When I was a young fool, I dropped out of university for a while to get my bearings. I ended up working as an emergency room orderly in the “dodgy” inner city by day, and in a steel mill banding red hot steel coil fresh from the foundry at night. It was, as Mark Twain said, a time when I never let my “schoolin’ interfere with my education”. I can remember getting off work at 3 AM from the steel mill and trying to hitch a ride home to my family in the white suburbs through the black neighborhoods of south side Pittsburgh. Covered with coal dust, in ragged and sweaty work clothes often I would have to walk a long way through the black quarters before someone late into the wintry, dark night would thankfully stop and offer to give me a lift. Bone tired and freezing, I recall a black man and his lovely wife in a car filled with kids stopping to pick me up. As I trundled finally into the warm back seat edged beside his ruffian kids, eyes wide as sunflowers…I still can recall him saying in absolute amazement, “Boy, you’re white!”
Seems I have been destined to surprise and startle people with the revelation of who I really am deep inside me…all my life.