May. 18, 2021

SNOBS ARE ACTUALLY FAKES-- WHO ARE AFRAID OF "REAL" PEOPLE.

IF you grew-up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas--- did you ever feel self-conscious around the so-called, popular people?  Did you dread going to school every day because you weren't a member of the "in-crowd?"

Reflecting on such a sensitive period, it’s not difficult today to see the “in-crowd” for what it really was: mostly fakes, bullies, and kids who thought themselves “special” because of an old-family-name or old money.  The “in-crowd” wanted to be considered powerful and exclusive; they enjoyed intimidating those of us who weren’t included as one of them.

My family didn't belong to the Pine Bluff Country Club...my father joined the Reservation (later called Eden Park) so my brother and I would have a place to swim and attend dances. The Reservation had the most magnificent swimming pool in the state and very low membership dues, thereby attracting railroad families and those owning small mom/pop businesses.  Desiring a pool and recreation center for their children, Jewish Families also joined the Reservation and later, when Rosswood Country Club was built, Jewish Families enjoyed memberships in that Country Club, too.

 Yes, for many years, Pine Bluff hid an ugly truth: Jewish families, among the wealthiest people in Pine Bluff, weren't allowed to be members of the Pine Bluff Country Club.  Like Blacks, Jews were discriminated against one hundred percent. One could argue that America was segregated at this time so it wasn’t surprising Blacks weren’t included in White culture but….Jews?!?!?  Never doubt that old, prominent families in Pine Bluff were powerful; they had the ability to ban "unwanted" segments of society from their exclusive social activities and clubs. Of course, these old and prominent families were strong church members and considered "pillars" of the community.

Near the end of the twentieth century, when Pine Bluff began to "Fall Apart" and the Pine Bluff Country Club was losing members and valuable revenue, the discrimination ban was lifted.  Today, Jews and Blacks are welcome to join the once exclusive, all-white club.  But somewhere along the way, the Pine Bluff Country Club lost its illustrious prominence and power.  It can no-longer offer members exclusivity, power and prestige.

For all its wonderful memories, Pine Bluff will also be remembered by many-- including me-- as having more snobs, elitists, racists, bullies, and class-conscious families.....than any town in Arkansas.

Sally