Verse – The Laundromat – Pittsboro, N.C., 1969

She was young, white, and pregnant

when they moved

south. She had worked for Civil

Rights for blacks

up north. So seeing two doors

as she faced

the laundromat obscured

the sordid facts

of legal segregation

just before.

“Oh please, Ma’am, take your clothes

over next door,”

the old black woman said.

“Will you have trouble

if I stay?” “Please, Ma’am,

do as I say…”

The young woman had not

heard “Ma’am” before

from someone older, so

she turned her face —

embarrassed for her race –

and went next door.

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, Jan. 27, 2015

NOTE: While working on a Ph.D. in Religion at Duke University, Steve pastored two yoked Presbyterian Churches: the 88 member Pittsboro, N.C., (pop. 1,500 then), and Mt. Vernon Springs (55? members) 30 miles west in rural Chatham County. Nadja droveĀ from the Manse in Pittsboro 30 miles north to do Microbiology research at Duke. Son Daniel was born in March, 1970.