|Photo credit: The Roanoke Times, file photo, 1960.
January 13, 1965
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. We had to go back to school after Christmas last week. The snow kept us out a couple of days but then it was back to books and teachers.
School’s not so bad. Not now that I’m used to high school and all. That first day last year when I had to start as a freshman and the school was integrating and nobody knew exactly what to expect – well, that day was one of those days that make the ants crawl around under your skin. But now I know where my locker is and where my classes are. I know the upper class kids can be jerks, but I can just ignore them and do fine. And I know that kids are just kids no matter what they look like.
We hardly even think about integration these days. It’s like we’ve been going to school together forever. At least, that’s how it is with Charissa and me. Have I told you about Charissa? She’s one of my best friends now. We’re both PKs. That’s short for preachers’ kids, you know. And PKs need to stick together.
I can’t believe we didn’t know each other before the schools integrated. We grew up in the same town but we were never in the same places. But now we are. I’ve even been to her church to hear her father preach and she’s been to mine to hear Dad. The churches are a lot different. When they sing at her church, they sound like they could keep on forever. When we sing at Mt. Pleasant, we sound like we just wish the song was over. I like the way her church sings better, but when I told Dad I thought we needed more oomph in our songs, he just laughed and said the way we sing hymns is fine.
Maybe so. But I liked clapping my hands and singing at Charissa’s church. Of course, if I tried that at our church, Aunt Love would have a stroke right there in the pew. She would. She’d think clapping hands in church wouldn’t be reverent. Funny how people come up with different ideas of how to be properly reverent.
It’s funny too how people thought we, Charissa and I, couldn’t attend the same schools. Our skin might be different colors, but we’re so much alike. Besides the PK kind of stuff. You know like we both like aqua. Not only for the color it is but also for the way the word looks spelled out. Charissa and I both like words. We like to run our tongue around new words we’re just learning. We both like Blue Monday candy bars and soft drinks and we can keep a hula hoop going forever. And we both definitely know how it is for a whole church full of people to think you ought to never make a mistake because you’re the preacher’s kid. Either that, or they decide you get away with murder because you’re a PK.
Do you remember when your schools were integrated? You might think that sounds funny – to think about kids going to separate schools because of the color of their skin. And you know what? You’re right. But back here in the 1960’s we were just figuring all that out.