2010-06-03

My Grandfather and Health Camp


This past weekend, the man I knew as my Grandaddy passed away. He was 92. It was kind of sudden, and I'm sad for many reasons, but I am grateful to have so many wonderful memories with him. As a kid he would take me places, like the park, to the neighborhood store, etc., but my one favorite place to go to him was a place called Health Camp. It's a restaurant and there is nothing healthy on the menu, but as a kid I felt they had the best milkshakes in the world and my grandfather would take me there every time I asked, excluding the times my mother would stop him for fear of my inevitable sugar rush I would get each time I went there. I've just now realized that Health Camp has been around since 1949. In Waco, TX. In 1949, Waco, TX for the most part was segregated. So that means I had my grandfather take me to a place he wasn't even allowed to go into until the late 1960s. Kind of crazy.

I often wonder how black folks who suffered segregation felt about going into establishments that were essentially forced to accept them. Did they enjoy it and treat it as a sweet revenge, or did they go in fear, thinking the whole concept of desegregation was a trick? My grandfather never mentioned it.

I often forget with the current racism in this world, that people dealt with a lot worse.