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Dongieux Foster never gave up childhood dream of being a writer

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Dongieux Foster (photo from FB)

Mr. Dongieux Foster is a lifelong resident of Yazoo City and says he is a simple man, but his life has been anything but ordinary. 

He was born in 1935, the 3rd child of 10. By the time he was five-years-old, he had already learned to read.

“Even though we did not have such a thing as kindergarten, we had the Sunday NewsPaper and I taught myself to read from it. My favorite was the comics,” Foster recalled. 

By the time he started school at 6, Foster had already decided he wanted to be a writer. He completed grammar school at Mechanicsburg and high school in Satartia. Then he started classes at Hinds Community College. He had been writing and had amassed quite a collection of his works when duty called.

Foster in his dress uniform in Yazoo City
(Courtesy of Facebook)

“Due to unexpected difficulties and hearing the call of my country, I joined the United States Army,” he said. 

When Foster left home for the military, he left all of his notes, poems and a couple of short stories in boxes. 

Foster temporarily abandoned writing and said, “At that point I turned all my energy to living and staying alive.”

Foster served his country for eight years. 

Dongieux Foster wedding

Returning home, he married and settled down to raise a family. There wasn’t a lot of free time to devote to writing.

“I worked for Stainless Ware Company of America as night shift supervisor of the stud section, making automotive and aircraft parts. After that I worked for a cookware manufacturing plant for 25 years as a project engineer,” Foster said.

Mr. Foster then worked as owner-operator of Foster Machine and Repair until at the age of 80.  In 2016, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and COPD, so he finally retired and started to resume his writing.

He started researching and writing a family history. It was then he discovered most of his poems and writings were gone, and he is working now to piece them together.

Don and Thelma Foster (photo from FB)

He remembers where he was on Saturday, December 5, 1953 when a deadly F5 tornado hit Vicksburg. He wrote about that day because it was so meaningful to him. Foster was there, traveling north on Hwy 61 when it hit.

This is a poem Foster found about that very deadly day in our city’s history.

 

                    

                     THE DAY OF THE STORM

 

On that fateful day in December, 5, 1953
no one could know what could happen that day
what might be lurking behind the flying clouds
the pain terror and sorrow coming that way

it was almost beautiful on that fateful day
even though the breeze was just a little cold
we decided to go to the Vicksburg Military park
the view from the tower was a sight to behold

The puffy clouds seemed to be in a hurry
sailing through the darkening midday sky
only to turn around and return once again
with a long strange swirling screaming cry

that long black twisting hungry demon
destroying everything that stood in its way
without reason, thought or feeling for anything
like a wild beast ready to devour it’s prey

It came across the river like a roaring train
up Mulberry, Washington, Walnut, and Clay.
then through the military park it roared
as fear filled our hearts that long fateful day

Soon the rain and wind began to fade away
as we heard the screams so loud and clear
from where the Saenger Theater once stood
we grabbed our lights as our hearts filled with fear

We knew it would be filled with children that day
we worked to clear the rubble of that twister
to help those that were hurt and suffering
we saw the broken bodies of the Thornell Sisters

we rushed even more to try to save the hurt
it seemed to be an endless unbearable task
but still we worked till night turned to day
board by board and brick by brick until the last

tears began to flow as we gazed upon the scene
GOD welcomed 38 angles in Heaven that day
and 270 more HE wiped away their tears and pain
it would take many years for the scars to fade away

Written By
Dongieux Foster  (Don)
January, 14, 1954

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Vicksburg Daily News