By Curtis L. Johnson, Sr.
I drove into my childhood hometown just the other day. My wife and I took my oldest brother to lunch at a nice little restaurant near his home. We had spent the night in a clean motel on the newer side of town along highway 61. I had come from California for a visit with my oldest brother who had returned not long ago to live out the rest of his days in this quiet little Delta town of Clarksdale, Mississippi.
After spending a night and most of the next day there, I was ready to head north to Memphis, Tennessee. I had departed this busy county seat 30 years ago. But before leaving town I wanted to take a drive to a once popular area of town at the corner of Fourth and Issaquena Streets.
To my amazement and disappointment, I never dreamed that Issaquena would be found in such poor condition. So when I arrived, I beheld what looked to me like a ghost town. I knew that it was clearly Issaquena, not just because her name was on the street sign, but so much of my young life was spent going and coming across Issaquena where it ends at Fourth Street. I could never forget her, but I must regretfully say that the spirit and soul of the Issaquena I once knew were long gone.
Issaquena seemed as if she were on life support at best, and at her worst it appeared she had been frozen in another time period for many years. My heart was filled with sadness for what once had been a haven for people full of color and energy. I could not simply look the other way, so I spoke to Issaquena the best way I knew how. With words I had never planned, I was compelled to say:
Curtis writes to Ye Editor: “Growing up on the plantation in poverty, I never realized how rich I really was. As I look back on those days and develop the snapshots of my memory, I discover those golden treasures. Thanks for allowing me to share such treasures with others!”
Curtis Johnson, Sr., a native Mississippian, is a former pastor and presently owns a business with Barbara, his wife of 35 years. Residing near Sacramento, California, he is the proud father of 3 and grandfather of 6 grandchildren. He loves gardening and writing. Email address: cj8080
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