Some of my stories deal with mis-conceptions. I know in my life I've had many and I can only assume that other people have also. The problem is, we very seldom know we've mis-construed someone of something until it's either too late and we feel like a fool, or never. Growing up in the south in the days of segregation, white people lived lives and lies of mis-conceptions. If you are raising your child to believe another race, color, religion is beneath them, let me tell you it is very easy. The hard part is for the child growing up and out living your mis-quided beliefs. It can take years and missed opportunities and freindships before the adult can let go of the lies and live in harmony with the world around them. Let me tell you how it happened with me in the Jim Crow laws of Mississippi. So simple it will shake your religion.
Once when I was a child with a brain the size of a field pea, my Mother took my brothers and sister to Biloxi, gave us each a dollar and said we could spend it on Christmas gifts for the family. There were seven in all including grandparents, but three being siblings and comic books being a nickel, a little bottle of the dreaded "Blue Waltz" perfume being a quarter, this was not a problem. Mother's "Blue Waltz" stank up the living room, but Mother was always generous in her thank yous. As far as the comics, you roll those babies up in a tube and wrap them in Santa Clause paper and you have a present for your brother or sister under the tree. Of course, my brothers usually gave me a "Super Man" comic and I gave them "Little Lotty", but exchanging Christmas morning was half the fun. But I digress. How my parents got the four dollars was the bigger issue. We were farmers and that four dollars was real hard for them to come by, but they always managed.
We were set loose in Woolworths and then in Kress, or we used to call it, "Kressies" and warned not to put our mouths on toy horns or balloons as black kids, or sadly, we called them 'colored' kids, put them in their mouths.
The reason being not to touch them, we were told; 'colored' people carried diseases. The little pea nestled in my head brought up images of little diseased black kids slobbering and drooling all over the toys. Several years later, I overheard a young black woman telling her child, "Don't touch that, white kids put those things in their mouths." Aha, the pea grew to the size of a butterbean. Now, butterbeans still don't give too much room for deduction, but it did make me ask the question, where were all the diseased colored people, I'd never seen any. I warn you, once your kids start thinking for themselves, you've either created a bigot, or a child dissappointed in you. I loved my parents dearly, but I wished they'd asked a few more questions themselves growing up.
My story, "The Writer" deals with gossipy neighbors watching the family in the house across the country road, assuming they know what goes on under the old cypress roof; judging and gossiping on a daily basis to cover their own misery. My stories are long for blogs, I know, but check them out. Even though they're total fiction, the characters are amalgams of people I've known. If you grew up in this country, you've known them too. This is a story that takes place all over the world, not just south Mississippi. I'll be attaching the story, once my niece Laura comes down here and shows me how. But for now, try to remember your first time discovering life was different than your parents warned.