Sunday, July 12, 2009

Crossing the Trestle

I should mention that several years ago at a poetry reading in Warren County I ran into an old poetry associate, Charles Johnson. I had just finished my reading and one of the poems mentioned the tracks and the trestle. Charles walked up to me and said "I crossed that trestle". I was surprised and asked what he meant. He told me he'd taken the walk down the tracks and crossed the railroad trestle. Just as my friends and I and generations of kids had done over the years.
The difference is that Charles was from Haddon Heights or Jericho and he was black and for a young man from Jericho to cross that trestle in the early sixties was far braver than any other little kid worrying about trains.
There were real threats if he walked through Wenonah and the threats were the people. They're talking about finally building the light rail from Philly to Glassboro through Wenonah using the old rail bed again. As usual the anti light rail group is worried about black and spanish folks getting off in Wenonah. As though any black kid would want to get off in Wenonah. As if they wouldn't get escorted to the town line and sent home. Some things never change.
So my congratulations to my brave friend and to all my friends who helped walk that line. Don't forget there is still a line. Watch each others back.


Anonymous said...

I am a former resident of Wenonah. Even though you are no longer with us I would like to believe you are watching over us. I recently discovered your blog through a face book post form an old friend. Times are tough right now and your blog gave me an avenue to a past that brought me such joy. Thank you so much. If you dont mind( wich I am sure you don't) Whenever I am down I will journey into the past via your blog. Thank you

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