On the Bus

These times invite us to reflect on how we were raised, and the history that has formed us. In this poem, Victor Fein explores his first memories of racism, taught to him as a child on an unfamiliar journey. May we continue to listen to each other’s stories, as we seek the Spirit to lead us into truth. -Renée

They weren’t Raised that way

they didn’t know

they weren’t raised that way

two young boys
wave good-by to dad

split homes
call for 
the unusual

they board the Greyhound
to be with mom
for the summer

traveling from 
yankee to 
confederate country

to the back
of the bus

those days
blacks only
sat back there 

they didn’t know

they weren’t 
raised that way 

surrounded by 
dark skinned folks

greeted with
open arms 
open hearts 

hours later 
entering the south 
a dinner stop  

exiting the bus
their new elder friends
informed them they
had to separate 

a smile 
then a pointed finger
showed the boys 
the way

one sign read
Whites only

read Colored only

even the 
water fountains
bore bold signage 

they didn’t know

they weren’t 
raised that way 

never had grits before
lying over everything
like volcanic lava 

couldn’t eat em
separate them
push them
to the side

whites over here
blacks over here 

back on the bus
sitting with 
friends once more

puzzled by
current events

nighttime now 
bobbing his

in and out
of sleep 
the lady next 
to him signaled 

for his
bobbing head
to lie on her lap
he accepts

he didn’t know

he wasn’t 
raised that way

Victor Fein 2019/2020

For more stories of the Fein boys’ childhood experiences of discovering racism, read Vern Fein’s article My Introduction and Response to Discrimination in On the Journey
Service 8/2: For Such A Time As This
Order of Service 8/2
Bulletin 8/2

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