The son of a white man and a Cherokee, Joseph Willis must live as a slave on his own property. His struggle for freedom is complicated by a love forbidden by society and his newfound spiritual faith. With a faith molded by tragedy, Joseph finds the courage to forgive and to change the course of a new nation. Randy Willis tells the raw-boned epic, based on his own ancestor, Joseph Willis, that gives American history a new face and a fresh voice. A novel about adventure, family, faith, and the character of a man that touched generations.
Now available on Amazon! The 2021 Revised and Expanded Edition of Destiny. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1733567445Destiny is a sweeping family saga that spans four centuries. It is the story of two great nations and Randy Willis’s ancestor’s struggle from tyranny—religious and political. A powerful epic with love stories, battles, testimonies, drama, politics, history, and even humor. Inspired by true stories. #randywillis
Gatsby hesitated, then added cooly: He’s the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby
My Father and Me
Julian “Jake” Willis was Boss Man Jake and Julian Willis, in my novels Louisiana Wind and Destiny.
Few years would have a more significant impact on my life than 1919 did.
In 1919, the third and final wave of the influenza pandemic occurred. The pandemic killed 675,000 people in the United States. That number included family members.
In 1919, President Wilson signed a proclamation commemorating the end of fighting in World War I as Armistice Day. My cousins and great-uncles returned home from the Great War.
In 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment was ratified, authorizing the prohibition of alcoholic beverages. It did not stop my namesake and Grandfather Randall Lee Willis. He would hide from my grandmother on Barber Creek and drink high-proof distilled spirits called Moonshine.
In 1919, Congress approved the 19th amendment to legalize women’s suffrage. The next year my seven-year-old future mother, Ruth Lawson Willis, received the right to vote when she came of age.
In 1919, Norman Saurage discovered the secret of making my all-time favorite coffee in the home of LSU, Baton Rouge. He named it Community Coffee. I lived three years in Baton Rouge near the campus off Dalrymple Drive, attended the games, sat in “Death Valley,” and became a fan. Geaux Tigers!
In 1919, Arnold Rothstein paid members of the Chicago White Sox to lose the World Series deliberately. Babe Ruth said Shoeless Joe Jackson was “The greatest hitter I’d ever seen,” Shoeless Joe admitted that he cheated. The quote, “Say it ain’t so, Joe,” became famous.
In 1919 my all-time favorite sports hero, Jackie Robinson, was born. He was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in the Major League.
And in 1919, my all-time hero was born, my father, Julian “Jake” Willis.
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To the Best of My Recollection is: My journal—my memoir— my life—my biography—my experiences— my letters—my adventures—my experiences—did I already say that?
I wrote this in my novel Destiny. My opinion has not changed since I was sixteen; in this photo. I grew up on the Old Danbury Road three miles from Angleton, surrounded by the Saltgrass Country, rice-farms, cows, horses, dogs, and various places to hunt and fish! I thought I was in Heaven. My sister hated it. ✯ ✯ ✯ I was once told a story of a woman who wanted to know what her son would become. She put what little money she had on her kitchen table, along with a bottle of liquor and a Bible. As her son approached their home, she hid in a closet. She figured if he took the money, he’d be a gambler; if he drank the whiskey, he’d be a drunkard, and if he picked up the Bible, he might just become a preacher. When the boy saw all this, he picked up the money quickly and stuffed it into his pockets; he then drank the entire bottle of the Devil’s poison; and, finally, he put the Word of God under his right arm and staggered out the door. The mother exclaimed, “Oh, no, a politician.”