The following is an excerpt from “Swirling: How to Date, Mate, and Relate Mixing Race, Culture, and Creed”
My Guess Who? moment with my husband was a disaster. In fact, the whole ordeal broke us up for a while.
Mike flew me in from California to the foreign land of Westport, Connecticut, home of Michael Bolton, the late Paul Newman, and Martha Stewart (before she got run out of the place). I walked off the plane, covered head to toe with cold-deflecting clothes, but winters on the East Coast was like nothing I had ever experienced. The only way to describe it is, the cold went all the way through my hat, jacket, and sweater to my bones. But there Mike was, his green eyes twinkling and brilliant smile so bright, I was warm in an instant. The hour-long ride from JFK to Westport had my stomach in knots and needing to get to the nearest gas station bathroom.
If there was one word to describe what it was like meeting the In-Laws Karazin for the first time, it would be “awkward.” Mike’s mother, who had never associated with black people in her life, and his father, a judge, probably saw his share of trifling black folks and had his antenna up for any possible hoodrat-iness. Introductions went all around, and I was my friendliest, bubbliest self. Mike’s father gave a terse greeting, little eye contact. We came right in time for dinner, but I can’t remember what it was, only that it required seasoning. Dad Karazin barked, “Mom Karazin, fresh ground salt and pepper!” and she promptly passed them across the table to him. My eyes widened like saucers. I hadn’t ever heard my father command my mother to do anything and I was honestly wondering what the hell kind of family this was.
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