Monday, September 23, 2013

African American Memoir - Author - Thankful Strother

Alien in the Delta

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Grandfather shot the man as he opened the gate to the front yard. The man died on the spot. After killing the man, my grandfather went into hiding for seven years. This event was the legacy left to my father by his father. Would what happened thirty years before my birth have an impact on my life?
I was born in 1943 in a farmhouse at Grand Lake, Arkansas, the seventh and last child born to my mother. A midwife assisted with the delivery, which was customary during that time. My mother was forty years of age, and my father was forty-three at the time of my birth. They had five boys and two girls; one boy died before I was born. My name is Thankful Strother.

Before my first birthday, my parents bought a newly built house on an acre lot in the small town of Eudora, Arkansas. The white-wood house had a tin roof and a large front porch that ran the width of the house.

It had three rooms, a living room with a fireplace, a kitchen, and a bedroom. We had electric lights when most families used kerosene lamps. We did not have indoor plumbing; we had an outhouse. The screened front porch was to keep out mosquitoes and flies. A swing on the porch hung from the ceiling and could comfortably seat two people. Our family got a lot of pleasure from the use of that swing. We had a corner lot, with the house facing east at Front and Arch Streets. Our enclosed lot had a five-feet-high galvanized-steel-wire fencing separated into three sections: a yard for the house, a place for the chickens and pigs, and a garden. The largest section of the lot was the garden, where we grew vegetables including tomatoes, greens, beans, sweet potatoes, okra, squash, and peas. We grew and raised most of our food. My father was very proud of the house and lot because we owned it free and clear without any debt. This was where I grew up.