Thursday, November 6, 2008
MI double S I double S I double P I
One of the most painful moves with my fathers work life was being uprooted from small town Alabama to State Capital Jackson, Mississippi, shortly before the 10th grade. The connections, the sports reputation I had been building, the freindships were gone in an instant as I jumped in the 62 Pontiac to move due west to the tune of the then #1 hit song by the Rolling Stones, "I can't get no, Satisfaction".
Lost in the halls of a big school, too late to try out for football, suddenly rather outclassed in basketball in this school, I had a lonely year, riding a bus to school, feeling a bit lost. The Civil Rights movement had seen some ugly incidents in Selma and Philadelphia MS, but it passed me by, except when I realized that they shut down all the city run swimming pools the summer I moved to avoid segregated swimming. All around the city neighborhood swim clubs with local membership began to spring up, and I began the avocation that would mark my life for the next eight years, being a lifeguard and water safety instructor. In a large town the racial barriers still existed, but there were large distances between the white and black side of town, so I felt more isolated from racial interaction in Mississippi in those first years.