He called me his daughter. It was half-affection, half-running joke, because we couldn't have looked more different. But there was no doubt that Rudy Wilson was everyone's dad, complete with dad jokes, and his death this week is a blow to the entire community.
He was a quiet groundbreaker, a man dedicated to education throughout his life. He was one of the first black faculty members at SIUE when it was a fledgling campus in 1970. He had already broken ground as the first black teacher at a California college, and when he came here, he taught in the school of education and became the assistant provost for cultural and social diversity.
Part of his job was to mentor student teachers, including visiting them as they worked in area high schools. This became a problem at a local high school and its all-white faculty, according to multiple sources. It was indicated that he was not wanted, and therefore, the university informed them that they would get no more student teachers until…
Yesterday I messaged a friend that I had been sucker-punched in the head. He said, "I saw, I'm so sorry." He thought I was talking in metaphor, because my grandmother passed away Friday morning and there has been much reminiscing on Facebook.
Grammy's death is too big a thing for me to wrap my head around yet. I thought I'd be able to write about it by now, but it's going to have to wait until my heart and my head get in sync. There are too many moments, too many scenes, too many memories that don't connect with each other to write about her yet. I keep mentally stumbling across things, like the way she called me "My Elizabeth" since I was a toddler, or the alternate lyrics she taught me to John Phillip Sousa, or her funny sweaters, or the time I told her the sky was a different color blue where she was, and dubbed it "California blue," which she said always came to mind afterward when the sky was clear over her house in the San Joaqui…
The good news: Boy is home early! Yay for boyhugs.
The bad news: He is home early due to injury. Of course.
About a week to ten days ago, he was nicked by an arrow in the leg. (Long story.) Tonight they called me to tell me the wound had gotten badly infected, and he needed immediate medical attention. So I drove out to collect him and his things (made record time to camp); he was due to leave Sunday, so this basically cuts his time short.
He greeted me, "Hello momperson."
So tonight was a pile of fun, with attempting to clean out the wound and bandage it properly. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I worked as a medical assistant in my youth, and Jim was an Air Force medic. (Of course, that was in 1985, so our arguments over the advisability of using hydrogen peroxide in wounds will continue as long as we argue over macaroni and cheese as a side dish.)
We drove by Jim's work on the way back from camp so Jim could look at the leg. We debated taking him to ur…