October 8, 1964
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. I’m sorry to be late reporting, but I had a whole page of sentences to diagram. Plus two pages of Algebra and I had to draw a picture of a flower showing all the parts, stamens or pistils or something like that. Mrs. Boggs, she teaches science, is a flower nut. I like flowers as good as the next person but I don’t care what their stems are called. Anyway, it took me forever last night, but I got it finished and turned in.
So tonight, how about I introduce you to Cassidy Hearndon? Never heard of her? Well, I hadn’t either until her family moved to a farm out in Holly County. You might not think that too strange until I tell you they’re a black family. I guess more than the school is getting integrated this year. The county is too. Dad says the Hearndons’ are the first black family to buy land out in the country around the church. In this little scene from that book about Hollyhill, Orchard of Hope, Cassidy isn’t sure she wants to come to our church.
The first Sunday in September when Cassidy Hearndon’s mama got her up and said they were going to the white people’s church, Cassidy thought about sticking her finger down her throat and making herself throw up. She’d done it back in Chicago a time or two so she wouldn’t have to go to school. It had worked them. It might work now, but then her mother would make her stay inside and it was way too hot to be stuck in the house all day shut up in the back bedroom to make sure she didn’t share her sickness with none of the rest of the family. Not that the scaredy-cat sickness was catching or anything.
Cassidy picked up the dress her mother had laid out for her to wear. It was the green and white one with tulips on it, her very favorite, but she didn’t want to put it on. Not till she had to. It was cooler just standing there in her slip and underpants.
“What in the world is wrong with you, Cassidy Marie?” her mama asked. “Stop moping around and get dressed.”
“It’s too hot to get all dressed up and go to church,” Cassidy complained.
“The good Lord didn’t say it was too hot when he paid the price for our sins, young missy.”
“Then why can’t we go up to the church in town? They like us up there.”
“Now listen to you. We aren’t going to church to make people like us,” her mama said. “We’re going to church to worship, and the good Lord has put a church right down at the end of our road for us to do that. We don’t have to spend a half hour and gasoline we can’t afford driving to town.”
“But they look at me funny.” Cassidy traced one of the tulips on the dress with her finger. She loved tulips. They’d had tulips in their yard in Chicago. Red and yellow and purple tulips.
Cassidy did come to church and after a while she liked it there. She always liked Miss Sally, but then everybody likes Miss Sally. Every church needs a Miss Sally – somebody who loves you just the way you are and makes you glad you came to church.
Does your church have a Miss Sally?