Friday, November 2, 2012

The Unexamined Belief System - Politics Part V High School

I graduated Junior High School in May 1960. Shortly after graduation we moved to Roseland, a suburb of Chicago. We lived in a coal heated third floor walk-up that was built in the late 1920's early 1930's. Every morning when it was cold I had to go down to the basement and take care of the furnace to get the coal burning and every night before bed I had to go to the basement to bank the fire so it wouldn't go out.  

Our apartment was located at 111 street just a couple of blocks from where I started school when I was five. It was like coming home to one of the happiest time of my early life. I walked right past my old house on the way to catch the bus to Dolton where I would catch the school bus to Thornridge. After school I would get off the school bus and catch the city bus home. I liked the anonymity of attending school in this way. I didn't have time for anyone to come to know me. There were no after school functions for me to attend I was a slave to the bus and I loved it. We used my aunt's address in Dolton so I could attend high school out of district.

My living at 111 street only lasted a couple of months.  Someone reported that I was not living in district as a result I had to move in with my uncle and aunt. So I could show I had an address in Dolton and was actually living there. I made some friends and was able to hang out with them rather than go home to Roseland immediately after school. I played “sandlot” football and other sports. High school was going to be great, or so I thought at the time. But one of the first lessons of life was soon to hit me right between the eyes was “You can run, you can move but in the end no matter where you go there YOU are.” Even though I was able to fake it for a time that kid that was bullied, who lacked confidence and who was afraid to fight was still with me and he was going to come out.

My parents thought there was nothing wrong with what we were doing i.e., me attending school in Dolton while living in Roseland. After all we were going to move to Dolton soon and they didn't want me to have to switch schools. Looking back over the course of my life I have realized this was the first contradiction of which I was aware and it helped to set my life’s course.  On the one hand we as low – middle income Democrats and strong union members believed the government was there to protect us, solve our problems, and help us when we fell on hard times. The government was also to keep the wealthy and corporations in line. However, when government rules were inconvenient we had no problem in bending them to fit our personal needs. Just like the privileged who were condemned for doing the same thing. It was an unspoken belief that if we, who were poor needed something and could get it be bending the rules so what! We had two standards one for regular people and one the wealthy and influential.  The one trait that seems prevalent in people is the double standard.  I have worked hard not to have one especially when it comes to people and politics. 

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