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Rete Jul 28th 2001 10:46 am

Yesterday afternoon Jim answered the phone and, of course, it was one of those telemarketers for a phone company. They asked to speak to Rita Wilson and he explained I was at work and that he was Mr. Wilson but that he is not allowed to make decisions on changing phone companies because he is only a permanent resident having been imported from Canada and the intricacies of phone service in the States was still alien to him. (You have to know my Canuck’s sense of humour to know this is exactly what he did say.)

The lady on the other end then told him that her last name was Wilson also. She then said would you bear with me for a minute. Jim, of course, said yes because he loves to talk to people and telemarketers are some of his favorite people to talk with. (Think it is because he knows they will talk with you forever if there is a chance they will make a sale.) She asked him if his first name was James. He said yes. She asked him if he was ever in the Canadian Air Force. He again said yes. She asked him if he had ever been stationed in Portage, Manitoba. He again said yes. She then said her husband’s name was James Wilson too and did Jim remember meeting a member of the US Forces with the same name once in Manitoba?

Well my Jim said he started laughing. Yup he remembered. He had the rooster and saw that there was a James Wilson from the US Air Force coming to the base. He was on the tarmack when the men disembarked. He looked for James Wilson, US Airman. When he spotted him, he walked up to a Black, 6’3�, Airman, threw his arm around him, and said “Howdy Cuz. We must be related ‘cause we have the same name.� James Wilson looked down at the puny little white boy and didn’t know whether to laugh or get back on the plane.

This was in 1961 and Southern Blacks were not use to white people hugging them and being friendly. But as Jim says, US Blacks, northern or southern, didn’t know that the Canadian Forces didn’t hold with the color barriers that the US Forces had at that time. The lady on the phone said she was engaged to the US James Wilson at the time and when he returned back to Georgia, he told her the story of the white Canadian James Wilson and it is a story that he has told often and she has never forgotten.

They exchanged e-mail addresses and these two good old Air Force boys will be having a reunion soon, at least by bandwidth.

Jim loves to tell the stories about when the Black US Serviceman would come to the Canadian bases. How they could not get over that they would be allowed to eat in the same mess or be allowed to attend social functions with the Whites. At one of the dances, Jim was asked by one of the Black US Servicemen what would happen if he went up to that white lady and asked her to dance. Jim looked at him funny and said, “Well, one of two things will happen. Either she will say yes or she will say no.� Or how when he was sent to a US Base and one of the Black Servicemen he had become friends with in Manitoba invited him to room in their all Black barracks and the other Blacks were angry because they didn’t want a white man in their barracks until his friend explained "this ain’t no white boy, this is a Canuck".

Just thought I would share this with you.


pjane1954 Jul 28th 2001 3:49 pm

What a cool story!!

Perdue Jul 28th 2001 4:30 pm

Just goes to show, it's a small world after all!

The very first newspaper I bought after moving to Phoenix had an article about "tough love" schools for kids. The picture accompanying the article was of a girl I taught French to several years ago back in Canada.

Rete Jul 28th 2001 4:48 pm

Wow. Isn't it amazing ;-) Didn't know you had moved already Perdue. How do you like it? Hot enough for ya?

I know my friend George loves it and would never move about the New York State. Remember if you need a real estate agent, let me know and I will give you George and Cookie's number.


Perdue Jul 29th 2001 1:46 am

Yup, been here almost two weeks. The job situation is already better, which is a big relief.

As for the heat, well, my pasty Canadian skin is drowning in sunblock, and I'm becoming a big fan of covered parking. After the humidity in Virginia, though, it's not that they say, at least it's a dry heat :-P

Now I just have to figure out where to send all of our address change stuff...and to think I thought I was done with the INS!

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