Ah, the Vietnam War. I wrote many protest poems in those days. Many of our school graduates were drafted. I only know of one who was killed in the war but in such a small school that one was known by all, and he was the fiancé of one of my classmates.

Integration was also prime ground for upheaval in my school. I was a Bobby Kennedy supporter in a school where nearly all the other white students were George Wallace types. I gave political speeches that led to the son of the local KKK wizard, or whatever he was called, threatening me. A Black Panther-type African American student became my protector, silently following me to my classes, refusing my thanks, saying it was his “duty” to protect me. Never totally understood but greatly appreciated his help. I was also cast the tie-breaking vote that elected the school’s first black class president. I was the only student that was absent on student elections day so when I returned the next day and cast my votes, it was obvious that I broke the tie. My protector became even more vigilant until the anger of my white classmates subsided.

Over all, our school handled integration with comparatively little turmoil. Verbal altercations and some shoving but no fights.

I feel like we have returned to those days. So much prejudice and hatred in our schools (and everywhere else) - how could we have regressed 50 years??

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store