Join us for online discussion of ‘The Help’

(Editor’s Note: I am revealing major plot points in the my very first paragraph and throughout this discussion!)

I thought “The Help,” by Kathryn Stockett, was an excellent book, and I loved reading it even though it was painful in many parts. I cried my way through the second half of the book weeping upon learning that Constantine gave up her daughter (and her daughter crying out for her mother to come back for her!! Can you imagine?) and when Abileene had to leave Mae Mobley. Abilene was the only loving “mother” that child had.

Someone commented when we proposed the book that it didn’t have anything to with motherhood but now after reading the book I completely disagree. I think the relationships between the maids and the children and the mothers to their daughters definitely qualify it for the mom blog. Obviously race relations play a huge part of the book and did influence how the children were raised.

I loved learning how the maids did their work (I could use some housekeeping lessons.) and what was for dinner – I want that caramel cake. I liked Abileene’s wisdom “Babies like fat.” I agree or at least I just want to believe that. I saw three big themes for discussion:

1.      Maids raising the kids

2.      Mothers and daughters

3.      Race relations

1. Maids raising the kids– It’s amazing that the white ladies didn’t think the maids were good enough to use their toilets but thought it was perfectly fine for them to raise their children.

The maids were like stay-at-home moms. They cooked and cleaned, did the grocery shopping, made the dinners, and kept the house on track. Meanwhile, they were also supposed to entertain the children. I think nannies now a days don’t have all the other chores attached – they are just caring for the kids and really isn’t that hard enough.

It is a dangerous line to cross when the child starts loving the caregiver as the parent but it happened frequently in the past and I’m sure even now.

From Abileene:

“By the time she a year old Mae Mobley following me around everwhere I go. Five o’clock would come round and she’d be hanging on my Dr. Scholl shoe, dragging over the floor, crying like I weren’t never coming back. Miss LeeFolt, she’d narrow up her eyes at me like I done something wrong, unhitch that crying baby off my foot. I reckon that’s the risk you run letting somebody else raise your chillums.”

I would be heartbroken if my baby loved somebody else more than me. It would hurt terrible if they counted on someone else to take care of them. Why didn’t Mae Mobley’s mother want to take care of her? She wasn’t heading off to work. She was playing cards and hanging out with her racist friends.

I think similar attachments happen now with nannies. The popular book “The Nanny Diaries” looked a lot at how the children got attached to the nannies and if they got fired or left the child did not understand..

I loved how Abileene was trying so hard to make sure that Mae Mobley was colorblind. She truly wanted her to know that everyone was equal – a lesson she would never have gotten from her parents.

I loved how Abileene was trying to boost Mae Mobley’s fragile little ego. She wanted her to know she had worth even when her mother was critical of her. I tell my kids all the time in passing they are smart, they are beautiful and they are special but when we have quiet time and I’m laying down with them in bed I make them look me in the eye and I tell you them “You know we love you. You know we will always love you no matter what. You know you are smart. You are blessed. You are a good boy/girl.”

Michael’s mother died when he was in college but she always used to tell him “Don’t let anybody tell you they are better than you.” His mother grew up poor in the Philippines but she wanted him to know that he was just as good as everyone else and that has stuck with him!

2. Mothers and their daughters:

You saw Mae Mobley and her mother 20 years later in Skeeter and her mother. It really made me think about picking at Rose about dumb things – like hair or clothes. It’s just not worth making your kid feel like crap and have them anticipate you picking at them. It made me think of how Alexis Stewart describes her relationship with her mother Martha Stewart. She told a story once on her radio show about her mother editing the letters she sent home from camp and sending them back to her corrected.

Skeeter still wanted to take care of her mother when she was sick and she didn’t want to disappoint her. But she didn’t want to live like her and I think that’s a lesson that applies even today. They are not us and aren’t going to make the same choices we made.

Why are mother daughter relationships so tough? Do you think mothers are more contentious with their daughters than their sons? Is it a competition thing?

3. The Race relations – There’s so much ground to cover with the race relations and not all of it relevant to a mom blog discussion. Even though I was born in the 1970s and saw the KKK growing up in Georgia, it’s still hard to imagine the world like this. I can’t imagine teaching your children to hate anyone or teaching them that someone is less than they are.

It was painful for me to read about the children turning on the maids after they were grown. I can’t imagine loving and caring for those babies and then all of a sudden them thinking they are better than you.

I was also very fascinated seeing Minny with her own children. We didn’t have Minny working in a house with children so we couldn’t directly compare Minny’s white children to her black children. But it was interesting to see her interact with her children, how her home was organized, how the kids who were working dropped the others off, what she made for their dinners compared to what she was making for Celia.

Poor Minny’s kids will have other scars than racism – remembering their father beat their mother.

The part about Skeeter wanting to thank Constantine made me think about us thanking our own mothers more often!

Worst moments in the book for me?

I know that the blinding of the boy for using the whites only bathroom and the Medgar Evers getting shot was awful, but I just wept over Constantine giving up her child and the child crying for her not to leave her!! And then Abiliene having to leave Mae Mobley was terrible. What will Mae Mobley do with out her? Will she be OK? Will she grow up to be hateful? Will she remember her special time with Abilene?  Will she remember Abilene’s special stories?

Lilina was sleeping next to me in bed when I read the end and I felt as though someone took her out of my arms and away from me. It literally made my heart hurt!

OK so what did you think of the book? Tell me your thoughts on my three sections:

1.      Maids raising the kids

2.      Mothers and daughters

3.      Race relations

Also feel free to throw out parts of the book that really affected you or made you think? Also throw out your own questions from the book.

33 comments Add your comment

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJCMOMania, ajcparenting. ajcparenting said: AJC's Momania blog: Join us for online discussion of ‘The Help’ http://bit.ly/cWyf3G [...]

motherjanegoose

October 8th, 2010
7:44 am

LOVED the book. I was ready last week and I am disappointed the discussion is today. As I mentioned, I have plans with my daughter as she will be home and I want to see her and spend time with her. Thanks for the recommendation …was it longtime educator? I always love to read a good book. I really wish we could could have discussed it before now but that is not the way it worked out. Oh well. Have a great weekend all and enjoy the weather! I will read the posts later and perhaps discuss with DB over lunch.

MaryT

October 8th, 2010
7:46 am

I read the book several months ago and loved it. I don’t think I want to see the movie,however. I don’t think I could see white people being so evil to black people. Reading about it disturbed me enough, I don’t think I could handle seeing it. Maids raising the kid was just the way it was back then. I used to work with a guy who was raised by a “Mammy” as he called her. He said he thought everybody should be raised that way. I had kids to raise them myself. My daughter will be 12 later this month. We still have a good relationship even though she would rather text and hang out with her friends. But that’s just part of growing up and I would worry if she’s rather hang out with me than her friends. I have such a problem with people being racist against blacks. My husband’s grandmother said the N word at dinner one night. I was so offended, but he just said that was they way she was raised. She’s 90 something now. I don’t think that’s a good excuse – they way somebody was raised. And one time one I was at a family gathering at one of my husband’s relatives. We were talking about a black actress and I said I thought she was beautiful. One relative said she was not pretty b/c she was black. I was shocked that in this day people can still think that way. The book was well written, and I liked it, but it made me sad to read it. I want a sequel to see what happened to the maids and to see how Skeeter’s life in NY turned out. But I heard an interview with the author and she said she wouldn’t do a sequel, only a prequel.

MaryT

October 8th, 2010
7:47 am

opps, – I should proof before I post -”the way somebody was raised”

Photius

October 8th, 2010
8:14 am

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Ta-Ta For Today….

FCM

October 8th, 2010
8:23 am

TWG— I didn’t read the book but my Mom always made Dad a spice cake with caramel icing for his brithday. She stopped making it all “scratch” awhile back, she used the Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix as directed on the package. Then for the icing you melt 30 of the Kraft Caramels (I saw them at Publix this week) in the microwave or over a double boiler with 2T butter….once it is all melted you put it in the mixer and start whipping air into it and slowly add confectioners sugar (I don’t think we ever measured)until it gets to be a soft tan color…don’t add to much because it will harden up like cement! If it gets a bit too hard thin it with some milk.

I have used that same caramel icing on yellow cake and homemade applesauce cake.

All of these Rose or or Walsh would probably love to help you make. In fact, I think mine will help me this weekend….something about fall and apples and caramel.

If you liked these books read the Mrs. Julia series, there are some interesting women relationships, including the various versions of “mother hood”.

TechMom

October 8th, 2010
8:55 am

Read the book about 6 months ago for our neighborhood book club. I must say that the first half of the book was not exactly a page-turner for me. It was a good book and I really enjoyed the last 100 pages or so but it took me a while to get through.

I found it sad that these mothers were missing out on their children’s lives. I know this was a small portion of the population who lived this way but I honestly feel bad for any child who was actually raised by a maid versus their mom. I suppose Skeeter turned out better for it but it seems like she never got to have that close relationship with her mom. I certainly hope Mae Mobley remembered the love Abileene showed her b/c it didn’t appear she was getting it anywhere else. She was what, 3? and her mom thought she wasn’t cute enough and was too fat??? How sad.

My favorite part of the book was the toilets being left on the lawn (can’t remember the character’s name). Cracked me up!

Anyway, I have a ton to get done today and don’t have time to comment on the other parts. Hope to have time to check back in later.

Becky

October 8th, 2010
9:02 am

I read the book about 6 months ago and I loved it..Like you Theresa, I cried and I laughed..

I also wanted (maybe) a sequel to find out what happened to Mae Mobley and Abileene..I also thought that it was ironic that the whites wanted the blacks to “raise” their kids and yet still treat them pretty much like crap..

Like MaryT, my family (paretns & older siblings) grew up thinking it was ok to say the N word..By the time that I came along, my family had quit saying it..I could not imagine having grown up during the times that the blacks were being treated this way..

I’m glad that my two little ones don’t see color nowadays..They are friends with all races..My opinion is that in probably 50 or 100 years, we will all be one skin tone..

FCM

October 8th, 2010
9:21 am

TWG I think my comment got put in Spam?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 8th, 2010
9:34 am

FCM — I will find it —

Photius — I have a second topic for today but I have to write it up so check back later –

cc

October 8th, 2010
10:00 am

I thought the book was great! I thought that Skeeter may have been Constantine’s daughter but as it turned out she was not. I would love to see it turned into a movie.

JATL

October 8th, 2010
10:04 am

I have to say, it’s hard for me to write about this without crying! This book resonated so deeply with me -it’s truly hard to describe, but here goes. Sorry this is going to be really long! My mother died last September, and I read this book late last October. Of course I was in the deeply grieving process, and I loved my mother deeply. We had a great relationship, but of course those mother-daughter relationships aren’t without their issues! I was raised in a very small middle-Georgia town, and born in 1970. Although school-integration and the civil rights movement had “happened,” things were still very much like this book in my town. All of the “nice” white families had black women who helped. Some helped every day, and some came in two or three times a week to clean and babysit. My house was in the latter category. Our main helper was Pat, but we also had Neeva-Jo and Ruby on occcasion. I cannot tell you how much I loved Pat! She was large and sweet and smelled like Campbell’s tomato soup. My mother was NOT mean to me, and she did take up tons of time with me, but Mae Mobley’s love for Abileene reminded me of my love for Pat. My mother was also extremely nervous and a bit volatile when I was a small child, and Pat was a source of comfort and calm for me. I can think of her smell right now and picture her arms open to me and calm washes over me.

Pat had been working for an older gentleman in our town since she was 13 years old, and he told my mother about her when I was born. To understand the mindset here -this lady had been raised with ideas and beliefs just slightly better than those of house slaves. In the main house where she worked, when he had dinner parties, Pat and the butler would wait in the shadows and materialize whenever the man would snap his fingers. So -you see the overall societal mentality we’re talking about here -and this was in the 1970s! My first introduction into the differences of thought or perception of what was “OK” between races came when I was 4 years old. My parents were having a Christmas party, and Pat was over to watch me and keep me entertained, fed, bathed and put in bed. When it was time for bed (and I had a double bed), Pat refused to get in bed with me. She laid down on the floor, and I said, “Pat, get in bed with me -don’t lay on the floor.” She said, “Oh no Miss Julie, I’m fine right here.” (please also note that I called her Pat -and I was NEVER allowed to call white adults by their first name without a Mr. or Mrs. in front of it -and she called me “Miss Julie”)It was cold and December! This greatly disturbed me because I thought Pat didn’t want to get in a bed with me, so I asked my mother about it the next day. She informed me that Pat had been raised not to put herself on the same level with white children and that it wouldn’t be alright for her to get in a white child’s bed. I was dumbfounded. This women bathed me, hugged me, let me sit in her lap, etc. It took a number of years and me getting out in the world and more educated before all of this really hit home. The part about them not wanting the black maids to use the same toilet really reminded me of this incident!

The worst thing involving Pat that I never forgave my mother for was when I was getting married in 2000. I had let correspondence or visits with Pat subside in my 20s, but I wanted to invite her to my wedding. I knew there were people coming who could give her a ride, and she had always asked about me and been interested in me, and I really wanted to see her. When I was home and we were discussing invitations, I told my mother I wanted to go see Pat -that it had been way too long -and that I wanted to ask her to the wedding. My mother told me that Pat had died several years before that. I could not BELIEVE my mother wouldn’t tell me that! I would have gone to her funeral! I wanted to go to her funeral! So, you can see why this story really struck a chord with me!

I wanted to also thank Pat for being the person (and she’s who I credit whenever this topic comes up) for making me non-racist. My parents are (were) very good people, and they HAVE changed with the times, but they were also products of their generations and when I was very young had some very definite ideas about blacks and whites and their proper places. No one thought anything of saying or hearing the “N” word. I never felt that way. I never got it -no matter how much I heard it. I credit Pat for that. Like Becky, I’m delighted my kids aren’t growing up that way. In fact, my son’s new best friend in pre-school this year is a delightful little girl (who happens to be black). I would love to show a picture of them to Pat and hear her lean back and laugh and say, “Hmmm mmmm -look at that!”

SO the two themes of the maids and mothers and daughters really got to me -especially at the time I was reading it. I think I love the book so much and many others do too who are 40-45 + because we grew up in similar circumstances. Kathryn Stockett does a fine job of painting things as they were. Unfortunately the paradox of blacks raising white children but not being “good enough” to use the same toilets, eating utensils and whatnot was ingrained for a few centuries. Black slaves used to WET NURSE their owner’s babies! How someone could say -sure -nurse my child with your breast milk, but you’re a lesser human than I am boggles my mind, but this kind of thinking was here for a long time. It’s not so much of a stretch to see how women in the first half + of the 20th century had no qualms letting women they considered inferior raise their children. I was shocked when, about 7 years ago a co-worker of mine stopped by my office one day to chat. He was standing in the doorway, so others in other offices (including a black woman next door to me) could hear him. He was remarking on his new baby and how his wife asked him, “Where are we going to find a black woman to raise this child?!?” I think my eyes almost popped out of my head (being how this was 2003 in an Atlanta office building coming from a 32 year old guy). I just took a deep breath and said, “I think that ship has sailed!” And I think it has. Racism is always going to linger in the corners of our society. Unfortunately some people raise their kids a certain way and those kids never grow beyond that. But many do, and look how far in 40 years our society has come!

LM

October 8th, 2010
10:10 am

I really loved the book. When I was getting near the end I wanted to put it down and stop reading (was scared what would happen to the Maid’s & Skeeter).

I was born just a few years after this book starts off, and up in Chicago to a very different world. I think it was so much harded here in the south and particulary in rual south for the black poulation.

Before I was born my mother had lived in Tuscaloosa AL, she was originally from Michagin and Chicago and she brough up the differences in how race was handled in both places.

My mom was a single parent raising two very young children in Chicago. We didn’t have a nanny or maid, but every Monday morning we were sent to stay with a lady and her husband until Friday evening when Mom would pick us up. The first lady we treasured, she was loving and kind and was supporive of us and our Mom. The second lady was cruel. She was mean and nasty. She lived with her husband and adult son (he may have had some learning disabilities, I don’t know). Her husband was lost his right arm (I think do to a war). I got my first and only bloody nose when she threw a plate at her husband and it hit me in the face. I was 2 & 3 when we were staying with her. Since my brother had school she would let him go to bed early, but since I was not in school I had to stay up and watch Jonny Carson every night and then get up to take my brother to school.

It was not until much later when my brother and I told mom all the stories and Alice and her house. Mom was mortified and ashamed that she put us in that kind of situation. Even as very young kids we understood our Mother was trying to do her best for us. We tried to not make life any harder on her and pretty much kept the worse things to ourselves.

Even with all the moving around we did, I never noticed race as a issue. I think mostly because we were all poor and were just trying to make ends meet. It was not until I was in my early 20’s I noticed race and that was in Memphis. To this day every time I go though Memphis, I still remember the uglyness and disrespect shown to a black friend of mine and it still makes me sad.

LM

October 8th, 2010
10:16 am

JATL, loved your story. I am so sorry your mother did not let you know when Pat died, it really parrelled Skeeter.

Thank you for sharring

LM

October 8th, 2010
10:19 am

OT, but I just finnished another book called Room by Emma Donoghue. About a Mother doing the best for her son in a very difficult situation.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 8th, 2010
10:22 am

WOW JATL — excellent post!!!! really really good! Thank you for sharing all that!

Becky

October 8th, 2010
10:30 am

Wow JATL..Sorry about the loss of your Mother..Mine has been gone for 20 years and it still hurts..Sorry also to hear about your lss of Pat..

I’m 48 and I have never known anyone that had a Mammy..The thing is, I love that word..Just thinking about someone that is a Mammy, makes me think of someone that is loving and caring and will always be there for you..

Like you, most of my older family members grew up disliking blacks..I remember once when I was probably 11 or 12 (74 or 74) and my older sisters had some friends come over and there were a couple fo black kids, my Mother about had a stroke..She was so worried about what the neighbors would say if they saw them..I never could understannd that as I had friends at school that were black..

I also agree that racism is always going to be there somewhere, as sad as that may be..It’s just like my nephew..He has 4 girls with his ex girlfriend..She is Hispanic and for christ sakes, they named one of their daughters Aryan..he says it mean pure..Uhhh yeah..Notice that I said ex, she left him for a black guy and he thinks that is the worst thing that could ever happen..So, I guess I’m wondering if I’m the only one that thinks it’s strange that a lot of guys think that it’s ok to date, marry or have sex with a black woman, yet when a white woman dates a black guy, it’s all worng? Or maybe it’s just the guys that I know..

JATL

October 8th, 2010
10:45 am

Thanks everyone -I wanted to share that story and was excited when TWG said we would discuss this book. I think it’s an important story to share, because Pat had one of those lives many people would probably think didn’t really make much of a difference in this world, but it did! And the difference she made to me has had a ripple effect in many ways.

@LM -wow -people underestimate how much even very small children think and keep inside, don’t they? I remember thinking as a really little girl -around 3 -that I wouldn’t tell my mother certain things because I knew she needed “her time” and it would upset her. I’m glad you and your brother made it through!

@Becky -I think the attitude regarding white women and black men goes back to people’s racist ideas surrounding myths about black guys and that they see black men as dangerous or something. I’ve definitely noticed that though with some people -no biggie for a white guy and a black woman to have a relationship, but a BIG deal for a white woman and a black man to have one! Strange and just another one of those “straggling” racist ideas left over from another time.

Cannot tell...

October 8th, 2010
11:02 am

@Becky…My mom moved her in ‘68 from up north. She went back to see her family and a friend of hers came over to visit. My grandmother walked in and said “See I am not racist. Frankie is sitting here in my livingroom and everything!” My Mom said she wished the floor would open up and swallow somebody at that moment.

However it did give a lasting impression on my mom. She refused to allow us to see differences in people…old, young, black, white, etc. She wanted us to see people for people.

I strive to do the same with my kids.

Becky

October 8th, 2010
11:35 am

@cannot tell..My Mother would of turned 86 Wed. if she were still alive and I’m not sure if she would of ever changed her thoughts on blacks and whites mixing..Which by the way, I am told by my great niece that this term is not PC anymore..She is married to a black man and she tells me that you should say bi-racial..Again, I’m so glad that times are changing and that my grandkids will not be picking their friends by color..

catlady

October 8th, 2010
12:00 pm

Not about the book: My BFF’s mother was put in the hospital when she was about 4. Back then kids were not allowed to go to the rooms, so her mother would sit by the window while her little daughter, standing on the lawn, cried up to her, “Mama, please come HOME!” Don’t you know that was pitiful?

catlady

October 8th, 2010
12:06 pm

I had a “mammy” when I was born. I might not have survived without her! She stayed to help us for about 3 years, until my mother “recovered” from childbirth!Such different times! (I went back to work when my youngest was 16 days old!) We usually had a “cleaning lady” who did weekly cleaning and ironed (remember that?) a few days a week as I got older–until about 1966. After that, we didn’t–my mom said they “wanted too much” which I believe was $20 per 6-8 hour day!

Becky

October 8th, 2010
12:06 pm

@catlady..Yes I’m sure that it was pitiful..Heck, I get my two every weekend and sometimes 2-3 during the week and it breaks my heart each time I take them home..I could not imagine going thru that..

Light

October 8th, 2010
1:15 pm

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com/

ABC

October 8th, 2010
1:38 pm

Light, please give it up and get off of this and other blogs.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 8th, 2010
2:00 pm

Guys — I have posted a second topic for the day —-Check it out

http://blogs.ajc.com/momania/2010/10/08/let-your-kids-look-at-picture-books-stop-pushing-chapter-books-so-early/

Light — I am just impressed you manage to get by the spam filters every day — poor MJG is actually contributing and gets pulled almost every day! I am impressed with your spamming ability”!

MaryT

October 8th, 2010
2:57 pm

Thanks ABC – my thoughts exactly!

deidre_NC

October 8th, 2010
6:34 pm

@JATL…youre post was heartwrenching and it could have been me writing almost all of it. you did a much better job of putting it all in words. i was born in 1953 and had the same enviornment as you. we had ella mae. she was the most wonderful woman. my mom was bipolar and ellla mae was my rock at home. ditto almost everything you said……then she died from food poisoning she got at a church picnic. i was around 13 years old, old enough…and wanted badly to go to her funeral. my family was really big on funeral attending as most southerners at the time were. well i was told, no it isnt done. hello????? it was one of the most terrible fight my parents and i ever had. i had no way to go-didnt even know where to go if i did-but i could not believe that ella mae’s ‘family’ as she callled us wouldnt even go to her funeral. that was so huge to me i have never forgotten it in all these years. yes..this book was in a lot of ways like reading about my childhood. very touching, very angering. i hope whoever makes the movie does it justice.

LongtimeEducator

October 8th, 2010
9:11 pm

Sorry I’m so late to the “party”…I had a busy day today! I think the reason this book struck such a chord with me was the fact that I grew up on a farm and had a lot of interaction with black “help.” I was born in 1953 in Florence, SC, so that will give a time frame of reference. We had a maid who came a couple of times a week to help clean and iron. Her name was Ella, and she often brought her son who was the same age as I. We sure did get into trouble with some of our crazy adventures! I wouldn’t say that Ella raised me, but she was an important part of the family. I honestly don’t remember bathroom issues…it was a small house with only one bathroom so undoubtedly, that was the one she used. I also don’t remember that being such a horrible thing.

A major crop on the farm was tobacco, so summer was a critical time for getting as much help as possible for harvesting. Tobacco is not a one harvest crop, but something that happens over several weeks as the leaves “ripen.” We ALL worked together, black and white, to gather the leaves, transport them to a nearby tobacco barn, string the leaves on sticks, and hang in the barn for curing. This was the race relations that I remember…black and white working together on the farm. As far as I know, Daddy treated the workers fairly but who’s to say what was fair at the time?

I remember water fountains labeled “colored” and “white only”. I remember black people using a separate entrance to the movie theater and having to sit in the balcony. I remember going to restaurants and the soda fountain at the Kress Five and Ten and there were no black people. Since I was a child, I didn’t question why…it’s just the way things were. Equalization of schools didn’t take place until 1970.

JATL

October 8th, 2010
10:48 pm

Enter your comments here

JATL

October 8th, 2010
11:17 pm

DiedreNC – let’s hear it for Ella Mae & Pat! Old times here may not be forgotten, but I’m glad they’re gone! I think we were very lucky indeed to have known these ladies in our formative years.

deidre_NC

October 9th, 2010
6:44 am

hear hear ella mae and pat!!! RIP…
@long time educator-where i grew up in atlanta there wasnt separation as you spoke of…but in the very early 70’s (in my hippie days) we were hitch-hiking to texas and went through hattisburg miss…and there were separate entrrances to the movie theather…i was just amazed. im sure there were places like that in atlanta in my youth i just wasnt in those parts of town–or was just too young to notice.
i also have raised my kids to be color blind. ive raised them to look at a persons character not their social class or color. i was raised by a very prejudticed family-i remember when we got our first black student in high school-he was really hot-and a football player..he asked me out one day and i was totally dumbfounded-i just didnt know what to say-i knew my parents would kill me if a black guy picked me up for a date..i really cant remember what i said if anything-that was a bad moment. i felt like crap.

S ATLgirl

October 9th, 2010
11:39 pm

JATL, I had almost the same experience that you did. First with a lovely, loving woman named Annette and then with a precious lady named Pearl. Pearl would give me you know what when my room was messy and then she would iron my Dad’s shirts during her soaps. If we got in the way of the TV, we got a swat!! I wasn’t told about either of their deaths until weeks after they happened (we had moved away) but I was really moved by each and have since made donations in their names. I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful lady come and help me every week and I make my children help her keep their areas clean. It took a while for S to get used to the idea but I don’t want my children to grow up thinking that they can do anything and S will take care of it. My daughter will clean up right beside S and they talk and laugh and are good friends. My son adores her, he’s only 3 but he minds her much better than me and loves when she walks in the door. S knows how our family works, has helped us out in more ways than I can say and we consider her a close friend. We pay her well, allow her to use our vacation home whenever she wants to and I believe that she loves us as much as we love her. And, we talk about EVERYTHING, black hair, white hair, the recent Eddie Long issue, race relations in the South, I know that I have learned from being close to her family and I know that she is proud of us too. I read ‘The Help’ and recognized a life that was still around during my childhood, I loved those women and I know they loved me but I also know that S loves my babies just as much but without the feelings of oppression and servitude that was so prevalent in previous generations.