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What she taught me: Speaking of my grandmother Nanny

I grew up in a time when being black meant you had to watch yourself, where you went, who you looked at and what the signs said. Remember this was still in the 1960's

  My grandmother who was called the Monarch of the family, because she was strong and ruled the house. She taught me to say yes ma'am or sir not thank you and all of the polite things a child needs to learn while growing up. She taught me how to sit at a table, placing my napkin on my lap so if I spilled anything it would land on that and not on my nice clothes. She taught me which knife, fork and spoon to use with each dish brought out to the table, and never ever put your elbows on the table.

  She also taught me most of the things I should know about the world I was growing up in, for instance, never look a white man in the eye, he will think you are too uppity. Always check the signs before entering any store or before drinking from any fountain. All of these things were so strange to me. Even how we had to wait until everyone had boarded a train before we could board. She also taught me that one day maybe not in her lifetime things would be different and I would be able to walk with my head held high, live any place I want to and go into any store without checking just like she could, you see my grandmother was white but lived in the black world because she married a black man and that was unacceptable in her time.

   My grandmother died in 1985 at the age of 98 years and everything she ever taught me has stuck with me and she was so right I can go where ever I please without looking over my shoulder or being afraid.