11•18 gratitudinous}

It’s strange to realize that I’m old enough for an era to have passed…

When I was really little – almost five – our family moved out of the city to the suburbs, and our new minister was a very kindly, white South African man who always made a fuss over me, pulling my pigtails and demanding to know who I was and what on earth I was doing in his office – the usual weird nonsense adults say to children. Each time we met, he would say he didn’t remember me, or couldn’t possibly say my name, so he would just have to change it. To Jane.

In this year of our lord, 2023, the optics of a white South African man telling a Black child her name is too hard to say, so giving her a simpler name are… quite something. But, in nineteen seventywhat, I was just an amused child, giggling at the newest bit of nonsense an adult handed down to me.

You, Jane

I loved that girl, Jane –
She was simple. Sweet. Pretty.
When she bossed Sally
Or took up with Spot and Dick,
No one mispronounced her,
Misunderstood her, or mistook her
For just an easy read.