by Alma Roman
I began my journey in a small village in the rural south. My parents were self-educated after attending the one school house within about five miles from their house. One teacher who taught all the grades 1-7. There were 5 children in my class-all girls, no boys. Miss Johnson, one of 3 teachers in the school taught all of us the 3R’s: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. (In addition to spelling.) She was also our Sunday School Teacher on Sundays at the local Baptist Church. We formed a line in front of the school each day repeating the Lord’s Prayer together, sat down, and started our lessons. Those of us who could read helped the others that could not read. We were taught to be good, and love each other, and stay out of trouble. My mother said I needed to learn a little more Bible verses were added to my expanding vocabulary. The truth was the gospel, telling falsehoods wasn’t allowed.
I left my grade school as soon as I could. My father, a self-taught auto mechanic, decided to send me to an accredited high school in the nearest town in Camden, South Carolina, which includes a course in learning proper speak pronunciations. I was 13 years of age. I graduated with an academic diploma having learned English, and was ready to go to a local college. By the time I turned 16 years of age, my parents kept home for one year. at 17 years of age I was registered as a freshman at Benedict College in Columbia, SC; met my new friend who attend Allen University directly across the street. I studied with a goal to learn more about different people from around the world. My classmates and teachers were of the same race, my text books were not.
That was the period when schools in the south were segregated! After my 4 years from Benedict, I taught school for one year. I migrated from the rural south the urban north. It was cultural shock. This was the land of opportunity. My first job was in New York Academy & Medicine Library. The transition was difficult, but I was determined to continue my journey. I enrolled in a master’s program at Columbia University, graduated with a MLS diploma Viola. I’ve met a fellow southern, and got married a few years later.
We began looking for a home in the suburbs, and found a house in a county named Rockland in 1962. In 1967, the village of Pomona was incorporated, and in that same year my son was born. By that time George and I had been married for 7 years; we were originally planning to have more children, but it never came to pass. We attend Germonds Presbyterian Church in New City, still attending to this very day. I’ve practiced some civic duties as member of the local school board and the Board of Trustees for the Village of Pomona; in addition to my involvement with other organizations from the Rockland County Human Rights Commission, to Rotary Club International, and the Salvation Army Advisory to name a few.
I wish I can say that my journey was a smooth one, but like any journey there were rough storms.
Alma lives in Pomona
Words and Images is a column that features the work of students from Bill Batson’s sketch logging class at the Learning Collaborative.
Thanks to Editorial Assistance Bonnie Timm.