MATLAW’S

Matlaw's 18th East From Vine 1940s

I got off the bus
At Eighteenth and Vine
Everything in the window
I wanted to be mine
Beautiful shirts there,
Suits, shoes and hats.
But I couldn’t buy them
No, I couldn’t do that.

I was the wrong color
For Matlaw’s, He said.
That place was for coloreds
And rich pimps instead
Not a tow-headed white boy
What hasn’t got much sense.
I went there that one time
But, I haven’t been since.

But, oh I wanted that suit,
With cranberry hat and shoes.
Even though I had no place
To ever wear it, I knew.
But, I love that store there
On eighteenth and Vine
Even though I knew nothing
In that store could be mine.

The bus went by there
Every day I passed it by.
To this day, I grieve
And never understood why
A Caucasian market
Like I represented
Might go there inside there
And be soundly resented.

It wasn’t a good thing
It’s just how it was then
Before the civil rights thing
Would finally begin.
But I never knew colors
They way others did.
But, what did I know?
I was just a young kid.

But, oh I wanted that suit,
With cranberry hat and shoes.
Even though I had no place
To ever wear it, I knew.
But, I love that store there
On eighteenth and Vine
Even though I knew nothing
In that store could be mine.

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