It’s been seven years since Springtown resident Lawrence Wright had new neighbors move in down the street. Though the two couples may not look anything alike in terms of race, they have developed a bond that is more like family in the years since.
“All this craziness going on in the world about Blacks and whites, I think it’s the social media and media on television causing the problems. I used to be racist, years and years ago, but I’m not anymore,” Lawrence Wright said. “The only Black folks in my life have been nothing but good. And if it wasn’t for those Black people that live down the road from me, I would not be sitting in my home right now. They gave us our home.”
Wright said his neighbors, Calvin and Janetta Williams, deserved to be recognized after providing his family with necessities without taking payment.
When the Williams first moved in, Lawrence and his wife came over to introduce themselves and talk.
“We had a mobile home that we got when we first bought the property and we stayed there while we were building our house,” Calvin Williams said. “After we were building, my wife said we weren’t going to use it and we knew Larry was looking for a home at the time, so we thought, let’s just give it to them because they need it.”
On top of giving them a home, Wright said Calvin was able to get water flowing to the house.
“I had a water line out here that we’d been digging on for a year. I have bad health — have been in the hospital twice — and we gave up on it. I couldn’t do it anymore because I was sick,” Wright said. “The next day after that man worked all day, he came out here around 5 p.m. and brought his skid loader down and dug a five or 6-foot hole, found the line — it was like 12 feet from where we thought it was to begin with — and he fixed everything. I didn’t do nothing but watch him. He wouldn’t let me.”
Wright said he tried to pay Calvin what he could, but Calvin wouldn’t accept his money.
“I thought people needed to hear this. I feel blessed,” Wright said. “They’re my friends for life.”
But Calvin and Janetta said the Wrights have also supported their family as well.
“Throughout the time of us moving and building, they were always there for us. They would always come over if we needed something,” Calvin said. “We didn’t know anybody and we didn’t know the area — everybody said it was racist out there, but I never had a problem. They were the first people we met and they were always there.”
Janetta added, “Anytime the kids needed anything when Calvin was at work or I was at work, they would always check on the kids.”
Janetta said helping people was just what she was raised to do.
“I’m always helping somebody, that’s just the way I was raised. If somebody’s hungry you feed them and if they need some help, you help them, so that’s the way I was raised,” Janetta said. “The world is so cruel right now and we’re on this color thing, which we’re all the same. God created us all the same. It’s sad that it is like it is, but we love Larry and Cotton, they’re good people.”
Calvin said you help your neighbors.
“We’re neighbors, and that’s what you’re supposed to do,” Calvin said. “You’re supposed to help your neighbors, that’s what the Bible tells us.”