NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2015 Volume 15.2 - Page 44

While the Gittin’ is Good By JOHN MITCHELL This December was snowier than what most people remembered in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Al was thinking as he walked along the freshly fallen snow to his home. It was year two of America’s entrance into the world’s second war. Al had just been promoted to Staff Sergeant and couldn’t wait to see his wife. He was yearning for that kitchen, which was the center of Al’s and Eva’s life. 42 Who would have thought that Aloysius Sam from Brooklyn would marry Eva Peralta from Puerto Rico? Back on the island, her family was wealthy. Now her father had the largest dental practice in Spanish Harlem. Eva’s mother worked at home, raising her and her twin brother Carlos and two other children. Al’s dad, a descendent of Haiti’s president, was an Episcopal priest in Harlem. Al’s mom taught public school. Eva left her last year at the City College of New York to be with Al. She drove herself to North Carolina and found work at a segregated school. Al was a Drill Instructor at Montford Point, where he trained other colored Marines, and was the director of the first Colored Marine Corps Marching Band. He and his other three buddies from Harlem relished that part of being a Marine. Two years in Ithaca had thrust that opportunity on him with the Big Red Marching Band. It helped that as young teens they were in an award winning Boy Scout Drum and Bugle Corps. As he approached the back steps, he saw Eva sitting at the kitchen table. She half-listened to Cab Calloway’s “The Birth of the Blues” playing on the living room’s Victrola. They both loved music. She had just started to wonder where her husband was? Al startled her as he shouted her name from the kitchen door. She opened it and cleared a space on the table for their groceries. When Al grabbed Eva, she wept as they hugged. He wiped her tears with his soft hands. She said, “Al, I have something to tell you.” “What happened? Are you hurt, Baby?” Al tried to comfort her. “This afternoon, I had to impersonate a white woman to save a colored boy’s life.” “How’s that again?”