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James' Blog
Friday, 24 January 2020
April's Post About Mom
Now Playing: Posted on April's Page on Wordpress

Remembering My Grandmother

This week my grandmother passed away. She was 84 years old. Her heart gave out and she passed peacefully in her sleep.

We called my grandmother Nanny. I am not sure I even knew her real name for years. She was part of the team known as Papa and Nanny. We lost my Papa about 15 years ago in a car accident. And I can’t help thinking that a part of her faded away then.

Nanny was my primary grandmother, the kind of grandmother that knows with one look just what you need. My grandparents lived only two miles away from me for most of my childhood, and I saw them at least once a week if not more. They were an integral part of my youth.

Of course we had the big memories of Christmases and Fourth of July cookouts. But for me it is in between moments I most cherish. I have early memories of standing in her lap playing with her glasses and exploring every inch of her face with my fingers. She taught me how to play rummy, which way to deal the cards, and how to create a strategy that could lead to a win.

It was her house we went to if we got sick at school. She would make me cinnamon sugar toast and sit me on the couch to watch the Price Is Right and the Young and the Restless. She would always French braid my hair and let me dig through the flea market stash kept in my grandparents closet.

I remember when Nanny was baptized at our church. And how every Sunday my family would pick her up to take her with us. I’d slide over to the middle seat as she climbed in the car. Then later, when I was in high school I’d pick her up for church, and we’d talk about school and the week’s teenage drama.

Nanny was a listener, an observer, a rocker of babies, and maker of peanut butter and chocolate cake. She was a walker who drug grandchildren through the woods spotting the changing leaves in the fall and the wildflowers in the spring. She loved to read and carried a quiet wisdom.

Nanny was an introvert, not unlike my 6 year-old daughter, Grace Florence, who shares her name.

The last time I saw Nanny, she took a ring off her finger and pressed it into my palm. “This is for Grace since you named her after me. I want you to keep it for her.” I kissed her cheek and said my good-bye. That was over two years ago. After moving out west a decade ago, I didn’t see her much. I wasn’t there to watch her health fail. I have to cling to those early memories. The long walks, late night rummy games, French braids, and cinnamon sugar toast. Those sweet grandmotherly memories I hope will pass from our generation to the next.

My grandmother lost her mom when she was a young child. I cannot imagine the hole that left in her heart. The whisper of suffering she must have carried throughout her life. I don’t know what heaven is like. But, I hope that when Nanny’s soul entered heaven that her mom was waiting to greet her. I hope that her mother cupped Nanny’s face in her hands and said, “Welcome home my baby, I’ve been waiting for you.”

Posted in family | Tagged , ,



Posted by jehj at 1:52 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 February 2020 1:51 PM EST
Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Rented Apartment
I rented an apartment.  It is a senior living apartment. It is not very big, but it is larger than the room I was renting.

Posted by jehj at 10:30 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 November 2019 4:46 PM EST
Saturday, 20 January 2018
I Rented a Room
I rented a room from a slum lord.  It is small.  It is only six feet by twelve feet, but at least it has a door I can lock. 

Posted by jehj at 1:24 PM EST
Thursday, 11 January 2018
Started Retirement
I started drawing my retirement yesterday.  At least now I have some money.

Posted by jehj at 1:22 PM EST
Wednesday, 8 November 2017
Off the Street Again for Now
I am back at the Homeless Shelter again.  This is the last time I can stay.  You can only stay for three 90 day stays and this is my last 90 days.

Posted by jehj at 1:19 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2018 1:30 PM EDT
Saturday, 7 October 2017
Back On the Street
Well I was at the Homeless Shelter for 90 days, so now I am back on the street.

Posted by jehj at 1:17 PM EDT
Friday, 7 July 2017
Off the Street for Now
Last night was the first night back in the Homeless Shelter.

Posted by jehj at 1:16 PM EDT
Monday, 5 June 2017
On The Street Update

 Last night was the first night on the street.  I slept at a church on North Arrowhead Ave. in San Bernardino, Ca.  It was not pleasant. 

The Homeless Shelter let me stay 120 days.  Now I have to do 30 days out before I can apply to get back in.   

Posted by jehj at 2:33 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 June 2017 2:39 PM EDT
Thursday, 9 February 2017
Remembering Mom

Don't take what I am about to say, as being mean or that I did not love my Dad.  This was the way it was for us.

My first memory is setting on mom's lap and her reading to me.  This light kept flashing.  For years I could not figure out what this was, until one day when I was a teenager and I came home at the beginning of a thunderstorm and found mom sitting in the corner of the couch with Mary in your lap reading a book.  Then it hit me what this early memory was.  Mom was reading to me during a thunderstorm.  Everyone who knew mom, knew she was terrified of thunderstorms.

I have some memory's of just me and mom.  Then while we lived on the farm outside of Greenville, Tennessee, Debra showed up.  We moved around alot.

I remember the first separtion.  Things got so bad in the fall of 1960, while we were living in Union, South Carolina that mom called  Granddad Haddock (her father) and he sent her the money to go to Clarksville, Tennessee.  We caught the bus.  Debra always sit in mom's lap, but I got to sit in the seat beside her unless the bus was full and then I sit on her right leg.

Uncle Luke (mom's brother Luther) met us at the bus station and took us to Granddad's house on Golf Club Lane.  Dad did send enough money that mom rented a house a few doors down, from Granddad.  Dad did not show up till just before Christmas 1961. I had already started to school.

Dad moved us out to Cumberland Heights.  Things got so bad, that Uncle Luke rented us a house on the creek on Attaway Road.  Between Cumberland Heights and Attaway Road, mom learned to keep cooking oil and 5 pounds of flour and 5 pounds of cornmeal.  Attaway Road is where the rabbits showed up.  Uncle Luke, built the cages and brought the rabbits and show me how to kill and clean them.  When times got bad we always had rabbit to eat with cornbread and rabbit gravy.

After we moved upon the hill on Attaway Road things got better.  Uncle Jim (mom's Uncle Jim) let dad run his service station.  Things were good.  This was the best that I remember our lives ever being.

In the fall of 1970 dad went back to his old ways and Uncle Jim took the station away from him.  Dad packed his bags and left for South Carolina.  This was the second separtion.  In May of 1971 Dad called an ask mom if she wanted to come to South Carolina and she said yes.  For the life of me I never have understood why, so off to Spartanburg, South Carolina we went. 

I got a job at a service station and the man paid me in cash.  I would walk in the door and just hand the money over to mom.  After all there were mouths to feed and dad was drinking his money away.  I done this right up till the time I got married. 

After Mary finished high school, things got so bad that I moved mom and dad into my house.  Got dad on Social Security Retirement and helped them get an apartment in public housing not far from were we lived. 

 After Dad was killed on December 22, 1997, mom just seemed lonely. 

I moved in to take care of mom on July 1, 2009 when she started getting sick.  I took care of her till her death on January 31, 2017.

Mom was the backbone of our family.  No matter how bad things got, I could always count on my mom being there for me.

No one will ever understand how much I will miss my mom.  She was my rock. 

Rest In Peace Mom.  You deserve it more that all the Angles in Heaven. 


Posted by jehj at 1:50 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2017 6:16 PM EDT
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
On The Street

I am now living in a homeless shelter in San Bernardino, Ca.  I am in need of a job.  I have a disability that prevents me from standing for long periods, so the position needs to be a sit down job.

If you can help please let me know.  E-mail me at: jehj@mail.com


Posted by jehj at 5:48 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2017 5:57 PM EST

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