MEET MY FAMILY – UNCLE JESSE

I love history and the children of historic figures, whether well-known historic figures of rarely know historic figures. One woman, whom I loved and knew since my oldest child was just six months old, and who passed away 16 years ago at the age of 86 or 87 knew Civil War scout and freedom fighter Harriet Tubman when Ms. Tubman was an old woman. When I heard that, I began panting and my heart started beating faster. When she told me that I exclaimed, “You knew Harriet Tubman? WOW. ”

Harriet_Tubman_late_in_life3
Harriet Tubman late in life

Family and friends are important. I want you to meet a member of my family. He was a historic figure, too. My dad’s brother. His name was Jesse James Payne. You can Google my uncle’s name and find out a lot more about him. You see he was lynched on October 11, 1945 in Madison, Florida.

Uncle Jesse my dad's brotherab
Uncle Jesse James Payne

I never knew Uncle Jesse personally. He along with my dad and his other siblings lived in Florida before the turn of the 20th century and early into it. As records were not kept well for anyone during those times, I suggest to you that my Uncle Jesse was born between 1915 and 1918. When he died he was between 20 and 30 years old. This is the only picture we have of him, too. I’m glad otherwise, like many other of his sisters and brothers we wouldn’t know anything about him.

He is a famous historical figure from those times because the Florida governor had to address the lynching of my uncle and of three other high-profile black men that year. Tourism was good in Florida. They didn’t want anything to happen to those revenues.

Out of 11 to 13 children that my grandparents had, I only knew of five of them, one being my dad. And I only had contact with three of them; one being my dad. I’m not angry, just sad that I never got a chance to meet Uncle Jesse, his wife or my cousin, his only child that I know of.

In this picture he looks a little like Dr. King, don’t you think. He has a noble face. More tomorrow.

Online reference:

http://florida.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.5744/florida/9780813061047.001.0001/upso-9780813061047-chapter-006

Advertisements

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 15

A NEW BEGINNING

Thank you all for traveling Jonathan’s Way with me. There’s so much more that I can share, but it’s not necessary right now. Suffice it to say that Jonathan is a true gift from God! He is such a unique individual and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As I write this post, he is next to me with his phone (His Aunt Jennifer gave it to him) and his ear buds in and laughing about something he is watching on YouTube. I had no idea that YouTube had things like contests for kids to guess which fries or nuggets or ice creams are the best. Traveling Jonathan’s way, I now know that.

The last video game I played before Facebook was Pac-Man on an old Nintendo. Jonathan introduced me to Pokemon Go! He laughs and laughs watching people on YouTube play it. I am just not interested in it at all. Right now he is watching bowling on it and commenting, “Seriously?”

He is reaching out for me now just touching my arm, nothing else, no requests. He feels at ease and comfortable with me. He feels safe. I am glad for that feeling he has. The world we live in isn’t safe all the time for our children.

WILL SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT’S SO FUNNY ABOUT PASSING GAS! But I guess that’s Jonathan’s way.


13412189_1327976687217541_131779242560155263_o 13415603_1327976833884193_3731950427152722572_o 13443210_1327977317217478_3397592028084080152_o

In September he begins middle school and the journey starts over. It’s a new beginning for him and for me and for all of our family, as we travel Jonathan’s way. One of the best bloggers I know is David Snape, and  when I asked him a few days ago what advice he had for me about Jonathan going into middle school, he simply said that he is going to learn a lot in these next five years. He also said that Jonathan would be alright. Thanks David. I appreciate you.

Hey guys, don’t be a stranger. I am a book editor, but I also love reading your blogs. If you have some tips or  even advice for me as I travel Jonathan’s way, feel free to share it!

Don’t forget, I’m here for you.

Rosa

 

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 13

JONATHAN’S HEIGHT AND SIZE

20160614_07415120160614_100409

I don’t know when I really began to notice that he was growing up very fast. But he did grow fast, to me. So, I expressed it to his pediatrician at the time. “Doctor, he is very tall for his age,” I said.  The doctor looked up from his notes at Jonathan’s year physical and replied, “And…”

 

I felt silly. He told me that there was nothing I could do about what inherited or genetic. If he’s tall, he’s tall. Well, that was when he was about 6 years old. In these pictures, he’ll 11 years old.  He had the distinction of being the tallest boy in his school. Why, when a real bona fide lumberjack came to the 4th grade classes and took pictures with them, my Jonathan was taller than the lumberjack!

I read an online article regarding children on the spectrum growing taller and weighing more than other children without their challenges:

"Preliminary analysis shows that younger children with ASDs tend to be taller, and older children with ASD tend to be heavier, than their unaffected siblings."    

https://iancommunity.org/cs/ian_research_reports/weight_and_height_minireport.  -Online Reference

There is always something to smile about where Jonathan is concerned:

  • My husband and I along with Jonathan were at the voting booth one year, and a volunteer, noticing his height, spoke to him and asked how old he was. Jonathan said he was 8 years old. The volunteer, an older gentlemen, looked at me and said, “It just means he’s healthy.”
  • He was sparing with his Sensei when he was about 8 years old. He got a good punch in and he actually staggered his Sensei. After class he told my husband and me that if Jonathan ever really comes to life about Karate, he’s gonna be formidable.

For the time being, I will enjoy my big boy and continue to teach him so that he will be able to survive in this world. He is not aggressive, nor is he timid. He is Jonathan and as he begins to process his surroundings I anticipate and expect for him to master his environment with courage and strength.

More tomorrow.

Rosa

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 12

EMBRACE ALL THE HELP YOU GET

I can truly say that I have been blessed to have the best help and resources for my Jonathan. I don’t have but one complaint—I can’t take his elementary school teachers and para support personnel with me to middle school.

From his first pediatrician to his first neurologist, his Earl-On professional who first visited me, the school district special education persons, bus drivers, Kindergarten through 5th grade teachers, his resource teacher (the best), social workers, speech therapists, psychologists, principal, secretaries, lunch aids and especially the friends he made in elementary school, Jonathan’s Way has been forged by the best of people. I am blessed to have known them and I keep in contact with some of them even now.

  • His pediatrician told me, “Mom give it time. He may be a big boy, but he’s still a little guy.”
  • His neurologist told me to help his development by putting him into Karate classes. We kept him there as long as we could. He was almost a brown belt with the money ran out. My poor husband struggled to pay for it!IMG00610-20130218-1839IMG00443-20120723-1648
  • The Early On Professional told me, when I told her I wanted to home school Jonathan, “He has to get out and get exposure. You cannot home school him. She was so right. (I became his road manager taking him to every event, birthday party, pool party and school event I could).
  • All the teachers for the many parties, concerts, field trips, and more that gave him the exposure he needed. He developed so well.
  • Therapists, social workers, psychologists and para-professionals helped me to help him grow and develop into the pre-teen he is. They pushed me and I pushed him to go beyond what is expected of a “special needs” individual.

Don’t underestimate those who know about your child’s challenges. Seek them out and use all the knowledge they have. Follow their instructions to the best of  your abilities. Appreciate them. Thank them.

More tomorrow.

Rosa

 

 

 

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 11

I’M NOT A TIMID PERSON NOR AM I A TIMID MOM

Lest while reading this series you may think that I am a soft and timid person, I want to dispel that notion right now. My husband and I raised six children and had three others in our home that we kept for a considerable amount of time, influencing them for their full potential. We also had two dogs.

When I say that I cried a lot, I did. But after wiping my tears I continued to work and nurture Jonathan so that he can survive in a world that really doesn’t love children and would rather them be a statistic for a report than a person of strength and an asset to their community and society. I am not intimidated by the world’s skewered idea of parenting. Case and point:

I was on my way down to wash clothes. I had two laundry baskets full of dirty clothes, plus the detergent and softener, and a change purse full of quarters. Jonathan was about 5 years old, I think. I said, Jonathan get that laundry basket and take it downstairs. His reply was, “Mom, it’s too heavvvvv” (heavy). I repeated, “I said pick up that laundry basket and take it downstairs.” He said, “It’s too heavvvvv.”  Now for the record, it was ‘heavvv’, but my Jonathan is unusually strong, and he was big for his age. He is also a member of our family and in our home we always taught that everyone work together so that one person wouldn’t have to do everything. That kind of systems breeds anger, resentment, and strife.

Well, Mr. It’s too heavvv found out that Mom wasn’t concerned about it being heavvv. I reached for my little wooden backscratcher, and before I could even get it in  my hand, he had the very heavvv basket, opened the apartment door and was down the stairs before I could even pick  up my own load of clothes. I laughed a lot while I stumbled down the stairs. 

dirty laundry in a basket, white background

The moral of the story: I refuse to let my grandson be a liability, even with all of his challenges. I raise him as if he has no additional challenges other than what is common to all children growing up. I know he has them, but I don’t brandish them to him or anyone else. I also refuse to handicap or disable him. More tomorrow.

I’ve told all my children this: Your shoulders have to be big enough for someone else to lean on.

Rosa

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 10

at work with daddy
At work with daddy
At Zoo on class trip
At Zoo on class trip

Jonathan’s Dad

Suffice it to say that Stanley Jr, Jonathan’s dad, had him by his then girlfriend. Stanley Jr. confessed that in the beginning he was afraid of his infant son. I didn’t know what to think about that at the time. But I must clarify that along with Jonathan growing up, his dad has had to grow up, too.

It seemed to me that at first he wasn’t trying to grow up. But just like his son, he had to learn how to cope with life and the issues that come with it. While he was learning about what it means to be a dad, I sent him along Jonathan’s way to almost all the field trips, which was great for me.

Eleven years later I can say that his dad has grown and matured and is continuing to make progress. Jonathan loves his dad. By the way, they have both slimmed down over the years.

Rosa

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 9

Ages 3 to 6/The Turbulent Years

I love sharing the pictures of Jonathan’s early childhood. They look so cute and sweet. He seems like all is well. It wasn’t.

At church
4 years old at Church on Easter Sunday

392729_344244995590720_2042512610_n

The time came when I dreaded the mornings because even with the song I sang to him daily, there was turmoil trying to get him ready for school daily. From the time he got out of the bed until the time he got downstairs outside waiting on the bus there was all kinds of conflicts. I tried everything I knew to work through it. Little to none of it worked. In fact, at times I had to call the school bus depot and let them know not to come and pick him up. I would get him to school myself.

There were days I cried along Jonathan’s Way, because I felt all alone traveling his way. I knew from the look in his face that he really didn’t know what was wrong with him either. It was that look more than anything that helped me to keep a good grip on my emotions each and every day. It was only once he got on the school bus or I got him to class that I cried, just to release the tension in me.

402996_349839595031260_2090147350_n402555_349844498364103_873491789_n


We attend church regularly.  When Jonathan was  2-1/2 years old, I was sitting in service with him next to me. I didn’t have any problems with him at church as far as bad behavior. But one day I noticed he was afraid. So, I picked him up and held him in my arms. I tried to put him down once and he clung to me tighter. I started having a hard time breathing, his arms were tightening around my neck and his head was buried in the side of my neck as if he were hiding from something. I finally got his arms from around my neck and sat him on the pew next to me. He jumped off the pew and crawled under it. I kept telling him to get up and tried to pull him from under the pew. It was almost an impossible feat. I finally did get him up and took him by the hand and drug him out of the sanctuary into the hallway and finally into the church nursery. It would be 3-1/2 years later before he sat in the sanctuary again. He was 2-1/2  years old when I took him out of the sanctuary. He was 6 years old when he returned to it or should I say when we returned to it.

389385_349844485030771_1394546637_n

I went through a lot of emotions in that 3 1/2 year period. I found out that he was afraid of the ceiling fans in the church sanctuary. It was so bad that my  husband and I had to bring him in the church from the back door and take him straight to the nursery.  I thought his pediatrician or his neurologist could give me some medicine and take away that fear. Both of them looked at me at separate appointments and said, “Mom, you just have to wait him out. He has to process it and there is no set time for that.” It proved to be a lonely time for me traveling Jonathan’s way during those years. I felt stuck and that I’d never be able to attend service regularly again. On the Sundays when we had our Communion services they had to bring my sacraments into the nursery for me to partake. My husband, a minister at our church, was always up in the pulpit with the pastor and other associate ministers while I was stuck in the nursery with Jonathan and other kids, babysitting, playing with, reading to, and talking to all the little munchkins. I confess that I was angry with him, too. I cried a lot during that time, wondering when it would all end.

More tomorrow.

Rosa

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 8

WHEN JONATHAN COMES HOME FROM SCHOOL

Preschool Jonathan
Preschool Jonathan

Home from School

Grandma stands in the window of the front door of her apartment complex.
A sunless sky and darkening clouds meet her. Grandma buttons up her coat and
stuffs her hands in the pockets and leans on the window. Jonathan’s bus will pull up
any minute now. He has been in school since he was 2 ½ years old. School has been
so good for him. Jonathan’s teachers are excellent and best of all they understand
how to reach him. They give Grandma progress reports and daily notes to inform
her of what went on during classes so she can keep it going. They give her tips on
communicating with him. Their suggestions work and have been beneficial to
Grandma and her little grandson, Jonathan.
The bus pulls up in front of the apartment complex. The doors to the bus
open. The bus driver unbuckles Jonathan’s safety belt and the four-year old darts
off the bus. The sound of the engine at rest makes Jonathan nervous and he runs
away from it, fleeing to his ever constant retreat – Grandma.
“Bye bus,” Jonathan waves. Grandma joins him in his wave, both watching the
bus drive away. The bus stops at the end of the driveway to wait for traffic to
pass. Jonathan waits, too. He has to see the bus leave before he can begin his walk
down the long walk way to the front door of the apartment complex. It’s his way.
The bus begins to pull out onto the road. Jonathan waves again at the small
yellow bus taking Grandma’s hand with the other.
“Bye bus.”
With that, Jonathan and Grandma walk down the sidewalk towards the front
door. Grandma opens the door and walks in but it’s Jonathan who has to be the one
to close it behind them.
Permission lovingly given to share this excerpt from Jonathan’s Way by Lynnette Roman
Rosa

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 7

JONATHAN HAS 3 AUNTS!

Johanna, Jennifer, Erika
Johanna, Jennifer, Erika

Erika, Jennifer, and Johanna are their first names. All of them are in their mid to upper 30s. So, when I tell you that they should have grown out of rivalry, I think that they should have. That truly isn’t the case. When Christmas time comes around instead of the smell of pine cones and peppermints and mistletoe and egg nog, there is the smell of blood between two of his aunts. They vie to give him the best gift. Not necessarily the most expensive gift, but truly the best gift. I stay far away from that feud! But there can’t be any three aunts who love their nephew more than these three love him. He is covered and surrounded by the love of adults, as he is the only child among them. He can truly bask in their love. It makes my job a bit more pleasant, especially when they come and get him and take him places with them. I couldn’t ask for better aunts for him. If money is needed, and they have it, there is nothing that they won’t do for him. He is blessed with aunts who spend time with him.

Erika, his oldest aunt has been his constant playmate. Since he cannot act as if he is 30 something, she acts like she is an 11-year-old kid. Truth!

Auntie Erika and Jonathan
Erika and Jonathan

 

 

 

 

Jennifer, Erika’s rival is loving and dotes on him. She thinks she can take my place. Please do, I say from time to time. She is tender-hearted and protective of him.

Jen and Jonathan at Xmas
Jen and Jonathan

Johanna, is Jennifer’s twin and the younger of the two. She,  of all of them knows how Jonathan thinks. She and Jonathan have checked out many a cartoon DVD and cartoon movie. She is able to identify with him.

Johanna and Jonathan
Johanna and Jonathan

 

 

 

Support is a beautiful thing!

Rosa