Scott Ellington's Blog

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Talkin’ bout misc-generation

  • Aug. 3rd, 2007 at 8:24 PM


I noticed a couple of days ago, that someone visiting this blog clicked the link to the old LiveJournal posts in my first blog, abandoned a decade ago; the time of The Hundred Days Strike. Long time, no re-read. Here’s a post from back then:

I was born black in San Francisco in 1950.  I don’t recall any of the facts in the preceding sentence being particularly problematical until about 1955.  
The dayschool was necessary because both of my parents had fulltime jobs, so I was stashed in a nursery school every weekday at Hunter’s Point near where my mother’s job was located.  
The RadLab (short for Radiation Laboratory [draw your own conclusions]) is a place I remember not at all, but the dayschool lingers in memory because of the daily, deeply unnecessary nap, 
and the line-up for cod liver oil, which was administered with a single tablespoon that traveled in a singular motion from jar (click click) to mouth (“Lick it all off!”) to jar (click click) to mouth…
with varying degrees of expressions of nausea rippling in its wake.
And there was that one time in the asphalt playground…  
I remember standing near the low cyclone fence that kept us kids from falling down the steep and brambled hill that fell A LONG WAY down to the distant road below the property.  
Something I must have said or done or been caused three of the slightly older boys (also black) to take considerable offense at me, and before I really understood what had happened, 
they’d wedged my head under the fence, held fast by an embarassment of asphalt and the accommodating bight of bent wire that dug into my nape.  I was stuck there until our teacher discovered my absence and came to release me.  
Thirty seconds, thirty minutes…who remembers?  It really was A LONG WAY DOWN.
It was time for a new dayschool, and the plan was to enroll me in a Catholic one where the moral, ethical and disciplinary standards were sure and true and bright.  
I was still black, and looking back, I have to see me as a test-case; sidelong looks throughout the enrollment/registration process.  Taoist, maybe, inconveniently, never Catholic. Thank god!
All the kids I encountered on that very first day turned out to be IrishPortugeseScottishEnglish and Italian.  And they were also Catholic, some of them in uniform (or too young, like me, and more simply bound) 
for classes in the parochial elementary schools at Mission Dolores and Notre Dame.  My parents and I, on the other hand, tended to migrate denominations every couple of weeks, 
depending upon whether my mother disliked the crowd.  And it seems she always did.
By late August, 1955, I knew just enough to find baseball fascinating, and the kids in the large tanbark playground into which I was unceremoniously thrust knew enough to check the new kid’s hitting skills.  If I’d ever seen a Giants’ game on the television we didn’t yet have (1957) that might have broadcast the hometown team that wouldn’t move west for a couple of years (1958), I’d probably have known where the hell to run, which is what everyone urged me to do in no uncertain terms at the tops of their lungs, after I’d nailed a blooper over second.  Instead, I simply stood anxiously at the plate until a couple of older boys (in uniform) beat me to a pulp…or so it seemed.  But then, terrified 5year olds pulp pretty quick.
♥♫For it was Mary, Mary, long before the fashion changed.♫♥  
I’ve no idea of her last name, but exquisitely plump and 12, she held me to her unwomanly bosom ’til my sobs purred, chasing the scowling turds away with an abysmal, malevolent growl, though they threatened to do me further physical and emotional insult added to injury.  Ah, Mary!
Whether she was IrishPortugeseScottishEnglish or Italian mattered to me then, not at all, nor does it now.  And whether it was Mary who first won my heart or the giant Sister Christina (who could hit a ball like Willie), the saintly Sister Agnes, or the volatile Sister Maureen (redhead, freckled)…apparently I totally imprinted on Great Big White Chicks who carried themselves with pale goth(ic) power, commanding, liquid eyes, ultra-modest black clothing and deep-throated schoolyard bells. Fetish much?
On the other hand, my parents’ interactions with one another convinced me early that living with another person like that…wasn’t exactly living.  By the age of seven I’d decided to (at all costs) split my infinitives and avoid matrimonial bliss as though it were a disfiguring kind of inevitable plague.
Fifty Sixty years later, my mother, still living, doesn’t understand why her grandchildren don’t exist, why my girlfriends have always been anything but black, how her only child has managed to fail her so completely.  
It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve done my level best to sidestep the cozy pockets of delicate arrangements with this pastor’s daughter and that old friend’s niece…insuring that any insanity secreted in my genes dies here, on my watch.
And on yet another hand, Barbara and Janice and Gayle and Judy and Sara and Terri…, all ScottishJewishItalianDutchEnglishIrish and Indeterminate had paler parents than mine who strenuously, tacitly objected to their dangerous liaisons with me.  Bless ’em!
I’m obliged to plead guilty to cowardice in the first and most premeditated degree, but there won’t be another generation of little kids like me.
Unless I’ve already fucked up and don’t know it.

16 May 19 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Wow. You really have a way with words, so deep and eloquent on the one hand, and yet comforting funny on the other. I hope I can acquire that level of literacy, just so I’d feel confident enough to leave a worthy response! Really, your way of storytelling lulled me into thinking I’m reading a historic novel, something like Shakespeare. And then the last sentence threw me under a bus so hard I had to chuckle! But despite the humor in this autobiography, I do hope you’ve been able to make your peace with the shortcomings you had to endure, and that you’re living a fulfilled and happy life now.

    Comment by DarlaSansby | 07 Aug 22 | Reply

  2. “An embarrassment of asphalt” got me too.
    Thanks for coming in seamless, idiomatic American. You’ll go far and I’d like to assist.
    Best sex I’ve had in quite a while!

    Comment by Scott Ellington | 08 Aug 22 | Reply

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