Sunday, April 03, 2005

Early morning, April 4

King Remembered 37 Years After His Slaying

One month and one day later, I would be four. I could be forgiven, maybe, for not knowing then, for not remembering later.


One month after I turned four, it was Bobby Kennedy. I remember. I remember seeing him, on the black and white TV. Falling. Always falling. Again. and. again.

But not Martin Luther King, Jr. It would be years, years later before I even realized these two assassinations occurred in the same year, only two months apart. One a month before I turned four. One a month after.

One day after I turn four: Bloody Monday in Paris. No, I didn't know. But that's another country, another language.

Memphis? Home of Elvis. My sister, an Elvis fan. My whole life, Elvis. In 1968, Lisa Marie is born. Pictures of Elvis, Priscilla, the baby. A family. A white family. In Memphis. An event we commemmorated: we had pictures.

Memphis is closer to Weatherford, Texas than San Francisco is. My family visited Memphis when I was in high school. Our one stop: Graceland. The graves of Elvis, his parents. The rooms done up by a poor boy who made it big and died in the 70s: lots of glass, lots of shag carpet. Multiple TVs before everyone had multiple TVs.

Elvis? "If I Can Dream" spends 12 weeks on the Billboard Charts in 1968. Totally forgettable. One year later: "In the Ghetto."

So much not learned growing up in small-town Texas. Happenings weren't happening in Weatherford, Texas. We moved into a new house in 1968, right before my birthday. My parents still live there. That's what happened in Weatherford, Texas in 1968: my parents found a place to stay.

Which is one reason, yes, that writers like bell hooks have meant so much to me. I had, I have much to learn. About what was happening right under my nose all my life, but that I couldn't see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

beautifully written