i ended up at woolworths in bakersfield this past weekend when i was visiting my brother and his family. it was a super cute antique mall and diner. i took photos and smiled as madeira and her cousins slid up to the counter and ordered their hot dogs & shakes.
randomly, i also finished reading the help over the weekend. the book explores the relationship between the white women of the south in the 1960’s and the black women who “help” them with their homes and children. i will not say i was surprised by most of the stories, but many of them were very difficult to read. hard to believe what our human race has put and seemingly will continue to put one another through. in the book, the woolworths lunch counter is mentioned quite a few times, as an example of the segregation occuring in the south during this time, as they did not allow black people to sit at the counter. now, i have no idea if these are the same woolworths or not and obviously, i am sure that this, unfortunately, was a normal practice for many places during this time and not unique to woolworths, but reading the book and visiting this place in the same couple of days made a big impact on me. how easy it was for us to walk in and sit right down, be received by smiles when our kids spun around on the chairs. not sure what i began to feel as i put the story and our real life visit together in my brain through, if it was guilt, regret, sadness, anger or a deeper empathy, i am not sure. i just know it was interesting timing and thought provoking for sure. i read somewhere else this weekend, i am not sure if it was in the help or another book, that when we feel guilt and regret for something we did as a “people” rather than our own individual actions, it is a selfish feeling, because it is easy to be sorry for something a group of people similar to you, but not specifically you did, because then you don’t have to change anything. you are sorry for what THEY did. so you can make yourself feel better without taking any action or experiencing the struggle of making a change in your own life. wow. so, i am going to sit with that one for a while and see what happens. interesting, though, don’t you think?
by the way, if you have not read the help, i would definitely recommend it.
and if you are in bako, woolworths does have great burgers, hot dogs and cool antiques. and it is air conditioned. MAJOR plus.