Monday, September 19, 2011

I admit I've been a little whiny lately. OK I've been a lot whiny. This backache thing is getting old real fast. Sitting against the heating pad helps. Imagine sitting against a heating pad when you live somewhere with an average temperature of eighty-five degrees in September. Yeah, I'm a lot whiny. Anyway...

I decided yesterday,that I should take the day off. Lay around and try to get better. I force myself to stay away from the computer and not write on Sunday,it is work for me. Anyway...I finished reading the book I have been working on for almost two weeks. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. This was such an amazing, heartfelt book I want to leave a little review, in hopes that you all will take the time and read it. I love almost anything that will make me laugh out loud. I am impressed by those that make me feel. It is rare that I'm reading with tears streaming down my face. This story was able to accomplish all three.

Simply put it's the story of upper middle class white women in the south during the 60's and their maids (The Help). It's a work of fiction with characters so real you expect to see them on Oprah.(OK, I do know that Oprah is no more - even if we don't watch TV, but you know what I mean.) As their stories unfold, my heart broke for some, for others I cheered and there are a few I wanted to slap silly.

I grew up during the 60's. I grew up real fast during the 60's. I also grew up in Chicago in a house where the word "nigger" was not considered a bad word. As a matter of fact, my father, a Chicago Cop used every possible euphemism for people of color. Some, I'm sure if I told you now, you would never have heard. Even then it made me cringe. Don't worry Dad had ethnic slurs for every nationality and race. I remember a few years ago at church when a sweet lady was talking about how she loved all of Mr.Twain's books even though some of them contained (whispers here) the "N" word. I had to ask someone what "cuss word" starts with N.

Anyway...that's just a little background on me. Where and how I was raised. The reason Ms.Stockett touches my heart today is that I currently reside on an island in the Caribbean where, by the color of my skin, I am the minority. Actually only 8% of the population here share my skin color. I hear, daily, the complaints about the work force on the island and it is not dissimilar to what I read in this work of fiction. I meet people regularly who do not like me because I am white. They are sure all white people can't be trusted, are out to exploit them and their nation. We kidnapped their ancestors and sold them into slavery. Unfortunately,some of my ancestors probably did. At least I do know that they were salve owners in the South who fought on the losing side of the Civil War. This is not what touches my heart, only my conscience.

What touches my heart is the Sister from church who called today, because I was sick yesterday to see if the "bush tea" she sent home with my husband helped me to feel better. The other Sisters who give me a hug and kiss on the cheek (typical Caribbean greeting on my island) and tell me that they love me. The acceptance I feel from the youth that I work with. The advice and protection offered from some of the people who work at the complex where I live.

I remember my Dad once saying to me that so and so would call me "everything but a white woman". Well now I have been called a "white woman" and more than once it has been meant to be just as derogatory at the "n" word. Other times it is just a statement of fact. I am a white woman.

Thank you Ms. Stockett for putting into words and print some of the facts. The fact that all women everywhere share the same hopes and dreams for their children. The fact that all women everywhere want to beloved and cared for.The fact that no matter what color our skin, hair or eyes women everywhere want to make their little part of the world a better place.

I have never thought of myself as a feminist but I do know that it is women who will change the world. One child at a time.

Read it, you will like it. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.

Maybe one day I'll tell you about the two years I lived in the South. The Deep South.

Whew...that's an awful lot of thinking from someone who lives by the motto; "Thinking is optional."

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