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Mindy Learns (part one)

"Sometimes complicated lessons are really very easy."

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My name is Mindy. I'm five years old. My hair is long and brown. I live with my mommy. She says my hair is pretty. She says I'm pretty, too. My mommy has to work a lot. I miss her but I get to stay with my Meme. My Meme is very old. Mommy is old too, but not as old as Meme. Meme says she was a young girl once. I can hardly believe that. But I always believe my Meme, and I love to stay with Meme because we cook together and Meme tells me stories. Lots and lots of stories. I listen and I try to remember everything. I'm very smart my mommy says.

One day Meme took me to the toy store. I saw lots of new dolls. I like dolls and fluffy animals. We were trying to pick out a new doll for me. Meme said it was for another girl, but I knew my birthday was coming in 6 days. I'm very smart, remember? I thought it was going to be a surprise for me. So I was looking for a baby doll I would like. I saw a new doll I'd never seen before. She was brown. She smiled and looked just like one of my other dolls. But she was brown and had brown, curly hair. I wanted her. She was different. Where I lived there were no brown babies. I wanted this doll.

"Meme, I think we should get this brown doll. It's different and pretty. Let's get this doll for the little girl."

"Mindy, that little chocolate baby is not what we want. I don't think it is the right one. Let's look some more."

"Is it really chocolate, Meme? I think it's cute. Let's get it, please."

"No. I'm sorry Mindy but we won't get that doll. I think we need to go home now. We'll come back later."

We didn't go back. On my birthday Meme gave me a new stuffed bunny. Mommy gave me a stuffed bear. They said I had enough baby dolls.


One day after that we went to a mall in the big city. Mommy was not working that day. She drove and Meme sat beside her with her purse in her lap. I got to have the whole back seat. I got to go from side to side looking out the window as we drove to the big city. Mommy said we were going to the mall. I'd never seen a mall.

When we got to the mall we got to walk and walk and walk for a long time all around the mall. They had lots of stores and everyone had something I wanted to see. We were there for a long time. I was having fun.

We were walking and I was holding Mommy's hand and we were going by a round thing with a pond and water shooting up in the air.

"What do they call that, Mommy? That water thing."

"That's a fountain, Mindy. It's very pretty, isn't it?"

"Yes, it is Mommy. Oh, look, Mommy! It's a chocolate baby. See, that brown man and lady have a chocolate baby."

"Mother, my god, see what you've done? You can't tell her these things!"

Mommy was talking to Meme. Meme looked angry. Mommy looked funny. Her face was turning red. The brown man and lady just smiled at me.

"It's okay little girl. This is our little baby girl. She isn't chocolate. She's just brown like us. It's alright honey."

My Mommy was saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," over and over. And Meme grabbed my arm and we went away quick. I still didn't understand. But I was smart. I would learn.

Later, Mommy told me that the brown people were called colored. I didn't think that was right, either. I mean, I had a color, and so did Mommy and Meme. Everyone I knew had a color. But I believed my Mommy just like I believed my Meme.


Awhile after that my big brother came home. He was tall and he was smart like me. Mommy told me that. He liked me. He told me so. He was in a place called college and only came home once in a while. I liked it when he came home. He told me lots of things and he knew so much. I wouldn't tell them, but I think he knew more than my Mommy and my Meme.

I liked my picture books. Sometimes my brother would read them to me. I couldn't read it too well yet. Just some words. It was nice when someone read all the hard words for me. I liked books with lots of pictures.

One day, on the couch, my brother held a picture book and he was letting me play a game with him. It had pictures of lots of people in it. The game was to try to tell what they were. I mean if they were a soldier or a teacher or a cowboy. You know. I was good at this game.

We were going through the book and I knew most of them cause I was pretty smart. Then my brother pointed to a lady in a white uniform.

"Who is this?"

"A colored nurse."

The lady was brown. Mommy would say she was colored. My brother looked at me, hugged me, and then told me something.

"Mindy, this is just a nurse."

I thought about that. Then we kept playing the game and I didn't make any more mistakes.

The next day my brother got out the picture book again. We were going to play the game once more. Finally, we got to the lady in the white uniform.

"What is this, Mindy?"

"Just a nurse!"

My brother hugged me. He acted like I had learned something. I'd have to think about it. But I think maybe my brother is really smarter than my Mommy and my Meme.

Written by Survivor
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