tsmithjohnson (tsmithjohnson) wrote,
tsmithjohnson
tsmithjohnson

REPOST 6/9: BHM TRIBUTE: I LOVE MY FAMILY - MRS. BEULAH MAE ROWE - "FAMILY HEROIC TALE" , PART 4C

I LOVE MY FAMILY - MRS. BEULAH MAE ROWE - "FAMILY HEROIC TALE" ,

PART 4C.....THE MIRACLES CONTINUE.......

LATER THAT MONTH, WHILE SHARING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS THE EVENTS OF THIS ALMOST UNBELIEVABLE ORDEAL, I REMEMBERED THAT I HAD FELT THE HUGE WAVE OF WATER; AND, I BELIEVE, SOME DEBRIS, HAD KNOCKED ME OFF MY MOTHER'S SHOULDERS; AND, I DID HEAR HER SCREAMING....BUT, FOR SOME REASON, I WAS NOT AFRAID....I'M NOT SURE WHY TO THIS DAY...BUT, I DO KNOW THAT MY THOUGHTS IMMEDIATELY WENT TO ME SWIMMING...



I SAW SCENES IN MY MIND OF ME AND MY FRIENDS SWIMMING AT ROSEWOOD PARK ...

.....ROSEWOOD PARK HAD BEEN A PART OF MY FAMILY'S LIVES FOREVER....WE HAD FAMILY REUNIONS AND PICNICS THERE....HAD SEEN FANTASTIC VARIETY SHOWS AND PARTICIPATED IN OTHER COMMUNITY EVENTS THERE....IT HAD BEEN BUILT IN 1929....IT WAS BUILT FOR THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN AUSTIN; SO AFRICAN-AMERICANS WOULDN'T KEEP TRYING TO SWIM AT THEIR POOLS....SURE, IT WAS SEGREGATED; BUT, WE DIDN'T THINK ABOUT IT LIKE THAT IN THOSE DAYS....TO US, IT WAS A BIG, BEAUTIFUL, FAMILY AND FUN-FILLED PLACE TO GO AND THAT CONTINUES TO THIS DAY.....

SO, I GUESS THAT IT DIDN'T SEEM ODD TO ME THAT I WAS THINKING ABOUT SWIMMING....WAS I CONSCIOUS...OR WAS I DREAMING...I DON'T KNOW; BUT, THOSE WERE THE THOUGHTS I TOLD MY FAMILY ABOUT IN THE DAYS FOLLOWING OUR RESCUE...I WAS THINKING ABOUT DOING MY SWIMMING LESSONS AT ROSEWOOD PARK AT THEIR SWIMMING POOL....HAVING FUN WITH MY FRIENDS RACING FROM SIDE TO SIDE; NOT FULL LENGTH;JUST HAVING FUN...I LOVED SWIMMING...AND, I WAS FAST....I COULD EVEN BEAT SOME OF THE BOYS SWIMMING...BUT, MY FAVORITE SWIMMING POSITION OR STROKE IS ACTUALLY ON MY BACK....I LIKE TO SWIM INTO AN AREA OF THE POOL AND JUST MOVE MY ARMS FAST ENOUGH TO KEEP MYSELF FLOATING ON THE SURFACE OF THE WATER....NOT ACTUALLY TRYING TO MOVE FORWARD OR GO FAST...FOR SOME REASON, I JUST LIKE FLOATING IN ONE SPOT....WHEN I HAVE DONE THIS ALONE IN A POOL; WITH OTHERS AROUND, JUST NOT IN THE POOL, I HAVE ALMOST FALLEN ASLEEP IN A TRANCE-LIKE KIND OF MEDITATIVE PLACE IN MY MIND....SHUTTING OUT OTHER PHYSICAL DISTRACTIONS....I CAN FEEL THE WATER BENEATH ME...HOLDING ME UP...AND A LITTLE FLOWING JUST OUTSIDE OF MY EAR CANAL TO THE POINT WHERE I CAN HEAR THE WATER; THAT'S WHERE MY FOCUS IS...I CAN'T HEAR ANY OUTSIDE DISTRACTIONS, IN THIS STATE OF MIND.   WHAT'S REALLY FUNNY ABOUT THAT IS THAT I DON'T DO IT CONSCIOUSLY...IT SEEMS TO BE A STATE OF MIND THAT MY BODY SLIPS INTO IN VERY SPECIFIC PLACES AND/OR CIRCUMSTANCES.  I WILL TALK ABOUT THIS IN LATER POSTS; IT SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING I HAVE ALSO USED IN VERY, VERY STRESSFUL SITUATIONS...I BELIEVE IT IS A SELF-PROTECTING, INNATE, DEFENSE MECHANISM WHICH I AM ONLY NOW TAKING THE TIME TO PAY ATTENTION TO AS I REFLECT ON MY LIFE....I BELIEVE THIS "PROTECTIVE INSTINCT" KICKED IN THAT EARLY MORNING DURING HURRICANE CARLA....

WHAT'S ALSO IRONIC ABOUT THIS STORY IS ...IT JUST HIT ME....ROSEWOOD PARK IS HISTORIC FOR SEVERAL REASONS...

ONE IS THAT IT IS THE LOCATION OF THE "DORIS MILLER AUDITORIUM" IN AUSTIN!  NOW, YOU KNOW, I CANNOT TALK ABOUT ROSEWOOD PARK AND NOT RECOGNIZE DORIS MILLER,THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN NAVAL HERO TO RECEIVE THE NAVY CROSS FOR BRAVERY DURING THE BATTLE OF PEARL HARBOR!   THEREFORE, HE IS NOT JUST A TEXAS HERO; HE IS AN AMERICAN HERO; AND, HIS AMAZING BRAVERY AND COURAGE EXHIBITED ON DECEMBER 7, 1941,  HAS BEEN MEMORIALIZED IN MANY WAYS ACROSS THE GREAT STATE OF TEXAS AND THE NATION!
YOU SEE, EVEN THOUGH HIS JOB WAS ACTUALLY AS A "COOK" ON HIS SHIP, WHEN HE HEARD THE TERRIBLE EXPLOSIONS FROM JAPAN'S SURPRISE AERIAL ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR, AND THE RESULTING CALL FOR "ALL HANDS ON DECK",
HE CAME FROM BELOW AND IMMEDIATELY WITNESSED THE DEATH OF SOME OF HIS FELLOW SHIPMATES WHO WERE DESPERATELY FIRING AT THE JAPANESE FIGHTER PLANES....HE DIDN'T RUN FOR COVER....HE DIDN'T PANIC...HE GOT BEHIND ONE OF THE ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPONS AND BEGAN SHOOTING BACK!
HE WAS HAILED AS A HERO...ONE AMONGST SO MANY, SURVIVOR OR NOT, THAT DAY; AND HE WAS RECOGNIZED AND AWARDED AT THE END OF THE WAR FOR SHOOTING DOWN SEVERAL OF THE ATTACKING JAPANESE PLANES!!!  WHAT'S IRONIC TO ME IS THAT I LEARNED TO SWIM AT THE PARK WHERE AN AUDITORIUM WAS BUILT IN HONOR OFA BLACK NAVAL HERO....WE BOTH SURVIVED AN HORRIFIC SEQUENCE OF EVENTS WHILE IN AND/OR ON THE WATER....WE BOTH HAD MIRACLES HAPPEN JUST AT THE RIGHT TIME AND PLACE....THANK GOD, WE BOTH SURVIVED!

SO, I CANNOT TELL YOU "EXACTLY"  WHAT HAPPENED AS I WAS BEING CARRIED BY THE FAST-FLOWING, TREES AND OTHER DEBRIS-FILLED WATERS DOWN THE FLOODING STREETS; BUT, IT LOOKED A LOT LIKE THIS PICTUREAS FAR AS THE FACT THAT ALL WE COULD REALLY SEE IN THE MIDST OF THAT WIND AND DEBRIS WAS "WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE; BUT NOT A DROP TO DRINK"....

BUT, SUDDENLY, I HEARD VOICES SAYING..."SWIM BABY....KEEP SWIMMING, BABY....SWIM BABY...KEEP ON COMING...KEEP ON COMING...KEEP ON COMING..."

OF COURSE, THOSE WERE THE VOICES OF MY MOTHER AND GRANDMA BEULAH....THEY LATER SAID, THAT ALL THEY KNEW WAS
MY FEET, HANDS AND THEN, FINALLY,  MY HEAD SUDDENLY POPPED OUT OF THE WATER;  AND,  I JUST BEGAN SWIMMING BACK TOWARD THEM.....I DIDN'T SEEM TO BE SCARED...I WASN'T FLAILING IN PANIC....I WAS JUST SWIMMING...SWIMMING THEIR WAY.....
***************************************************


THE MIRACLES CONTINUE IN 4D....
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