Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Incident in Johnson City

I arrived at Johnson City, TN, about 6 am in late September, 1962. Since it was too early to call the Sells' family to pick me up, I stepped into the coffee shop to wait for awhile. There was only one waitress working behind the counter, which was at the top of a few steps, with a handrail in the middle to separate the two sections of the counter. I went up the closest side of the counter, on the right, to order a cup of coffee. The waiter did not respond to my request. I thought that she might not understand my English, so I repeated my request. She tried to give me some hints by her eyes and by waving her head. I finally figured out that she wanted me to move to the other side of the hand rail, which I did, and then I got served. Not one word was spoken!

Later, when Frank Sells, Miss Sells' nephew, picked me up to take me to my rental room, I asked him what the waitress was trying to tell me. He said, in a matter of fact way, that I was sitting in the wrong section. I must sit on the "white" side in order to be served. The waitress was trying to educate me!

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