Tag Archive | Thunder Bay

The most significant thing I learned

Intelligent Black woman teaching class

“Every woman on the planet, pretty or plain, heavy or thin, black, white, brown, yellow or red has love, comfort and companionship to offer some deserving man somewhere. I was taught by Quebecois parents that ugly was a character reference and that all people have something beautiful about them. I grew up in a very small town north of Thunder Bay, Ontario in Canada. I was ten years old and entering grade five in 1966. Our town was made up of European and First Nation people. Our new teacher was a Black woman originally from Alabama I believe and had gotten her teaching degree in Toronto where she had been living. She was the first black person any of us had ever seen besides on television. She was medium height, shaped a bit like Oprah, very pretty and stylish and had a throaty voice. She smelled like lillies. During recess she would walk up and down the rows putting paper on our desks and sing opera songs. I would stare at her through the open windows and wonder of her. Sometimes she would let me help her at recess and tell me stories about America. She was the first women other than my mother that I picked flowers for. I was shocked and disappointed when I returned for grade six and she had gone back to Toronto. Without intention she had opened me socially personally to the “others” that made up the world. If I could love a Black woman purely, as a boy, I could certainly love a Black woman with loves attendant delights as a man. It is the most significant thing I learned in grade school.”