I Should Be Ashamed of WHAT?!?

“Hey ya’, hey ya’, hey yaa ya yaahh!”  T.G.I.F. even!  Just this morning, yep, I saw the “fullish moon” going down as the Sun rose!  “What a wonderful world!”
At this moment, I am so content with “things” around me, it feels like “paradise”.  Now, I know that perhaps around the corner or across the bridge, someone is struggling with life … I wish them peace, as I can only do so much to manage “ME”!  Recently, I thought back to my days in “boarding school” …. St. Paul’s to be exact!  What a “work in progress” I was, with so many experiences shaping me and influencing my own “self concept”.  I am grateful to have had teachers and classmates who were NOT cruel and disrespectful of those of us who came to “integrate” a previously all boys, white Anglo-Saxon private Episcopalian boarding school in Concord, NH!
This is something that meant and continues to mean a lot to me since I was so “impressionable” and young emotionally.  I wanted to be sure that people like Coach Blake, Sr. Rafael Fuster, Sr. Hurtgen and Mr. Lederer who were our instructors as we “minority students” attended a school quite unlike our hometown environs know this.  There were students like Gary Hodder, David Holt, Clinton Van Dusen … shucks, there were even a few of the female “white anglo saxon” students and “house mistresses” who enhanced “our” experiences.  Thank you for being cool with “us”!  “We” were trying to make “good” on the administration and student body’s efforts to literally “desegregate” and utilize “us” in the process.  I felt little or NO hostilities, little or NO name calling nor racial slurs were hurled at “us”, and the utmost cooperation by all involved at SPS to make the time when I was there “bearable”.  It helped me become the person I am today.  No apologies here!  I was well prepared for “Princeton” and beyond.  I had classmates and teammates like Larry T. Woody, Mike Shivers, Kevin Gover and Gary George from the “minority” students with whom I am glad to have “rubbed shoulders”!!  Again, no apologies here either!  Much appreciated, Guys!
One of the things about us “old school” guys, sometimes called an “Ole G”, is that we learned to “mix it up” with the best.  We sat in classes, lectures, cruised around an Ivy League campus and had access to some of “the finer things in life”.  To this day, I recall two class reunions I attended from The Class of 1976 at Princeton and I was still making friends there some 40 years later!  I mean, it wasn’t a picnic … yet, I and many of us “got through it” in style!!  So, in case you haven’t heard that “familiarity sometimes breeds contempt”, keep that in mind these last few days of Black History Month 2019 with so much going on in the US from a staged attack by a “movie star” to an attempted massacre by a white supremacist in the Coast Guard, I believe, living just miles from the Capitol …  Each time I try to watch “CNN”, I get annoyed at how many of “the president’s men” have committed crimes, some already incarcerated while others are preparing to stand trial or face Congressional hearings, and maybe even “cut a deal”!  Now THAT’S something to be ashamed of, not making it through a system tainted with institutional racism from its inception … by someone of a “minority race”!  And if you think that I am NOT PROUD … whether you agree with me or not, you’d better think again!
In closing, I am hoping that the folks I mentioned here know how much our experiences together meant to me and how much they helped me grow.  I am proud of “us”!  Have a great weekend and be proud of the good things you do!
Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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