JULY 5, 2020



So anyway so much has happened it is hard to keep track. The Household suffered the ravages of the Covid19 disease; which involved building quarantine shacks out in the backyard. Ms. Morales has been unable to go to Longfellow to teach students as usual and has had to resort to Zoom classrooms broadcast from the Longfellow Zoom Room to teach Emily Dickinson to her pupils.

Pedro had lost his restaurant customers and so has been going out on the fishing lanes to try to capture enough stuff to sell to the big guys who deal in canned tuna and Costco. He sorely misses Pastor Rotschue who has made a partial comeback with reruns, but reruns are not the same as the actual, on the moment sort of thing with which the pastor had excelled.

It is like keeping dogeared copies of Homegrown Democrat and Pontoon on the dash of the wheelhouse; which he does. Not quite the same experience. As the Germans would say, "das ist nicht actuell!", which if you think about it, is as true as it ever was.

When Pedro comes into port all the dockworkers wear masks and gloves.

Denby lost his father amid the pandemic. The man died thousands of miles away in Boston without the two of them ever resolving the many issues that hung between them. His father had been one of those stalwart Irish Catholics who believed in the rod and the bramble over any tenderness, for he had suffered the Black and Tans war and the resultant partition and the Great Depression among many things and now there was no one to tell the stories of how things had happened during that time. Denby, himself, had been too sick to travel. And so now, save for a brother who might be living somewhere in Southie, the family line had come to an end for Denby - as far as he knew - was without issue.

This is true for most of the Household which consists of people ripped loose from family situations to make their way "unhouseled" as is true for so many Californians.

Now a savage pandemic is ravaging the Heartland which stupidly refuses to acknowledge the seriousness of this thing because the Twitter in Chief is a numbskull.

So anyway some more. July 4th came around and for the first time in 35 years there was no Mayor's Parade on the Island. There were a whole lotta fireworks over in Oaktown - all of them illegal. Some of them started fires - hey there is a reason those things are illegal around here.

Little Adam sat with Pahrump, Marlene, Andre and Lionel on rip rap extending out into the water of the Bay and watched the sun go down, making fireworks of its own that were good enough. Because people were talking about it, Little Adam wanted to know why there were no Black Founding Fathers and wussup with the statue of Robert E. Lee. Why do people want to tear down his statue.

"Well it is not true there were no Black Founding Fathers or Mothers," Pahrump said. "We got Frederick Douglass to look up to."

"And we have Sister Rosetta Tharp," Andre said. "Who was a founding Mother of the Blues."

"We have Richard Allen," Lionel said. "Allen was a minister, educator, writer, and one of America's most active and influential black leaders. In 1794, he founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the first independent black denomination in the United States. He opened his first AME church in 1794 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And although born later I do believe Thurgood Marshall was no slacker on the Supreme Court."

"You of course know of Sojourner Truth, " Pahrump said. "If you want to go back to the 1700's. Sojourner Truth; born Isabella "Belle" Baumfree, was an American abolitionist and women's rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son in 1828, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843 after she became convinced that God had called her to leave the city and go into the countryside "testifying the hope that was in her". In 2014, Truth was included in Smithsonian magazine's list of the "100 Most Significant Americans of All Time". She helped recruit soldiers into the Union Army during the Civil War, including the famous 54th Massachussets Regiment."

"You know Harriet Tubman is gonna appear on the $20 buck bill some time this year," Lionel said. "Harriet was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. During the American Civil War, she served as an armed scout and spy for the Union Army. In her later years, Tubman was an activist in the struggle for women's suffrage. We could also talk about Booker T. Washington and Ida Williams, but when we get past the period when Black people could get something done post-slavery, the numbers are huge."

"What about Robert E. Lee?" Little Adam asked. "Why is he important?"

"Robert E. Lee," said Adam, "Led an army to kill innocent legal citizens of the United States in an effort to perpetuate slavery. He was a criminal and is partly responsible for the violent death of nearly half a million soldiers on both sides. That is why we tear down his statue."

"O!" Little Adam said.