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