Alien in the Delta is a rich life story of a African American in the 1960’s south. Thankful’s small steady triumphs are a life lesson for anyone. His willingness to learn and cross racial barriers is another example of the unspoken threat to the south’s status quo in the 1960’s. I have read extensively about the plight of the African American’s in the south of the USA. The theme of this book is very similar to the themes we see in books like The Help, Cane River and The March. An added bonus is that Thankful made his way in the US military to Germany where he had the chance to live a life that was very different than the south in the 1960’s. It seems this is one of the defining moments of Thankful’s life as he is able to escape the prejudice of the deep south which will help him push for a better life when he returns to the USA and defy marriage laws of the south. I think that Thankful could write his next book in either direction in time. He could write about his parents or children’s lives or the next chapters in his own life.
Thankful Strother born 1943 in Grand Lake, AR., grew up in Eudora AR. Graduated from high school in 1961 and joined the US Air Force. Stationed in Germany for four years, there he learned to speak German and met his wife Barbara. Married forty-seven years, they live in California and have two adult children. He retired in 2003. Thankful Strother had a thirty-five-year career in computers and telecommunications with NCR and AT&T. In his retirement, he has accomplished his goal to write a book about his early life. Alien in the Delta is that book. It is a memoir about growing up poor in a hostile environment in the 1950’s to experience unimaginable success later in life.
The Alien (inner child) within never leaves regardless how old we become. Some of us learn to live with the Alien within. Others want to forget the memories of the inner child. When I started to think about writing a book about my life I wanted to remember my childhood years as far back as possible. It was such a challenge because you do not know what you will meet as you try to remember. I actually spent several years recalling my early childhood. You could say I got stuck in the pass. When I finished my childhood years I had several chapters completed.
Alien in the Delta takes you on a journey that highlights the life experiences of a boy from the age of six through manhood. He grew up on the Mississippi River in the Arkansas Delta, but felt out-of-place in that environment. In his home town prejudice and inequality were practice openly. His escape from the Delta was not realized until he went abroad. You go with him on his adventures in the rural south and throughout Europe. He shares with you a variety of emotions including fear, sadness, happiness, and amusement. Alien in the Delta is a memoir about a poor boy that discovered how to overcome life’s obstacles at every tune and become successful.
Having been called many names at various times in my life, I would like to explain how I became Thankful Strother. My first nickname was Thee in Eudora, Arkansas. In Germany, it was Gerard, or Gary. After joining NCR Corporation, I was known as Ted, or Teddy. Now, I have decided to select my own first name. Through research into my family’s genealogy on Ancestry.com, I am able to update and correct some of family history by writing a book about my ancestors. I discovered that S-t-r-o-t-h-e-r was the correct spelling of our family’s last name. John Strother, my grand-father changed the spelling of our last name because he got into trouble with the law. I also found out that my great-great grandfather’s first name was Thankful. In his honor and as a testimony to his life’s experiences, therefore I am Thankful Strother.