It’s very interesting to watch twins grow up. In a nutshell Jennifer the older twin is an African Violet. Johanna the younger twin is a shrinking violet. Truth. But where Johanna shies away from the public eye, she makes up in love for her family. She is one of those people who love to be around her family and that’s enough for her. High school not withstanding, Johanna made very few waves. That’s just not her personality. When something happened or she became more of an extrovert, it was because I insisted on it or she was with her sisters.
Her mindset for many years was that of a young child. What I mean by that is she argued vehemently with a 6-year old and she was 14. You would have thought that they were two grown women arguing. It was so funny. She saw nothing wrong with arguing with her 6-year old cousin. So, she was baby-like in those matters. Another aspect of Johanna is that more than any of the other children, she knows her daddy well. She can understand what’s in his mind. She’s been able to do that since she was about 6 years old herself. Johanna had a simple wisdom then and she has a much more mature wisdom now. She hangs onto every word that daddy says:
Johanna: Mom, my ponytail came out at school today (she was about 10 years old) and the other kids laughed at me.
Me: Oh that’s not nice. I am so sorry.
Johanna: That’s alright Mom, because Dad says that when people laugh at you and make fun of you they will be laughed at, too.
She and her dad have always been close, but this illness has made them compadres. My husband takes her to all her appointments, the pharmacy, clinic for chemo, surgeries she had to endure. He cooks her breakfast, lunch, and dinner, he calls her “princess” at times, too. He takes her food to her most of the time because she is often weak and sickly these days. She was crying once and I wasn’t home, but on the phone with her. She stopped and said, “Mom, I have to hang up. I need to go and get a hug from my dad.” I am grateful for their closeness during this journey back to health. It’s a true blessing.
I begin today to chronicle my daughter Johanna’s journey to health again as she battles Ovarian Cancer. She’s the only one of our children who went into the medical field. Funny that when she decided to become a nurse, she changed her mind and remained a CNA. She decided at that time, many years ago, that she wanted to write. But she has seen things that I am not able to bear. Now she is experiencing what she has helped other to cope with – illness – cancer – Ovarian cancer.
Here’s a little tidbit of humor, I think and a true story. She called me excited as can be. Her entire class went to the Cadaver Lab in the city. They were all dissecting a human body.
Johanna: Mama, guess what?!
Johanna: We are all here at the Cadaver Lab and I got a chance to take the eye out and dissect it. I held it in my hand. That was so cool.
Johanna: Okay, Ma, I gotta go. They are about to take out the brain. Bye.
Me: (after she hangs up) stuttering.
Go with me as I, from time to time, give you a glimpse along her journey back to health. I hope that as you journey with me, that you will re-evaluate your own feelings towards your friends and loved ones and realize that people are people and in the end we love them. Don’t be afraid to admit that you love the estranged individual. It’s healing for your soul.
Johanna is a twin. She and her sister are fraternal twins. She was born weighing an entire pound less than her older twin sister. It was funny, I ha a cesarean section and when they brought her out she was sucking her thumb. I see her right now. She was the one who would stay woke to make sure I made it home, even as a baby. I was working and going to school then. Her twin and older sister tried to remain awake, but Johanna always gave me a big toothless smile when I came home. I looked forward to that smile.
I was born at 1:30 a.m. in the morning, 63 years ago. My mother is on the phone right now relaying how I was born. She had gone to the movies late night ( she saw “The Man From the Alamo with Glen Ford) and was on her way back to her house (1-1/2 blocks away from the movies). As she was walking, a dog came out and scared her. She picked up a brick and threw it at the dog and it ran away from her. It was then that her water broke. She said she was afraid to be alone, and asked another lady who was out that time of night (it was much safer then) if she would stay with her because her water broke. When the lady heard that my mom’s water had broken, SHE RAN! So, Mom made her way home, and her brother-in-law took her to the house, she woke my dad up and when they got to the hospital and an hour later at 1:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, I was born.
The name of the theater she went to was called the Castle Theater 3412 Hastings Street, Detroit, MI48211.
The Castle Theatre opened in 1914. It seated 1,350. The theatre closed in the early-1960’s. The site is now an empty lot.
Guess what, it cost her $.35 to see two movies and all the previews in 1953. She said that you’d see a cartoon and the news reels back then, all for $.35. Also, if women came on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, they would receive bowls or plates. A box of popcorn cost $.07, a hot dog was $.10, and candy bars cost $.05. She said that if you wanted a larger candy the size of a rolling-pin it would cost you $.25. That was good marketing at that time. Can you see how full those theaters were in the 1950s? We can’t market that good now! We used to dwell in a Live and Let Live world. Not anymore.
There’s nothing like family history. Keep it and never let it go.
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.
I remember October, 2016 coming in, but I think it just said “Hello, gotta go.” I mean in two days, it will be November, 2016. WOW! It’s that time already. Living in the midwest, I have a love-hate relationship with the winter months. I love looking at the snow and how beautiful it makes everything. I see the snow and immediately begin singing Christmas carols. But, boy oh boy, I hate to get out in it and drive about. Snow, ice, and slush just don’t make me feel good at all when I have to be out in it.
You know those beautiful paintings and Christmas Cards with a sleigh pulling family members through the wooded, snowy areas going to Grandma’s house–BALONEY! When I get in my car, first of all I have to clean it off, then turn it on and wait for it to defrost, and if I am running late, I have to get out and scrape the the windows. So, by the time I get to “Grandma’s house,” my hands are cold, my boots from last year I find out are leaky, and the car is covered with dirty salted snow!
Oh well, enough of complaining. The one good thing is that we all have made it this far into the year. Let’s be grateful and get ready to make some snowballs!
This is a picture of my brother Roy. Here he is a Marine. Gunnery Sergeant Roy L. Payne, Jr. My brother was in the Marines from the age of 19 years to 30 years. He had initially planned to make a career of it. He was a Judo expert while in the Marines. My dad was a Marine, and so it followed suit that my brother went into the military as a Marine. He married a woman and had two children. But before that he held a distinguished position in 1969 before enlisting in the Marines and before management positions were really available to minorities. He was a manager at what used to be called Ma Bell – Bell Telephone Company, at the ripe old age of 20 years old. He had gotten his electronics certificate after graduating from High School, from RETS Electronics School. He was expert at that, as well.
When he enlisted in the Marines, he was stationed in Japan for about 3 years. He settled in 29 Palm, CA when he married in 1972. He and my sister-in-law had two children, Ruth, and Roy III. My brother grew and learned a lot before he turned 30 years old. A Christian man, he raised his family with delight. Ruth was 6 and Roy III was about 2 years old.
November 16, 1980 at about 1:45 a.m. early morning, my two brothers-in-law rang my doorbell and told me that my Mom would need me. I knew something had happened, but for the life of me I couldn’t have believed that when I got to my Mom and Dad’s house that I would hear that Roy had been killed in a car accident in California, that day. That was devastating enough, but he was killed by a drunk driver, and the drunk driver was a Marine also. WOW! My parents flew to California for the services. The rest of us had a memorial for him, where we lived. You know for so long I was angry with that drunk driver and wanted to hurt him, but he was killed, too. There was nothing but anger and pain as I thought of my sister-in-law and young niece and nephew who would only know their dad through pictures and word of mouth memories. He was married only 8 years and died at 30 years old. He would have been 67 this coming December. Ruth is 42 and Roy III is 37. My brother is missed, but never forgotten.
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! THE EFFECTS LAST A LIFETIME.
It’s been a roller coaster of emotions with my daughter being sick with cancer, but it is a great relaxation to blog about someone in our family who reached a milestone that no one else on Mom’s or Dad’s side of the family has ever met. My sister Brenda and her husband Ronald celebrated 50 years of marriage last year September 25, 2015. Their children surprised them with a 50th Wedding Anniversary banquet. It was just beautiful. And just this past Sunday they celebrated 51 years of marriage! Let’s all stand up and applaud. She was 19 years old and he was 24 when they married. She just turned 70 and he’ll be 75 in December.
No one else in our entire family has ever reached that milestone, due to death of a spouse or divorce of a spouse. My grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, and siblings. Mr. and Mrs. Wilbert Ronald Evans have the distinction of being married 51 years this past Sunday, September 25, 2016. That record gives one hope in this non-committed society where anything like a shoe size is cause for divorce. It’s an honor to know anyone who has weathered the storm and came out wiser for it.
If you remember, my sister Brenda was named after one of my dad’s sisters, and she has the distinction of being the oldest of all the grandchildren on my Mom’s side, too.
It has been a whirlwind of activity and emotions with my daughter being sick. I have been examining my own reactions and thoughts about her condition:
I wondered why I wasn’t screaming, yelling and crying uncontrollably. It’s because first and foremost, “it’s not about me,” it’s about my daughter and her welfare and getting better. I don’t have time to indulge myself. Yes, at the beginning I cried for about 10 minutes. Then I stopped. She needs me.
I wondered why I didn’t say, “Why me or why my daughter?” It’s because I know that pain and heartache and sickness and disease inhabits this entire world. It’s because others that I love and know are suffering, too. I watch them and how they quietly do what is necessary to endure and get better. I think that it’s unfair to say why me when sickness comes to all of us. By me saying why me, I suggest that it’s alright for others to go through but not me or mine.
I wondered why I was exhausted and would fall into the bed sleeping heavily. It’s because, as a mom, I am anxious for my daughter. It’s because if I could, I would take the pain for her, but I can’t. I can, however, be there for her and do all I can do to make her trial of illness a little better. I can do that for sure.
I wondered why I am not out of my mind with worry. It’s because in that state of mind I cannot be of service to her. I can’t even pray for her like that. If nothing else I can be a support for her and comfort as much as I can. Worrying my hair out keeps me from doing that. She means more to me than my biting my nails down to the quick. I don’t have the right to do that. I have to be there for her.
Ultimately, I have a grip because the God whom I serve has already taken care of this situation.
If you grew up watching T.V. when I was young, there was alway a commercial or it was called a station break or even a word from our sponsor. I like that last phrase: Here’s a word from our sponsor.
I’ve enjoyed sharing my family’s history with you. You’ve all been sharing with me, too. I love it. But since I’ve shared with you almost daily something about family, I have had to take a station break. I want to give a word from the sponsor (me).
I don’t know where you are in your relationships with family and close friends, but if it is a broken or even shattered relationship, try to mend it. Circumstances can change so drastically and so suddenly and you don’t want anything to get in between you and your loved one will may come to need you.
I have three daughters and one son and for so long they have made me proud. The illnesses we’ve all endured to this point have been ‘fixable’ and not too severe, but now my youngest daughter was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it for about 3 days. But since that time she’s gone through surgery, and will soon take Chemotherapy. My heart is broken for her and my husband and I are with her. She is the quietest of all the children, and she has a strength that the others don’t necessarily have. She will never have children, which in and of itself doesn’t bother me—she said more than once as a teen that she never wanted children. She is content to be an aunt. It’s at times like these that I find the faith that I’ve let you hear in my posts from time to time is strong. I have no doubt that God has picked her out for this particular test—and me, too. I’m a mom and feel as a mom would feel to hear her child is ill like that. But my faith in Jesus the Christ is solid and He’s brought us through other trials. He won’t fail now.
What can I say about my Aunt Ella? So much. She was always so animated to me. She was a person I looked forward to seeing. We all loved to go to her house and stay overnight. If we couldn’t stay overnight, we’d stay just for a visit. No matter, we love her to this moment. Now she was not without her own set of idiosyncrasies:
When a child is 5 or 6 years old and Aunt Ella comes over making you smile and laugh you warm up to her. So, as a child you ask, “Aunt Ella, how old are you?” She would answer, “I’m 19.” Whenever she said that, we would believe her. We were 5 and 6 years old, so 19 seemed a BIG age. Plus, no one ever refuted her statement. But when you are about 10-12 years of age and ask Aunt Ella, how old she is and her rely is, “I’m 19,” you begin to wonder whether that statement is true or not. When you turn 18 or 19 and ask that same question of Aunt Ella and she replies, “I’m 19,” you know that for many years she had been pulling your leg. Check this out:
Whenever she came over she made all of us kids stand in line as she gave us all a big spoonful of COD LIVER OIL! Yuck.
Whenever you stayed with her your breakfast was Ralston Purina Hot Wheat Cereal, there was never an exception
She always made you work, but never called it work. She said, “take this into the basement, while you’re resting.”
She always taught us to marry for money: “Looks can’t feed ya.”
She called my daddy “Son.” All the time. He was her brother-in-law.
She was color struck: “Only marry ‘white meat’.” One great niece did that. No one else.
You have never been disciplined until she used a switch on your legs.
She is royalty: She calls herself the Queen of Spain!
After all these years, when asked how old she is, she says, “I’m almost 20.”
There’s no one like her. Love you Auntie. More tomorrow.