Skip to content

A Haunting Question

When I was in the seventh grade, I had a strange interaction with my bus driver that has haunted me for the past twenty-five years. I thought I might share that story today.

I was living in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, and my bus driver was probably in her late thirties or early forties. I was a good, quiet kid, so I never had any reason to interact with her other than saying good morning or thank you, so imagine my surprise when her arm reached out, grabbed my arm to stop me and sort of spun me around to look at her.

I mean, I got off the bus every day without issue, I had spent the entire bus ride reading, so I didn’t know what had prompted her to put her hands on me aggressively enough to turn me to look at her.

So, I had a look of surprise on my face, I’m sure, when she looked me in the eyes and with a bit of aggression said:

“Are you a Jew?”

Stunned… I just sort of mumbled, “A what?”

“A Jew, are you a Jew?”

“No ma’am” I mumbled, still trying to process where this line of questioning was coming from or going.

“Are you sure?!”

“Yes, I’m sure. I’m not Jewish.”

And she let go of my arm and I got off the bus and we didn’t interact again for the rest of the year.

I don’t know what that meant and every once in a while, usually when I see a school bus, that memory pops into my head. Like, I feel like it was a bit aggressive, so I want to believe it was a negative thing, but what would have happened if I said yes? I mean, the bus was full of kids.

Then again, maybe she just never met someone Jewish and here was a white kid with black hair, who had lost his Southern accent after living in Orlando for a few years. Maybe, she made a dreidel in pottery class and wanted to give it to someone.

Then again, my neighborhood did receive pamphlets around this time from the KKK, so maybe as an African American woman she was trying to warn me or my family if we happened to be Jewish.

Of course, I’ll never know the answer to this question, but it’s the only time in my life someone has asked me if I was Jewish, and I’d love to know what brought that on.

Published in#WeblogPoMo2024

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *