MY EARTHLY FATHER
This blog is inspired by my father; John W. Anderson, my hero, who went to be with the Lord on August 13, 2015… 1928-2015
My Daddy had a full life, not a fair life, but he always tried to do his best for his family. I had the pleasure of interviewing my parents for a social work assignment at school. The title was My Parents: Expressions of Resistance, Resilience and Strengths.
Here are some excerpts about my Daddy …
This interview was done to get an understanding on how and why my parents say and do certain things. I’ve learned that they’ve been conditioned (just like everyone) by their family members, the environment, the society, and their experiences.
When I got this assignment, I thought, what could possibly be a better way to express resistance, resilience, and strengths other than my parents? Their continuous struggle (now I recognize it as spiritual warfare) through life has impacted, but also instilled in me the same will of determination (to not give up and fight the good fight of faith). I am so happy to be their daughter.
My parents (in this blog, emphasis on my Daddy) are African Americans who were born in the times of segregation, crop sharing and migration. I had the pleasure of interviewing them. As I listened to them, I felt as if I were there. I was able to picture everything. I would like to now tell about my Daddy.
My Daddy; John was born in 1928 in Mississippi. He had eight brothers and one sister. At the time of this interview, there was only he and couple of brothers living. Daddy explained that when he was young, how he would have to pick cotton. He would have to walk behind a mule and the way he had to pick the cotton tore at his fingernails. He also had to carry a long sack over his shoulder to collect the picked cotton. He would take a bale of cotton weighing 1300 pounds to the gin, where it is ran through the system. Seeds are squeezed out, which were worth about $15 to $20 dollars. He would receive the money for the seeds, but the money from the cotton would be shared after everyone’s cotton has been collected. The owner who supplied the equipment would get much more money. Daddy mentioned that he and the others (some, his brothers) would start picking cotton in September, so by December they would receive the money that they earned. He picked also corn. Daddy proudly said, “One of my brothers thanked me for teaching him how to work.” Daddy was a father figure to them, even though he wasn’t the oldest.
Working for a living was more important than education in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Daddy had attended school two or three months out of the year. His education went to 3rd grade. He had to walk for miles to school and back, then to the fields to work.
Daddy has had so many jobs over the years; he always managed to obtain a job to provide for us. My parents married on July 3, 1952, which made 63 years this year (they renewed the wedding vows on their 50th). They had 11 children, 18 grandchildren, 24+ great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.
With the responsibility of providing for a big family, Daddy only adapted to his environment in the way he saw to provide for his family.
My Mother (July 2, 1929 – December 4, 2017)
My parents left Mississippi in the 1950’s in search of employment, they first went to Florida, where they picked and planted tomatoes and beans. Daddy drove the truck that hauled the tomatoes. He ran an air grazing pump for the fields. He drove the truck that dumped the rocks, he picked up from the fields. He also worked at a Miami School and at an Air Base. He did construction work; building houses. My parents then moved from Florida to Batavia, New York and then back to Mississippi for a short time. This is when I was born :). In October of 1957, they were on their way to Chicago, IL. My mother’s brother sent money for traveling; he also helped them find an apartment and a job. Daddy got a job, rebuilding car batteries until 1965. He then worked for a juice company, running a line machine, stacking products and washing the machines. He worked there for 14 years. After being laid off, he began working as a self-employed handyman.
Daddy didn’t seem to mind that he was unable to read or write well (he signed his name & knew how to count his money, though). He knew he had us to read &/or explain things to him. He would question what we said, if it didn’t sound right to him :).
Daddy could fix anything; he didn’t need to read the instructions. My Daddy could do anything (especially, in my eyes), he would travel back and forth across the country or any city (just give him the directions once, and he will remember each and every time). We enjoyed our family road trips in our station wagons or vans (big family).
All of us kids were raised and attended public schools in Chicago, from 1957. Even though we had a big family, my parents always kept us fed and clothed. We lived in apartments until 1971, until my parents mortgaged a three flat building, which is now a family building.
My parents were in the midst of segregation and migration. They worked in minimum wage jobs all their lives, but they worked hard enough to accomplish what they have today. That’s why I know that their lives expresses resistance (hard life), resilience (being able to overcome obstacles in life), and strengths (having the will to succeed). I am so thankful to God for blessing me with great parents.
Daddy had shown “Resistance, Resilience and Strengths,” by persevering and not giving up, even in the face of adversity.
My thoughts of some of the moments, I had with him
A fond memory is when I was young, I fell and skinned my knee real bad. Both my parents got on their hands and knees to treat my wound.
Daddy helped me to enroll in the Joseph Business School, I was short some money, and he gave me the amount I needed.
I love my parents !!!
I’ll miss my Daddy, but I am ok, because he isn’t suffering anymore. And I know he had accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior too.
We will see each other again.
Romans 10:9 King James Version (KJV), That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Ephesians 6:12 Amplified Bible (AMP), For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
1 Timothy 6:12 New King James Version (NKJV), Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Philippians 4:13 King James Version (KJV), I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
2 Corinthians 5:8 King James Version (KJV), We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
John 3:16 King James Version (KJV), For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
2 Corinthians 4:18 King James Version (KJV), While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
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