Far be it from me to explain the complex  journey in the deep  South from segregation to integration to realism.    I can only speak to WHAT I HAVE LIVED , and I begin with the story of my nanny.

I know that racism keeps raising its ugly head !   And I am keenly aware that in my growing-up days,  the inequality,   the biases ,  and the meanness were all around,  just as today ,  too often and too close.

I am not so naive as to believe that there were no bad situations with the white families and the help.  I know that there are undesirables in all races and genders , and when the playing field is unlevel,  abuse can ,  and will ,  occur.

But it behooves me to tell my own story of my own relationships along the way, one reality at a time.  This blog will be continued.

Today’s memory throws back to my nanny, Sarah Lou Rucker,  there for me from birth to marriage.  She called herself  ” Diane’s black mama “——–and that she was !

She was part mother, part friend, part teacher, part disciplinarian—-all rolled into one beautiful,  caramel-colored  , petite lady ,  who ,  in no uncertain terms  , would tell me when to jump and how high !

Sarah Lou ran our household, and Mother was deeply grateful to her.  I never heard a harsh word or a reprimand given.  There was mutual respect for what each woman had to offer :  Mother with her compassion, intelligence, and innate sense of right and wrong, and Sara Lou with her skills, loyalty, and work ethics.

As always, time went by and things changed.  My parents moved away while I was in college, and Sarah Lou went to work in the high school cafeteria. But in 1960, as my wedding day approached, I knew I wanted her to be a part of this special day.

She helped me into my wedding dress, told me how much she loved me, and she and I walked from the Haley House  ( on the corner of Brookwood and Hwy. 17 ) to First Methodist Church, a half block away.  She carried my train up Hwy 17 and into the church,  the same caring and loving nanny that she always was.

When Sarah Lou died, her sons called to ask me to do her eulogy .  In a church overflowing with people who cared, I was able to publicly express the depth of our life-long relationship :  white child and black nanny who loved each other.

Following the graveside service, one of Sarah Lou’s granddaughters, a lovely young lady from Florida, came up to me to say,  ” Thank you for your remarks.  I always thought she was just a domestic.  But now I know she was so much more. ”

—————————–TO BE CONTINUED—————-