This photo ushers forth three significant themes from my memory. The streetcar ascending the hill (I choose to interpret it to be ascending), the embracing couple, the passengers departing the streetcar and those allowing them to depart before boarding: each is a chapter in a dream-come-true story.
Let’s focus on the streetcar. It represents the train of life that slowly advances humanity to a higher awakening. The departing passengers are the old guard. They are at the end of their life journey. The passengers waiting to board represent the new order that is to be tried.
This scene symbolizes my patience to board the life train and ride it into a long awaited new order.
Soon I will depart for my home state to attend the investiture of a high school classmate to be Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. This is a historic event. It begins a new order.
My classmate is not the first female to lead this court but she will be the court’s first African-American Chief Justice. How can I describe the significance of this uphill trek?
When we graduated high school, Louisiana was among the segregated states in the South. Its legislation and culture prohibited African-Americans from attending LSU and Tulane, the premier educational centers of the state. Education in Louisiana was separate but seldom equal. Although Louisiana segregation laws have long been set aside, this investiture makes her one of the sworn to guard exclusion based on racial designations in Louisiana.
The streetcar is advancing up the hill.
I see myself as a passenger patiently waiting to board the streetcar to this historic investiture.
My great grandparents were Louisiana residents. They dreamed of this day. They died hoping for a new order, but they never saw it. They died in hope. With my weaken but proud eyes, on February 28, I board the life train to witness what they hoped for.
The embracing couple symbolizes a new responsible humanity. It is educated. It knows humanity’s past fears. Education is its only defense against the pitfalls and lies that ruled previous generations. More importantly, the couple’s education is its only protection against threatening things yet unseen. But they embrace. Their greeting is warm and they whisper into each other’s ear a vow to never let the sun set without throughly addressing a division between them. They know, all too well, an untreated wound in their relationship is the beginning of a slow death to society.
Their embrace shouts the arrival of the new order, a dream come true – at last!