as I wiped the tears of  shame, guilt, and loneliness away.  I am loved, and these people are my family.  Hell with that man who made me feel that way.  Hell  with him.


  1. Mary Drummond you are deeply and dearly loved by many people of many colors. I'm pissed. Please don't waste any more tears by giving the words and actions of that ignorant, shallow, old-timey geezer any value at all. No one deserves that...what a butthead!

  2. thanks for sharing this story Mary. it's so powerful!