My mother would tell this version when I was little, for years.

"You were a baby," she would say, nodding at me. This was a story told to an audience. "Your sister wasn't born yet. We had a graduation party from the University of Tennessee for M. M was graduating before us. We invited everyone at the liberal table: there was only one liberal table." My parents were undergraduates and so poor that my mother wanted to buy me a $3.00 teddy bear and couldn't.

"Everyone was there. The City Manager of Knoxville was there. Then the police raided the party: the City Manager had already left. They took your father to jail.... they didn't know what to do with you, so they left me with you in the house alone..... I was afraid the neighbors would LYNCH us...." This was said as a joke with widened eyes. My mother charming people.

This was in the early 1960s. I didn't remember it. "They threw your father and me out of school. It was on the front page of the paper! It went to COURT. The policeman was on the stand. He said, "Ah looked in the window and ah saw a sight ah hope never to see again in mah life: a nigra a dancin' with a blonde."

"The judge threw it out," says my mother with relish, and to laughter at the dumb southern cop. "There were only two minors present: the black daughter of a minister and her friend, and everyone swore they had not touched a drop of alcohol. There were no drugs. They raided us purely because it was a mixed race party."

"Your father went back to school and finished his degree. I refused to go back."

And that was the version I heard growing up.

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