Friday, September 16, 2011

Yes, That's My Family - Friends and Relatives

There have been people who have not approved of my marriage to Buzz, or the fact that we had children. I want to take a moment here to talk about some fun experiences with friends and relatives.

After looking back on my continuing story, I forgot to tell the story of when we visited my sister-in-law, Gina, in the hospital. Gina was admitted because they discovered that she had diabetes and it was way out of control. When Buzz, his dad and stepmother, and Gina's three girls, and I went to the hospital, we could only have one or two people at a time visit her, because she was so ill.

When my father-in-law was upstairs visiting her, the rest of us were hanging out in the cafeteria, which was empty at the time except for a middle aged white woman. Buzz was getting change and buying the girls stuff out of the vending machines, so Delores, my mother-in-law and I were sitting at a table and talking. The white woman started talking to me, telling me about her medical problems. I listened politely, making appropriate sympathetic comments, until she finally ran out of symptoms to talk about. She looked at the rest of the Youngs and asked, "Do you know these people?" I introduced Delores and told the woman that the man was my husband and the girls were my nieces.

The woman looked at my family and said, "We had a colored boy that worked for us one time as a gardener."

I could see Delores start to open her mouth and blast that woman because "colored" was such an offensive word to her. Before she could say anything, I looked at the white woman and asked, "So what color was he?"

The woman was taken aback and sputtered about the man being a negro. I told her, "We like to use the term 'black', thanks!" The woman did not know what to say, so she got up and left. Delores and I almost fell off of our chairs, laughing. When Buzz and then my father-in-law approached us, we were laughing too hard to explain at first.

Delores explained later that the word 'colored' had a lot of negative connotations for her, having grown up in the south where it reminded her of 'colored only' water fountains and the like.

I also cannot look back at my first visit with my in-laws without thinking of my three Young nieces - Angela, Lisa, and Tracie with a smile. I am sure that they knew white people but I think I was the first close relative that was white. They were really young - I think that they were 9, 7 and 6 years old when Buzz and I got married. The girls were curious about me and paid a lot of attention to me, like when they all wanted to comb my hair - at the same time!

Another thing that made me laugh was that they wanted to come in the bedroom when I was changing or into the bathroom when I was taking a bath. Gina got after them because she thought that they were bugging me, but I guessed what they were curious about - the girls wanted to know if I was the same color all over - something that I wondered about black people when I was a little kid.

There will be more fun stories coming up in my next blog of experiences with friends and relatives.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh. People are stupid. I was in a mixed-race relationship about 15 years ago (in the South - that was fun), but I would have thought that there would be fewer comments these days. I have several friends in mixed-race marriages and all eight of my step-daughter's kids are biracial. They've informed me that there are still an incredibly large number of stupid people walking around. I wonder how many more years it will take before people stop making stupid comments.