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– Part I: Lost and Found –

four decades, the likes of which I won’t have time to experience again.

You r s , Alison


Though you are gone, I find I need to continue to write to you as we have written, through letters sent or unsent, over these almost forty years. When Obama won the November election, I was awake until dawn, choked when the memory surfaced of my days at the University of North Carolina (at what was then called WC or Women’s College). This was a time (1962–63) when our own university ‘nigrahs’ (as they were known – there were nineteen that second year of integration) were not allowed to eat, drink, or go to the movies off-campus with us whites. We picketed the Apple House coffee shop and the small movie theater called The Cinema; sang WE SHALL OVERCOME with lumps in our throats. At the time, almost every southern girl wore a wrap-around skirt, a paisley print blouse with a round collar, while I, almost a freak – the Yankee/Jew – wore sandals and a faux-Pucci dress that came in a can. We were warned by the police not to respond to anyone or anything no matter how menacing the taunt, for fear of inciting violence toward us – not even to the white women from the neighborhood who carried umbrellas to


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