Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Friday


I saw that picture on Twitter. Someone posted it to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, a campaign launched in June 1964 to register African American voters in Mississippi, where Black folks had been sorely disenfranchised. That summer, courageous young people died fighting for our right to vote, and now the gains are being systematically dismantled.

As a young girl I had such a crush on civil rights activist Julian Bond. Too young and far away to participate, I followed the goings on of the sixties in the pages of Ebony and Life magazines, never dreaming I would one day write for them. Or rather, I did dream it, which is no doubt why it came to be. I have definitely seen that picture of Julian Bond as a young man before. I love the hope and optimism written all over him.

My lion-hearted cousin and her two daughters are in town from Maryland for the weekend, the younger one here to visit colleges. We laugh all the time when we're together. Even the serious stuff can take a turn into hilarity. I grew up so close to this cousin. We were the only two girls our age amid a cluster of boy cousins, and so we were always shipped off to our grandparents in the country together. Today, she is a cyber optics engineer. Or something. I don't truly understand what she does.

I'm glad they're here. The truth about freelancing is I love working from home on Monday through Wednesday, but by Thursday I start to feel a little isolated and uninteresting, as if I have nothing to contribute because I've been in my head so much with no input from the outside world. I'm learning what works and what doesn't in my new circumstances. I've decided that I shall have to put some organized activities in place to facilitate regular interaction with the world at large. Maybe join some kind of club. Volunteer for a cause. Sing in a choir. Run for my contentious co-op board. Resume physical therapy sessions. Schedule a regular mid-afternoon movie date with myself.

In light of the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, and the difficult issues so many people I love are currently dealing with, I do fully recognize that just being able to think like this is evidence of how crazy good my life is. This is what they call a happy problem.


13 comments:

  1. Julian Bond was so incredibly handsome and winning... moreso, to my eyes, when he was a little older
    than in this picture. I remembering wondering way back then if he might be presidential material some day. It seems to me those were more hopeful times, but maybe it's that I was young.

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    1. A, he is such a boy in this picture. He became a handsome man, I agree. He may well have been presidential material but the country wasn't ready I think. With Obama, despite the ugly rhetoric that attends politics these days, the country was ready. in fact, I'd wager the country is far more progressive than the squawking media might suggest. Most people are benumbed by politics right now however. Myself included. No one is countering the ugliness very well.

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  2. How well I know the challenges of a mind that is always turned inward. However, it's not too, too challenging because I love my own company. Freedom Summer! I hadn't been born yet, but I was on my way. Enjoy the visit with your loved ones!

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    1. Nancy, I really wasn't aware of much of what was happening that summer either, I was very young, and as I recall, my family was living in London that year. But it was the year after Kennedy's assassination yanked me into consciousness about politics and news and civil rights, so I was starting to pay attention to the rumblings that would later lead me directly into journalism.

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  3. How about bowling?

    Just teasing.

    I, too, love that photo -- and really liked hearing your memories of Bond.

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    1. Elizabeth, hahaha, i thought about bowling! If you join a bowling league, well I will join one too! Deal?

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  4. I don't remember ever seeing that Julian Bond photo -- I know him solely as his older self. He does look young and hopeful!

    Getting out of the house is definitely the key to sanity when working at home. I would advise against the co-op board. I was president of my board in New York for several years and it is pretty exhausting!!

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    1. Steve, not to be shallow but Bond was hot as a young man! Not in that picture, where he looks as young as my own children, but check out some later pics of him. And the co-op board? You're probably right.

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    2. My sister and I thought he was a real cutie too.

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  5. Oh yes, we need to be reminded from time to time that our lives are so crazy good.
    My vote is on joining a choir. Singing induces happiness.

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    Replies
    1. Sabina, I'm thinking choir too. Good breath!

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