I remember when I was much younger that I hated some people who did terrible things to me and lied on me and the whole scenario. Now, for the record these people really did disappoint and lie on me and I thought that they were real good friends. So, after alienating myself from them and licking my wounds I began to literally hate them.
It’s strange though, hate doesn’t hurt the one(s) you direct it toward. It hurts you. I became quite bitter and even lost my appetite. Well, I won that victory by learning to forgive even though they didn’t ask for forgiveness. I’ve learned through the years that hate is a waste of time. It is an emotion that takes up a lot of time that you can never ever get back. You can spend valuable, precious time thinking of how much you hate someone. It is very possible that hatred directed toward a “deserving” person is justified. But justified or not, it’s not good for you, the hater to do it. You can miss out on wonderful, loving, caring, kind emotions because hate has filled your being.
Really, hatred takes up so much time and clouds your reason to the point you will look up one day and years have gone by; years you’ll never get back. Years filled with hatred instead of kindness and charity stink! Consider that the next time a person or situation causes you to hate. You can choose to hate or not hate. I had to learn this lesson, and I want someone else to do better than me and don’t waste precious time hating. There’s so many others in this wide world to love on. Hey, that’s a thought. Let’s see how many years we can spend having compassion on others. Don’t wait until the new year, start now.
This is my dad’s mother, Lucy Ann Payne. One of my sisters is named after her. In the picture with her standing on her way to church, you can see Aunt Lucy Mae in the background. In the picture where she is hiding her face from the camera, that little boy is my older brother. (You’ll meet him, too). So this picture was from about 1950 or 1951.
If Aunt Lucy Mae was born in 1926 or 1927, my grandmother was born approximately 1897. Her husband’s name was Will Payne. I never saw even a picture of my grandfather. And oddly, I never met my grandmother in person before she died in 1963. I only have these pictures of her and what we learned that was passed down by word of mouth. A great woman, she was.
Go with me:
Her husband died in his early 40s.
She bore and raised at least 11 children
She buried many of her children
She was beaten by white men more than once
She was driven from her farm and land
She had to settle somewhere else in Florida so that she and her two children could live
She had memories of her dead sons hanging from the end of nooses
She never saw all of her grandchildren, just a few of them
She smiled in the picture above, anyway
A woman of strength is a formidable person to reckon with.
Also, the Scriptures say in Proverbs 31:30 “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”
This is my Aunt Lucy Mae Anderson (Payne). She was the youngest of all of my dad’s siblings—the youngest girl and the youngest child. She had to watch and bury everyone else in her family, including my dad and Uncle Amos. She lived in Syracuse, NY with my Uncle Amos. They were funny together. I enjoyed them.
In 1999, she moved from Syracuse, NY to the midwest where my sisters and I live.
She moved one year after Uncle Amos passed away. She just couldn’t stay by herself anymore. As I write this post, I realize that like my dad and Uncle Amos, Aunt Lucy Mae didn’t talk much about their childhood or family. If we asked her about it, then she would talk about it. But if we didn’t ask, she didn’t tell. Those times were difficult and tragic for them.
I do remember that Aunt Lucy Mae buried the last of her mom’s siblings. Her Aunt Rose. (I was named after Aunt Rose). I hear she was a feisty woman, too. Must run in the genes.
It was Aunt Lucy Mae who told us of all the tragic things she remember that happened to her family. She remembered her brother, Uncle Jesse being killed. She was the younger sister who took flight with Uncle Amos and their mom when men came to kill them and take their land. She was the one who settled down somewhere else in Florida after that night of flight. She was beaten along with her mom when they wouldn’t tell cruel men where “Charlie” was. She was the one who told us that “Charlie came in the back door, and Charlie left out the back door.”
She came here to bury her brother in ’87. From time to time she would visit us. When she would visit we all would get together and go someplace. The last trip I remember taking with her as a family was to an apple orchard/cider mill. She moved here permanently in 1999. She never wanted to be alone and so even when my youngest sister got her in a nice senior citizens apartment, age was taking its toll on her and she got real thin, not eating. She would tell me, “I’m drinking my Ensure.” She deliberately went into a nursing home, where others were, so that she’d be surrounded by people. My youngest sister saw to her needs and always cared for her.
June 12, 2012, I believe, is when we got the phone call that she was taken to the hospital. We all got there and she was on life support. The doctors had said that they would come and take her off of the machines. It took them so long to get there. I remember thinking, “Oh no. This is the end of a legacy.” All the children on my dad’s side of the family were gone, once they pulled the plug on Auntie. My mom and I and one of my sisters left before the doctors finally came. I saw my mom bend and take her sister-in-law’s hand and kiss it, before she left. It was after 11:00 p.m. when we got the official word that she had passed. We had a memorial for her at my home about a few weeks later. We sat and talked about what we knew of the family and vowed to get hold of our cousins, because we didn’t know any of them except cousin Fannie, at that time. Family is important. Don’t take it for granted. More tomorrow.
Say Hello to my dad, Roy Lee Payne Sr. He grew up in Florida and his real name at that time was Charlie Leroy Payne. He changed it after a time. Daddy passed away on Veterans Day, November 11, 1987 at the age of 66. He had a heart attack and when my mom found him, he was just laying back on the bed.
Growing up in Florida in the early 1920s and 30s was difficult for African-Americans to say the least. My dad, I came to believe, was a victim of those times and it translated into him being a cruel man most of his young life, as a father, and dad. No matter. Maybe if I had seen and experienced the things he did, I might have morphed into someone other than who I am now.
My dad only had a 3rd grade education and could only really write his name. I believe that is why he was so adamant that all of his 7 children complete high school. We all did and went further in our education and careers.
I remember a time when my dad got his first real good paying job, one that could have brought his family up a notch, if his mind had been on them. Like most people, he could do the job masterfully, but because of the 50s and 60s and the lack of rights for black men, the establishment used every tactic to get rid of him and other black men working as skilled tradesmen. It didn’t matter that white men worked as skilled tradesmen during that time and that many of them couldn’t even sign their names. They literally made an “X” on a line and someone who could write witnessed it. These men didn’t have to get their skills validated by reading a detailed text book, about 300 pages long and do the assignments in them and turn them in. Only my dad and others of his “persuasion” had to. My dad couldn’t read well, at all. So when he cursed and threw the book in the floor and stomped away saying he could get another job, my mom picked up the book and with her 9th grade education she read the lessons, did his homework for him; he copied it down in his own writing and turned the work in. To the chagrin of his superiors, my dad got his skilled trades certificate and license and worked at that job until he retired. Family is important, don’t forget that.
As a teen and young adult, he saw things that made him very private about his life. He never talked about it. My mom and my aunt, his sister would relay things about his family history from those early years. For instance, as a young teen he was on the chain gang. We don’t know why. He was a marine as a young adult and served in the Korean War, a war not many Korean vets talk about. Neither did he. He and some of his friends were walking home in the evening after working their jobs in the south where they lived. When they separated to go to their various destinations, some white men came and for no reason beat up one of his dear friends, and killed him. They put him on the railroad tracks for the train to run over him, but when the train came, it was moving very slowly and was able to stop before striking his friend’s corpse. Another time, while working for another white boss, the boss’s two sons kept throwing snakes on him. The boss told the sons to leave “Charlie” alone. They didn’t. They kept up this cruel game until my dad had had enough. He beat up both of the boys. Later, of course, a group of “interested parties” came to his mom’s home and wanted to “talk” to him about beating up two white boys. My grandmother didn’t tell them where he was. In traditional manner, during those times, they beat her and my aunt. What they didn’t know was my dad was coming through the back door with his knife. When it was all over, he left out the back door. Nuf said.
Daddy maintained a rough exterior that kept anyone from getting in. That is my one regret. I don’t know anything about being a ‘Daddy’s girl’. More tomorrow.
This is my dad’s brother, Amos Payne. He is the only uncle that I knew and visited and loved until he passed away in 1998. He was the youngest boy in my dad’s family. I really loved being around him in those later years. He lived in Syracuse, NY with his sister. He was a navy man in his younger years.
Suffice it to say that my Uncle Amos was a lady’s man.
Even though I may have talked to him on the phone from time to time, it was on the occasion of a death in our family that my uncle came and visited us. That was the first time I remember seeing him. He has the distinction of being the first to introduce my 3-year old daughter, Erika to coffee. I came over my mom’s house after work because she baby sat Erika, and Uncle Amos and Erika were sitting at the table talking and drinking coffee, and eating KFC. He had his cup of coffee and Erika had her cup of coffee and they were chatting like two old people. I’ll never forget that.
Here’s a picture of one of his daughters, Cousin Fannie. I just love her and we talk on the phone about once a month.
As I’ve already said, my dad and his siblings all were born before the turn of the 20th Century and early into it. During that time my family owned land and it wasn’t looked upon ‘nicely’ at that time. They grew crops, even cotton. They were farmers and the land was fertile. It made people want that land. They didn’t sell their land to those “interested parties.”
Picture a night in the late 30s or early 40s when my young Uncle Amos grabbed his mom and younger sister and ran through the woods, scared and desperate to get away from those “interested parties” who wanted to kill them and take their land from them. Some of those “interested parties” wore white sheets. My family members got to the road and there was a bus coming. It stopped and let them on. My Uncle Amos pulled out his knife and put it to the driver’s throat and said, “Don’t stop ’til I tell ya to.” They made it off their farm with their lives.
Sadly, they never returned to their farm for fear of being killed. They settled in another part of Florida and lived. I am glad my Uncle Amos made it out with Grandma and Auntie. Otherwise, I might not have known him. More tomorrow.
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. ”
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.
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.
Traveling Jonathan’s way I’ve learned that many of his challenges have to do with his ability to process situations and also how he deals with changes. When he finished Kindergarten and went into the first grade, his reading had gotten really good. His teachers were so impressed with him, until he was asked to explain what he read about and couldn’t. Comprehension has always been difficult for him; mainly because to come up with an acceptable answer to the question “what did you just read about,” takes a longer time for him. His words won’t come as spontaneously as unaffected peers. In the first grade, to deal with his comprehension he would retreat into his world of “SPONGE BOB!” He loved the cartoon Sponge Bob. Jonathan possesses what his resource teacher termed “rope memory.” He can remember most anything. He’d begin reciting an entire episode of Sponge Bob to himself. He could do all of the characters, too. I thought that was amazing and was full of pride until I realized it was his way of dealing with not being able to comprehend. My Jonathan could recite every word of every character in the “Charlie Brown Christmas“ cartoon! His teachers and para-professionals worked hard with him and with me, too. Oh yes, Elmo and Thomas the Train were his idols. I was forced to make changes in his routine, which brought on a bit of conflict. He couldn’t play with his trains and cars except a couple of days a week. He couldn’t watch Sponge Bob often either. Charlie Brown Christmaswas totally off the table. He didn’t like that at all. But with a lot of help and support and determination we both jumped that hurdle and by the third grade he was more rounded and ready to experience new things.
Sounds bother him, too:
A door buzzer sends him into a frenzy. A door bell is fine.
The THX logo in the beginning of movies sends him over the edge, too.
Certain songs cause him to put his hands in his ears and close his eyes either until they are over or I turn them off. The problem here is I never know which songs might cause this reaction
Change is very difficult for him. He rejects even food if it looks different. Case and point:
The regular Lunchable® is what he is accustomed to. I bought the bigger Lunchable® and he totally rejected it. Why? His answer: It’s bigger. The regular Cocoa Puffs® he loves. The box that says 50% more real cocoa he shuns. Why? It’s too much chocolate. The Chef Boyardee® ravioli he loves. The store brand he won’t touch. Why? It’s different. I haven’t been able to breach this particular situation.
I am encouraged though. Why? He can open the can and safely microwave it by himself now and he always cleans up behind himself. More tomorrow.
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.
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.
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.
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.