Wednesday, May 02, 2007

This Post Has No Title

The building next door to my office is Grace Hall -- a beatiful historic old gymnasium which has been converted into a combination Student Center and modern sports/events venue. One of the things that Kyle and Owen love to do whenever they're on campus is to go into Grace Hall and explore. They love to explore the charming dimly lit hallways, and peek out the ancient tall windows, and ride up and down in the elevators. We'll often run into students mingling about, or shooting hoops, or practicing volleyball, and the boys (and the students) get a big kick out of spontaneously interacting with each other. The boys also love to go inside the main center of the building and climb up and down the bleachers. We do this often. It has become a little ritual for Kyle and Owen every time we're leaving "Mama's Office" to head home. Students have often told me that they "love it when the twins come to Grace Hall!" They are fun to watch as they explore and climb.

Yesterday afternoon I had the boys on campus with me. Of course we had to go into Grace Hall before we got in the car to go home. The boys were doing what they always do -- exploring and climbing up and down the bleachers. I noticed a middle-aged white woman in a Lehigh Athletics uniform watching us through a window. Then I saw her enter the big room where we were, and she started to approach me. Here is what transpired:

Woman (W): Who are these children?
Heather (H): What?!?
W: Are they with you?
H: Yes.
W: You're watching them?
H: What do you mean?
W: Are you watching them?
H: Like, am I watching them climb? Or, like, am I watching them? [as in babysitting]
W: You know what I mean. Are you watching them? [as in babysitting] Are they with you?
H: Yes, they are with me.
W: Who are they to you?
H: Excuse me?
W: Who are they to you?
H: They are my children. They are my sons.
W: Oh. [long awkward pause] Well, who are you? Do you work here?
H: Yes. I am a professor here.
W: Oh.
H: Is there a problem?
W: I, um, um, I don't want anything to happen to those children.
H: What do you mean?
W: I wouldn't want to see them get hurt.
H: Well, neither would I! I'm their mother!!?! They're perfectly fine.
W: Well, the building is officially closed.
H: My office is right next door. I know the building is not officially closed. I know the building is open.

[The woman then walked off.]


Anonymous said...



Heidi Evans said...

I found your blog through a friend. I lived in Chile as well as an MK. I am so sorry about your experience. That is horrible.

Corey said...

I think you did a remarkable job of NOT telling her to "get bent." Which is what I would have done.

It sucks when a place that you love becomes a place where you've been violated. It no longer feels safe.

God, forgive this woman for being a pighead. Amen.

I love you.

May;hem said...

Hmmm... A crazy woman in so many, many ways...

So, the building is officially closed to Black children? Children who climb on stuff? Moms and kids who offend by not matching?

Well, I'm sure her only real concern was that the boys not get hurt... (sarcasm, in case that's not clear)

Lori said...

WHAT??? You've got to be kidding me. I CANNOT believe that. Heaven help some of these people!

I would have lost it. HA!!!


Lori said...

WHAT??? You've got to be kidding me. I CANNOT believe that. Heaven help some of these people!

I would have lost it. HA!!!


Anonymous said...

I link here through the Fingerped blog.

I can write a million examples about hos people speak to me when it comes to my son, Paris, who is 7 and autistic. . .the responses vary from amusing to cruel.

I have varied my responses as well, from sarcastic to dark and slightly angry. . .all with my eye on venting about it later.

Thank heaven for blogs, huh?


Kristina said...

I just found your bog.

I don't know where to begin.

I just shake my head in confusion at others stupidity. I really thought our country was further past this by now. I guess I am the niave one!

Mostly I am sadden and pity this woman. Pity may seem strange, but I pity her because she misses out on these two beautiful little boys and the love that oozzes out of them. So many miss out on amazing relationships because they judge by appearances only.
sigh. said...

One word only--- un-be-liev-a-ble!


djrobby74 said...

You made a pretty quick assumption that she didn't like your kids b/c they are black. She maybe didn't understand right away that they are YOUR kids, b/c yes, your skin color isn't the same. However, that does not mean she didn't want them there b/c she is racist. Maybe you could have responded to her question: "You're watching them?" wtih "Yes, of course I am, I am there mother and I work here." When you said "What do you mean?" I read like you were sort of leading her, instead of just being direct.

Just my opinion. Seems like you think people are assuming things about you a lot, but you might be doing the same.