PDF Jeps Place: Hope, Faith and Other Disasters

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This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Sep 01, Diane rated it it was amazing. Joey Parzych is one of thirteen children. His parents are immigrants from Poland. His father was given 50 cents and a pair of boots when he was young and told to make his way to America. They were strong people who had goals and worked hard to obtain them. After the deaths of their respective spouses, a date was Joey Parzych is one of thirteen children. After the deaths of their respective spouses, a date was arranged for them by a friend. Their marriage was a marriage of convenience.

Both had children from their previous marriages. Due to the death of their spouses and hard times, they needed each other. This book is about real life on a small farm during the depression. Joey was an inquisitive child, always asking questions, getting into mischief and constantly getting into trouble. There was lots of hard work but also special times.

Like when the family sat together around the table stripping turkey feathers for quilts and Ma told stories of her younger days in Poland or when Pa would bring them a special treat out of the blue - just because. As busy as Ma was she would walk the kids out to the outhouse after dark when they were scared. Of course, poor Joey - when he was real young - was scared to go to the outhouse because one time he decided that he was going to sit on the big seat.

After all, he was a big boy. There are all kinds of glimpses of humorous times, tragic times, and good times throughout the book. I could relate so much to this story because my great grandparents were immigrants from Poland and were exactly like Ma and Pa. For that matter, my grandparents were a lot like them. It was almost like reading part of my history. It was the kind of fear I had never known.

And it went on for most of the year. What was it like to go to school at Central? We read that you were threatened and very scared. I was really frightened at Central. There really is no word big enough to explain the fear I felt. It was as though a hand was clutching my stomach. It was the first time I felt my heart beat really fast.

And it was the first time I thought to myself that I could be killed or I could be really hurt. What are some things that people said or did that offended you or scared you, and how did you handle it? But I had to learn that what my grandmother said was correct: If you don't believe that, she said, have someone call you rich, and wait for the coins to jingle in your pocket. So, I had to learn that neither sticks, nor stones, nor names need affect me.

You've got to know who you are, and stand with that. Realize that when somebody hits you, the only way they get any fun or pleasure out of it is from your response. To deny that response is to hit them back. You don't even have to touch them. Who was scarier, the parents or the students? Which of these groups' anger surprised you more? The parents anger surprised me more; their behavior surprised me more. I thought there were rules for how adults should behave. It frightened me to death that these adults would hit us.

After all, if a kid hits you that's one thing, but if an adult does, that's like mommy and daddy. I was stunned by it. These were adults and they threatened me. That was the scary part, the danger. They were breaking the rules. How did you feel when there were only nine black students going to Central High when you thought there would be total? The first day there were so many of them and so few of us.

I was absolutely terrified. What did you think of the police? What did you think of the U. I think that two Little Rock police officers saved my life the first time I was in the school. But some of the Little Rock police threw down their badges and joined the mob. I was in Little Rock recently, and I had the opportunity to hug the man who drove the car away through the mob.

And so I think he's wonderful.

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But to the ones who ignored us, when we needed them the most, especially the ones who ignored Elizabeth Eckford when she was moving through that mob, that was awful! As for the st Airborne, I love them.

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Wherever they are, I wish them Godspeed and the blessings of the world. Without them I'd be dead. Their behavior was never less than that of good American soldiers. They were really great. They did a fabulous job. They never let the fact that they were white stop them from doing their job of protecting us. What was it like to go to school with people protecting you?

At first, when the soldiers came it was a big novelty. It was also a big relief because we were so frightened in that town. But then, the morning we went to school there were helicopters overhead, and jeeps driving back and forth with turret guns mounted on their hoods. At the same time, it also made me feel proud that I would have soldiers there to protect me.

I knew in my heart that this was a very unusual time in my life. I was special at that moment because the President had sent soldiers all the way to Little Rock. You have written that you valued the help of the press during this difficult experience. Can you explain why? Without their presence, shining a light on what was going on, I might be dead by now. The press was there every single day with their cameras flashing.

They counted us, literally, so that if one of us was missing, they'd ask where we were. By picturing us in the newspaper, people saw us as individuals. But also, just their presence was so important.

Here were white folks with cameras and liberal, open minds, observing. It is difficult to hang someone with the camera pointed your way. I love the press. It is our protector. As long as someone neutral, not a party to the action, observes the action, it makes a difference. If there had been press around, James Chaney and the other civil rights workers might not have died.

How did it feel to have President Eisenhower call you? President Eisenhower didn't call me. He sent a secret service person to my front door. That person's coming made me feel lucky, and gave me some sense of security. At that moment, I figured that if the President knows about this, then he's going to do something about it. What do you think was the main reason for all of the racism in Central High?

Do you think that it was the times or how those kids were raised? It was the times and the fact that those kids had cut their teeth on racist discussions and words and deeds from the time they were born. They sat at dinner tables and watched their mothers and fathers laugh at "nigger" jokes. Some of them probably stood outside doors ajar as their fathers dressed in white sheets to ride with the Klan. And they heard their grandmothers talk about how black people weren't human. And day after day after day, they looked on as black people were treated with inhumanity.

So, they were following a tradition set over many hundreds of years. I couldn't stand what you went through. How did you keep your cool? It wasn't easy to not fight back or talk back. But learning how to do that has been very important. Adults told me that if you hit back and fight back, you'll lose.

I was so angry sometimes.

Jep's Place: Hope, Faith and Other Disasters by Joseph A. Parzych

Hot tears would come down my cheeks. And yet, even Martin Luther King told us: Remember, you're doing this for future generations. Yes, no question about it. I still run into an enormous amount of prejudice, even in California. It's does not have the same power, but I still feel it. Writing my book, Warriors Don't Cry, was very helpful, but I still occasionally have issues that arise because of it.

Did your mom ever try to talk you into going back to your old school? What encouraged you to continue attending that school? My mom always said to me, "I'll support you in whatever you do. I'll support you, but think about all the issues involved. Are you so frightened that you can't do your work? She said, "If this is something you're supposed to do, then God will stand by you and let you finish it. There was a point in time when I peered into a mirror and pinched myself to see if I was alive, because I was very lonely. It was terrible to feel so shut off. You feel like you don't exist.

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People were talking about me while standing around me, as if I wasn't there or didn't count. When you're a teenager, what you want most is to be welcomed. I only got to see the other eight students at lunch. When I'd pass them in the hall on rare occasions, I'd go nuts; it was wonderful. Most of the time I was on my own. Was anyone helpful or kind? Did teachers treat you badly, too? Teachers treated me badly. But then they were beat up or treated badly. Still, there was one girl named Robin and a boy named Link who were helpful. There was a shorthand teacher named Mrs. Pickwick, and she was wonderful.

Pickwick was no-nonsense and would not allow me to be bothered in her classroom. She also made me feel welcome. Just sitting in her room was such a respite because she wouldn't let anyone in her room say or do anything. The white vice-principal, Mrs. Elizabeth Huckaby, wasn't warm, but she did her job and did her best to facilitate our safety. All throughout this incident she was our link to safety and other adults. There was one time that she stood between us and a group of 40 kids who were threatening us on the stairs.

While she didn't necessarily believe in integration, she protected us whenever she could. She was the one person we could report the problems we were experiencing to. In the first few days several students reached out to us. But as time passed, all that changed, because those students were beaten up and taunted by the segregationists. A girl named Robin gave Terry Roberts a book; she was very sweet. She was beaten up on the way home, and so she stopped. Several students did try to be nice to us, no question. But it was not possible to become friends. In every instance when they tried to reach out to us, the crowd would get them, ostracize them, or beat them.

How did you feel when the kids who tried to be friends with you were beaten? Oh, I thought that was really sad. It was frightening that they were willing to beat up other people! How could this be? If they were willing to beat up their own people, then what did it say about what they might do to me? That was scary to think about. When your friend Link warned you about plots to harm you, which plots scared you the most? Whenever he told me about something they were going to do to me inside the classroom, it was really scary. I knew I could be trapped. The very fact of him telling me was frightening to me.

What did your friends or the kids at the local black high school think about your efforts to integrate Central High School? My friends at first thought it was okay. As time went on they suffered because the white community was squeezing us by squeezing them. They were being attacked for what I was doing!

They were losing their jobs and what small advantages they had. It wasn't about any celebration. Did you ever come home and say, "I don't want to do this anymore"? Oh, yeah, several times. I came home after a particularly bad day when I was injured and I said, "I don't want to do this anymore. We are all here to do something, to complete something, we're not just here to play.

When you recognize that reason but you deny it, there's a penalty. So, she would tell me that the universe had assigned me this task. And if I didn't carry this out, big penalties would follow. It was a tough place to be as a kid. Was there any time that you could forget about your troubles? I tried to get up really early before anybody else. I would pretend that everything was okay. I would sit among my toys and dolls in my room and pretend everything was okay. But in reality, there was no place to feel safe. How in the world did you have the courage to stay in school all year when they wanted to kill you?

It wasn't my courage, in a way. It was kind of God's courage. I prayed every moment of every day. And always in my young mind was the hope that the next day, the next hour, the people who were behaving badly and treating me so harshly would come to their senses. The most important reason I stayed was the understanding that there was no alternative. The only other choice was to continue living in the white man's jar with his foot on my neck. My brother is a U. These are the same troopers who lined up in front of Central to keep me out. My cousin was a mayor of Little Rock! No one can tell me that our going to Central was not a catalyst for change.

Why did you decide to go to California to finish up your education? I was out of school for a year because the Governor closed the schools. That made me and my parents realize that it was time to get out of there. I had never met the family that I moved in with. My latest book explains that experience of coming to California and finding a place in the human family for myself.

The book is entitled White Is a State of Mind. Were there a lot of African-American students in California? Unfortunately, in the school I attended I was one black among maybe eight or ten in Santa Rosa. There I was in the same predicament. The difference was they weren't hostile. But I was still alone, looking for my place. We just want you to know that we're so glad we go to a grade school where black and white kids are treated as equals and can be friends. Thanks for doing what you did, Melba! You are very lucky and very blessed, and you should enjoy each other's companionship.

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Each of you has something very special to share. Don't exclude anybody because everyone has a very special gift to share. And thanks so much for your congratulations! What is the most important lesson you learned from your early experiences? Here are the lessons I learned from the experiences of Little Rock: To count on God first, and then on yourself. And, you have to know who you are. If you had it to do over again, would you follow the same path? Yes, I would do it again and follow the same path. Going to Central High School altered the course of my life. It was absolute agony to be there, no question.

But some of the gifts that have come to me since then have been absolute ecstasy. Like the white family who took me in when I came to California from Little Rock. Like the joy of their taking me over the bridge to adulthood. They came to be my second set of parents. Living through that experience gave me a lot of faith in God, faith in myself, and it made me understand the world at a much younger age than many people do.

What appeared at the time to be the most awful thing became the most wonderful instructor and tutor. I hope all the people involved in talking to me now will understand that the things they see in their lives that seem terrible at the moment could be blessings that enable them to do things they might not have been able to do otherwise. Did the things you experienced during that year at Central High School give you a different perspective on life?

The things that I experienced reshaped the course of my entire life. They no doubt affected the lives of my children, and no doubt will affect my grandchildren. And I suspect the events affected the lives of the other eight students similarly and in many ways. Do you ever wonder if things would have been different if you hadn't gone to Central High? Yes, I do wonder what my life would've been like. I'm really grateful that I did go to Central High. I believe that things happen for a reason, and I'm grateful for my life.

And my eight-year-old says, "so am I! I really feel that the answer to our problems is to educate and inform ourselves. Number two is to claim your own power. Folks can only take advantage of you when you let them.

By voting and being prepared to vote, you have a voice and a say-so. You have to be politically aware of what's going on in your neighborhood, your city, your state, region, and country. The vote defines who a college education is for, who jobs are for, who you choose to represent you politically. You'll be living out what you decide with those votes. So, the passage of the Voting Rights Act was very significant.

It often is not given enough credit. President Johnson was key to getting this legislation passed. Who was your hero as a child? I had lots of them. What was it like meeting Martin Luther King, Jr.? Meeting Martin Luther King was a trip. I saw to be true everything that people wrote about him, or I saw on TV. In his presence I felt serenity. I felt as though I should hold my hands in a prayer position, and start to pray.

I felt calmness, peace, and love. And I felt like "Oh, boy, I can be better than I am. How did you feel when Martin Luther King Jr. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. The Kennedys were the first white people in power who we ever thought would listen and try to help. Losing all three men took away a lot of hope. Then my mother reminded me that God is my hope. He had sent John and Bobby and Martin to lead us.

You have to keep faith and keep going. It lasted for a year. Someone actually shot him! It meant that I really was not safe. In my book White Is a State of Mind, I talk about that, about how everything started unraveling for me. It was really daunting because how could they shoot this powerful man? If he could be shot, then anyone could!

I'd met Martin Luther King a couple of times, and he was an awesome person. He had such quiet dignity. You knew he was someone special when you were in his presence. You got his strength and power inside your soul.

Melba Pattillo Beals

For that to be eradicated by somebody's bullet? Yeah, I was really devastated. Top of Page Central High: Yes, I'm in contact often with the other eight kids.