The Secret Integration
“Outside it was raining, the first rain of October, end oh haying season and of the fall’s full brilliance, purity of light, a certain soundness to weather that had brought New Yorkers flooding up through the Berkshires not too many weekends ago to see the trees changing in that sun. Today, by contrast, it was Saturday and rainy, a lousy combination. […]”
“The Secret Integration” was first published in The Saturday Evening Post, December 19, 1964. The collages on the cover and the frontispiece of this 1980 English edition, are by Jake Tilson.
According to the review of Slow Learner—the 1984 collection of short stories by Pynchon that comprises “Secret Integration”— Pynchon “has little to say about this story in the Introduction, other than it seems to be his favorite of the collection. He calls it his ‘journeyman’ effort, liking the ‘positive direction’ of his writing, with the exception of some of his ‘less responsible Surrealism’. The story, set in a small town, follows the adventures of a group of young boys as they deal with their relations to the adults in the community. The boys find themselves caught between the stubborn racism of their parents’ generation, and the civil rights era open mindedness they have grown into. While the adults harass the first black family to move into town, the children welcome them, allowing the boy in the family to initiate into their gang, a first step towards integration.” [http://www.pynchon.pomona.edu/slowlearner/]