Letters to the Museum

Recalling Those Times in a Small South Texas Town

My daughter found your site and told me about it. I thought "Good Lord, what kind of thing is that?", but I went to the site and it changed my mind. I am 67 years old and was raised partially by a black woman, as my own Mom and Dad had a 24 hour restaurant. I remember far too well those times in a small South Texas town. I lived at this woman's little house and for quite some time as I was just a tiny girl, I thought she was my Mother - and for all intents and purposes she was. She had no electricity, no gas, and no running water - but she had an abundance of love. We went to bed when it got dark and got up when it was daylight. When we walked downtown to see my parents she had to walk behind me - and when we got to the restaurant - I went in the front door - and this woman who was charged with protecting me with her very life - had to go in the back door. It wasn't that my parents were mean people - it was just not done any other way - or my father would have had to close his business. This woman fed me, cooked my meals on a wood stove, taught me my manners, bathed me in a tin tub, and I slept on her arm every night. She walked me to church every Sunday and held my hand when I was sick - but she could not go with me into public places. She was a simple woman, yet wise, courteous, and concerned - and I owe much of the person that I am today to her! I loved her dearly and named my daughter after her. I lived with the signs that said "Whites Only" and "Colored Here" and I was in high school when the schools were integrated and the N word was a common noun - and have seen the hatred surface. I know these things and lived through them - but so many never really saw them, especially the very young. I don't want us to forget - so that these things cannot come to pass ever again - and believe me they are not completely gone. I want us to remember and to teach our children - in the hopes that one day we shall not see color any longer. Thank you so much for the work that you are doing. It is very impressive - and your essays bring back many memories - they are exceptional. Again thank you and all my good wishes to you.

Sincerely.

Anna Keller
Houston, Texas

-- July 21, 2008


BACK