A woman in the front row of my audience yesterday brought back a memory during the few minutes before my mike was turned on ... .
She leaned in to ask in a whisper if I remembered her friend, John Watkins. Thought for a moment and the image of a small boy rose in my mind. "Of course." He was one of the Watkins twins -- sons of Jack and Eleanor Watkins, the first black family to move into the Valley back in the Fifties. They preceded our arrival by a few years. Their home was in another area, I never knew where that was, but the lovely pioneering Watkins family and mine had been friends for many years back in Oakland; My older sister, Marjorie, and their father Jack's younger sister had been best friends.
I recalled the story told by my friend, Dorothy Fibush, of Lafayette:
When the Watkins twins were graduating and everyone was preparing for the prom, her friends had been training their daughters for weeks for the evening by giving them ways to respond when the twins asked them to dance (wouldn't want rejection to be rude, you know. There are polite and humane ways to refuse).
That evening when the girls returned home from the dance their mothers asked how they'd handled the awkwardness.
"They didn't ask us!"