Edited By William M. Reynolds
Chapter Thirty-Three: The World Through My Eyes: A Rural Southern Boy Comes of Age
The World Through My Eyes: A Rural Southern Boy Comes of Age
LEMUEL W. WATSON
The context of where one is born and raised has a powerful influence on developmental factors, life perspectives, and how one sees himself or herself in the world. As a child of the 1960s and 70s, I have been influenced by numerous changes that have shaped our history and our country. I was in the first integrated 1st-grade class in my town. I am from a blended family and am the middle child, sandwiched between other children. The essence of who I am and what my place in the world is are shaped by my family and community. I know of no other way to be except as a Southerner who was raised in rural South Carolina. It does not limit me from becoming what I need to be, but it does interact with my worldly experiences in ways that remind, resonate, and ground me to my own existential knowledge.
The community I grew up in would be considered by any standard an integrated rural community. Whites and blacks lived comfortably together and supported each other, from my recollection. I was born in 1964, when party lines were used for communications by telephone. There were blacks and whites that shared the lines, and I don’t recall anyone having first rights to use. If you picked up the phone and it was engaged, you gave...
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