Assassinated on April 4th, 1968. This is my fifth grade class photo, taken in March of 1968, at Clements Grade School. I'm the smirking white cracker boy at center, second row.
The happening chick to my left is named Areda Heriford. She was my fashion editor when I was editor-in-chief of the classroom media outlet, News From The Busy Beavers of Room 403. I might have come up with the name, as Beaver was my childhood nickname, only just recently abandoned. I recall that Areda wrote what I took to be a devastatingly breezy 64-word article on the difference between fishnet and window pane stockings. The organ closed after just two issues, so that I could go learn how to play the saxophone.
I forget the name of the girl in the front row, but my visceral memory of her is so strong that I am flooded again with fear at the sight of her. She was so poor and so abused, and so furiously bitter by the age of 10 that she only referred to me as "cracker," while she was threatening me with bodily harm. She must have ended up badly.
The boy behind her, next to the teacher, was named Nasser Stanford and he was also from an extremely disadvantaged family. When a year later we were all bussed out to the brand new junior high school, John Trotwood Moore (with my pale skin tone skewing the purposes of the busing,) I remember that he must have filled out some form incorrectly, as the teachers and administrators began referring to him as Stanford Nasser, and he did nothing to disabuse them of the notion---so great was his obvious sense of dislocation in the new environment. He must have simply thought that name reversal went along with the white people. I was apoplectic with outrage at the injustice, but since he wasn't in any of my classes, I was only subjected to the sound of it in occasional school-wide roll calls.
By the last year of middle school, in some miracle of fate, my mother was able to secure what was probably one of the few rental houses in the best section of Nashville---Belle Mead; number 502 Lynwood Blvd, not far down Lynwood from the house Al Gore bought and retired to. It did my social life a world of good. Such was the dichotomous upbringing of Steven War Ran.
The following photograph is of my mother on the streets in Nashville shortly after the assassination of Dr. King. I post it in honor of board.crewcial.org member ctrlaltdel--someone I consider a friend. Can the Pentagon see in this example how spot-news photographs are meant to be composed?
My mother tells me that we are still nowhere near the level of fear felt in that stormy year of upheaval, and photographs such as this make me want to believe her. Of course, we are nowhere near the level of fear we will all be feeling pretty soon.
To add a synchronistic balance to this blog posting, I include the following two images taken of the back of my mother's head, along with, in the window, who I believe to be, James Earl Ray, the convicted murderer of Dr. King. Taken by The Nashville Tennessean staff photographer Joe Rudis, probably about 1974 for some special project. Aren't the two prison authorities more Starsky & Hutch than Starsky & Hutch could ever be? Organic truth is so much better than synthetic fiction--that is why I couldn't stand to live in the amateurish lie of 9/11, only good enough for stupid Christians and cheap Jews.
I'm thinking of starting yet another blog, this one called Steven War Ran---The Infancy Narrative, where I can publish material such as this. Do you think that would be a tad too megalomaniacal of me? In the absence of any connection or feedback on the blogosphere, I feel free to invent myself as I see fit. Might I be the Chosen One? Albeit, radioactive and anathema?