Finally, I decided yes.
Not because I feel he was profiled which led to his death, but because of the way in whichare viewed every day. My friends know me and know I have never been one to respond to these incidents as anything other than small minded people doing stupid things. My friends and family here know that I spent 35+ years in a loving relationship with . And most of them have heard the stories here told and retold and have heard me describe how I reacted with humor to each situation.
Think, for example, about Diana and I at dinner at an upscale restaurant and, while waiting at the door, a woman coming up to me and demanding that I get her fur from the coat room for her. I got it without saying a word and then embarrassed her husband in a crowded restaurant by demanding a tip. And after he gave me my tip, I went out with my wife and our friends and got into myparked in the owner’s spot and drove away.
Or they have heard the story of my waiting outside of a supermarket for Diana to come out on a Saturday afternoon and a woman not of my race demanding that I put her groceries in her car for her, not knowing that I would have done it anyway. When Diana came out and saw me loading her car, she knew what had happened and I had to pull her away before she and the lady had a sociological discussion. And we laughed all the way home.
They have heard the story of our arriving late to a Main Lineparty and my dropping her off. And when I came in, the man in charge of the servers came to me and yelled I was late, gave me my golden jacket and told me to get to work. When the hostess saw me serving drinks with a smile…well, you can imagine.
They have heard the story of our, when it was discovered that I needed a kidney, unhesitatingly offering hers. The doctors and nurses, not seeing us together, thought it was wonderful of her to make such an offer until they put it together that I was her grandfather. Then they demanded that she tell them whether she was being forced to donate the kidney and, as we laughed, she explained that she had known me as her grandfather all her life and that I would not have to force her to do such a thing….she was doing it out of the love that our family shared.
One last story …as I walked throughat 3:00 in the morning, looking for someplace to eat at a Bridge tournament, accompanied by a friend who was a lawyer (I was an assistant DA at the time). He was 6’4 and 180 pounds with a long scraggly beard and, yes, he was white.
A policeman stopped us, telling us that two men fitting our description…well you know the rest. A sergeant came, we laughed and explained that we all knew that there were not two men fitting our description at 3:00 in the morning in Arlington and returned to our hotel.
I chose to deal with all of these situations withbecause that was the best way to deal with the people with the small minds who could only see one thing…the color of my skin. We had hundreds of these instances in our 35 years together and my 60 years on earth. I can understand Trayvon’s anger and can understand why he could not laugh. My friends all understood that my laughing was the way I disarmed those that approached me in that fashion.
And Diana knew that when we got home away from those idiots, because I was able, unlike Trayvon, to go home,…she held me while I cried.
[Terry: Wendell Wylie and I both went to Haverford College, graduating in 1973. He went on to get his law degree from Boston College Law School after which he moved to Miami where he met and married Diana Wylie in 1979. They moved to Philadelphia in 1980, where Wendell first worked as an Assistant District Attorney, then in a private law practice, and finally moved into the mortgage business where he still works today.
Wendell and Diana raised three children and were gifted with nine grandchildren (including a set of triplets) and one great grandchild. Diana fought colon cancer for four years before finally passing away in June of 2012. Wendell still lives in their family home in the Philadelphia area.]