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Wednesday, April 04, 2018


by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

On the long bus-ride home, spring day in SoCal, we talked about Simon and Garfunkel until news broke into the top 40 station the bus driver permitted. Dr. King was shot. He was already dead. And we all stopped because what else can you do and we all kept talking because what else can you do. No one at home said a thing, usual routine, tutoring my sister in math, the dishes, my homework. They had hated that I belonged to the Brotherhood Club. Now that too was dead. I held the cats close.

I wore my black dress. Homeroom announcements told us where the service would be if anyone wanted to skip school and go, a church on 17th and Wilshire. I thought I’d go. I thought I should. I was the only kid there from the high school, I was the only white person there, the speakers were bitter and all the words that go with bitter, and how not? I kept my head down. Even at fifteen I got that it wasn’t about me.

The next day I fasted, as on Yom Kippur because that was how you marked great sorrow and great complicity. Fasting won’t bring him back, my folks scoffed, but it was something I could do, though there was nothing I could do. And when Bobby was killed later that year I went inside a little more, a little lower but nothing more, because now this was what could happen, all the time.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya, a frequent contributor to TheNewVerse.News, feels very tired these 50 years on.