I remember when I was a few years old, my mom used to hum this song O Black Joe to me, at that time I did not realize it was quite a sad song.

Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay,
Gone are my friends from the cotton fields away,
Gone from the earth to a better land I know,
I hear their gentle voices calling “Old Black Joe”.
I am coming, and my head is bending low..

My mom came from a well to do family, when she was young, she was sent to study piano at the Shanghai music academy with her chaperon, may be that’s where she learnt this song.
Later, the communist took over China and they threw her in jail for 18 months without any charge, me and 3 other siblings age 2 to12 end up living on the street and almost died, when she was let out everything we owned were taken away, I remembered we slept on the floor using newspaper as mats.( please go to https://standingforest.wordpress.com/ English articles ..mother..for more detail).

She’s obviously in great stress and may be found some comfort in singing OLD BLACK JOE.
Although my parents lived into their 80’s and 90’s, because of all the social upheaval and the communist’s inhumane policies, our family was always torn apart, and I don’t think the six of us ever spent more than 3,4 years staying together, I was the lucky one and lived with mom for about 16 years, but because of my restless and rebellious nature, regrettably I don’t think I gave her much peace of mind to cherish.

Now that I am facing my own end and contemplating about Euthanasia,
Listening to this song and thinking of mom, tears swell up in my eyes…

PAUL ROBESON 1898-1976, was an amazing achiever, he was a lawyer, professional football player, singer, actor and civil rights activist..


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