The Well Magazine Summer 2012 - Page 7

Spirit Left, John W. Fountain embraces his grandmother, Autherine Jackson. Fountain traveled to Alabama in 1995 to seek answers about his father (right) John W. Fountain Sr. , who was killed in a car crash when Fountain was 19 years old. Mama, my stepfather, Net, and I had gone that January in 1979 to get a copy of the police report from my father’s accident. Soon we rounded the corner on Highway 31 South, where my father had been shot like a missile through the windshield of his car when it was hit by the truck. We traveled north a piece until I spotted the narrow driveway where my father’s car had rolled just a few feet onto the highway into harm’s way before the awful wreck happened. Then we drove up the driveway toward the little redbrick, single-story house where my father had spent his last hours here on earth, stupefying his mind and soul, and where his mother—my other grandmother—still lived. I knocked on the door and she emerged, a frail, thin woman with butterscotch skin and big glasses. I hugged her and we went inside and talked for a while. Our conversation was filled with questions. There were questions that rolled slowly and painfully from my lips. Questions about who my father’s father was, about why my father never came to see me, and about my father and his family’s medical history, which in time had become more important for my own longevity and the well-being of my children and my children’s children. “I don’t know why he didn’t come and see you,” Mrs. Jack7 son said, speaking plain and honest. “We all knew about you and your sister. But you know, Gwen,” she said referring to my mother, “that girl could be so mean.” I was sitting there thinking that she had some nerve saying anything about my mama. But I allowed her to continue uninterrupted. “I don’t know,” she continued. “You know, your daddy had a drinking problem. I just could never get him to leave that stuff alone. He was okay as long as he didn’t drink. But when he drank …” I listened to Mrs. Jackson talk for a little while about how my father was forced to live with her mother because his stepfather did not want him living there with his siblings and mother. She spoke of so ȁѡȁͽ́ȁɕѥٕ́ݡɥɽ̰Ёѡɕѥٔݡ݅́ѽаЁѡȁݡ͔́ݕɔхѕ͔ɥѕ̰ЁͅɅ䁅ѕȁѡȸQɔ͡хѡɔѡȁѥ͕Ѽ́$ݕɔ͹ͭ͡$ѼݽȁݡЁЁ =9Q%9U=8A؁MյȀȀQ]5饹((