I grew up in Houston in a well to do family. My Dad sold stocks and bonds. His firm sold some of the bonds that financed the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, so I often think of him when I cross it. He was a workaholic,though, and often gone from our home. Our Mom was a great society Belle Dame and lover of the arts, but could be physically abusive.
The person who knew to be most reliably loving was our black cook, Mary Wilson, from Monroe, La. She is the person who I can say reclaimed me and restored me to faith in humanity. I know she had the same effect on my cousin, John Moroney, who came to live with us because his father committed suicide and his mother was an alcoholic.
I could be accused of reverse racism, but I still automatically relax when I hear black people’s voices because of hearing Mary’s voice in our kitchen, and the peace and comfort it brought me.