Back in the day,
1993, I was looking for a church to join and one that would allow my fiancé and
I to be married as well. I looked high and low, when my UWM professor of
Communications, turned friend, Barry Brummett. Incidentally, this professor became a friend, primarily because during
his posted office hours, he was actually posted – right there in his
Barry first warmed
me with his quick wit, when I chided, “I like you, even though you gave me a
D.” Without a pause, he retorted, “I
like you, even though you earned a D.” Instantly, I was enamored and knew he needed to be in my life.
So when he recommended
his church, Underwood Memorial Baptist Church in Wauwatosa, I trusted him
After visiting the
church couple of times, I was hooked to then Pastor Reid Trulson’s authenticity
and purity, in a time where so many of the churches I visited, were lairs of
postulating, fashion showing and money hoarding.
Trulson was plain old genuine, with the
disposition of a Quaker but the fieriness of the Baptist Preacher he was. So I joined the church and was married
there, my daughter was christened there and I met Scott Walker there.
There weren’t many “coloreds” at
Underwood. (I just threw that in to see if you were paying attention). There was an African family, actually from
the Democratic Republic of Congo, was seeking a peaceful, non-violent United
States refuge, and got it via our church’s benevolence.
majority of the churchgoers were white people. It was a white church. Though there were some curious glowers and fascinated rubber-neckers,
when we attended some Sunday services or church sponsored events. But
that was the extent of it. No burning crosses, pointed white hoods, no
“NIGGER GO HOME” on their bathroom walls.
We had a warm
reception, particularly from the Walkers. I found Scott’s wife to be
graceful, attentive and kind. His parents Lew and Pat were extremely loving, giving
and straight shooting folks.
Scott himself, was a deacon and an usher, I
believe. He was not in, nor was he running for, office or for anything
else then, save one of his highly spirited sons Matt and Alex, who at times, bored
of the pews, took off afoot headed for the pulpit (mid-service) or some other
more fun-looking place; other than lined up, seated in their very starched and
very neat church clothes, next to their parents or grandparents. The boys
were also in the same Sunday school cohort as my daughter. On rare
occasions, I had his two and my one together, plus a handful of other
wonderfully rambunctious cherubs. They played well together though.
As a remedy to boredom for the young, I think,
Children’s Church evolved. This was a time, where the children were all
invited, early in the service, to come (often they did run, jog, or sprint) to
the pulpit and hear a “sermon” or “message” just for them. They would crowd around seated, with the Pastor in the middle and all the
little busy bodies seated around him. It was such a beautifully cute
Other times, Barry or even Scott would lead
“Children’s Church.” I think my daughter liked Scott best, because he had
“little” children of his own and he seemed comfortable sitting on the floor
ministering to those with three-minute attention spans. His voice was always
clear and crisp. He had a trustworthy, “Robin-the-Boy Wonder” face to
boot. The messages were relatively
short, but always intentionally focused on the children. When it ended,
those of age, returned to pews, those who were a bit too young went upstairs
where there was childcare.
I began to consider us friends.
daughter had a birthday party, she’d ensure her “church friends”
were at the top of the list. And whenever invited, Scott showed up with
his two boys in tow and a present, for my little girl. He didn’t have to.
He wasn’t running
for anything then. I am sure he was uncomfortable, as were his boys Nyla’s
very “girly” Devonshire Tearoom party. But he showed up. I know he must have felt a little out of
place at her Discovery World Birthday Party, but he showed up. Many
others who were invited did not even send their regrets.
And when I fell, of the monkey bars (for another
blog) in 1999 or so, and broke my neck, (Cervical bone, C1) in two places; it
was the Walkers who showed their support most, except for a few good family
member and intimate friends. I remember cards, well wishes, casseroles
and even clothes for my daughter being sent to us, to help out during the
five-month recovery, where I had to wear a hard uncomfortable neck brace. I felt like he, his parents and his wife and
his children were friends.
After being a member of Underwood for several
years, Pastor Trulson left…moved to Germany. I was crushed, until a new
Pastor Allen Newton arrived. Shortly, though, he left. Then worst
of all, my college professor, turned friend, announced he was leaving.
I was flattened. I stopped attending all
together. I lost too many men, in too
short of time. A few years passed
and I heard Scott and his family left Underwood too.
Though now, Governor Scott Walker might not be as
quick to claim knowledge of our past relationship, as I am, even then he was a
This is why I defend him, the man – the father – the friend. I do not know him as a politician. He was not
actively politicking in our church. I did not speak with him during his
tenure as county executive. I have not spoken to him since he’s been governor.
I just have the fondest, sweetest memories of him, his children and his church.
My daughter is 17 now. I suppose Matt and
Alex hover around that age as well.
I still don’t talk to the family, though I have
tried reaching out to Tonette and Scott, via email. It must be hard to
remain “friendly” with the “little people” when you are in the
“Big House.” (Not prison, the governor’s mansion).
One thing I know for sure is that inside every seemingly
“ruthless” politician, lives a person, a human being. I happen to know
Scott is a good person.
As governor, I
don’t know, maybe this is not the right gig for him, or he for it. Maybe the “Beast” he inherited was too Beasty,
which bought the “Beast” out of him. Or maybe it is that we (voters) are all a bunch of fickle unsatisfied
whiners, who do so when we don’t get exactly what we want or expect, like
We shout and cry, “do-over,
It’s so very bizarre
to me, but it appears like a lot of folks (especially Wauwatosians) who helped
him get elected, now want him recalled. I just feel disappointed that
most of Wisconsin did not experience Scott Walker as I did.
A true friend, is just that a true friend. They don’t disown you when you do something they don’t like or something you consider “wrong.” A true friend treats you as you have always treated them, and for me – in my own experience, he is a “good man.”
Tonight, I heard two historians speak about the Thule Society, Nazism and the Holocaust. One of the speakers recalled, “Hoover, some say he was not a great president, but some say he was a great man.”
It is definitely hard to hate someone who was great to “you,” personally. I understand, I don’t condone. It isn’t always you get an honor and opportunity to know someone like the governor, when he wasn’t – a governor. He was compassionate, generous and kindhearted, as was his family – when
it didn’t matter because my vote wasn’t being tallied and when all that he was running
for was his toddler sons.
I hear what people say. I too am experiencing job loss, economic frustration and such, during his tenure. Nearly half of my race is unemployed in this county.
They say politics changes people. Maybe
this happened. Or maybe, I was hoodwinked into “friending” him.
It is, in my humble
opinion, it is of no consequence, because no matter who is at the helm of our state, “coloreds”
in Milwaukee will still struggle, be unemployed “en masse” and experience
being pulled over at higher rates – for the good of the “poor inner city”
I suppose we can
just blame it all on Scott Walker, like we blame Obama for his inheritance. No, I can’t.
He is no angel, I
suppose. But he was far from a demon…once upon a time.