In the early 1970s I was in junior high. We were in a New York State college town and my father was working on a PhD. We got to know an Austrian graduate student and then his African-American girlfriend. We were actually in the less expensive and more conservative town next to the college town, and I can't remember any black students in my school. Or Austrian students. Or anything else except for white like me.
I considered both the Austrian and the black woman interesting and exotic. I thought she was quite beautiful, and she was right between my mother's age and mine. They were back from studying in Germany for a semester. She had a short tight afro and one day either my sister or I asked if we could touch it. My mother scolded us, until the woman laughed and said, "Yes." Then my mother asked if she could too. I had long straight brown hair and loved that her hair felt like springs but was so soft.
The woman said, "You aren't the only people who are curious. I was on a bus in Germany, in a town where there were very few black people. There was a woman with a very small boy. He stared at me and whispered to his mother 'Schokolade'. His mother yanked his arm and hissed at him to be quiet.
He whispered again: 'Shockolade'.
His mother shushed him fiercely. The bus stopped and she got up and hurried by me, clutching her son's arm. But as he passed he leaned over and quickly licked my arm.
He was just so curious, and he really wanted to know."