First we'll begin with AMY's reminiscences about being white. Also, being bused to Trader Joe's... er, I mean, north Denver.
One black girl threatened to kick my ass on my first day up at Hallett. I didn't know what that meant, but I did not want my ass to be kicked, as I had the distinct impression that it would hurt. I remember her coming to the swings at one point to calm my white ass down and tell me ways out, she was just playin'. I didn't know what that meant, either, but she had a smile on her face, so we started sharing our favorite moments from Roots and wound up setting back the cause of civil rights about fifty years.
Joy W. and Lisa M., both white, and I were told in class to work together with the encyclopedia. I guess the teacher assumed because I was white I had seen an encyclopedia and knew what to do with it. Wrong! I was, and still am based on my Facebook research, the stupidest of the bunch and didn't have a clue. Joy and Lisa were stunned that I did not know how to alphabetize and couldn't read all that well. I remember feeling like a dipshit.
In gym class one day, a black girl asked me if I liked "chitlins." I said, yes, I love chicken! Wow! We have something in common. Only to be mocked mercilessly for not knowing what chitlins were. I still have never had chitlins.
The reason my sister and I were suddenly thrown into this busing scheme was because my parents had divorced and we were sent to live with my dad. My dad, ever the player, had many girlfriends whose names I would confuse at different times. One day, Jane (or Trixie?) came to pick up my sister early from school for a doctor's appointment (what sort of mojo did my dad have that he could convince a professional woman who had never met us to do his parenting dirty work? I mean, he was bald, for chrissakes!). Anyway, she had never seen my sister Lisa before, but the way my dad told the story, it wasn't a problem, as she was the only blonde-haired kid in the class. "Easy!" said Jane (or Lola?), pointing in the general white direction. "I'll take that one!"
I ended up leaving DPS after 9th grade at George Washington to live with my mom and start 10th grade at Wheat Ridge, which I later learned had the nickname "White Rich." I didn't fit in there either, only fitting half of that equation. I'm glad I had the busing experience in Denver, though. While forced integration doesn't have an immediate effect, over time it helps foster acceptance of our differences.
How many black people do I call "friend" today? Zero. My problem is that I don't get out much, so it would take a black family moving in next door with a stay-at-home mom and two kids my kids' age and that black mom being nice enough to bake some cookies and come to my front door and introduce herself and shove the cookies in my face and for it then to occur to me to invite her in for me to have a black friend. Not that she'd want to hang out with me. None of the white moms in this neighborhood do, either. They all want to kick my ass. Ways out.
ANDY (White Guy #1)
Half-day half-year busing. No, it's not a part-time job at Denny's. It's what we did in 4th grade. The powers that be didn't want to traumatize us too much, so they "introduced" busing by only doing it for half a day for half of the year. To confuse things even more, not all the kids were bused at the same time. You alternated quarters.
For me, this meant getting up 45 minutes earlier than usual. I'd walk the 4 houses to University Park, the school I would normally attend. I'd hop on the 525 (not as good as the 526 that all the cool kids rode) and then picked up other kids whose parents were either too poor or too liberal to attend private school (or had moved to the bustling new metropolis of Highlands Ranch) for the 30 minute ride across town to Columbine Elementary. After a shortened lunch period (16 minutes to eat that goddamn pizza with plastic forks!) we'd board the bus for a 30 minute ride back to University Park. Now this was during the oil embargo which was a really good use of fuel and school-time.
Kids Love a Commute
Before 5th grade they wizened up and ended half-day busing. Instead, you'd spend ½ the year at UP (heh heh, youpee) and ½ at Columbine. This meant that even though school ended at exactly 3:20, we'd get home at 4:10, at the earliest, and miss the first 10 minutes of George Reeves as Superman!
Faster than a speeding school bus
Finally, by sixth grade they just went the Full Monty and we attended Columbine full-time. By the sixth grade, many of my past schoolmates had fled the DPS school system for whiter pastures.
Here are the lessons I learned from my years as a lab-rat for DPS busing.
• Sit at the back of the bus. When you drive over the train tracks at Buchtel, you get a much better bounce.
• Good Citizenship Pens can (and will) be used against you. They make excellent dart guns.
• Your mom will not believe you when you describe how you had several Good Citizenship darts shot into your neck.
• Mr. Gale throws a dodge ball very, very hard.
• You will no longer sing "Me and My Monkey" in music class. Instead you will sing, "One Tin Soldier" and "Big Yellow Taxi."
• Playing Daniel Boone in the school play will be the pinnacle of my acting career until I star as "Bad Mugger Guy" in Riffel's student film. My one line, repeated over and over, "Sights. Wonderful sights."
• Snowy days meant very few kids bothered with school (Hey Martha, Cecilia, Kim and DVP) and the elongated bus ride meant very little actual class time.
• Ways out!
GREG (White Guy #2)
donald piper was an excellent puncher. so was gerald hurt. and jenario. they'd punch my arm real hard and laugh and make me bark like a dog. bark like a dog, they'd say. i started crying and they followed me around class as mr. saxon took a vaseline-coated pinky up his vast nostril and swirled it around and outside it was raining with the smell of cafeteria burgers and all day the arms on the clock wouldn't move and i counted cracks in the wall and wished i was anywhere else and somehow the magnets from science class went missing and whoever did it was going to get the punching of a lifetime and those boys came down hard on me hard with their fists hard like little balls of mighty dynamite screaming faggot pussy and kicking me hard in the ribs and i was crying puking snot in the hot gravel blacktop bleeding crying and holding myself to block all the fists on my faggot pussy self and look it was billy kilmer all along who stole those magnets so we'd get recess after all and my life was spared another day but later i was tripped and shoved hard from behind and i turned and some kid peed all over me just turning and drenching me with his hot piss that smelled of hot cafeteria burger mixed with soap and the boys laughing their laughs all over the lavatory tiles echoing harsh flat sound and the hot piss running down my cheeks like hot piss on a rainy piss day and by the time i got back crawling they were waiting to pound my piss face and punch and kick me and hit me and kick me and throw me down and laugh and hit me and i barked like a dog and hit me and i wishing so bad the day would be over just make the day be over i hurt so bad and wishing to end i smelled like piss on my piss faggot body before i had to get on the piss bus back home and counted the minutes the arms on the piss clock going faster now until i had to go back the next day for more of everything the same forever.