In 1975, when I was 5, our family moved to Fremont, California; a new bedroom community (back then) in the San Francisco Bay area. On the very first day as I was sitting on the back of the UHAUL truck parked at 34280 Barnfield Place, I remember the first neighbor who greeted us. His name was Lucky Henderson, a charismatic African American gentleman with a stocky athletic build. This would be the beginning of a relationship that would impact me as a little boy and for the rest my life.
Lucky was a gifted individual. He was an electrician by trade and an outstanding football coach. As I reflect on the things that he taught me I think I became his neighborhood project. I was a short chubby kid for most of my preteen years but that didn’t stop him from believing in me. One evening, for at least two hours, he threw the football to me until I finally caught “one”. I’m sure he was relieved, yet I thought after that catch I was going to be a running back for the Dallas Cowboys! He taught me how to fight, or should I say he toughened me up, and he taught me how to sing from my soul! Lucky gave me the gift of belief. The belief that I could become what I wanted to become if I was willing to work hard at it.
Growing up with the Henderson’s living across the street, I can truly say our families did life together. Our families ate together, played together, celebrated together, fought together, and started two successful small businesses together. We were never the WHITE family and they were never the BLACK family; we were FRIENDS.
I’m so thankful I grew up COLOR BLIND!