Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Clash with the past - my old home and my new one

I was surfing around the web and found this New York Times article: Twenty Years after Ossining's Riots, Mood of Racial Harmony Prevails, which was written about the schools I went to. The two elementary schools I had gone to were very different in racial mix and when we got to middle school, the clash of two cultures was frightening.

I remember when they started to experiment with busing - in time for my younger sisters. The parents were up in arms. "Our kids will be on the bus all the time; they'll have no time to play." As it was, no one noticed that I spent about an hour each way on the bus since, although we lived about two miles from the school and I could have ridden a bicycle if my mother had allowed me to, I was at the beginning of the bus route in the mornings and the end in the evenings.

The parents acted like our homes were being invaded. And it held off the inevitable culture clash when all us elementary school kids ended going to the same middle school. I wanted to hang out with my old friends but they had changed. It was the 60's and everything was changing.

I ended up getting involved in social issues during high school. I became the coordinator for an after school tutoring program and during the summers, I volunteered as a day camp counselor at the local Ethical Culture Center. I certainly learned creativity that summer - we got all sorts of weird donations - but we always figured out how to make art projects out of them!

And since I was an adolescent, I had the typical child/ parent clashes. My mother didn't approve of my after school activities. I was already learning that home means different things, and I was becoming at home in the world.

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