We didn’t know much about the south. I guess I should say my parents didn’t know much about the south. I was 8 years old – how much could I possibly know about anything?I was in the 3rd grade and had already started school in Iowa when we moved. I remember my first day at school in Huntsville.
A boy swaggered up to me and belligerently said, “Are you a yank-ka?”I said, “What?”
He repeated a little louder, “Are you a yank-ka?”I said: “I don’t know. I don’t know what that is.”
He shouted (like volume was going to help the problem), “Are you from up nauth?”Ah! Finally, a glimmer of understanding was shining through the southern accent. I ventured a guess.
“Do you mean am I from the north?”“Yeah,” he cried triumphantly.
I demurely replied, “Why, yes, young sir, I am from the northern part of our great country.”Well, okay, I didn’t say exactly those words. If memory serves, I said, “Yes.”
Whereupon, he punched me in the stomach. I never saw it coming, a true sucker punch. It doubled me over and knocked the wind out of me.I’m imagining that he strutted away, full of himself because he single-handedly took care of a “yank-ka.”
And you thought “The South Shall Rise Again” was just a saying…