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Springtime in Lauderhill

Springtime in Lauderhill

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Published by Richard Grayson
Richard Grayson started writing a daily diary in the summer of 1969, when he turned 18, and has compiled daily entries since then. In the six volumes of THE BROOKLYN DIARIES (SUMMER IN BROOKLYN, AUTUMN IN BROOKLYN, WINTER IN BROOKLYN, SPRING IN BROOKLYN, MORE SUMMER IN BROOKLYN, and A YEAR IN ROCKAWAY), Grayson published selected entries from 1969 to 1980.

Now, in THE EIGHTIES DIARIES, Grayson describes his itinerant life in his thirties during the Reagan era. Following the three previous volumes, SOUTH FLORIDA WINTERS, WEST SIDE SUMMERS and INDIAN SUMMER: PARK SLOPE is this book, SPRINGTIME IN LAUDERHILL, recounting two months Grayson spent living in a mostly African-American apartment complex in a fading Fort Lauderdale suburb.

It’s 1986, and Grayson is struggling with his lack of success as a fiction writer after publishing three books, disenchanted with his past jobs teaching college composition and remedial writing, and starting a new career as a teacher trainer in the nascent field of computer education with the first Apple machines ever used in schools.

Meanwhile, he’s taking an assortment of courses at a couple of universities, causing controversy with a legal challenge for age discrimination to a savings and loan company’s discounts for senior citizens, amassing a huge number of credit cards and credit lines, obsessing about the AIDS epidemic and wondering if he is infected, publishing his humorous nonfiction in places like People Magazine, and being interviewed on The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and other media outlets.

Grayson’s diaries are a window into an individual sensibility and a particular moment in time: the spring of 1986. An excerpt:

I didn’t really know what to expect when I walked into the Governmental Center in downtown Fort Lauderdale this morning. A black woman ran the hearing, with me in my corduroys, sport shirt and sneakers on one side of the long table and on the other side, five business-suited attorneys and AmeriFirst Vice Presidents. One man was apparently an outside counsel, but a woman V.P., presumably also an attorney, did most of the talking.

I suppose it was rather intimidating, and I’m sure the absurdity of the scene – like something in a movie – will stay with me for a long time.

Of course the situation triggered all these weird childhood feelings, especially when I saw how much trouble the S&L had gone to in its marketing studies and accounts of other banks’ practices.

I couldn’t help feeling I’d caused these important people a lot of trouble and would be punished for it. But since I was in touch with those feelings, I could act and react more calmly.

First, they went over my complaint and each side agreed or disagreed with each charge. Early on after that, after a huddle between the attorneys, they offered me the AmeriFirst 55 plan.

But a condition of my accepting it would be confidentiality; I could not tell anyone about the settlement or I could be sued for breach of contract.

I asked to leave the room to “consult my attorney by phone”; actually, I called Mom. She said that if I accepted the offer, I would be doing something other than what I set to do: namely, to expose and to try to stop age discrimination.

Of course Mom was right, and her remarks confirmed my own judgment. I let them wait for a good while as I went outside and took a walk around the block a couple of times.

Then I came in and rejected their offer, saying I wouldn’t be happy until their discriminatory practice – the AmeriPlus 55 plan – was ended or made available to everyone, regardless of age.

Naturally they didn’t want to do that. The hearing officer took me aside and said that the S&L had offered me total redress of my complaint, and that if I didn’t accept it, she’d probably have to end the case on the argument that since I wouldn’t accept their offer, no hurt was done originally...

I was free to go to the press, so I called the Miami Herald and told them what had happened.
Richard Grayson started writing a daily diary in the summer of 1969, when he turned 18, and has compiled daily entries since then. In the six volumes of THE BROOKLYN DIARIES (SUMMER IN BROOKLYN, AUTUMN IN BROOKLYN, WINTER IN BROOKLYN, SPRING IN BROOKLYN, MORE SUMMER IN BROOKLYN, and A YEAR IN ROCKAWAY), Grayson published selected entries from 1969 to 1980.

Now, in THE EIGHTIES DIARIES, Grayson describes his itinerant life in his thirties during the Reagan era. Following the three previous volumes, SOUTH FLORIDA WINTERS, WEST SIDE SUMMERS and INDIAN SUMMER: PARK SLOPE is this book, SPRINGTIME IN LAUDERHILL, recounting two months Grayson spent living in a mostly African-American apartment complex in a fading Fort Lauderdale suburb.

It’s 1986, and Grayson is struggling with his lack of success as a fiction writer after publishing three books, disenchanted with his past jobs teaching college composition and remedial writing, and starting a new career as a teacher trainer in the nascent field of computer education with the first Apple machines ever used in schools.

Meanwhile, he’s taking an assortment of courses at a couple of universities, causing controversy with a legal challenge for age discrimination to a savings and loan company’s discounts for senior citizens, amassing a huge number of credit cards and credit lines, obsessing about the AIDS epidemic and wondering if he is infected, publishing his humorous nonfiction in places like People Magazine, and being interviewed on The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and other media outlets.

Grayson’s diaries are a window into an individual sensibility and a particular moment in time: the spring of 1986. An excerpt:

I didn’t really know what to expect when I walked into the Governmental Center in downtown Fort Lauderdale this morning. A black woman ran the hearing, with me in my corduroys, sport shirt and sneakers on one side of the long table and on the other side, five business-suited attorneys and AmeriFirst Vice Presidents. One man was apparently an outside counsel, but a woman V.P., presumably also an attorney, did most of the talking.

I suppose it was rather intimidating, and I’m sure the absurdity of the scene – like something in a movie – will stay with me for a long time.

Of course the situation triggered all these weird childhood feelings, especially when I saw how much trouble the S&L had gone to in its marketing studies and accounts of other banks’ practices.

I couldn’t help feeling I’d caused these important people a lot of trouble and would be punished for it. But since I was in touch with those feelings, I could act and react more calmly.

First, they went over my complaint and each side agreed or disagreed with each charge. Early on after that, after a huddle between the attorneys, they offered me the AmeriFirst 55 plan.

But a condition of my accepting it would be confidentiality; I could not tell anyone about the settlement or I could be sued for breach of contract.

I asked to leave the room to “consult my attorney by phone”; actually, I called Mom. She said that if I accepted the offer, I would be doing something other than what I set to do: namely, to expose and to try to stop age discrimination.

Of course Mom was right, and her remarks confirmed my own judgment. I let them wait for a good while as I went outside and took a walk around the block a couple of times.

Then I came in and rejected their offer, saying I wouldn’t be happy until their discriminatory practice – the AmeriPlus 55 plan – was ended or made available to everyone, regardless of age.

Naturally they didn’t want to do that. The hearing officer took me aside and said that the S&L had offered me total redress of my complaint, and that if I didn’t accept it, she’d probably have to end the case on the argument that since I wouldn’t accept their offer, no hurt was done originally...

I was free to go to the press, so I called the Miami Herald and told them what had happened.

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Published by: Richard Grayson on Aug 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/15/2011

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SPRINGTIME INLAUDERHILL
1986
 
SPRINGTIME INLAUDERHILL
1986
RICHARD GRAYSON
Superstition Mountain PressPhoenix – 2011

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