One more Shell story, on race in America | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

One more Shell story, on race in America 

One Saturday morning, so many decades ago, AV was not there when I arrived for work.  

Abe told me that AV’s car wouldn’t start and he was going to take the wrecker (tow truck) and go get the car and AV and so he did. I watched the two guys push the car onto the hoist and learned the car needed a new starter but one had to be ordered, so AV would leave it there overnight.  

Abe told me he couldn’t take AV home that night but he could catch a #22 bus going eastbound after we closed. That didn’t seem right so I told AV I would drop him off at home. He said, no, he would hop a bus.  

“AV, you are such a great guy, and the buses don’t run very often at night so let me drive you.” “No.” AV insisted. I persisted. Finally, he agreed. We closed at nine and after locking up I drove AV to his home on 22nd and Cherry. When I got there, before he left my car he told me to keep the windows up and “Don’t stop for anybody or anything.”  

“What’s with all this?”  

He hesitated and finally said, “The brothers don’t like white guys driving this neighborhood at night.” 


“Because they think white guys are looking for dope or colored women for sex.”  


And so I left AV and drove west on Cherry. When I crossed 35th Street, the neighborhood suddenly changed; I saw only white folks. I was dumbfounded. There was so much I just hadn’t realized about life. 

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