How I Got Over


How I got over 

How I got over 

My soul looks back and wonders 

How I got over.

—Clara Ward

     I’m not sure how many of you remember Clara Ward, one time mentor to the legendary Aretha Franklin and a legend in her own right. She brought theatre to gospel music, eschewing choir robes for sequined gowns and occasionally acting out the lyrics of her songs onstage. Let’s just say she paved the way for Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin. She also wrote the gospel classic “How I Got Over” and this is the melody that  came to mind as I read this comment posted to my “About Me” page.

    I know the poster and she is incredibly intelligent, astute and a gifted writer both academically and creatively. She has accomplished so much and I was delighted that she would share this. I don’t mention her name, only because she has not given me express permission to do so. When I called to tell her about my recent job loss, she mother henned for but a moment, then began to tell me her story. She let me know that the mountains are high and we can get over. What she is talking about is taking care of self, shedding what no longer serves you, and doing what needs to be done even though it might be uncomfortable, bastions of African-American survival in this country. “How I Got Over.” 

     She writes:

I’m trying to think of all the things that got me thru the almost 3 years that I was out of work. Let’s make a list:

I collected all the unemployment checks that I could.

I never stopped having sex or going to the movies.

I continued to take short, inexpensive weekend trips.

I cooked simple, gourmet meals for myself.

I tried to hang on to good citizenry and paid the bills by dipping into my retirement fund, which was depleted in short order.

I filed bankruptcy.

I cleaned a white woman’s house.

I cleaned a black woman’s house.

I tutored foster children.

I stopped going to malls.

I stopped celebrating faux holidays, especially those with religious connotations.

I spent more time with my grandchildren.

I spent more time with my friends, all two of them.

I went back to school.


     Something spectacular is just around the bend…


1 Comment

Filed under March

One response to “How I Got Over

  1. Bookie

    Well, I agree I remember in 2007 it seemed as though nothing was going right and I did not know if I was going to find a job. I sent out resumes and applied and then things started coming through.

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