A Mind is a Terrible Thing … Ah Man, You know the Rest

Every night, at about 8’oclock, after we put the children to bed, my husband and I have what we call, “date night.” It’s a concept that we borrowed from my mom and dad. It’s where we watch the nightly television shows, just the two of us, without the offspring distractions. We watch movies, most of which requires a person to think. Or there is the occasional “chick flick” to kind of balance things. We watch The Big Bang Theory, which we’ve nicknamed, “The Nerds.” There is a part of me that can relate to these people on some level because I am usually rolling on the floor laughing. We love Treme, created by the same people who created, The Wire. It breaks my heart that the end of the run is near. Reality television, like Survivor and The Amazing Race that has us screaming at the television screen. Then there is the guilty pleasure. The proof that people actually watch train wrecks. The Real Housewives of Atlanta. This the only housewife brand we watch but man oh man, it is quite enough. It has everything – Shouting matches, head rolling, finger snapping, physical altercations, twirling (don’t ask), cross-dressing, and lots of lots of shade being thrown. The Real Housewives of Atlanta or RHOA, for short, is about six women, called “Housewives.” Why? I don’t know, because not all of these fools are married (although one has an imaginary boyfriend, a sock puppet, I think). These women, these “Housewives,” have jobs like modeling, acting, producing, lawyering, and embalming. The others sit around like potted plants… I don’t know why they think their lives are important enough to be recorded for public viewing – but we’re the dummies who watch that like we should be watching the news on changing world policies, so what does that say about us? As I am writing this, I am wondering what the qualities are for a “Housewife” (hee-hee, I am chuckling at this term because I have yet to see one clean a house, raise a child without a nanny, and while doing so look raggedy like the rest of us, real housewives. I’m just saying).

So anyway, one of these “Housewives,” is Porsha Williams (Stewart), the granddaughter of the famed Civil Rights leader, Hosea Williams. Oh I know he’s rolling around in his grave over being on this very ratchet show. She’s a pretty little thing, sweet (until she gets “turned up” anyway), and until this past Sunday, I thought she was a bit naïve. But I’ll come back to that in a moment. So these six “Housewives” and one extra bit of extra, took their foolishness on the road to Savannah, Georgia of all places. These people went to the Gullah/Geechee Nation. They went to the place that gives me writing inspiration. Yes. There. These “Housewives” hadn’t even left the Atlanta Metropolitan Area before all you-know-what broke loose over who can’t where on time. And it went downhill from there. It took them 12 hours (12?!) to get there, there was a fight over who got the Master bedroom, the extra chick (not a “Housewife” yet, but auditioning) got her feelings hurt in the worst way (I’ll someone else blog about the fact that you don’t go on holiday with women who have slept with your husband at one point and time), and the list goes on. Then as if to balance out the fact that these fools had absolutely no business going on a trip with each other to anywhere, they go on the Freedom Tour. One of the stops is at the First African Baptist Church, the oldest Black church in North America, which was also a “stop” on Underground Railroad. The curator showed these women the ventilation holes for the hiding place. He explained that to this day they didn’t know where the entrance to the hiding place was. Definitely a “must do” for my husband and me, the next time we return to Savannah. Now I had already seen this in the preview but I was so hoping that it was taken out of context or that I actually went deaf for a moment, but nope. No such luck. There it was Porsha Williams (Stewart), granddaughter of Hosea Williams, actually said, “there had to be an opening for the railroad.” When I first heard this in the previews, I remember my voice letting out a high pitched wail, as if in mourning, as I slowly slid to the living room floor. I was so put out, that I had to voice my outrage on Twitter. In the episode, her fellow “Housewives” tried to tactfully explain what the Underground Railroad actually was, but she kept insisting that it was some sort of train. Lord help her.

So my question is, are we failing to teach our students (I’m sorry, but I refuse to go out like that)? Or was Porsha like my students who zoned out and thought other things were important when someone tried to teach them United States History? While some viewers were embarrassed for this young woman, I was outraged. Porsha Williams Stewart is just a representation of the growing ignorance that the Black American community has regarding our contributions to this country’s history. It no longer does any good to blame the public school system for not teaching. As much access that we have to the internet and even the library, all with the convenience of pushing a couple of buttons, there is no longer an excuse. At some schools in Knoxville, laptops are being passed out like a bag of Cheetos. Too bad, the only thing our children are looking up, are the latest game downloads, or entertainment news, or who dropped a secret album in the dead of night. Our children have to be told exactly what to do and who to learn about and they do this only when it’s an assignment. Unfortunately, they barely do that. I know when I was teaching and I would give an assignment, my students would give me the bare minimum as if it caused them great pain to go above and beyond an assignment. What happened to gaining knowledge for the sake of knowledge? The fact that these students looked like me was equally heartbreaking. I wanted to scream at them and I want to scream at Porsha. Pick up a book! Read a news report! Ask someone questions! Argh! Care about something useful! Because, yeah, I’m just going to come out and say it. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Going to Town

My Grandmama always called going to Savannah "Going to Town".

My Grandmama always called going to Savannah “Going to Town”.

When I was growing up, the roads coming off of the bridge toward Bluffton were two lanes.  Now they're six...

When I was growing up, the roads coming off of the bridge toward Bluffton were two lanes. Now they’re six…

When I was a teenager and this area was all trees, I was told by Hilton Head's first Black planner on that Bluffton would be lined with businesses within the next fifteen years...

When I was a teenager and this area was all trees, I was told by Hilton Head’s first Black planner on that Bluffton would be lined with businesses within the next fifteen years…

If you will allow me to put on my planner's hat for a moment, I would like to point out that businesses in this area have strict height, façade, and sign requirements.

If you will allow me to put on my planner’s hat for a moment, I would like to point out that businesses in this area have strict height, façade, and sign requirements.

Signs have to be a particular height and blend in with the unimposing façade.

Signs have to be a particular height and blend in with the unimposing façade.

During this stretch, the road to Savannah is untouched from when I was young. Dense trees line either side of the road.

During this stretch, the road to Savannah is untouched from when I was young. Dense trees line either side of the road.

As a former transportation planner, I still don't understand the reason for the sudden roundabout in the middle of Highway 46, but here it is...

As a former transportation planner, I still don’t understand the reason for the sudden roundabout in the middle of Highway 46, but here it is…

Although Georgia is the "Peach State," you can't go anywhere in South Carolina without running into a roadside peach stand...

Although Georgia is the “Peach State,” you can’t go anywhere in South Carolina without running into a roadside peach stand…

The Talmage Bridge looms in the distance. It's visible for a moment before hiding once again behind the landscape. It's the bridge's way of letting the motorist know that it's still there and in order to arrive at your destination of Savannah, GA, it must be crossed....  My design teacher at UNO taught me that road planners do this hide-and-seek with a prominent feature on purpose. It makes it interesting.

The Talmage Bridge looms in the distance. It’s visible for a moment before hiding once again behind the landscape. It’s the bridge’s way of letting the motorist know that it’s still there and in order to arrive at your destination of Savannah, GA, it must be crossed…. My design teacher at UNO taught me that road planners do this hide-and-seek with a prominent feature on purpose. It makes it interesting.

Talmage Bridge

The Talmage Bride used to be a smaller green drawbridge that ships used to hit because they couldn’t clear the structure. Now, it’s steeper, higher, and not for the faint of heart…

The Victory Drive Palm Trees in Savannah, GA is a three-mile long memorial for the servicemen who fought in World War I.

The Victory Drive Palm Trees in Savannah, GA are a three-mile long memorial for the servicemen who fought in World War I.

Fort Pulaski is a historical landmark that one might find on the way to Tybee Island.

Fort Pulaski is a historical landmark that one might find on the way to Tybee Island.

So this is the beach on Tybee Island.  Dad said that when he went to college at Savannah State College (University now), Black people were not allowed to go to the Beach here.  He said that it was fine with him because he knew where the best beach was and that was home on Hilton Head Island.  Soon the Black people in Savannah discovered that they were welcome on Hilton Head and went to the beach on the island by the busloads.  Well today, we are somewhat  welcome although I still prefer the beach of home.  No matter which beach I go to though, I feel like I'm standing on the edge of the earth as I look out at the horizon.

So this is the beach on Tybee Island. Dad said that when he went to college at Savannah State College (University now), Black people were not allowed to go to the Beach here. He said that it was fine with him because he knew where the best beach was and that was home on Hilton Head Island. Soon the Black people in Savannah discovered that they were welcome on Hilton Head and went to the beach on the island by the busloads. Well today, we are somewhat welcome although I still prefer the beach of home. No matter which beach I go to though, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of the earth as I look out at the horizon.