Olivette was good to me growing up.
So was Stoneyside Lane.
I knew that I could always go wandering around, exploring my neighborhood or the streets around me. I knew how much fun it was to walk into town and visit the stores up there. I knew that there was always a mix of black and white kids on my street and in the neighborhood that I played with.
I didn’t know my history, though. I didn’t know that Olivette may have been a sundown town, that even though I saw black and brown faces in the community, they were not always welcome on my side of Olive Street Road, especially after dark. I did not know that the way Olivette residents were treated in my neighborhood was different and the way they were treated in the Indian Meadows subdivision.
What else did I miss when I was little? Was I oblivious to differential treatment from teachers? Was I blissfully unaware of how shopkeepers and workers treated me differently when I went to Glaser drugstore?
The truth is, I don’t know. The only way to find out is to reach out to my childhood and elementary school friends. I can ask them about their experiences, and learn if or how they were different from mine.
Olivette was good to me growing up. Was it good for everyone? There’s only one way to find out.