At four, I opposed fried eggs and cold tomatoes
uselessly—it takes more than one child to frustrate
a persistent parent. Then, when the school budget
failed and book use cost bucks, Dad refused to pay, but
I was the only one hurt by his defiance.
I grew up knowing people boycott when compelled
to resist, when done talking; group action is more
effective than individual acts; powerless
people sacrifice most in the process—
and Montgomery’s bus boycott was successful!
We had fewer news sources in the fifties, or
I was protected in my white town from
learning about Rosa Parks and Montgomery’s
challenge to institutionalized racism
until two or three years later, but I was thrilled.
My home showed little evidence of such freedom.
The fact of it made me want to be an adult
who voted and created change and held power
in my public hands. I was ready to boycott
grapes and to march against the war in Vietnam.
Boycott, sitting down and marching work better than
bullets do, though they take more time and patience
too. Yet boycotting pleases the little girl in me
who was so young when she first began to see changeis possible with refusal to pay and play.
Written for my prompt
Copyright © 2014 S.L.Chast