This is going to be the last entry for my grandfather’s diary because I deem most of what’s left too personal to publish.
“In October 1944 I entered Senatobia, Mississippi boarding school as I had never had the chance to finish high school. I graduated in August 1945.
I went to Memphis, accepted work with the U.S. [Army Corps of] Engineers. In a few years I got married. We have a son. In 1964, we decided to move back to Ripley, Mississippi, our hometown.
Everything has went wrong. I have not been able to get employment. Everything we tried to do has went wrong.
In June 1967 I decided to enter politics for county circuit clerk. I worked hard all the summer with my family. I received a good vote but strong politics overcame and I got left out. By hard struggle, we are still going. In November I came down ill [and] I entered the veteran’s hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
There I went through many examinations and tests which were very painful. It was several days before the doctors decided an operation was necessary. One day the doctor came in and told me that they had decided to operate and told me the exact day. I [was] very much upset for [the] whole night. I prayed to God to give me faith, courage, and stand by the doctors and guide their hands in the right way [so] the operation would be a success. By the next day I had settled down and [was] calm and I was not worried.
I continued to pray. My wife and son came to see me every weekend. That meant so much to me [to] have them stand by me, which they did the four weeks I was there.”
Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to a better understanding of who my grandfather was. He was a man you cannot label easily, even though I’ve tried. He was proud and deeply thoughtful. He was terrified of change but somehow muddled through it because that’s what life threw at him. He was human, just like me. He made mistakes that I don’t ever have to understand or approve of but most likely, if he were alive, he would say much the same about me.
I hope I’ve done right by him and by his memory.