Posted September 14, 2018 12:58:49When will it finally be time for me to leave this place that I love?
It was built in the 1960s.
I was a young girl in the 1970s.
My father was a farmer.
He was a black man.
He had black roots.
He lived in the woods.
His name was Robert Stutzmans.
When I was a kid, there were only two black people in the whole state of Louisiana.
There were no white people in this area.
And we had a lot of trouble, because we lived on the edge of the swamp, in a place called the Black River, which is a little place in the middle of the Black Swamp.
We lived on top of that swamp, and when it was a little swamp, it was all swamp, all water.
You couldn’t get out of it.
I remember when my mother used to come and see me and I’d have to sit here and cry.
I was about six years old.
I remember walking out to the street.
I didn’t want to go in the water.
I couldn’t swim.
My mother told me, “Stay out of the water.”
She said, “It’s a swamp.
Don’t go out into the swamp.”
So I walked out to this little corner of the river, on the other side of the street, and I thought, “This is a bad place.”
I had this dream of being in the swamp.
I had this fear of the darkness and of the snakes.
So, I was in the backyard.
I went out there and played with the snakes, and they came out of my back.
I used to throw things into the river and I used a little brush.
I threw things at the water, and it got all tangled up in the roots and branches of the trees.
I kept throwing things, and my mother would get mad and go, “Oh, they’re eating my clothes.
They’re eating the roots.”
So I just went, “I’m going to do something about this.”
I didn’t have any money.
I just had to look after myself.
I needed some help.
So I started making some money.
I built this little greenhouse.
I built it in the summer.
It was a really primitive thing.
It had no plumbing, no electricity.
I put in this little pipe to catch the water and this little plastic tube to catch my fish, and that was all.
The water was running out, so I just let it run out and let it dry out.
I would walk out here and I would sit in the shade with a bucket of water.
The sun would come out and I could see the whole sky and see the water coming up.
I put my feet up on the ground, I put my head under the tree, and this water would come down the tree.
It would drip into my feet, and if I’d been a little kid, I would have fallen down.
So this was the way I lived.
I kept putting my hands in the dirt.
I’d put my hands down on the tree and I had a bucket on top.
I would walk around with a rope and a broom and go down the dirt and water and water.
If I could, I’d walk all the way to the water fountain, and the water would run out.
I thought this was great.
So that’s how I did it.
That was my life.
When you are a kid in Louisiana, the water comes down the trees, the roots get tangled up.
I never knew what to do with my hands.
So there was nothing I could do.
So they were tied to this wooden beam that was in front of me.
And I had to hang myself on the beam.
So that was my way of life.
When I was old enough, I decided I was going to go to college.
I took my father to Louisiana to get a degree in chemistry, and he took me with him.
When he came back, I had no money.
He said, I need you to work for me.
So he put me into the school of chemistry.
I had no idea what chemistry was.
I knew something about chemistry, but I had never heard of chemistry until I got there.
So I worked at the chemistry lab for a year.
The professor would give me a bottle of gas and tell me what was in it.
So my hands would go into the bottle and the bottle would come up.
And when I opened the bottle, I didn’ know what I was holding.
I started thinking about it.
When you put the bottle in, the gas would be flowing.
And then the gas went to the bottom of the bottle.
And this was going on in the bottle for like two years.
And every day I would take a piece of paper out of here and write down something.
So my father said, you have to go work for him, and