It was a Saturday evening during the summer of 1982, I believe. “Billie Jean” was huge, and I had just gone to the Greenville Mall with my mom and stopped at Peppermint Records (Can I get a moment of silence from my fellow Greenville natives who remember that wonderful record store?) where I bought a Duran Duran pin and a Michael Jackson pin. I proudly wore that pin over to my grandmother’s house that night for dinner. It was tradition that every other Saturday night we went to MaMa Grant’s house for hot dogs, (with steamed hot dog buns!) baked potatoes (with ranch dressing!), chips, and apple pie with ice cream for dessert. Doesn’t that just scream “America!” or at least “Heartattack!”
Hrmm, bad word choice there.
Anyhoo, as I sat there munching on my hot dog, MaMa Grant (bless her heart) looks across the table at my shirt and asks, “Is that a picture of a black man on that pin?”
Oh to have been able to tell her, “It’s okay, MaMa, in a few years he’ll be white!”
(Disclaimer: I loved my grandmother dearly and do not mean to paint her as a racist. She was a beautiful woman who treated everyone as wonderfully as they treated her, perhaps even more so. So don’t go thinking I came from a racist family. That is all.)