We spent four memorable months at Koinonia in
1957, from February to June. It was a time of great tension and
we vividly remember:
Wally, pockets stuffed with unaccustomed hundred
dollar bills, going far afield to purchase farm supplies to circumvent
the boycott. Juanita insisting that seating in the car when going
to town be nonsegregated, though the fear was that a black
woman sitting with a white man was provocative. The nine shootings
into the community while we were there. The time Wally, raised
in Arkansas and lover of hot weather, almost fainted while hoeing
One indelible memory, one we often recall when
talking about courage or the lack thereof, was the first night
we stood watch under the bright lights across the road from the
main living area. We had insisted on taking our turn even though
the community protested that we, because of color, would be more
vulnerable to assault than the rest. We sat in the car, ears and
eyes attuned to trouble. We saw the headlights ofa car approaching.
The car slowed as it neared, or so we imagined. And we brave volunteers
slithered to the floor until the car had passed. We sheepishly
looked at each other, then rose from the floor of the vehicle.
We opened the door of the car, got out and stood under the lights,
realizing that our only protection was to be out in the open.
And that is how we stood our watch duty from then on --in the
full glare of the lights so that passersby knew we were there,
even if our knees were trembling.
I certainly remember selling Koinonia products
in Philadelphia from the time we returned from Koinonia until
1969, when we left the city. In 1969 we sold nearly $10,000 in
fruitcakes and pecans and candy. I think of that,especially in
November since we opened the season with a pre-Thanksgiving open
house at our home --always a warm and wonderful occasion with
people actually thanking us for making the goodies available.
Now, as subsistence farmers, we cannot afford to buy the products,
but we still enjoy leafing through the catalogues.
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