Segregation -- the state or position of somebody or something kept separate from others.
Now let me ask you how you would feel if you were told you could not live in a certain neighborhood because your skin was not white or black or brown. What if you were not allowed to take vacation where you wanted because you were not a male, or not a female?
As a society we group ourselves, do we not? We are constantly choosing sides in politics, religion, moral issues of the day, etc., and this is acceptable. When we want to segregate ourselves it is a good thing. It is acceptable. We are “embracing” or “supporting” a group or an issue or a belief or a way of life. But when we are on the outside looking in, wanting to be where we are not, then segregation takes on a negative connotation. For the people on the inside of the group, life is good. For those excluded, there is an injustice, a wrong to be righted!
So, here we are on the outside, and I think it just is not right! The campground where we are staying is not the worst I have ever seen, but it is not the loveliest either. We have looked around for a better place to stay, and to our dismay we have found some nice places but can’t stay there because we are not 55 years old or older. When Rick was out here a few years ago, there were campgrounds that would not let him stay there because his camper was older than 10 years old. We have come to the conclusion that to live in southern California, you have to be old and rich.
As we have driven around the towns of Hemet and San Jacinto we have seen countless fenced or walled neighborhoods whose entrances are posted with the name of the neighborhood and the words “55 and older.” I guess the folks living inside the walls like it that way. But I just have to wonder why that kind of neighborhood is perfectly acceptable, but a neighborhood boasting “whites only” or “men and boys” would be attacked in a minute by the ACLU and most of mainstream America. This girl never wanted to join the Boy Scouts, but I would like to stay in a nice, clean, quiet, safe campground.
I think it is a little strange to find these types of campgrounds and neighborhoods here in California because I thought the whole idea of “acceptance” and “tolerance” was born here. I’m thankful that as my children were growing up we lived in a place so narrow minded that young families were allowed to live next door to senior citizens. My girls loved lunging through snow drifts in our neighbor’s driveway in order to get their mail for them when they were not able to get out and get it for themselves. And believe it or not, I believe that those 55 and older neighbors enjoyed watching us teach the girls to ride their bikes. I believe our lives are much richer, our minds much wiser, and our memories more pleasant because of the “desegregated” street where we lived.
I am still a little more than a decade away from 55 and I may change my point of view when I get there, but I can’t imagine that I would enjoy living in a neighborhood where I couldn't hear children laugh everyday or where all my friends and neighbors had the same aches and pains and complaints as I. Who would I depart my many years of experiential wisdom to if everyone around me were as old and wise as I? And if I can’t get through a snow drift to get to my mail box, I hope and pray there will be a young person around and willing to lend a helping hand.