A mood ring, a MOOOOOOOOD ring, it’s what I wanted that day at the Christian Academy Yard sale. Well, that and a brown leather bracelet with my name on it, but with a long name like mine, it would have been more of a collar or small belt, so sights set on the MOOOOOOOD Ring. I had been recently enrolled by my parents into The Christian Academy School because I had made friends with the wrong crowd in kindergarten, black girls. I had been caught sharing crayons and make-up tips with Towanda, scandalous. At this point in my 6 years of existence my parents were still hoping for the best, maybe I would still graduate college and meet a nice boy, but under the circumstances it wasn’t looking good. Their daughter thought black people could be……friends! Must Brain Wash! Send child to rigid Christian, all white school immediately! Black people are for cleaning and serving us food at restaurants, not the expensive restaurants but the side of the road greasy spoon places, cause dey do make goooohoood fried chicken and chocolate pie. She must learn this NOW!
Social classes 101, a need to know class for every Wrecksboro County Club Girl as conducted by my mother; “Rules are…Do not associate with anyone who has a different skin color than white, the exception; the ladies who go to the tanning bed at Shirley’s House of Fake and Bake, now those ladies are tan and pay for it that is different. A paid for tan is acceptable, just not a “born with” tan. Do not be seen near the shoe or clothing department in discount stores. If you have to go to Roses Discount Land and need a shampoo, but you know you can get shampoo from Shirley’s House of Fake and Bake and I meaning your father will pay for it. I don’t know why you want to get your shampoo from Roses Discount Land, you always were peculiar and tacky like Mrs. Thompson wearing cheap clothes when I know she can afford better, I mean really, she is in our bridge club. So if you have to go to Discount Land, you must walk all the way around the store to avoid the clothes like they are infested with insects otherwise what would people think? We actually buy our clothes, shhhhh discount? Also, do not play with black Barbies or babydolls, but joke about how you are going to give one to your friends for their birthday. Just because Jesus loves all the little children of the world, doesn’t mean we have to associate with them. You should feel sorry for them because they are black and will never amount to anything, just like you if you don’t go to college. “
Later in my mother’s life, she found Wal-Mart and the rules changed. I had a baby and my baby got Wal-Mart clothes. My mother didn’t want her to stand out amongst the other low class children in day care with other mothers working minimum wage like myself with no college education. Always thinking, that woman always was sacrificing for the betterment of the world.
During this time in my life of 6 years old, my mother (also known as the One That Shan’t Be Named) became a diehard Christian, when it was convenient. So it made sense to enroll me into the Christian School of Everyone “but us are damned to hell”. Ms. Barbare was the principal. I was sent to her office once because I didn’t do my homework. She paced back and forth with a paddle, one of those ball and paddle toys with the elastic string attached to it so you wouldn’t lose the ball. I could never operate one of those things. I was never that coordinated when it came to any sort of sport that included a ball. While she paced she slapped the paddle against her palm to intimidate me, it worked. I cried told her every excuse I could think of to keep her from spanking me. She let me go back to class and I thought I had gotten away, free to go about being studious, keeping up with my addition worksheet, actually studying for my spelling test so I wouldn’t spell are “r” anymore, no coloring outside the lines in my Evolution is Evil workbook. I was saved from the humiliating spanking. There is a God and he loves me.
My mother picks me up in the station wagon and I’m sent directly to my room to wait for my father. Ms. Barbare had called my parents. My father entered my room with a wooden ruler, made me pull my school dress up and pull down my little girl tights and underwear, exposing all my little girl parts. This part of my father’s punishments always felt dirty and wrong. He told me to bend over and lie across my bed. He hit me hard on my bottom 10 times with the ruler and told me if he got called again and even if I got a spanking at school, he would hit me 20 times with the ruler next time. I hate Ms. Barbare, I hate my father, I hate the Christian School and this stupid polyester dress that makes me stand out as one of the chosen ones in my segregated, ignorant town, fuck the homework I won’t bend to your rules ever again and if there is a god, he doesn’t like me.
The mood ring that I had bought from the Christian School yard sale stayed black upon my finger, just like my friend that I never saw again. I eventually crushed it under my feet on the white concrete of the school.
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