Culture change

Dear Editor,

In my seventh decade of this life it has become more difficult to accept change — especially “Culture Change!”

Most children are resilient; the elderly, not so much.

I recall my first day of school. I was more “resistant” than “resilient.” I can only imagine how terrified I would have been in 1954 with everyone wearing masks at South School in Martins Ferry, Ohio.

If my mother had just read a Dr. Seuss story to me, I could have been better prepared.

But as I now understand that is bigotry?

Well, it must be something bad these days!

Anyway, kindergarten 1954:

The first day of my public education was OK … (by the end of the class).

I recall my reluctance as I had everything I wanted at home and there were way too many little people in that room.

My mom carried me in (as I clutched my security “blanky”). We were late, I was not easy to drag.

Mrs. Weisgerber came to her desk to meet us. All the kids were sitting on the floor forming a circle (odd?).

As I cried in mom’s arms, Mrs. W. was trying to welcome me. She was good. The trick was, she showed me this metal toy airplane that has a prop that turned and wings that folded up and down. I was mesmerized, it was my Rubick’s Cube! I was promised I could play with it after I joined the circle on the floor.

OK, I complied (and Mommy snuck out with blanky).

At the time I didn’t understand the concept of the circle thing. We had a kick ball that was rolled about. If it rolled to you, you were to say your first name and then roll it to someone else.

When the ball came to me, I quickly rolled it to the only black kid in the class. It had nothing to do with race and everything to do with commiseration. He appeared more frightened than me!

I don’t recall his name or if I ever saw him again. He must not have cared for the airplane. I did. It was the only reason I came back the next day.

Gee, if I would have paid more attention during my school years I could maybe have a real airplane. No matter …

I still wonder what happened to my blanky? But I’m OK now. I have plenty of crutches.

As a dear departed neighbor told me, “Sam, it’s a good life if ya’ don’t let it get ya; down.” I miss him.

As I wonder when the “change” will seem good?

Good luck to all. Unmasked, Sam, I am.

Sam Fregiato

St. Clairsville

(jus’ west of Whoville)


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