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Hagbard_celine

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Being the only person here who grew up on Long Island (14 - 21) I'm going to share a few anecdotes (may have shared before).

1. When my parents decided to leave NYC and move to Nassau County in 1987 they took me with them when they started to look at houses along the Nassau/Suffolk border, south shore. I distinctly remember the real estate agent driving us around one neighborhood telling my parents how there was only one black family in the neighborhood and pointed out the house as she drove by. She pointed out how the house was on the edge of town beside a major avenue with a lot of dangerous traffic, a place where it wasn't safe to let kids play out front so even their neighbors hardly saw them. Not sure how she knew about the last part. A couple years later my brother became friends with the kid who lived there. When he mentioned his new friend was black I knew exactly who he was talking about and where he lived. My brother thought it was insane that I would know that and for years after he secretly thought I was wildly racist for knowing it and wouldn't bring him around if I was hom. It wasn't until a few years back when I shared the story about the real estate agent that he realized why I knew. He apologized and we had a laugh. His friend now loves that story because I was always the hypocritcal hippie who was actually racist, to their friend group.

2. In the early 80s my mother's mother, who was diabetic and blind, had a stroke which left her completely debilitated, requiring around the clock care. After we moved to Long Island my mother's sister and mother moved to Hicksville, maybe ten minutes from where we lived. By that point my aunt had learned about what services were available to help with my grandmother and got her a home health aid. My grandmother was a lot to handle. She was still cognizant but couldn't speak in a way anyone could really understand, nor could she move at all without assistance, not to shower or use the bathroom. And she was always angry and complaining. You didn't understand a word she said but the tone was unmistakable. Anyway, she went through these aids periodically for the first year or two because it was a really tough job to take care of somebody who couldn't help themselves at all and was belligerent, resentful, and unappreciative of any help she received. The fourth aid that was assigned to her was a black woman. She was nice and seemed to not take it personally how nasty my grandmother could be. She would bring her young son over from time to time and occasionally her husband would come to pick them up and my aunt would have them stay for dinner. Sometimes he'd come with a friend who would stay in the care while they got their stuff together to leave. She worked there for maybe six months and one night my aunt and uncle awoke to the crackling sound of a fire in their front yard. Looking out they saw a seven foot tall cross burning. There were other things that happened over the next several months, letters encouraging them to move, a few tires popped and one time a brick thrown through the window to my grandmother's bedroom, landing on her chest. My aunt, nor the police (I know... surprising nobody) were able to identify any suspects. A few months later my grandmother passed away, and that was the last time there were any daily black visitors to their house and the actions stopped.

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