Friday, May 27, 2005

life of buddy don, chaptur 137: findin cassandra worthy

i wuz givin my comp 102 class dicktayshun, witch dr streeter tole me twuz importunt to do on a counta he figgerd a big reason ‘our students’ had truble with standurd english wuz how they dint here eggzackly whut wuz bein sed to em. mayhap twuz true, mayhap not, but i lacked havin the chants to give em dicktayshun that i figgerd mite git sum good conversayshuns a’goin. so i tuck my texts frum folks lack harriet tubman, frederick douglass, sojourner truth, booker t. washington, w.e.b. dubois, james weldon johnson, richard wright, langston hughes, mary mcleod bethune, marcus garvey, paul robeson, fannie lou hamer, malcolm x, martin luther king, jr., lorraine hansberry n angela davis, jes to menchun a few of em.

sum eggzamples of them thangs i dicktated to em include the follerin:
  • harriet tubman:
    ‘I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.’
  • frederick douglass: [befor dickatin thisn, i set it up by splainin that it cum frum frederick douglass’ autobiogruffy name of my bondage and my freedom whar his masters wife wuz a’teachin im to read the bible n gut caught by his master, who wuz verr angry bout it n sed that ‘if you teach that nigger--speaking of myself--how to read the bible, there will be no keeping him ... it would forever unfit him for the duties of a slave’]:
    It was a new and special revelation, dispelling a painful mystery, against which my youthful understanding had struggled, and struggled in vain, to wit: the white man's power to perpetuate the enslavement of the black man. "Very well," thought I; "knowledge unfits a child to be a slave." I instinctively assented to the proposition; and from that moment I understood the direct pathway from slavery to freedom.
  • fannie lou hamer:
    ‘What was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do to me was kill me and it seemed like they'd been trying to do that a little bit at a time ever since I could remember.’
sumtimes after dicktayshun, i wood tell em bout the books they could win but pickin up whutever i had in the box that day. one time i picked up james weldon johnson’s autobiography of an ex-colored man n ast em had they ever herd bout sumthin i found verr sprizin: the brown paper bag test, witch twuz a test fer gittin into a party or a secret society or whutever. dint nobidy raze thar hand, so i tride to splain it to em bes i understood it, witch twuz sumtimes used as a way to figger out who wuz a’gone be let into a party. at the door thard be a brown paper bag n a comb. to git in, ye had to pass the brown paper bag test, a test whar ye had to compare yer skin with the color of a brown paper bag n ifn twuz darker, ye stayed out. ifn twuz liter, ye had to pull that comb thru yer hair n ifn yer hair wuz too ‘nappy,’ ye dint git in.

so i ast em ifn twuz still true that ye wuz judged in the black communty by the color of yer skin n whuther ye could pull a comb thru yer hair. they looked at me lack they thought i wuz crazy, witch mayhap i am. finely a feller name of randall rucker hollerd out, ‘you askin us whether light-skinded, good haired women be fine?” that gut the hole class to laffin to whar i couldnt hardly git em to quit. one yung lady name of sharon worth gut to coffin n i made a joke bout how she better not die in my class, witch that made everbidy laff that much harder.

but sharon dint stop coffin n purty soon ye could see she wuz chokin on sumthin. i hollerd at the class to shut up fer the furst time in my hole time of teachin. i ast sharon could she stand up, but she wuz havin truble. i looked over to gary williams n he gut up to hep her stand up n purty soon we gut her out in the hall, still a’coffin her pore hed off. i ast gary to hole her on one side n gut randall to hole tuther n sed i wuz a’gone try sumthin i had dun read about, witch thats the himelick manoover.

i gut behind her n reached around her, witch by now everbidy wuz out in the halls n sumbidy ast in the whitest voice ye could magin cummin frum a black mouth wuz i coppin a feel, witch that made everbidy laff even tho sharon wuz turnin blue. i put my fist agin her sternum n give it a lil whack, but nuthin happend. then i figgerd twood be better to do too much than too lil, so i hauled off n give her the bes punch i could putt on. a huge wad of gum flew out frum her mouth n splat agin the brick wall of that hall. she wuz still coffin but by this time, she wuz catchin her breath. i let the class go after that n sharon follerd me down to my offus, witch she wonted to thank me.

after that we gut into a long talk. she tole me bout chaucer n his refernts to ‘the gat toothed woman’ n how a gat toothed woman is a loose woman, so thay wuznt nuthin she could do bout how she wuz a loose woman on a counta the gap in her frunt teeth. i tole her that wuz as purty a piece of rashnullzayshun as ever i herd n we laffed. she tole me bout havin growd up a army brat, born in warner robbins whar thay wuz a air force base n how her mama had died befor she ever gut to meet her but her daddy wuz a good man who tuck keer of her till he died of hi blood preshure at the age of 42, witch she gut a lil soshul securty till she gut out of skool, ifn i recolleck ritely.

she wuz sprizingly well-read n sharp as a damned tack, but no matter whut topick we hit, twood lead to sex till finely she tole me how she had dun had a trane run on her, witch i dint understand whut she ment till she splaind whut sounded lack a gang rape that she had jes let happen. she kep trine to be brave bout it n say how twuz the bes nite of sex she ever had, but finely i had to ast why thay wuz tears in her eyes n then she gut to crine to whar i ast her wuz i a’gone half to give her a nuther himlick manoover jes to keep her frum chokin? that made her laff n spit out her gum.

then she sed how bad as she had it, twuznt near so bad as whut happend to cassandra worthy, witch she sed cassandra had gone to a party over at utk n gut raped by two fellers that dint understand the word ‘no.’ i sed how that must splain why cassandra had disappeard n she anserd back that she hadnt disappeard atall, that her ass wuz jes as black it ever wuz. so i ast whar wuz she n she sed she had gone into thar dorm room n dint wonta cum out. she sed thay wuz sisters on a counta havin the same last name ceptn fer one letter, how she wuz worth n cassandra wuz worthy.

we kep a’talkin fer a bit till twuz time fer me to go to my nex class. she ast me wood i mind ifn she gut cassandra to cum to my offus. ‘she need somebody to talk to, somebody like you, mr d.’ i ast her when n she ast wood i be in my offus after class? i sed i wood even tho i generly walked strate home after that last class. but i wonted to meet the student who had dun read the color purple n dun made alice walker her hero.

whenever they finely cum by, witch twuz near a hour after class, seem lack i wuz seein cassandra fer the verr furst time. she wuz a verr long-limbed, awkward woman with a severely pigeon-toed way of walkin. she wuz lef handed n verr dark but not quite ‘blue-black.’ i wood larn later how she had a verr nice smile n beeyootifull eyes, but that day she woodnt hardly look up frum her hands. dint hardly seem the matter whut i sed, she dint anser nor say nuthin. sharon kep tellin me whut cassandra wooda sed ifn she could talk. so i ast sharon ifn she wonted to cum by n take that class jes in my offus? sharon looked over to cassandra on a counta she dint know the anser, but cassandra looked up at me fer a split secunt n sed she mite thank bout it. then she gut up n ran out. sharon tole me not to wurry, ‘she hurtin, mr. d. she dont mean nothin by that.’

whenever i gut home n me n emily had et our dinner, i tole her bout cassandra. wuz i ever sprized when emily broke into tears. twuznt sprizin that emily wood cry, witch she wuz a champeen at makin them tears flow, but generly twuz on a counta sumthin bein sed that hurt her feelins. so i ast whut wuz rong n that made her cry wurser. so i waited till finely she gut her breath.

then she splaind sumthin i hadnt never knowd bout her, witch wuz how whenever she wuz yung, jes 12 or 13, n they wood all go out to cross dinner n drankin club fer dinner n her daddy pete wood be a’gittin drunk n her mama maureen wood be trine to git im to go home, witch that wuz how they spent hours at a time, she attrackted the tenchun of a older feller name of charley waller. then she cried n cried till i went over to my chair n patted my lap n she crawled up in toot n curled up n kep a crine while i stroked her hair. by then i had purty much sussed out whut had happend more or less but when she caught her breath agin, she tole me the hole story, witch i wish to this day i hadnt never herd it. ye hate to thank folks kin be so evil n corrupt as to take add vantage of a yung gurl, but it hurts even more when tiz the woman ye luv n thar aint a thang ye kin do but listen.

so thats jes whut i dun as she tole me bout how he wood ast her to take a drive n then tell her how purty she wuz n whut a fine woman she wuz n how that went rite to her hed on a counta she dint git no tenchun frum pete on a counta how he wuz always drunk. then she cried fer a bit n i tole her she dint half to tell me no more, how i purty much knew whut happend, but that made her mad so i stroke her hed n sed i wood listen even ifn twuz a’brakin my hart, witch twuz jes whut she wonted to here, so she tole me how he gut her to show im her breasts n her legs n then wonted to show her thangs, witch i figger ye know whut all happend frum that.

i dint know nuthin to say, so i jes let her rattle on till she gut it all out. then she cried even harder n held onto me till ye mite could thank she wuz a’gone strangle me. then she ast me wood i brang cassandra home to meet her?

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