Tuesday, June 15, 2010
In 1978, I was waiting at a guard house to be called for a job interview. When I signed in, the name above mine was "Queen Esther Brown". The handwriting was beautiful and even the "Q" was perfectly made as we had learned to write cursive, but so seldom see the "2 looking Q" in writing. I remarked to the guard about the beautiful handwriting and he said, "Yeah, how about THAT name; I bet she's from the south side." I could tell from his snarky comment that she was a black person. I answered, "Well, wherever she's from she has lovely handwriting." I figured he would tell somebody that I was from the "sticks"!
A little later, another person whom the guard knew came in and they began to chat. The guard told him that he was considering retiring and he said that he and the wife were thinking about getting one of those new "CONDONIUMS". Now, in 1978, CONDOMINIUMS were not too common, but even a girl like myself, from the boondocks of Fayette County, knew they were not CONDONIUMS. My dilemma: to correct or not to correct; I did not correct him then.
After the interview, I had to sign out and as I was leaving I said to the guard, "While I was in there I met Queen Esther and she told me she lived in those CONDOMINIUMS you mentioned!" Of course, I hadn't met Queen Esther nor did I ever meet Queen Esther, but after 32 years, I STILL remember her name and handwriting and the shocked look on the guard's face! Whether the shocked look was because of the thought that he might be living close to a black person or he realized he mispronounced condominium, I didn't stay around to learn!
I worked with a guy named PRINCE Hudson (and sadly, his middle name was ALBERT! I came to learn that he was the third generation to have that name!)
Norman worked with MAJOR Blair (not his title, his given name)
I worked with a woman named PRINCESS!
Well, if COUNT Basie, DUKE Ellington, EARL ("FATHA") Hines and my brother DUKE survived with their names, I suppose everyone else can!