It was a cold winter morning -- a Friday -- when I first walked to the church. There was music playing and people talking, and a huge television was hanging on the wall. I can still remember the smell of homemade baked goods in the air. I was very nervous being in a new place, but a beautiful black woman named Sister Mercury said “welcome” in a soft low voice. She had a big smile on her face. So I willed myself to sit down, though I was still a little nervous.
As the pastor gave his spiritual lesson, I got more relaxed and when they came out with the baked goods….boy, I can still taste those homemade baked goods.
As the pastor was closing, I looked around and saw the other people in the room smiling and nodding at me. I laugh about it now, but I suddenly realized I was the only white person there. Afterward, people came up to welcome me, some hugged me, and that’s when I knew I’d found my church.
On the next day, I joined and I’m amazed that it’s already been six years. Everyone is still welcoming—even the new members. I know I’ll never forget this—my first experience on Buckeye—though other people may forget, now that I’m the usher at the church.
Robert Schafer is an independent contractor who has lived in the Buckeye neighborhood for seven years. He loves the people and all that the community has to offer. He writes and shares poetry at the Harvey Rice Library, where he attended a Who We Are, Where We Live workshop.
Visit Literary Cleveland's Who We Are, Where We Live online anthology for more from the Buckeye/Shaker community.
Community Anthology Table of Contents
About the program
Who We Are, Where We Live is a free community writing program giving voice to people who live and work in the Buckeye/Shaker community. Participants write stories, learn about their neighborhood, and share with their neighbors. Annually, selected writings are published here in an online anthology and presented at a final reading and celebration.