Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Freewheelin' In The Bronx 1971 (vi)

Sometimes I would continue walking eastward on Pelham Parkway, a few blocks east of White Plains Road. But if I wanted to explore the neighborhood much further east on Pelham Parkway, I would usually wait till the weekend and just hop on the bus that took you to Pelham Bay Park, and look out the bus window at the culturally straight people, walking out of the culturally straight-looking Pelham Parkway apartment buildings and houses to get into their cars, go shopping or enjoy the springtime weather on the weekends. On a few occasions, both during the week and on weekends, I would spend some time walking north on White Plains Road, under the elevated IRT line tracks, to explore the Allerton neighborhood—which I later learned was apparently not far from where Stokely Carmichael a/k/a Kwame Ture lived when he attended the Bronx High School of Science in the late 1950s as a teenager, before later enrolling at Howard University during the early 1960s. But I can’t recall ever talking with anyone during my walks along White Plains Road, north of Pelham Parkway, during the spring and summer of 1971.

When I returned to my apartment from walking eastward, I would often take a return route that led me through the Bronx Park forest area that surrounded the Botanical Garden area which was both north of my apartment and adjacent to the back of Fordham University’s campus. By 2:30 in the afternoon during the week and all day on Saturday and Sunday in the spring and summer of 1971, Bronx Park would be filled with enough people sitting on blankets with their children or with their friends, walking around and enjoying the green park space, making out with their boyfriend or womanfriend, enjoying the sun, picnicking, reading (or studying if they were Fordham students), so that you usually never felt there was much risk of being ripped off there.

If I had a small paperback book in my pants pocket (or was carrying a small knapsack with a hard-cover library book in it) during the spring of 1971, and the spring weather and air was giving me spring fever and making me feel I just wanted to sit outside in a lazy way and spend a few hours reading on the park grass, I would sometimes pretend that the Bronx Park and the Bronx Botanical Garden was my estate, while stretching out on the lawn and reading book. Feeling lucky that I wasn’t wasting the nice spring day during the weekday afternoon having to be stuck in a 9 to 5 wage-enslavement cage.

I can recall spending a few hours reading one of the volumes of Simone De Beauvoir’s autobiography stretched out on the lawn of the Bronx Park in April or May of 1971 on one of these beautiful spring days. Around the same time I also was reading her The Second Sex book, so my political and intellectual consciousness became even more feminized in a more deeper way than previously by the spring of 1971—many years before most of the male chauvinist, middle-class academics at the various patriarchal elite U.S. corporate universities finally learned in the late 1970s which politically correct words needed to be used, in order to shield themselves from being criticized by the middle-class feminist liberal academics for not having enough of a feminist intellectual consciousness.