Aunt Lucy Mae Anderson

Aunt Lucy Mae Anderson

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Aunt Lucy Mae age 86








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.



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


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.

More tomorrow.



At 7-Eleven with Auntie

At 7-Eleven with Auntie

Jonathan’s neurologist, after diagnosing him with ASD scheduled several tests to see why he wasn’t talking. The primary test was one to check his hearing. I tell you medical technology is a wonder. My blissful ignorance began to morph into knowledge. That knowledge equipped me more and more to help him.

I thought that when he went for the hearing test, that there would be a doctor with a bunch of tuning forks to strike on his own elbow and put behind Jonathan’s ear. Don’t laugh, you probably thought that, too. But along with one of my daughters we went to a specialist and my daughter was directed to sit in a room that was just great for little children, with all the books, toys and stuffed animals to keep them happy. Jonathan was nervous so he just sat on my daughter’s lap. The test was simply a sound was piped into the room and when the child would hear the sound, they would look in the direction of that sound. Jonathan aced that test. Every time he heard the sound, he turned in that direction. His hearing was fine. WHEW!

The next test was a CAT Scan I believe. Because he was so young, he had to be put to sleep to complete it. Goompa and Jonathan’s Dad went into the room with him. I stayed in the waiting room looking at decorating books. There again, the professionals put him to sleep with a mask over his face before starting an IV in his little foot to keep him asleep for the remainder of the test. I wish they would do that with me before inserting an IV. The scan was normal. So, his neurologist had the school district to come out and evaluate him. They were like a lifeline to a drowning person. These two women were great. In fact, they put my mind at ease so much that I felt for the first time I could help him. They told me that the first thing they wanted to do was put him in preschool. He was a month from being 3 years old and still wasn’t potty trained. But they said he would benefit from preschool. He did. I was the one who was having the anxiety attacks and separation anxiety. I imagined him in a corner of the classroom huddling and shaking and crying for me. He came home that first day and nothing changed. I got better as I dropped him off and picked him up. Still no change. But I continued to get better with the idea of him being in a classroom setting.

I don’t remember when it was, but two significant events happened. The day he actually turned 3 years old, we had a party for him at the bowling alley. From that day to this day, without ever having an accident, he potty trained. Joy, joy! No more pullups! The next thing that happened was he came home from preschool one day and I said something like, “Jonathan, pick up your toys.” I heard in a loud clear voice, ‘NO! STOP!’ I was shocked. It was music to my ears. He had spoken for the first time. The tears formed in my eyes. More tomorrow.



             3-year-old Jonathan in preschool

I shared with you yesterday that we legally became my grandson’s ‘parents’ when he was seven months old. He walked at 12 months, on his tip-toes’. I found out later that it was a red flag for ASD. I did notice that he even stood still on his tip toes. It wasn’t a concern to me at all. What concerned me was that he never said a word. He never spoke, even when prompted. That sent my antennas up, not the toe walking. I was ignorant of toe walking, but I knew that he should have said a little something by the time he was 24 months old. (One thing that he could do well was cry). I waited another six months until he was 30 months old – 2 1/2 years old and told  his pediatrician my concern. I love professionals who help out. He was the best pediatrician Jonathan ever had. He wrote a phone number for me to call: Early On.  

Early On Family Services is the primary provider of developmental assessments and evaluations for all children birth to three in your County.   Eight different areas of development are assessed:  

     1) gross motor-large muscles  2) fine motor (how a child uses their               fingers and hands)  3) cognitive  4) speech 5) self care-eating and             sleeping  6)emotions  7) interactions with others  8) coping skills 

I called them and the tiniest little woman came to our place to assess Jonathan.  She and I talked about decorating for a few minutes and then I called to Jonathan. He came out of the bedroom smiling happily. The moment she saw him she remarked: “He walks on his tip toes.” That’s a sign of possible developmental concerns. I was shocked and let her know that from the moment he began walking he had always walked that way. She smiled at  me. Her smile made my pounding heart slow down. She then told Jonathan to play with her. She hopped on one foot, and asked him to do the same. Several other body exercises later and she was finished with her brief assessment. She told me to make an appointment with a child neurologist. I can see her face even as I type this post. She saw my anxiety and kindly told me that her only son had Aspergers and about the challenges he faced. She calmed me down. I appreciate her even now. Her kind and understanding way of talking with me gave me strength to continue on Jonathan’s Way. I called and got the name of a child neurologist. I wasted no time in making an appointment.

Don’t be afraid of reality. Face it head on. You’ll be stronger for it. More tomorrow.




I want to begin today a series on my autistic grandson. There are many who are challenged with ASD and my grandson is one of them. The journey has been difficult for him and for me, but the rewards have been just as numerous. Please, join me as I travel Jonathan’s Way.


Circumstances lead to my husband and I raising our only grandchild. We had already raised six children – four girls and two boys. They were all grown or a year from it, and we found ourselves as empty nesters. I was so happy about it. I would joke with some of our friends that since we were alone in our home, that we’d get a motorcycle and travel the country. (That sounds good right now). Well, when one day we found we were going to be grandparents, it was novel. At the ripe age of two weeks old we saw our grandson and the feeling went from novel to wonderful. We were truly transformed into grandparents, and I vowed to spoil him. That wasn’t to be. 

Without going into a long story, we wound up with him just for his protection when he was two months old and officially since he was seven months old. So, I put the motorcycle trip on the back burner and said, “Oh Well” and began raising another child when I was 52 years old.

At 12 months old, exactly 1-year-old, he walked. He began walking the day he turned a year old. I noticed at that time that he started walking on his tip toes. I didn’t think anything of it at that time. “A dysfunctional vestibular system, a common problem in autism, may be responsible for toe walking.”  

As far as I knew, it was cute. In fact I never knew anything was wrong with his toe walking until he was 2-1/2 years old. That’s when I began to travel Jonathan’s Way.

More tomorrow, but please share with me the way you have taken with any special needs person you know and love.

(Online reference:




Erika -eldest,  Johanna-Twin



I had the privilege of raising three girls.  I always wanted two children and wound up with three when 4 years after my first daughter was born, I had twin girls.  So now on April 21, 2016 and on April 23, 2016, they all had birthdays.  The twins were on April 21st and my oldest was on the 23rd.  Nothing new about that I know, unless you are the mother of these three girls.  Erika, my oldest turned 39 and Jennifer and Johanna, twins turned 35.

When it seems like life’s deck is stacked against you and your own circumstances sort of help that deck out, you can get uncertain.  But I believe in God and asked Him for his help. He sent me the most generous man in the world to raise them.  They are true daddy’s girls. Long story short:

  • Erika is a senior account manager with an appraisal firm and a bad to the bone business woman. (Her idol is Benjamin Franklin on the hundred dollar bill-nuf said)
  • Jennifer is a successful author with two online radio shows and she has just launched her own online broadcasting media company.  Her fifth book is about to come out on May 31st. (Pen name is Parker J. Cole)
  • Johanna has published her first book late last year and is working on the sequel to it, now.  (Pen name is Lynnette Roman)

The moral of the story a dedicated and committed parent doesn’t have to worrry about life’s deck stacked against them.  God alone will make sure nothing stops your effort.



A Few More Memories

Talk about memories:  My eldest daughter is 38 years old.  But once she was 5 years old and she was watching a cartoon on T.V.  She came and asked, “Mom, can I have a Ahhple (apple)?  I got one for her and washed and wiped it. I told her, “Whatever parts you don’t eat, bring them back to me,” (I was expecting that she’d bring me the inside, seeds, and the core).  Well, when the cartoon was over and she came back to me, she handed me the little stem, that was all.  I looked at her and asked was there anymore. She said, “No”.  So, I said, “Oh”.  Apparently, it didn’t do her any harm, because she grew up to be a great business woman.

5-year old apple core eater Erika           38-year old Business Woman Erika

Before you think that you can’t write a book, just gather those childhood memories. You’ll find out you’ve got a wonderful and heartfelt book in you.  Just put it on paper and then send it to me when you’re finished.  I’m here for you.

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