Hi there! Everyone talks about the good old days—how they used to be—what a difference from today. Remember when gas was 25¢ a gallon? And cigarettes 26¢ a box with a 1¢ tax? Wow!
Kwame McDonald was a much-loved icon in the community. He was well traveled and well known across the country. My relationship with him—a relationship of associating and working together—lasted over thirty years, right up until the time he died. This is also a story about the manner in which he died, his whole attitude about life and death, and the acceptance of his fate.
As with most love affairs, it happened by chance and caught me by surprise. After our first few dates, I realized that my life had led me to this moment, that I was right where I belonged: in front of 150 students every day at Central High School.
Max Shulman (1919–1988) grew up in a Jewish community in Saint Paul’s Selby-Dale neighborhood. After graduating from Central High School, he earned a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota. His writings were invariably humorous and were published in novels and magazines. He eventually became a successful writer for theater and television. His novel Potatoes are Cheaper was a portrayal of life in the city in the late 1930s. Extract from Max Shulman, Potatoes Are Cheaper (Doubleday and Company, 1971): 1–4, 23.
Gathering in St. Paul 40 years after Selma, the speakers’ arms pump and flail; the voices of the preacher and senator ring out and we step into the stream like revelers, cheerful on the buoyant morning, walking the half-mile from Central High School to Concordia College.