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Gratitude and Friendship: My Childhood Bonds with Girls in the Bronx

I started school at P.S. 77 in the Bronx in the 1960s, a child of struggling immigrant parents who didn’t speak much English. I was outgoing and friendly but was hurt and ashamed when none of the other white girls would play with me. I sat alone in the corner of the schoolyard for most of recess those first few days, wondering if my hand-me-down clothes where the problem. But the Black girls didn’t seem to mind. They motioned me over and taught me to jump double-dutch, and let me sit with them at lunch. They even shared their food with me, which was always plentiful and delicious.

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for their kindness, acceptance, and unwavering friendship during those formative years.

My Black friends taught me an invaluable lesson about the importance of inclusivity and embracing diversity. When others turned me away because of my circumstances, these girls welcomed me with open arms. They showed me that friendship knows no boundaries and that kindness can bridge any divide. The friendships I cultivated during those years have left an indelible mark on my heart. The values of empathy, compassion, and acceptance that I learned from my Black friends have shaped the person I am today. And I am grateful for that.

My book, Redeemed, A Memoir of a Stolen Childhood will be published June 25, 2024.

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