DON’T ASK ME TO JUST FORGET

Thaddeus,
Nashville, TN.

I was raised poor in Louisiana where the generations of my family before me farmed and picked cotton, fished and lived off the land. Our water was rain water caught in a ground cistern and we used an outhouse for a toilet and boiled water for each night to bathe. So please don’t tell me how “privileged” I was raised. My first year of junior high, I was suddenly bussed halfway across the parish for desegregation instead of going to school with the kids I’d known since first grade. Our family cemetery started as the cemetery for a Confederate fort because it was high ground that never flooded. I cannot and will not forget the sacrifices that my ancestors made and the path that was blazed for my life. I’ve researched my genealogy back to the early 1800’s and there’s no documentation that any of them ever owned a slave. Instead, pictures show that the families as poor farm folk who led hard lives and were devoted Christians. They worked hard for what little they had. Even with more education and 12 years of military service, I, too, have had to work and scrimp to save for what I’ve accumulated over the years. I certainly don’t count myself as privileged, merely that I’ve been taught how to be happy with little and have some peace of mind with a hope for a better life on the other side of this one. I’ve learned to quit looking at what everyone else has and be thankful for what little I have. After all, it’s unlikely anybody is going to give you much. You’ve got to take some responsibility and get it for yourself.

 

Tweets by Michele Norris