When I was a teenager, my older brother operated a giant grocery store in a little community, out from
my hometown. I must have been about sixteen. It was the time of a very racist South. 1950s might be a time to relish as peaceful but us “whites” ought to be ashamed.
We had a steady stream of African Americans coming into my brother’s store. And, we didn’t call blacks, AA or even blacks. I am ashamed and I’m not letting myself off the hook by saying it was the times. Mostly, we had many black customers because my brother would give them credit. And, I can honestly say that my brother was fair–one price for all. One African American family of regular customers had mostly girls. One of the girls was named Sis, at least that is the only name I knew. I was a teenager with raging hormones and pretty much had a one track mind. Sis and I were instantly attracted. It was one of those things. Who can explain two sixteen year olds of any color. I would look into those dark eyes and swoon and she knew it. We never had any physical contact but passed many a smile between us.
I was a high school football player and Friday nights were king. I had girlfriends. Sis quit coming around and I missed her but with the attention span of a gnat, I was on to something or somebody else. I was not at the store all that often anyway during high school football. The season ended and it was about Christmas and I tooled down to my brother’s store. As I was going in, Sis was coming out. She was obviously pregnant. When she saw me, the look of horror on her face is something I’ll never forget. She literally ran to their old beat up truck. I was stunned. My brother must have seen me turn white. He was no dummy and probably was well aware of our attraction. He wasn’t worried about it going further as those things never did, not in the south of my youth.
Who was the the father? According to my brother’s right hand man and the epitome of racism, her father most probably. Incest is a way of life with “these people”, he went on to say. True? No, I don’t think so, not any more than in white families. Abuse can and does occur. I don’t know. We were introduced to such a tragedy in The Color of Purple. I don’t have a clue with Sis. At sixteen, I was not emotionally sophiticated enough to do anything but bury it. To be honest, over the years, much to my discredit, I have thought very little or none about it. However, one’s past has a habit of surfacing. Here’s how. My grand daughter and I recently went to see Precious. I had been avoiding it as I was a little unsure of whether my teenage granddaughter who is my regular moviephile should see it. Her Mom assured me it was OK. Actually, it was not nearly as bad as I had been led to believe, other than the language which I’m sure Lupe has heard worse.
By this time, most of us know the raw story of Precious, a culture of which most know little or nothing. Although a “heavy” movie with the very worst of sexual abuse. However, there are some redemptive powers that emerge, giving us a kind of sense of hope in the midst of hopelessness. See Precious. You will be better for it. I remembered Sis because of it. I’m going to think about it but might try to find out what happened to her. I’d like to know.