Jackie Robinson’s birthday was January 31st—born 100 years ago. As a teenager, in the 1950’s, Dodger Stadium was located in Brooklyn walking distance from my home. I had the opportunity to attend games with friends and family where “42” swung his bat and hit home runs again and again.
While employed at New York University as the secretary to the Head of the Nursing Department I met Rachel who was a psychiatric nursing student. I attended classes in the evening. NYU had instituted a “tuition remission” program, which provided eight (8) credits each semester “free of charge,” which enabled me to complete my ﬁ rst degree and become a teacher. My connection to Jackie and Rachel continues to inspire me. I wrote a poem to honor him and sent a copy to Rachel.
She thanked me.
Cold sweat fractures sleep
no place to lay burden down racism stiﬂes dreams
slights insults stick
alone inside rage rattles
cannot let people down chorus of voices echo
do not resist back of bus bumped ﬂights lost accommodations
ﬁrst time in play fans gawk great black hope swings bat Crack!
home run run home
Jackie Robinson won ignorance and bigotry zero.
[Govine Ituarte, Gerda, Alterations | Thread Light Through Eye of Storm, Pasadena, CA, La Casa del Túnel Productions, 2015.]