God gave me a gift the day I was born in 1938. The gift was one that only God himself could open. This gift was a beautifully wrapped box, which was to be my life. Over the years I have been puzzled by the events that were happening in my life. Puzzled by the times of deep pain and frustration.
Puzzled by my seeming lack, in the eyes of some, to do what was right. I knew I was a bright person and learned quickly, yet so many times I have felt like a miserable failure. Now God is giving me insight into the meaning of my life. He has helped me to know that He has a wonderful plan for my life. Jeremiah 29:11
He knows when I will be able to stand and when I will fall flat on my face. He knows the trials I can endure and the ones where I will struggle. But all the time He is with me, directing my path and showing me the way. There have been times when I would so woefully stray and He had to gently bring me back to His side, so he could once again be my guide.
Along the way He gave me thorns that were painful. Even though, they were what I needed to help me grow into the person He saw me to be, a person He could use to express His glory to others. Along with the thorns though He had in my box a garden of roses so sweet, to help me in the times I needed to smell His fragrance all around me.
He is promising me that when He has tried me I shall come forth as GOLD! Job 23:10
After many trials and failures He began to give me poetry as a way to come to grips with things that were troubling me. The following poem is just an example.
|Author Notes||I have wanted for over 20 years to attempt to write my story of God's goodness to me. This will probably be an adventure that may take some time to achieve,.|
The Blazing Inferno
My first memory is when God opened the box of my life on a cold day in November 1941. My twin brother, Patrick had climbed up to the cabinet in our kitchen and retrieved some strike anywhere matches.
Together, as we did most of the time, we went to the barn. The barn had animals in it, and many dollars worth of hay in the loft. The manger area was full of hay as well. One of our horses was in the barn eating the hay in the manger.
Patrick, took the match and struck it on the rough wood of the manger, reached over and held the lighted match under the nose of the horse. The horse shook its head and the lit match fell into the hay. As the fire blazed, Patrick and I ran from the barn. I ran to the house and called, "Mommy, the barn is on fire!"
Mother ran from the house and said to me, "Patricia, stay there by the fence." I stood by the fence trembling at the sight of the blazing inferno. Even though the day was cold, I could feel the heat from the fire. The fire was so intense the chicken house which was about 50 feet from the barn sustained scorching on the side closest to the barn.
When mom had the animals out of the barn, she came to where I was and scolded me for not telling her Patrick had the matches. She then said to me, "Where is Patrick?"
I said, "I don't know, he came out of the barn with me."
Later Patrick came out of hiding, he was okay. He had been hiding in the hog shed.
That day two thorns came out of my box, the thorn of fear from not knowing where my twin was after the fire and the second thorn was a thorn of rejection from my mother.
Later in life as I was to go through a difficult time, it was determined I had lost my ability to communicate with my mother that day, which would cost me dearly.
Twas on the farm long ago,
Our old barn was built
To replace the one burned down,
By my twin brother and me.
We were just little kids
So what did we really know
About the damage that is done
As fire falls into a hay laden manger.
Little did we know we could have,
Been seriously hurt or killed
Had we run to hide in the barn
Instead of running out.
I went and told mama about
The barn being on fire.
As she got the animals out
I trembled as I watched the inferno.
It was about forty years after
Leaving the farm I went back
And there was nothing left standing
Where the barn had been.
|Author Notes||This is my very first childhood memory,|
Chapter 2 Part 1
Here are just a few of the memories I have been able, with the help of God, to recall after having lost most of my childhood memories after an incident that happened when I was 19 years old. (The story of what happened will come in a later chapter)
Here God is giving me roses for my garden
As a little girl I loved to go to the meadow in the spring. There were hundreds of wild flowers. I loved the flowers and would pick them and take them home to mama. She loved the flowers so much and that always made me feel good to do something nice for mama. I tried so very hard to please my parents. I wanted to please them.
This is one of my favorite memories and here God is planting another rose in my garden of life.
When my oldest brother was to get married, he lived in Minnesota. Mom, dad, my twin brother, oldest sister and me, traveled there for the wedding. It was the most miles I had ever been away from home.
We went to Minneapolis and entered a large department store. There we saw a television for the first time and Patrick and I would watch the TV and couldn't imagine how pictures could be in the big box. We also got to ride on our first escalator, so of course as six year olds we took several times up and down those giant moving stairs.
When my oldest brother Samuel got married in Minnesota he had Patrick and me in his wedding as ring bearer and flower girl. Patrick wore a custom sailor suit to match the sailor suit Sam wore to be married in. A custom made dress that matched Alta's (my sister-in-law) dress was made for me.
Patrick was such a handsome 6 year old boy, dressed in his custom made sailor suit and he looked up to our older brother.
As for me, I felt so pretty in the beautiful gown that matched the bride's gown. I felt like a fairy tale princess.
On the farm we had 2 horses, Brownie and Bay. Brownie was a very gentle horse and was gentle with the little kids as we would ride her, but if the bigger kids got on her, she could run very fast, Bay on the other hand just took off full speed. I didn't like riding him as it scared me.
One time Jerry, my youngest brother, and I wanted to be like circus riders, so we got Brownie. We got on her back and tried to stand up on her. She didn't like that and promptly bucked sending us to the ground. We didn't try that again. This was a thorn experience and I learned I was not a circus rider.
In the summer when the garden was growing I would go out and braid the silk tassels on the corn. Mama didn't like that very much so I was scolded and I didn't do it after I was caught. I wanted so much to learn to braid. I had a little sister, but mom would not let me fix her hair.
I liked it when we would go fishing in a nearby creek. We had cane poles and there was a sinker, hook and a bobber on the line. I loved watching as the fish would nibble and the bobber would wiggle until the fish got really hungry for the worm and the bobber would go deep into the water and then I pulled in the fish. I didn't much like taking the fish off the hook, so usually mama took the fish off and put it on the stringer. We weren't fishing for catch and release we were fishing for food to put on our dinner table.
We had a dog, Prince a German Shepard, collie mixed and I loved Prince very much. He and I would run in the yard as I would throw sticks and he would fetch them and bring them back to me. When my second oldest brother Marion went to the navy, Prince disappeared from our home. How I missed him. On the day before my brother came home on leave. Prince showed up on our door step. This had been a full year. Did Prince have knowledge that Marion was coming home? I don't know, but when Prince came home he was not dirty or underfed, so apparently in the year someone had cared well for him
Many times I would do cart-wheels in the yard in the summers, but I was not coordinated enough to do jumping jacks. I was an adult before I learned to do jumping jacks.
One time I sent off in the mail to get a chart to put on our old upright piano. I was thinking I would learn to play, but didn't because our family was too poor to provide me with piano lessons. Later in life I did get a piano, took some adult classes in a community adult school, now I play enough for my own amazement or amusement, I really can't figure out just which it is.
One hot summer afternoon mom sent us to the berry patch to pick blackberries. We went to the shed and got the bucket for the berries.
Mom said, "bring back a bucket full." My older brother Luther decided to strip leaves from a tree and put them in the bucket until the bucket was over half full of leaves. Then we went to the blackberry patch and picked berries to fill up the bucket.
When we got back to the house mom dumped the berries, or what she thought were berries. When the leaves came tumbling out of the bucket, boy did she get angry with us and sent us back to the berry patch, and this time we were to come back with a whole bucket full.
We didn't like going to the berry patch on a hot day as that is when the chiggers were the worse, and we would get bitten and be in much discomfort from the itching from the bites. We did go back to the house with the full bucket this time.
The Flowergirl and Ring Bearer
They were just little ones,
The seven year old twins
as flowergirl and ring bearer
in the wedding of Sam
their older brother.
Sam was a sailor man
was married in his uniform
so a replica of the suit was made
for the ring bearer.
The bride had a lovely white gown
an exact copy of the gown
was made for the flower girl
And made her feel like a princess.
|Author Notes||Art work was done by me using a computer art program.|
God was so kind to me this summer as He opened my box and planted roses. The whole summer was a sweet smelling fragrance for me. In Minnesota. I was loved and cared for. There was no fighting in my brother Sam's home.
It was June of 1949 when I was 11 years old, I had a trip of a lifetime. My oldest brother who was in the Navy and had two small children, visited our home and asked my parents if he could take me to his home in Minnesota for the summer to babysit his children while he and his wife were working. My parents agreed and so I was packed up and sent with him and his family for the summer.
After a long road trip we arrived in Farmington Minnesota.
I was about five feet two inches and weighed 50 pounds soaking wet.
I was so skinny that my mother often told me I would have to stand twice to make a shadow. That would change during that summer.
I am sure the women in Minnesota dreamed of how to fatten me up. They fed me many things I didn't have on our farm. I had all kinds of desserts, from cream puffs with whipped cream, Danish rolls and many other tasty things. So eat I did. I ate and ate and ate. With each passing day I was gaining weight at a rapid pace.
I loved caring for my niece, Sharon and nephew Steve. Steve was two and a half years, and somewhat a terror. He got into everything he could get his little hands on.
One morning early I heard the sound of pots and pans being clanked in the kitchen. I went to check. Steve had taken all the pots and pans out of the cabinets. Because he had a stomach problem, he used all the pans as potties. What a mess that was. So I had no choice but to clean up the mess and give Steve a bath.
My brother took me to places that I would never have seen had I not spent the summer in Minnesota. He took me to one of the many lakes in the state. He was swimming in the lake and I stayed on shore.
But, at some point I got an inner tube and went into the water with the tube.
Sam swam over to me and said to me, "You are going to swim, or you will have to get out of the water. I was afraid of the water and started to cry when he told me he would dump me out of the tube. So I went back to the shore and didn't try to go in the water again.
He took me to Minnie Ha Ha water falls which is where the Mississippi river begins.
I spent hours going with a young man on the farm on the tractor and making a pest of myself, until the young man threw the pitchfork into the wagon I was in. The pitchfork landed too close to me and one of the prongs of the fork punctured my leg. Still, today I have a scar on my leg from the injury.
As I gained more weight my mother back in Missouri was making me more shorts to wear as I was growing and needed more clothes.
All in all the summer was good and 13 weeks flew by.
Just before I was to go back home, my sister-in-law Alta took me shopping and bought me clothes for the upcoming school year. There were dresses, a new winter coat, shoes and winter boots. When I started school, I was the best dressed girl in my school. This they did as payment for the summer of babysitting.
Then came the day I was to go home. My brother took me to the bus station in Minneapolis.
He talked with a man who was going to Des Moines, Iowa where I was to change buses and bus stations.
When we arrived in Des Moines, the nice man took me to the other bus station and waited until I was on the new bus. During the bus ride to my home, I lost my final baby tooth sometime in my sleep. I never found the tooth and that was a bit distressing for me.
When the bus arrived where my family met me, I got off the bus and because I had gained forty pounds, my twin brother did not recognize me.
Forty pounds heavier and a bit changed, it was good to be home again. The best part of being home was being with my twin.
God had been good to me on the trip home and kept me safe.
I dare say there is no way you would put an eleven-year-old on a bus today to travel more than 500 miles.
There are points in my life where my stories are a bit sketchy because those were the times that I suffered memory loss. It is only by the grace of God that I have as many memories of my first 19 years of life. You will understand later in the book why I lost memory.
Photo of Minnie Ha-Ha waterfalls Google photo
This chapter had for me some thorns and some roses.
I was the seventh born of ten children, the first born of a set of twins. I was born on June 7, 1938. Since my twin brother was born with a breathing problem, my mother gave the care of me over to my oldest sister Juanita. Because of this I never really bonded with my mother.
Mother also told me often that she gasped for breath because I looked so much like my maternal grandmother.
We lived in an old 2 story farmhouse on an eighty acre farm.
Going to a small one room school for first through eight grades, made for interesting friends and enemies. As a third grader, myself and Connie, a fellow third grader were always at each others throats with our quarreling.
After about the tenth time of arguing one day our teacher, Mrs. Williams had all she could stand. She dismissed herself and proceeded to the basement of the school. When she reappeared she had the one lone pair of boxing gloves that the school had. Then she called Connie and me to follow her to the front porch of the school and had the other 10 students in the school follow as well.
Then she looked at Connie and said, "Connie, put out your right hand." As Connie put out her right hand, she then placed to right hand boxing glove on Connie's hand, because Connie was right handed and instructed her to wait.
Mrs. Williams then came to me and saying to me, "Patricia, put out my left hand." I suppose that was because I was left handed. She placed the left hand boxing glove on my hand.
Then she said, "If you girls are going to fight, you are going to do it the right way. Now hit each other as I watch."
Connie and I both hesitated, not knowing that we really wanted to fight, but Mrs. Williams insisted that we were going to fight the right way.
Finally after a few minutes Connie grew brave enough to throw a punch at me. The glove had barely grazed my chin. With this, I became angry and pulled my glove back and threw a punch at Connie, hitting her in the nose. It made Connie's nose bleed and I really felt bad about what I had done.
That ended the fight and Connie and I went on to become the best of friends for our next five years before my family moved to another town and I never saw Connie again.
Years later my daughter and a foster girl who were exactly the same age, (six years old) were verbally fighting and I used the same method I had learned as a third grader on them to stop their fighting, and they too became the best of friends after that day.
We had a neighbor who lived about 1 mile from our home and he was always so nice to us as children. His name if I recall right was Ed Meins. Ed worked at the dairy processing plant in Sedalia, Missouri which was thirteen miles from our home
I remember one hot summer day, the dairy Ed Meins worked for had a mismatch on the ice cream, it was good, but not legal to sell because the fat content was not right. He brought our family five gallons of the ice cream. We didn’t have much room in the small freezer compartment in our fridge, so us kids ate ice cream until we almost became sick of ice cream. For me it was a long time before I could eat ice cream.
Many times as a child I would be out playing, doing mostly tomboy things as my older sister was seven years older and my younger sis was seven years younger. So my playmates were my older brother, Luther three years older, my twin and my younger brother Jerry three years younger.
Many times when I would do tomboy things I would get hurt, mainly spraining very weak ankles.
My mom would wrap the ankles with bandages, and as she wrapped, she would say, "If you were not such a tomboy you wouldn't keep getting hurt."
Mother was rough with me in other ways as well, when she would fix my hair, if I didn't sit perfectly still she would yank my hair and I hated having her do my hair.
Many times the other kids would tease me and call me names like, trash and bean pole. When I would complain to mom about the teasing, she would say, "sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you." But words did hurt.
As kids we were treated like slaves to do the work on the farm, it seemed. Hoeing, weeding, planting and gathering the crops.
In the summer as mother would can food, because I had little hands, I was made to wash the jars to be used. I wanted to please my mom so badly and I never complained or talked back to her like my brothers did. I knew it was wrong to sass my parents and kept anger bottled up inside of me.
Life at home was anything but peaceful as mom and dad were always fighting and the tension was terrible.
Shortly there after my mother had to have surgery on her feet for bone spurs on her heels and she also had to have a hysterectomy as she almost bled to death because of tumors in her uterus. She was in the hospital close to 4 months.
During that time my older sis, Mary ran away and married. This left me as the oldest of the girl child at home, so I was thrown into the role of mother at 11 years of age. I had to learn to cook, do laundry on a wringer style washer and had to hang the clothes on a line outside. It seemed to me my world was falling apart.
After my mom got well, she took a job in another town about 100 miles from our home, and still the job of mother fell on me.
It was at this time that I have the one and only good memory of my father. I was fixing a beef stew for dinner. Dad came into the house saw what I was doing and said, "the stew smells so good, but did you put in the magic ingredient?"
I said, "what is the magic ingredient?"
He then left the kitchen and in a few minutes came back with 4 big apples. He washed them, quartered them and cored them and dropped them into the stew. At dinner my brothers raved about how good the stew was. My dad said, "that is because Patricia used the magic ingredient" as he looked at me and winked. Neither he nor I told the brothers what the magic ingredient was.
A few months later dad sold the farm and moved closer to where my mother was working. We moved into a huge house in Calwood. Missouri.
It was here where the pressures on me began to take a toll, as I began to act out and starting doing behaviors which I felt entitled to do. I felt like I was taking on the job of an adult so why not have the pleasures of an adult.
Looking back now, I see that was not very good thinking on my part.
Try as I might, I was caught in a web of deceit and terror. I began to smoke at 14. And began to act out doing things which I knew were wrong.
My mom would say to me in these times, "what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive." But never told me what this meant.
I was to learn many years later that my mother knew of my behavior, but not once did she sit me down and talk with me about the behavior or hold me accountable.
On the farm where we lived when I was 14 years old. One day a neighbor girl, Judy came to our house. She and I wandered down to the pond. Judy wanted to go wading in the pond, but I could not swim so I was afraid to go in the water with her. She had waded out about 4 feet and her feet got stuck to the muddy bottom of the pond. I could see she was in distress and I was afraid she was going to drown.
Putting my fear of the water aside and knowing I was taller than her, I went into the water and pulled her out of the mud and brought her to the shore.
In hindsight we both could have drowned that day if Judy had fought me.
My father was an angry man, and he often took it out on his children. The last straw for my mother, who had been married to my dad for 35 years, happened when my youngest brother came home 30 minutes late from where he had gone to study with another student in his school.
The children didn't have enough books for each student to take home so the children would go to other homes to study. When my brother arrived home my dad threw him down in a chair and beat him with a shoe around his head and back. The next morning, Jerry's face and back were bruised so badly he would not go to school.
Instead of going to school he went to the little grocery store in our town. The owner took one look at Jerry and asked, "what happened to you?"
Jerry replied, "my dad had beat me with a shoe." Then a man came into the store. The owner of the store asked the man to take Jerry to a judge in Fulton, Missouri.
The judge found out what had happened and called my mother at work and told her, if she did not press charges for child abuse against my dad, he the judge, would have dad arrested himself.
My mother and father divorced when I was a sophomore in high school and we moved to Fulton, Missouri where I was in school and my mother worked.
I had been a good student in school my first eight years, but with all the turmoil in our home and my mother loading more and more on my shoulders my grades slipped to the point where I was barely passing. I lived in dread and was so tired most of the time, I was not able to study or did I care much to study.
I just knew I was a very bad girl and bad girls would never amount to much. Mother would say to me, "Patricia, you know you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear."
Even though I thought it, my mind said, "maybe not, but if there is a God, He can make a silk purse out of any thing He wants."
During the summer between my junior and senior year of high school I worked in the community hospital as a nurses aide. I earned enough that summer to buy my school clothes and pay for my school books.
Finally in May of 1956, I graduated from high school. After graduation I got a job at the state mental hospital. I worked there for 6 months.
My brother Marion asked me to help his wife move to Beeville, Texas.
Marion's wife was still in Missouri, but Marion was already in Beeville.
I lived with them for about 6 weeks and returned home.
The next chapter is a fun story based on a real happening in my life. I wanted to take a break for a little fun, since there is some heavy stuff coming in later chapters.
The next chapter is a fiction piece but based on a real happening. The title is Outsmarted. After that chapter, I will get back on track. I wanted to take a break for a little fun, since there is some heavy stuff ahead.
Photo of me when I was 10 years old.
Up to now this story has been a bit heavy emotionally for me and I need a break, and my readers may need a break as well. So this is a light story that happened in my science class in high school. The names have changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. One name change, Donna, is really me.
Going to a small town school there was always a school bully and the school I attended was no exception. My mother would always say. "Donna, there will be those who will tease you and you will have to somehow find it in your heart to forgive them."
In kindergarten Robert was that bully and he would seek me out to tease. It seemed he took pleasure in hurting those who were smaller than he was. I was always the one he picked on, as I was at least 5 inches shorter than he was and had to wear glasses. I was always hurt when he made fun of my glasses and would push me causing me to fall. As a little girl it was always my desire to somehow get back at Robert some day.
Fast forward to my freshmen year in high school, and still having Robert in my class, I still looked forward to getting back at Robert, the bully.
Winter had been long and cold and the days of spring were a wonderful time for all of us. One beautifully clear day in May our science teacher said, "Class we will be taking a field trip to the park today."
We took our books from our desks, and took them to our lockers. I was excited to know I would be able to spend a pleasant day in the park. A day to look at all the pretty flowers and enjoy the fresh air.
As we lined up in front of the school for the walk to the park, which was only one-half mile away from the school, Mrs. Winters startled us all as she said, "I want you to have fun at the park, but at the same time it will be important to take notes on the things you see and do. When we return to school, you will be required to write a 500 word essay as your final for this class."
Robert immediately groaned and said, " Do we have to write a paper, can't we just go to the park and have fun?"
Mrs. Winters said, "Robert would you rather have a 500 question test?"
"No," Robert said.
On the way to the park it seemed the boys were very interested in things along side the street. Time after time they would pick up something and say, "Nope, that won't work, we have to find something better than that."
When we arrived at the park, the grass was green and thick and felt like velvet. The clear blue ponds shimmered in the sunlight and the wind blew ever so lightly. This sure was better than sitting in a stuffy classroom all day.
With Robert as the ringleader, the boys kept looking for something. I watched them carefully because I did not trust these boys at all. I knew these boys with Robert as their guide, could not be trusted on a field trip.
Jumping from behind a huge elm tree, Robert yelled, "Hey, fellows, come over here and see what I've found."
Although I couldn't see what Robert held in his hand I knew by the reaction of the other boys that it had to be something with which those awful boys could bother the girls.
Ginny, one of the smaller girls in the school, was sitting quietly by the stream watching the water gurgle over and around the smooth stones. As the boys came over to her, Robert held out a snake and said. "Hey, Ginny, how would you like to play with our pet?"
Jumping quickly to her feet, Ginny ran away as fast as she could, all the while yelling, "Those terrible boys have a snake! They have a snake!"
As the boys came to the picnic table where Kathy and two of her friends sat, she stood speechless as Robert, handed her the ugly reptile. She then almost fainted and had to sit down. Her friends gathered around her and asked her if she was alright. When she was finally recovered enough to speak she said, "Get out of here and leave me alone, I hate snakes."
As I watched those terrible boys go from girl to girl, I knew the time would come that I would have to face the snake, as the boys soon would approach me. All the time I was thinking how I could possibly get even with Robert for kindergarten so many years before.
One by one the boys went from girl to girl to see how each girl would respond to the snake. They were having the time of their lives teasing the girls, and the girls were each terrified of the reptile. I knew at this point someone was going to have to call the bluff of the boys, to teach them a lesson so they would leave the girls alone.
When the time came that the boys felt it was my turn with the snake, I only hoped I had the courage to call their bluff and spoil their fun.
I was sitting on the merry-go-round as the boys approached me with the snake, and it was none other than Robert who had it. Oh, how I wanted to get the best of him at this point.
"How about it Donna, wouldn't you just love to have a nice green snake to take home with you? To have a pet as ugly as you?" Robert said, as he pushed the snake toward me.
Since I had a brother, I knew those snakes which were dangerous and those that were not. This snake I knew was a garter snake and harmless. With all the courage I could muster I took the snake from Robert. While the amazed boys watched I wrapped the snake around my arm a couple of times. Then as I took it from my arm I said, "Here, Robert, why don't you take this reptile home with you and crawl around on your belly like he does since you are just that low."
The other boys said, "Hey, Robert, you think you're so smart and so tough, well we think you have just been outsmarted by a girl! Just wait until this gets around school!"
When I returned to school I had a very good time telling my friends how I had overcome my fear for a few seconds. However, at home it was a different story as I told my family at dinner the whole story. I told them how only my long skirt kept the boys from seeing a pair of extremely wobbly knees.
Robert was none too pleased when the guys teased him about being outsmarted by a girl, and Mrs Winters did require us to write the essay as our final.
This is my final essay for the class.
|Author Notes||The next chapter will explain a few things about why I lost most of my childhood memories for many years.|
Army, Pregnancy and Adoption
At the end of that year 1956, my older brother was moving from Fulton to his new naval base in Beeville, Texas. I helped his wife take their children as they moved from Missouri to Texas. I stayed in Texas for 6 weeks, then returned to my hometown. This is where the story ended in chapter 4.
Being without a job and at loose ends I joined the Women's Army. I was sent to Fort McClellan in Anniston Alabama.
I liked army life, was a good soldier and liked having structure and rules to follow and being accountable for my actions.
As a teenager I had so longed to have my parents hold me accountable. They did not and as long as I did the work of keeping our home I was pretty much left to do as I pleased, though my mother knew of my behavior. Yet not once did she sit me down and talk to me about my actions. My dad was no where to be seen at this troubled time in my life.
Dad even refused to pay the child support the court had ordered. To me this meant they didn't love me.
Then God allowed another thorn to be removed from my box.
Eight weeks into basic I went on a double date.
My date put a date rape drug in my drink. I passed out and have no memory of the rest of the evening.
Two weeks later while standing in line for inspection I passed out. I was taken to the base infirmary. The doctor examined me and said, "Private, because of your symptoms, I would say you are pregnant."
I replied, "I can't be pregnant because I have not done anything to become pregnant."
He then said, still we need to do a test to see if you are pregnant."
It was determined that I was pregnant. Apparently the date had raped me. To this day and I am now 76 years of age I have no memory of the date after I drank the drink. I do not remember where we went, what we did or how I got back to the barracks.
After being discharged from the Army, I returned home.
There another thorn was pulled from my box.
My mother said to me," You will have an abortion."
I did not know what that word meant and when told, I said,
"I will not have an abortion." I saw that as being murder and I was not going to answer for murder.
Making the decision not to abort brought with it another thorn. I was asleep on the bed one afternoon. When I awoke my mother was holding a gun within 1 inch of my face square between my eyes, I pushed the gun aside. As I pushed the gun aside I said to my mother, "What do you think you are doing?"
She said, "I am trying to frighten you so much you will miscarry the child."
At that point I determined I would leave my mother's home. Mother said, "Where will you go, who will have you?"
I said, "Juanita, my oldest sister will help me."
Mom said, "She doesn't want your shame."
However within days I went to live with my oldest sister, Juanita. Shortly after I arrive at her home, my sister Mary came to me and said, "Patricia, hold out you hand."
When I held out my hand she dropped about 20 pills into my hand and said, "Mom says you are to take these all at once."
I walked into the bathroom and standing over the toilet I dropped the pills into the toilet and flushed them away as I said, "I may be dumb, but I am not stupid."
Later I found out the pills were medicine that was given to heart patients, and had I taken them as instructed, according to doctors , I would have had a massive heart attack.
Finally arrangements were made for me to go to the Salvation
Army Home for Unwed Mothers in St Louis, Missouri, where I was
to spend the remainder of my pregnancy.
In the home I was to experience for the first time in my life,
unconditional love. Love from the workers there, who
loved all of us, and never condemned any of the 9 girls in
Here God planted some roses in my garden.
While in the home, the home had its own laundry. I worked in the laundry to pay for my care. There were large washing machines and ironers that had large heated rollers, in which large bed sheets were run through to iron. Another girl and I would work as a team placing the sheets in the rollers, then we would move to the other side of the machine and carefully take the sheets out and fold them. The work was hard and tiring, plus the heat in the laundy was intense. Being it was winter, it was not too bad. I am sure those who worked the laundry in the summer may have suffered from the heat. Working in the laundry helped to pass the time, and the work was good for my health.
There was a Bible study held at the time in the book of Acts for those who
cared to join the study.
I took part in the study. There I saw how God had saved Paul,
even though he had been such an awful sinner, so I began
to think there might be hope for me as a sinner. Still today I love to study
the epistles of Paul. The writings of Paul give me courage in times of testing
and trials. I can identify with the perils Paul went through.
In the study God was planting a whole garden of roses in my garden.
I learned so much about God's love for me and knew I needed Him but I was
still having trouble understanding how God could love me. I at that time saw
God as a mean God, just waiting for me to do wrong so He could bring me down.
I did not yet understand God is a God of love and He doesn't want anyone to perish.
I had been a terrible sinner, or at least I felt I had been. So I did not yet accept Jesus as my Savior.
My son was born on January 11, 1958 in the early morning hours. He was a big baby, weighing in at 9 pounds 2 ounces and was 23 inches long. I could not hold him because I knew I would have to give him up for adoption, for his sake and for mine as well.
I went through the labor,
But never held him in my arms,
As I gave him for adoption,
So others saw his childhood charms.
But it has always been my prayer,
That all these years he did know,
It was because I loved him,
That I had to let him go.
He has a special mother,
To care for him I'm sure,
And the love she has for him,
Is one that will endure.
Though I never held him,
Or saw his boyish smile,
I have always loved him,
And hope to see him in a while.
In a while in Heaven,
Just through the pearly gates,
When we are together,
Where our loving Savior waits.
Â© Patricia Lawrence
Giving up this son for adoption was and still is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life.
Two weeks later I went back home and I was never allowed
to talk about what I had been through. Although I was told by
my mom, "now you will never find a decent man to marry
It was a hot day in August 1958 and I had just lost my job at the
hospital where I had been working, when my mother said, " Your
sister and I are going to California. If you would like to go along you
can, but you will have to buy your own bus ticket" This seemed like a
dream come true for me. It was a good time for me to travel and be
able to get away from the town where I lived in Missouri. So closing my
bank account of less that $200, I took the money to buy a bus ticket for
my trip to California with my mom and sister.
On August 12 the bus departed the station. We would be on the bus
for almost 48 hours. We would watch out the windows of the bus and
marvel at the scenery as the miles flew by. We went through the flat lands of
Kansas, and to the majestic mountains in Colorado. We went through the
desert of New Mexico and Arizona.
Finally arriving in Los Angeles on August 14. We were met by my uncle Cecil
and taken to his home where he lived with his wife, Thelma and two very
disabled adult children, Charles and Mary. It was then I decided I was going to
relocate to Duarte, California.
Two days after arriving in California I met the man of my dreams.
The incident with my mom holding the gun on me is where I lost most of
my childhood memories.
The next story is the story of the love of the man of my dreams and who would
become the Wind Beneath my Wings.
This following poem pretty well explains where my life was before I came to know Jesus as my Savior
as I felt as though I was lost at sea and needed to be saved from the storms going on in my life.
I Long To See His Face
I was adrift on the sea of life,
My vessel was without power,
And I was feeling so much strife
As the waves were huge and fierce.
I had not prepared and had no lifevest,
In my weak vessel to keep me afloat
Or know the One who knows me best,
Jesus Christ the Savior who died for all.
Then appeared on the distant shore
A light shown brightly to guide me to safety,
It was there to give me hope forevermore,
So that day I reached for His hand.
He took my hand and saved me by grace,
I long to be with Him and see His face.
THE STORY OF OUR LOVE
Wayne E. Lawrence and
Patricia C. Lawrence
written during the last year of Wayne's life.
With Wayne and I working together.
It all started when Bobby Carter (my cousin), asked me to take him to the Indoor Sports Club meetings. This is a club of disabled people. They discussed the problems that those with disabilities faced in every day living. Most of the group was confined to wheelchairs and needed assistance in their care. There were a few who could drive a car. With special equipment they were able to drive and they were able to live on their own.
The club also had parties once a month. During the summer of 1958 on August 16 the party was held at the home of Cecil and Thelma Pugh. This couple also had two children who were handicapped, named Charles and Mary.
I had a 1955 Plymouth two door coupe. It had lots of room inside and in the trunk. On this day I came to the Pughs' home with four people who had wheelchairs and one that was slightly retarded and didn't need a wheelchair. I could put three wheelchairs in the trunk and the fourth chair was placed in the back seat between the passengers and the front seat. Those in the back seat didn't seem to care that the space was cramped as long as they got to go somewhere.
After unloading all the people and the wheelchairs, I was introduced to Cecil Pugh's sister, Minnie and two of her daughters, Patricia and Kathy. Pat was twenty years old and her sister Kathy was thirteen.
I think that Thelma Pugh had talked to Pat about me before I got there. Whatever Thelma had told Pat must have sparked an interest with Pat in me. At first meeting we hit it off very well. At first I thought that the Mahnkens were there for a visit and would be going back to Missouri. However, Pat stayed as her mother and sister returned to Missouri. Pat found a job working in a convalescent home to support herself.
Pat and her cousin Mary would show up at parties for the Outdoor Sports Club. One of the parties was a swim party. For those who couldn't swim there were inner tubes, so they could paddle around while floating.
As I was sitting on the side of the pool, Pat came by and pushed me in the pool. I quickly got out of the pool and chased her around the pool. As I chased her, she grabbed an inner tube and slipped it around her and jumped into the water. She warned me that she could not swim, so I splashed her instead of dunking her. We both had lots of fun that day.
At another party at Bobbie's home Pat met my Aunt Ethel. My mother was at this party too. My mother could see that Pat was interested in me and there were comments made about Pat being too young for me. My mother said, "Age doesn't matter at all.
Finally one day I asked Pat, "Would you like to go with me to the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona, California."
She said, " Why don't we take Bobby and Mary with us?"
I agreed so we went to the fair the four of us. Pat pushed her cousin in her wheelchair around the fair, while I pushed Bobby in his wheelchair. We stayed away for the things which Mary and Bobby could not participate in. We spent many hours at the fair and we all were very tired when we got home. Before I left the Pugh's home, Pat asked me to call her sometime, and I said I would.
The very next day I called her, but she was not at home as she was at church. I told her aunt I would call again in the afternoon. When I called we made a date for that evening to see the movie 'No Time For Sergeants' at a drive-in theater.
When I picked her up she told me a delightful story of what her aunt had done to her before my call that afternoon. She said, "Aunt Thelma, had told me when I called that she (Pat) didn't want to see me, and not to call again." Pat related how she was disappointed with this for a few seconds until Aunt Thelma told her she had only been teasing her. Then after I called and made the date, Aunt Thelma also told Pat she was to say good morning the next morning for every time I kissed her.
At the movie we chatted for a long while and missed part of the movie, and then we started to kiss and missed more of the movie. When the movie was over we stayed for the second playing of the movie so we could tell people what it was about.
Pat told me that the next morning when she came out of her room for breakfast, that she went to her aunt and said, good morning, good morning, morning, morning, morning. I don't know how long she kept saying the good mornings but from the kissing the night before it could have been a long while.
Her Dream Came True
As a teen she dreamed one night,
That there would come along a knight,
A knight in shining armor,
That would bring her happiness.
Her life up to this point had been
Filled with things she should not have seen.
As there was abuse by her father,
As he would abuse his children.
Then is the flash of bright light,
She met her shining knight,
In armor of kindness,
He took her in his arms forever.
Her dream had come true,
And she felt like she was brand new.
With her knight at her side,
She was happy to be his wife.
In God's Plan
He was so young
a good looking man
little did he know
I was in God’ plan.
In His plan for this man
I was only a tender seven
years old but God decided
I’ll her to him from heaven.
There were other things,
that God had in His plan
to make it possible
for me to meet this man.
He had an aunt and uncle
with a son who was disabled
and my aunt and uncle
had two that were also disabled.
We met at a party for these
cousins of ours that day
I must say I was smitten
And I was heard to say,
Hands off all, he is mine
then I set about to shine
the light of my spirit so he
knew I was right for him.
We dated for about three weeks
then he asked for my hand
in marriage that evening
less than four months later
We became Husband and Wife
Most of the writing was done by my husband in the last year of his life. He wanted to write his memories for his daughters. I worked with him as proofreader and helped him with remembering the facts. He wrote the story from his
point of view. He wrote a total of 19 different stories for his girls and compiled them in a book as his last Christmas gift to them.
The photo is our wedding picture
Last chapter ending paragraph
Pat told me that the next morning when she came out of her room for breakfast, that she went to her aunt and said, good morning, good morning, morning, morning, morning. I don't know how long she kept saying the good mornings but from the kissing the night before it could have been a long while.
We went out more after that, going many places and we especially loved the mountains. We enjoyed going where it was quiet and we were able to talk. We went to a lovely place in the Angeles National Forest near Chilao. The view of the sunset was beautiful from that spot. There was a valley between the mountains which allowed us to have a beautiful view of the sun as the it dipped below the horizon. There was always a beautiful sunset from this vantage point.
After dating for three weeks when we returned from an evening out to dinner, I parked the car close to the Pugh's home. It was there that Pat said she had something very important to share with me. She proceeded to tell me that about nine months before she had given birth to a baby boy and had given him up for adoption. She had wanted to keep the baby, but because of the negative attitude of her family, who wanted her to have an abortion, she had chosen to have her child and give him up for adoption. She said she had to ask at nineteen what an abortion was. When she found out she refused to have an abortion. Instead she chose to go to the Salvation Army Home in St. Louis, Missouri where she went through the last 2 months of her pregnancy.
I was stunned by what she revealed to me that night an took her home immediately. This was something which I would have to think about. I thought about it all night and called her the next morning to see if I could come see her. When I arrived at her place I took her to a lovely spot in Santa Anita Canyon and found a very pretty spot to park. I told her I didn't care what had happened to her in the past, what was important to me was what she could be for me then and in my future. I came very close to asking her to marry me at that point, but decided I needed to get to know her better.
After she told me about her son we were much more relaxed with each other. We went many places, Marineland, Disneyland and Knott's Berry farm. All these were places which were fun, but only places to spend our money. However, one place we went was different. We went to Forest Lawn, in Glendale California, which was a much more serious kind of attraction. There was a building which has a beautiful stained glass window of the Last Supper. This building looked like a chapel and there was a lecture that told us the story of the window and how the window came about.
In another of the buildings there was a depiction of the Crucifixion, that covered one whole wall. The seating in this building was more like an auditorium. There was a recording with a lecture telling the story of the painting. Forest Lawn has other cemeteries in other cities in Southern California, with works of art as well, but not as well know as the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.
On October 18, 1958 Pat and I had been on a date. As I was taking her home, we stopped beside the road near the Pugh's home. We sometimes stopped here to say our goodnights before I took her home. I looked at her and said, "Pat, will you marry me?"
Almost instantly she said, "Oh, yes, of course I will marry you!"
Wow!! What a wonderful feeling that was for me.
The next day I picked Pat up and took her to Alhambra to visit a jewelry store. There she picked out a beautiful engagement and wedding ring set in white gold. On the way back to my house I stopped the car alongside the road on Longden Ave, near where I lived. I got down on one knee and placed the engagement ring on the proper finger. We then stopped at my parents home to see if my mother would approve of the rock. She was in her rock shop (she was a lapidarist) and she asked what we had been doing. We said we had been looking at rocks, and then showed her the ring. She liked the ring and welcomed Pat into the Lawrence family.
Our next stop was to the Pugh's home to show them the rock as well. Aunt Thelma approved of the ring and our engagement. At one time she had questioned my intentions when I would keep Pat out far too late. It was good that finally I could prove to her that my intentions were honorable. I was welcomed into their family, just as Pat had been welcomed into my family.
One evening when we were headed to the mountains to watch the sunset, suddenly Pat stopped talking to me. I was planning on taking us to our favorite spot in the mountains. I kept trying to find out from her why she wasn't talking and she said nothing was the matter. On the road up, there was a ranger station called Red Box where we could stop to go to the restrooms. After we went to the restrooms, I asked her if she wanted to go back down the mountain or to our favorite spot. She just said what ever you want to do is fine. So I continued up the highway to Chilao Flats to watch the sunset.
All the way up the mountain I couldn't figure out what I had done to warrant this kind of attitude. After we parked I again tried to find out what was troubling her.
She said, "I don't think you love me and with that she took the ring from her finger and threw it on the dashboard of my car. I had been jilted about five years before and this hurt me very badly, and I began to cry. She let me cry for a bit, then said she wanted to find out how angry I would get. I told her I was going to show her how angry I could get and pulled her across my knee and gave her a good spanking. Even though this experience was painful for both of us, she had learned how angry I could get.
She had grown up in a very abusive home where her father was mean to her mother and the children. She just wanted to know that I would not be abusive and what was the limit I could be pushed.
|Author Notes||In the photo Wayne and I were paying attention to the napkin. We did not know my Aunt Thelma had put our names on the napkins.|
Now we started to get serious about our wedding plans, the first detail was to set a date. Pat wanted to wait until my birthday which was July Fourth. I didn't want to wait that long and we discussed several more dates, finally deciding on January 25, 1959.
We began to tell people when the big day would be and talked to the Pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Duarte, California, where Pat was attending. Pastor Malcom Long agreed to officate at a 2:00 P.M. wedding to be held at the church, with a reception to be held at the church immediately after the wedding in the church reception hall. During the planning for the wedding I began to go to church with Pat.
Pat wanted her brother Sam and Alta his wife to be in our wedding. Sam as an usher and Alta as her matron of honor. So on Thanksgiving Day 1959 we had Thanksgiving dinner with my parents and then drove to Burbank, California to fly to San Franscisco, to spend time with Sam and Alta. We spent the weekend with Sam and Alta. Pat and Alta went shopping for Pat's wedding dress. We enjoyed the time very much with Sam and his family.
When we returned home Pat got the invitations for the wedding addressed and ready to send out, and her brother Jerry arranged time off from Navy duty to act as usher at our wedding. Since Sam and Jerry were both in the Navy we asked them to wear their uniforms to the wedding. I arranged with my brother the act as my best man and with this our wedding party was set.
Another thing we did before the wedding was to purchase a house in Burbank, California which was within 5 miles of where I worked for Lockheed Aircraft. We then went to a furniture store and purchased enough furniture to start housekeeping. The furniture was to be delivered to our new home after we returned from our honeymoon and were to take possession of the house.
What we did for Christmas that year neither of us can remember. Now New Years' Eve and New Year's day was another story. We spent part of New Year's Eve with the Pughs. Then Pat and I went to a party at a neighbors house. We had a couple of drinks and then set out for Pasadena, California and the Rose Parade route where we spent the night. There were lots of people on the street staking out a spot to watch the parade. Some of them built small fires to keep warm, while others had sleeping bags and blankets to stay warm. It did get cold that night and we both stayed awake and walked a lot to stay warm. This was the first Rose Parade for Pat, but I had seen several of them before as my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Orrick lived on the corner where the parade ended and we would view the parade from chairs on the back of their flat bed truck. The parade was spectacular as usual. After the parade we went to my parents home to watch the Rose Bowl game. Since we were both so very tired we put pillows on the floor in front of the television and soon we were both fast asleep. My mother was sitting in the chair in the living room when we laid down and was still there when we awoke. So we slept together before we were married, but with supervision.
Pat and I went to church on January 4, 1959, I went forward in the service and accepted Jesus as my Savior. Then on January 11, 1959 with my mother, father and grandmother present I was baptized. This was a blessing to my grandmother as she had prayed for years that I would be saved. So her prayers were answered.
Finally the big day arrived for our wedding. I went to church alone and my family followed shortly. The pastor, my brother and I met in a small room behind the altar until the ceremony began. When the music began we came into the church and took our places. As we turned to face the audience, we looked out to see, Bill my brother and Alta coming down the aisle followed by my beautiful bride, escorted by her uncle, Cecil Pugh. The ceremony lasted about fifteen minutes and we then went to the reception hall for the wedding reception. We stood in the reception line for about fifteen greeting our guests and thanking them for attending our wedding.
One interesting sidelight of our wedding was that our nine most honored guests were all in wheelchairs and were on the front row of the church. We did this in honor of how we had met through the Indoor Sports Club.
After the reception line was finished, we went to cut the cake. We both were in a playful mood and were not too neat about feeding cake to the other and we both had cake all over our faces. When we looked closely at the napkins we noticed that Aunt Thelma had seen to it that our names where imprinted on them. Neither of us knew this had been done, so it was a very reflective time at our wedding.
After this fun time, Pat and I went to our car to go to Aunt Thelma's. The car wouldn't start. After I did and investigation under the hood I found the wire to the ignition coil was missing. We didn't know who had the wire but it showed up and we were able to take off to the Pugh's home.
When we left the church we noticed there was someone following us and we decided to try to shake whoever it was. We took the poor guy for a ride for a while and then realized it was our photographer who wanted to follow us to the Pugh's home since he didn't know the way.
Pat took the time to change her clothes and we opened some presents and then we were ready to leave on our honeymoon. The guests had decorated our car and had put rocks in the hubcaps so when we stopped and started the car there was a lot of noise. We stopped on the way to Barstow, CA for dinner and arrived around 9 o'clock P.M. at the Hacienda Motel in Barstow for our first night. When we arrived at the motel the employees realized we were newlyweds with the noise from the rocks in the hubcaps.
The next morning we had breakfast and then drove to Las Vegas, Nevada. We stayed at the El Mirage motel on the strip in Las Vegas. There was a price war on motel rooms in Las Vegas at the time and we got our room for the sum of $5.00 a night. We paid for two nights and went sightseeing on the strip and to the downtown area. We gambled very little as Pat was not yet old enough to gamble and we didn't want anything to spoil our honeymoon.
On Wednesday morning we went to Lake Mead and got a room at the Lake Mead Lodge. We then went to Boulder Dam (Hoover Dam now) and took the tour through the dam site. We found the tour to be very interesting and were rather awed by the structure.
At the Lake Meade Lodge in late January, there were not many guests so the management put us in a room away from the other guests since we were newlyweds. We stayed for several days and did some sightseeing during those days.
One day we took a motor launch tour on the lake out to the dam. The tour guide pointed out the water lines on the sides of the hills telling where they had filled the lake to capacity to test the overflow drains for the dam. At one point we were in waters over 500 feet deep, which made Pat a little nervous as she could not swim at that time.
Another day we took a small motor boat out on the lake and through the canyon to another part of the lake. The water was very clear and we could see giant boulders several feet under water, but there was no danger of us hitting them. When through the canyon the other part of the lake had a breathtaking view. We brought the boat to the edge of the lake and onto a sand bar and got off the boat to rest our legs and to take a pit stop.
At this point we had to use our other tank of gas and so we headed back to the lodge side of the lake.
When we arrived back in the Southern California area, we rented a motel room for several weeks while we awaited the move into our home. When we finally got to move into our home we had our furniture delivered and got our wedding gifts which had been in safe keeping at the Pugh's home.
On our first Valentine day, Pat made heart shaped hamburgers for dinner. What a fun memory almost 35 years later.
Pat has often told me I am the wind beneath her wings. And she is my queen.
This is by no means the story of our life together; it is only a thumbnail sketch of our love and the first few months together.
Co-written by Wayne and Pat Lawrence, in 1994 a year before Wayne passed away. It was written from Wayne's point of view. He spent the last year of His life writing his life stories for his children. He then compiled them in a book and made a copy for each of his daughters for Christmas.
In His Time
God can take the most broken vessel
And repair it in His time.
When He has finished the work
The vessel will be as new.
God can take your broken life,
Filled with struggles so harsh,
And make you into one He can use
To show others the way to Him.
So never think your life is so broken,
That it is of no value,
For God in His kindness can make you,
Into a vessel of beauty once again.
God made my vessel new on March 15,1959 the day He saved my soul.
11-1-14 9:15 PM
I just talked with a grandson who was named after Wayne and he is reading the book of Wayne's 19 stories and says he is having a hard time putting the book down. I know Wayne would be pleased.
|Author Notes||I hope you have all enjoyed reading our love story. It is amazing to me the many things we had remembered after 35 years of marriage.|
In the years ahead we were to experience both thorn and rose garden times. God was moving in mysterious ways. Ways we didn’t always understand.
After Wayne and I married we moved into our home in Burbank, California where Wayne worked as an aircraft mechanic. Since
there was a 13 year difference in our ages, we wanted to have
children as soon as we could.
But unfortunately Wayne had a physical problem which would not allow us to be able to conceive without surgery to correct the problem.
Time of thorns.
The surgery was done then I became pregnant but again we were to be disappointed, because I had a miscarriage which would be followed with two more miscarriages. Then my doctor decided that I needed to be placed on thyroid as he felt I was miscarrying due to a sluggish thyroid. In March of 1960 I became pregnant again, and this time I was able to carry our child.
That child was our oldest daughter Penny and was born on Christmas Day 1960.
Over the years I had 2 more daughters, Pamela and Patricia Ann.
I had wanted a son, but only had daughters. But God seemed to impress on my mind and my heart that He knew what it was like to give up and only son, that was why He had given me my oldest child on Christmas day the day we celebrate our Saviors’ birthday.
With these daughters God was planting other roses in my garden of life.
I loved being a mother and was blessed with being able to be a stay at home mom. Being a stay at home mom was important to both Wayne and me. We even had to stand strong against those in the family who were trying to push me out into the work world.
With not much education, I would not be able to get a job that would pay for the added cost of daycare and the added clothes, an extra car, more convenience foods and the added taxes we would pay. My paycheck would have been maybe $50 a month and I was unwilling to take away a mother to my children just to please others.
I went with my children to school activities, made sure they had a
clean home, and homemade meals which we would eat together as a family.
During the summer school breaks, I would spend many hours making clothing for my girls for the next school year. I would make the clothes, but would not hem them, so as to allow for any growth
before school started again.
When our girls were 6, 7 and 9 years old, Wayne and I became foster parents. We chose to take in troubled teenage girls. Over the years we had 9 foster girls for as short a time as 3 days and as long as 3 years. I don’t know how much of what the girls learned from our family still influences their lives. I do know I loved those girls as if they were my own. I still have contact with two of the girls and one of the girls is a fine mother, the other chose a path for her life with which I do not agree.
When our oldest daughter was 12 years old I had to tell her about the son I had given up for adoption. I had to tell her to keep her from hearing from a member of my family who might have told the wrong story of what happened. When I told her she put her beautiful arms around my neck and said, “Mommy, I love you so
About a year later there was a movie on the television about adoption which I had the two younger girls watch with me one evening. The next day after school I sat them down and explained that their mother had given up a child for adoption. Their reaction was very much as the reaction of their older sister.
When our girls were in high school Wayne and I were booster
parents and went with the girls to many band activities. I enjoyed
the time with the students. After my girls were grown I was in
the downtown area of our city, I met a young man who was in the
band and he told me he had become a Christian and it was because
of the testimony of how our family were leading our lives.
This is just an outline of out marriage years before our girls were grown. I will share stories that will deal with my children as they were growing up.
Photo is of my daughter all grown up. The picture was taken in 2012.
God planted another rose in my garden the day Penny was born.
Penny Our First Born
Penny was born on Christmas Day 1960. She arrived about 10 days before she was due. As a child I didn't like to play with dolls. But, that Christmas Day I was presented with a lovely doll, a real live doll. Penny was always a good baby. By the time she was two weeks old she was sleeping most of the night.
When we brought her home from the hospital, we were living in a home with hardwood floors. I would feed and change Penny's diaper and put her down in the crib. When I would walk out of the room, she would begin to cry. I would start walking back to her, and she would stop crying. I checked her and made sure she was indeed okay. Then walk out of the room. Again in just a couple of minutes she would start to cry. As I would start back into her room, she would stop crying. Finally, I figured out she was hearing me walk away from the room and walking back into the room, so even though she was only a little over a week old she was pulling mom's strings. Knowing she was fed, and changed, I began to let her cry. After a short time she had figured out mommy was not going to be subject to her every whim.
Penny sucked her thumb for about six months and then on her own quit sucking her thumb.
When she was about 3 years of age, we were teaching her to say her name and address. I would say to her, "Penny, say my name is Penny Celeste Lawrence."
In her little voice she would say, "My name is Penny Celeste Lawrence."
Then I would say our address. She would repeat the address. Then when all that was done she said, "Amen."
One time she got hold of a bottle of my favorite perfume and dumped the entire contents on our bed. What a mighty perfumed house we had for days.
One morning before we woke, she had gotten into the cabinet and wanted to make cream of wheat. She spilled the cream of wheat on the counters and the floor. She knew she had made a mess and tried to clean it up with a wet towel. The kitchen was a mess and it took me several hours to clean the mess she had made.
When Penny started first grade, her teacher asked me to come to the school for a parent teacher talk. The teacher said she was worried about Penny. I asked her why and she said, she thought Penny was an abused child because she was just too good. I assured the teacher she was never abused, she was just doing as I had told her to do. To respect her teacher, and others. She was to do her job of working hard at school to learn, just as it was her daddy's job to work for the money we needed, and it was my job to care for our home.
When she was about 3 she came and said, "mommy can I have a slice of toats?"
I said, "Penny, its toast."
Again she said, "Mommy can I have a slice of toats?'
I reminded her it was toast.
She replied very thoughtfully, "Oh, Mommy can I have a slice of cooked bread?'
These are just a few of the precious memories I have of things Penny did. Of course there are many more stories of her life that I could tell, but I don't want to take up too much of your time.
Here is a story about being in the hospital on Christmas day, both part touching on Penny's life..
Being In The Hospital On Christmas Day
To be in the hospital on Christmas Day is hard, but I have been there two times, once when my oldest daughter was born on Christmas day, so it was a joyful day that day.
The second time, my daughter was 16 years old. I was in a heart unit.
There were to be no children under the age of 12, but the nursing staff, allowed my husband to bring in all three girls Penny 16, Pam 13 and Patty not yet 12.
It was a funny sight when they came into the room. They brought me a mini Christmas tree decorated with tiny balls and some icicles. There could be no lights.
I had the gifts for Christmas all wrapped before I had to go to the hospital, so each of the girls had a large black plastic bag over their shoulders with the gifts.
Since Penny was 16 that day, we wanted a cake to celebrate her birthday. My husband found a drug store that was open, but they didn't have cakes, so he got a package of two Hostess cupcakes. He also got a package of candles for the cakes.
We put a candle in the cakes, but could not light them. We sang happy birthday to Penny, then divided the cakes in half, each girl got half a cake and my husband and I split the final half.
The word toats is intended as that is how Penny had said toast.
The photo is of my all grown up Penny, a lovely woman and a credit to her parents. She works as A CPA in Phoenix AZ, The man in the photo is her dance instructor.
Pamela Our Second Daughter
It was a lovely day in June when God planted this rose in my garden.
On the night before Mother's day 1963 my husband and I went to a Los Angeles Dodger baseball game. We saw Sandy Koufax pitch a no hitter against the San Francisco Giants. He did walk one batter, so he pitched to only 28 batters.
On June 14, 1963, flag day in America, when our dear Pam came into our lives. When she was born, she looked like she might have been six weeks old already. Even at 7 pounds 5 ounces her face was very filled out.
Pamela was a delight to raise. She is such a sweet girl even now and always a sweet girl as a child.
Some memories of her are as follows:
Pam was born with feet that turned in, this condition is referred to as monkey toes. She had to be fitted with special shoes. The shoes made her look like she had her shoes on the wrong feet. They were made with a last that would in time turn her feet so they would be straight. The shoes were costly at $60 a pair and had to be changed about every 3 months, so it was expensive to correct her foot problems.
When Pam was six months old I found out I was expecting a third child.
About 5 or 6 years of age she sat her little sister Patty in a chair and cut Patty's ponytails off at different lengths. I had no choice that day but to sit Patty in a chair and cut her hair into a quite short cut.
Pam was about 8 when she drew a picture with crayons on the outside of our house. I was not very happy about this and I made her scrub the drawing off the house. Guess what she never did that again.
Pamela was always a very prissy girl and she liked order in her world. She had to room with Patty, and many times they would get into a fuss, because Patty was not as neat as Pam.
Pamela was a boy magnet as she grew up. She was a very pretty girl. It seemed she changed boy friends like she changed her socks. I never knew who she would bring home for me and her dad to meet. But it didn't take her long to determine if a guy was or was not right for her.
Pamela was a good student. When she was in fourth grade, her teacher told me she expected Pamela to be a better student as she was comparing Pam to her sister Penny. I made it clear to the teacher that I would not allow her to compare one of my children with the other two.
Pam played the clarinet in the high school band. She also became a cheer leader when she decided she wanted to drop out of band.
Being a prissy girl as she grew up she wanted to have girls some day. After she married she had 3 sons, but never the girl she had wanted. So she enjoyed showering girly gifts on her 2 nieces.
Just a few of the memories
Photo is of Pamela as a grown up.
My children were all very different and it was a pleasure to be their mother.
God planted another rose in my garden as He gave us our daughter Patty
Patty Our Third Daughter
Patty was born on September 14, 1964. She is exactly 15 months younger than her sister Pamela. Since they were so close in age I had two babies in diapers at the same time. My husband made sure I had a diaper service for about a year until Pamela was potty trained. It was a great help to me because I had some physical problems which made it hard for me to be on my feet for longer than 10 minutes at a time.
Patty was a cute baby and a good baby. Since she had two sisters who would do everything for her, she didn't walk until she was 15 months old.
Patty was my funny child, she had a way of making me laugh and since she was a surprise and I was not real happy to be having a baby so soon after Pamela, I cherished her sense of humor.
Patty when she was about 5 years old, found out she could make herself look and sound like a monkey. She was very good with doing the monkey bit and you would have sworn there was a monkey in our house.
One day I was looking out the window at the back of our house. It was a hot day in the summer. Patty had an itch on her back. She backed up to the apricot tree and as I was watching she was moving up and down on the trunk of the tree. I laughed as she reminded me of a baby bear in the woods rubbing his back on a tree.
Patty came home from school one day and told me a very funny joke. I will not tell the joke here because it involves having an accent and is better told in person.
When she was in about the fifth grade she came home and said, "Mommy what is a virgin?"
I asked, "Patty why do you need to know?"
She said, "A girl in my class asked me if I was a virgin."
To which I replied, "What did you say?"
" I told her yes."
"Patty, if you didn't know what a virgin was, how did you know to say yes?"
She said, "I figured I was a virgo so that made me a virgin."
That is one time the horoscope came in handy.
When she was in 7th grade her teacher was loading her down with so much homework that she could not keep up and her grades began to slip severely. I had to go to the school and have her moved to a different teacher. From there on Patty was a very good student.
Later after she became a mother she went to college got her BA in accounting, worked for about 2 years, then went back to college and got her Masters degree in accounting. She was a Crimson Scholar at New Mexico State University.
So I had three daughters, each of whom were different and I encouraged them all to do what they wanted to do, but to do everything to the best of their abilities. They all work in some area of the accounting field.
Poem written by my daughter Patricia Heath.
What's so special about mothers,...
They cook and meet our needs,
Most always thinking about others,
And doing very good deeds.
They watch us when we're playing,
And help us when we fall,
They answer many questions,
That surely come to us all.
And as we're growing bigger,
They go through pain and strife,
To train, guide and direct us,
And try to shape our life.
They pray that when we're grown,
We'll follow in God's ways,
That we may have a fruitful life,
And live for many days.
So let's think of our mother,
As a kind, compassionate friend,
And remember to say, "I love you,"
Again and again and again.
Patricia A. Heath
Daughter of Patricia Lawrence
Patty was indeed a surprise as we were not wanting to have children so soon after the second daughter, but you know it was one of those oops times. God knew we needed a girl like Patty, and I am so glad she is my girl,
The photo is Patty and her grandson Bryson.
Some rose and thorn experiences in these years.
First 5 Years Of Marriage
Six weeks into our marriage, I accepted the Lord as my Savior. This was a big rose in my garden and served me well as I was to go through some thorn experiences and God was always faithful to lift me up.
Wayne and I were 13 years apart in age and after we married we wanted children right away. However, Wayne needed surgery to correct a problem and then I miscarried 3 times in the first year. When I finally got pregnant with our oldest daughter, I was able to carry her without a problem. When she was born the doctor surmised I had been pregnant with twins, but the second twin never developed, but I did have 2 bags of waters.
When I was 8 months into the pregnancy my grandmother died in Missouri and I wanted to attend her funeral, but my doctor would only let me do so if we flew from California to Missouri and back. We did and it was a hard trip on me. When we boarded the flight in Kansas City Missouri, the flight attendants took one look at me and had me seated until the flight had taken off and I could be moved. They had me sit in the rear of the plane, put my feet up and pampered me. They sure didn't want a baby born on their flight. The pilot radioed ahead to have a wheelchair waiting for me in Los Angeles, California.
On Christmas Eve I went into labor, but labor stopped and I was sent home. The next morning labor began again and off to the hospital we went. The doctor came in and broke the bag of waters and still after more time things were not progressing well. So the doctor wanted to induce labor. Before they could induce labor the doctor wanted to check me one more time and when he did he declared, "She has another bag of waters," so he broke the bag. Then Penny made a rather quick arrival into this world at 3:32 PM. She weighed in at 8 pounds, and was 21 1/4 inches long.
The doctor who delivered Penny had 3 patients who were expecting babies, but we were all due for delivery in January, yet one had her baby about 8 AM on Christmas day, I had Penny at 3:32 PM that afternoon and the other lady delivered that evening at about 8 PM.
The doctor complained saying, "you ladies did one job of messing up my Christmas day."
I said to him, "You don't suppose your name has anything to do with it do you?" His name was Dr. Klassen (pronounced like Claus.)
One day when Penny was about 10 days old I was bathing her and she got hold of her ample hair and was pulling it and crying for all she was worth. I had to squeeze her wrist hard enough to make her loosen her hand that weas holding and pulling her hair. That made her cry even more..
About this time the doorbell rang, I wrapped Penny in a towel and carried her on my shoulder as I answered the door. It was a sales person trying to sell me parents magazine. She saw Penny crying and said "the baby probably just needs to burp." About that time with me patting Penny on the back, she did burp. Of course she burped she had just cried so much and swallowed all that air. I told the sales person to leave, I didn't need her magazine to tell me how to care for my babies.
I spent my days caring for my precious little daughter and kept our home clean and comfortable for Wayne. Wayne and I both were rather doting parents. Penny was a very good baby and developed right on schedule.
Just after Penny turned 1, Wayne found a new job which located us in Northern California. Wayne went north and I stayed in the Los Angeles area to sell our home. It took about 2 months to sell the home before Penny and I could relocate to Northern California. During the two months when ever Penny and I would be out in public as I would push her in the stroller, she would not pay any attention to ladies as they passed. She did however pay attention as a man would pass, she would follow the men with her eyes and even turn to see them better as they passed. It was as if she was looking for her daddy.
Moving to our new home was exciting. About 4 months after the move, I became quite ill. I could not keep anything in my stomach, not even water and I lost 37 pounds in 13 days, I had to have exploratory surgery to find the problem. The problem was adhesions wrapped around my intestines.
After the surgery was done I gained back the weight I had lost and I once again felt good.
We lived in an apartment within walking distance to the beach. It was cold all the time we were there and in the year and a couple of months we were at this location, we could only go outside without a jacket or sweater 2 days.
Wayne lost his job two different times as he was working for airline companies. First with TWA then for Western Airlines. After the second job fell through he got a job he liked but it did not meet our financial obligations, so we moved back to Southern California.
By this time I was expecting our second child Pamela. Wayne worked as a taxi driver, but again it didn't pay well. Wayne got quite ill with pneumonia He came very close to dying at that time, but God was good, and spared his life.
After Wayne got well and his strength was renewed he went back to work for Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, California. This would be where he worked the rest of his working life.
In June of 1963 Pamela, our second daughter was born.
We moved from Los Angeles to Rosemead California where we lived for close to 1 year then we moved to another place in Rosemead.
In September of 1964, Patty our third daughter was born.
We stayed here until we bought a home in La Puente, California in the fall of 1965 and moved into the house on the last day of 1965. It was in this home that our children spent all of their school years.
After Patty was born, I was to have another thorn as I experienced pain so intense that I could only be on my feet for about 10 minutes at a time. It was very difficult to keep up with 3 children under 5 years of age and take care of my home. I did the best I could do.
I had family members who would visit and chastise me for not having my house spotless. That hurt and my pride was such that I refused to tell them what was happening to me. This condition was to last for two long years.
The rest of this story will come in the next chapter.
Here I was to have rose garden experiences and thorn experiences.
As we moved from, city to city we always found a church home, but were not as faithful to attend as we should have been.
The next chapter will take us through 1970.
Our lives through 1970
God, during these years was allowing me some thorns to keep me humble, but gave me many roses for my garden to encourage me.
As the story left off in the last chapter, I had been having health problems and we had moved into a new home.
In our new home we were very settled as we were no longer having to rent, but became homeowners once again.
The house was small, four bedrooms, two small baths, living room kitchen and dining area.
We had a large backyard and a smaller front lawn. We had two palm trees in the front yard and they grew rather quickly. There were a couple of oleander shrubs in the front yard. The oleander plants are highly poisonous. Even the flowers can cause problems. One of the problems for us was, as our daughter Patty was following her daddy as he was mowing around th shrubs. Patty soon began to have an awful reaction to the trimmings from under the shrubs and her body broke out in large welts. The welts would last for a few minutes and then recede. I took her to the doctor and it was determined she had an allergy to oleander. So we took out the shrubs and she was careful to not get close to oleander.
My health was still declining until finally in September of 1966 my doctor finally determined I needed to have a hysterectomy. Surgery was scheduled for mid October. Before surgery could be done, I had to be examined by three doctors since I was to have a hysterectomy, these exams were required by law. The exams were painful so the third doctor would not do an exam, but rather signed off for the surgery to be done. I was in the hospital five days.
On Thanksgiving day that year my mother became ill. She had five children in our area. A sister and three brothers who were too busy to go to help her. I was still recovering from the surgery and still had a bandage on my belly, but because my mother was ill, I drove the 26 miles to her home and stayed with her for the weekend as she recovered. As I left her home, I did not even receive so much as a thanks from her. It was like she just took me for granted and that was hurtful.
The next year I had taken the girls to see their grandmother Lawrence. The girls loved seeing their grandma as she had a lapidary shop. She had many tumbled stones and the girls always loved feeling and playing with those very shiny rocks. I even got to try my hand at cutting, polishing and mounting rocks to make jewelry.
On the way home as I was driving, about 4 miles from home I became so very ill and didn't know if I could even make it home. But, by the grace of God I made it home. I knew I had a fever, so I checked my temperature and my temp was 102.6 degrees, at about 4:30 P.M. My husband arrived home at 5:00 P.M. and by the time he got home my temp had gone to more than 104 degrees. He took me to the doctor and I had scarlet fever. I was quite ill, so Wayne's mother came and took care of me and our girls. I was in bed for 10 days, and after that it took a couple of months to get my strength back.
Once I had recovered from the sugery and scarlet fever, I was back to a healthy state. It felt so good to be well again and not be plagued with the awful tired feeling that I had been experiencing for two years. So I began to enjoy all of my children very much. Wayne and I both had a great deal of fun with our girls.
We purchased one of the above the ground swimming pools and erected it in our backyard. The pool was 24'x12' with decking on each side of the pool. Our girls all learned to swim in the pool and spent many hours swimming, and many of the neighborhood children were at out home during the summers as well. I really did not mind having so many children at our home because I knew where my children were and who they were with.
One day as I was swimming in the pool my girls figured out that if they blew into the hem of the skirt of my swim suit, it would inflate and create a doughnut around my hips. The girls loved this, they would blow and giggle.Â Such a fun memory for me as their mother.
Also, they would try to dunk me in the water, but they were not able to do so as I would float so well they didn't have the strength to dunk me. This is just one of the fun games we played in the pool. That pool provided our family with many hours of fun. Since the girls spent so much time swimming in the summer, they tanned so they were my little browned biscuits. :-)
Since Penny was born on Christmas day, she was not able to start school until September of 1966, as the deadline for enrollment was September 1st. Penny was one of the older children in all of her classes through the years, which worked to her advantage as she was a little more mature than her peers.
Two years later Pamela started school and the following year Patty started school. I loved helping them with their homework and being able to encourage them to do the very best they could do as students. I did not expect them to be perfect, but I just wanted them to do their best.
When Pamela started school, she had been used to taking naps in the afternoon and about two weeks into the school year, she had a hard time staying awake at school so we had to take her to the doctor, The doctor said, "she is okay, but she is suffering from exhaustion." So I kept her home for about two weeks and gradually kept her awake more each day so she could adjust. After that she did well.
Patty had been going in school about two weeks when her teacher, Mrs. Ready, called and said, "Mrs. Lawrence, I can't get Patty to do her work."
I asked Mrs. Ready, "who is the teacher in the classroom?"
She said, "I am the teacher."
I replied, "as the teacher, do not allow Patty to go out at recess until she is willing to do her work as assigned."
What I had told the teacher I re-enforced at home to make sure Patty understood I was with the teacher.
This was exactly what her teacher did, and it was not long before Patty did her work. By the time Patty got out of kindergarten she was reading at the end of the first grade level.
My health was still declining until finally in September of 1966 my doctor finally determined I needed to have a hysterectomy. Surgery was scheduled for mid October. Before surgery could be done, I had to be examined by three doctors since I was to have a hysterectomy, these exams were required by law. The exams were painful so the third doctor would not do an exam, but rather signed off for the surgery to be done. I was in the hospital five days.
After the surgery the doctor came in and told me the problem. What was causing me so much discomfort. He said the uterus after having four children had stretched so severely it was covered with varicose veins that were so many, that the doctor said he could not put his finger anyplace on it and not be touching one of the veins. This made the uterus very heavy and made me feel it was trying to leave my body causing pain that was almost like giving birth.
The doctor also told me he didn't see how I could have been on my feet for longer than 5 minutes, let alone ten minutes, which I was able to do. This is what I endured for over 2 years.
Just imagine ladies feeling like you were going through child birth every time you were on you feet for longer than ten minutes at a time.
More Roses For My Garden
We are at a point in our lives where God is planting many more roses in my garden of life.
Penny, Pamela and Patty continued their studies as elementary students. They all were very good students, They worked hard on their studies. I enjoyed helping them with homework if they needed the help.
Wayne and I both had big hearts and had a lot of love to share with not only our children, but we had enough love to share with other children as well. So we checked into becoming foster parents. We went to the classes, got the background check and were fingerprinted. We enquired as to what children needed to have homes as foster children. We were informed the biggest need they had was for fostering parents for troubled teenagers. We ask about taking teen girls. The system was more than pleased, as they had a hard time getting parents to take troubled teen girls.
Because of my past, we both thought, I would be a good mother for troubled teen girls. On that score we were right. The first child we got as foster parents was a six-year-old girl, Rhonda. She was the exact age of our youngest daughter Patty, both born the same day just 12 hours apart. This little one was not able to properly hold a pencil, had never used crayons, did not know her alphabet or how to count to 10. So it was a challenge for me to teach her things at home which she should have already known.
Each day when Rhonda came home from school I spent about one hour working with her to teach her the things she needed to catch up with her fellow students. After one week, she knew her alphabet, her number's 1-10 and could hold a pencil correctly or use crayons. Being proud of her, I praised her every step of the way. When I would praise Rhonda, she would beam.
Rhonda was only with us for six weeks and I never heard from her again. I loved that little one like I loved my own children. As a matter of fact I loved all the fostered girls in our care.
The next girl we got was Diana who was 13 years old, from a broken home and had endured some abuse as a child. She was a pleasant girl, but because of the abuse she was somewhat fearful and was not very trusting of adults. I was patient with Diana. She did do some things that I had to correct her for.
As she left for school one morning I asked, "Diana, where are your glasses?'
"I don't know where they are." as she stormed out of the door.
From her reply I was sure she had something she was hiding. So while she was at school I checked the drawers of the dresser in her room, I found the glasses. The ear pieces had been broken off. When Diana got home I asked why the glasses were broken.
She said, "I didn't want to wear them so I broke them,"
I explained to her that since our tax dollars had gone to pay for her glasses, this was upsetting to me. I turned her across my knee and swatted her a couple of times and told her to never destroy things again that my tax dollars paid for.
She looked at me and said, "I am going to call my social worker and tell her you spanked me."
I replied, "sweetie, you will have to beat me to the phone." I then went to the phone and called the social worker, Jean. I told her what I had done and why.
Jean, said, "Mrs. Lawrence, I did not hear a word you said."
Diana was with us close to a year, before she was placed back with her mother.
Over the next six years we had five more foster girls. One girl, Cathy was with us for close to three years. Another was at our home for about six months. The shortest time any of the girls was with us was only three days. This girl was a drug addict, so she bolted when she realized she could not get a fix in our home. Over the years I have wondered if she was able to get help to rid herself of the addiction.
As our girls were interested in playing musical instruments, we encouraged them to do so. Penny was first and wanted to play the piano. We were poor, but managed to provide her lessons for about one year. She was a fast learner, and at the end of the year her hands were still too small to do the required reach. So her teacher thought it best for her to wait a few more years until her hands grew then provide more lessons.
At school they had a band for the students. Penny wanted to play the trumpet. We rented a trumpet and she took lessons at school. After some time she found out about the French horn and tried that instrument. She loved the horn and learned to play it as well as the trumpet. When she got to high school, during the marching season she played the trumpet and during the concert season she played the French horn. In her junior year in high school she was selected to be in the all county honor band as a French horn player. When the honor band played the director was Erin Copeland. The concert was recorded and we received a recording of the performance.
Pamela wanted to learn to play the clarinet, so we rented a clarinet for her and she learned to play quite well. I believe she enjoyed her days playing. The band it seemed was a good thing for her as she developed
Patty wanted to play the alto sax. When she got to band the school had an instrument she could use so we didn't have to rent her instrument. Patty was a girl who wanted to know how things worked, so she would carefully take a screwdriver and disassemble the sax. This always made me nervous as it was the school instrument. I was afraid she would lose parts and we would have to go to the expense of replacing or repairing the sax if she messed it up, But amazingly she always got it back together just as it should be. I just recently visited Patty and she brought out her sax and played, which she had not done in quite some time. I encouraged her to play more so she could play for her church praise music time.
When the girls were in the high school band it was interesting to me to find out that nineteen percent of the band students were on the honor roll of the school, while the general population of the school only had two percent of the students on the honor roll.
Penny graduated from high school in 1979 as the valedictorian. Her grade point average was 4.0 which was the highest grade of any student in the class. I was proud of her accomplishment. She earned a full scholarship to a college in Iowa and attended there one year before she decided she was not wanting to stay in college. So she got a job and went to a Bible college, taking a couple of classes.
Pamela graduated from high school in 1981 and went to work, then in the fall enrolled in Bible college, attending two years. While there she met a young man, they fell in love and were married in August of 1984. She and her husband lived in our area for a couple of years until they moved to Kansas where his family lived.
Patty graduated from high school in 1982. She worked part time for a veterinary clinic and thought she would like to go to college to be a vet. But that never happened. She went to Bible college as well and there she met her husband Gordon.
After a few months of a somewhat rocky relationship things got better and she and Gordon married in June of 1984. Patty and Gordon have now been married for 30 years, which is a surprise to many as people thought that marriage would not last.
In 1981 I was to suffer with manic depression and had to be hospitalized for several days.
The next chapter will be that story.
|Author Notes||The photo is of the band in which all of our daughters were in when in high school at a street parade.|
This is the story of what I experienced during the first time I had to be hospitalized for manic-depression. I say it was a blessing because through having endured the pain I began to write poetry and short stories.
Manic Depression--A Blessing
In the spring of 1981, I was trying to walk with my Lord and Savior as I had never walked before. I had spent several months
studying God's word and asking the Lord to help me get rid of the guilt and hurt of my childhood and teen years. It seemed as though I was soon to have the victory, when I had a severe argument with my mother, who was living in my home at the time. I exploded in anger and said to her, "Mother, you never cared for me and you don't care for me now."
This caused her to respond in anger, she packed her belongings and left my home within a week. This left me loaded with guilt, because I had never spoken to my mother in such a disrespectful manner, not even as a child.
Shortly after my mother left my home, my oldest brother had a massive heart attack, and I began to feel as though I was somehow responsible for the heart attack. Because I loved that brother so much, I felt it was God's way of punishing me for being disrespectful to my mother.
My mother went to be close to my brother for the seven long weeks he lay in a coma before the Lord chose to call him home. It was during that time that I called my mother and told her I had forgiven her for the things she had done to me in my late teen years.
Mother just said, "Well, Patricia, there are ten commandments you know."
This only added to the guilt and hurt I felt. From that day and until the first part of September, I kept searching how to be free of the guilt and hurt. I even resigned my position as a crafts and knitting teacher at our church school, knowing with the unrest I felt in my Spirit I could not do an effective job teaching high school girls. I knew my efforts had to be to find out what was troubling me.
Determined to find some answers, I went to be alone with the Lord. I took my Bible, my notebook and the clothes I would need and went to a local motel. I spent many hours reading the book of John and running cross references. The Lord revealed to me that night, that I should not to be afraid. He seemed to be saying to me, "You walked where you wanted when you were young, (John 21:18) but now. He was going to take me through some things which I would not understand, and it was going to be important for me to trust Him, no matter what happened."(Proverbs 3:5-6)
Nine days later I was to begin one of the most incredible journeys of my entire life. On that day I had a manic-depressive break.
(Manic-depression is a hereditary disorder of the brain and causes people to have extreme fluctuations in their emotions, going from very high highs to very low lows. Many people will commit suicide while in the depressed phase of the illness if not properly treated. This disorder can be successfully treated with medication.)
I was very ill and had to be admitted to a mental hospital. While in the hospital I saw and heard things which were not there.
I even felt as if I had been abandoned by the Lord, and I wasn't sure I wanted to live.
On the third day of my hospital stay, as I was laying on my bed feeling as though I was all alone, I said within myself, "Lord, I don't feel You are near me, but I know You are here because I see you in everything around me." I had no sooner said this within, than I began to feel what seemed like thousands of hands under the entire length of my body, as they gently lifted me off my bed for a few seconds and gently put me down again. I believe this was none other than the angels of God ministering to me, (Hebrews 1:14) giving me the comfort which I so badly needed at such a distressing time.
A few minutes later the janitor came into the room and mopped the floor. The room was on the sun side of the hospital and was very hot. The musty mop and the hot room made the air very unpleasant for me, so I said within myself, "Lord, it sure would be nice to have a cooling breeze and some perfume for this room." Again the Lord immediately answered my prayer, as a cool breeze passed across my face and the breeze smelled like the sweetest rose I have ever smelled. So again I feel the Lord had ministered to me in a special way.
That same day my dear pastor Rev. Ted Trisler came to the hospital to visit me. I wanted to talk with him, but I was not able to talk because of a reaction to the medication I was on. My jaw became rigid and the lower part was drawn to the left and I wasn't able to move my jaw. My pastor became extremely concerned about what he saw, and went from my room and asked if he could speak to my doctor. The doctor told him I would have to be in the hospital from three weeks to three months, but yet the next day I was able to go home after a four day stay in the hospital. I know I was able to go home that day as an answer to the prayers of my church family on my behalf.
After I left the hospital, I continued to go to counseling once a week, and through the counseling, I began to deal with a
stressful experience that had happened to me when I was 19. My own mother had done something to me which was and is today
painful for me to recall. I was beginning to find memories of my childhood which had been missing for years.
As the months went by I began to get better, so the doctors took me off medication in June of 1982. Three months later in
September, I again had a break. This break was more severe, and I have almost no recall of the first four days I was in the hospital. I do have some snatches of those days, but for the most part even those things seem like a bad dream in my mind. I had to spend twelve days in the hospital. This time I was required to go to group counseling once a month. When I had the first manic-depressive, break the doctors missed the diagnosis and I was put on the wrong medication.
With the group therapy and some understanding counsel from my very wise pastor, Ted Trisler, and his dear wife, Sharon, I was
able to begin putting my life back together again.
I began to find some outlets for my expressive nature as I started to write letters of encouragement to friends and my pastor. In
March of 1985 I began to write poetry which was a talent I had as a young girl but lost through the years when I was involved in so many sinful things. Also, I had been involved in a ministry helping girls who were pregnant and not married, and helping girls
who were having problems with their parents. I had been able to reach some of these girls and lead them to the Lord, when I was
to endure another break. Once again I had to spend twelve days in the mental hospital.
Through each of the manic-depressive breaks, I had three very constant friends. (Proverbs 17:17) My dearest friend, Nora Warner, and Rev. and Mrs. Ted Trisler. They were always there for me, even though so many others were not sure what they could or should say to me. I am so thankful our loving God always puts around us, those special few in the troubling times of our lives. My husband and daughters were there for me, and because they were so close to me it was hard for them to say and do the things that needed to be done to help me.
Having had the struggles of manic-depression, I am now much more aware of those around me who are having difficulties, and try to lend a helping hand so they will be encouraged to keep going.
Now I believe more that God does work all things together for our good as the called according to His purpose as stated in
(Romans 8:28). So each time I must take my medicine for the manic-depression, I thank God that he would bless me in such an
God has been good to me.
As I was laying on the bed,
I felt as if God had left me,
I knew that was not the case,
I could see Him in all around me.
Whispering a prayer in my heart,
I expressed I felt He was not near,
Til what felt like hands under my body,
Lifted me an I felt no more fear.
What was it I felt that day?
Did God send angels to minister to me?
I do not know but it was real,
As it came to me and I felt so free.
|Author Notes||The photo is of the pastor who was so supportive of me as I struggled through the times of breaks.|
1990 Vacation And Move
In May of 1990 Wayne and I took a trip to visit our children, some other relatives and friends as well and to do some sightseeing.
Leaving California on May 6th we stopped the first night to visit our daughter Penny and her family. We stayed until the 8th then traveled as far as Las Cruces, NM.
As we came in from the west of Las Cruces at the top of the mesa, the whole city of Las Cruces, was a breathtaking sight. The valley was so beautifully green. It was a blessing to see all the greenery after the many miles of driving across the dry brown desert.
We found a motel and registered for the night. As I recall it was more than 100 degrees, but the heat was a very dry heat, so as long as we were in a shaded area, it was quite comfortable.
In the motel room we picked up a real estate guide. W had been thinking of making a move from California, so we wanted to see if we would want to move to Las Cruces. We at this point had already fallen in love with the beauty of the city. The city sits in a long valley west of the Organ Mountains. The organ Mountain rises to about 9,000 feet at its highest point. The pass over the mountain is more than 5,208 feet. As you go across the pass at the apex, you look down on the Army facility called White Sands Missal Range.
On May 9th we called a real estate agent and asked to be taken to view properties we found interesting and a possible place for us to purchase. Looking at several properties, we settled on buying just north of the city.
The property was located in farming area with lots of open spaces. Big acreage of farmland within about fifty yards of the property, made for peaceful surroundings to build our home. The owner of the property agreed to take a $500 deposit on the lot and would hold it for us until September.
We finished our trip, visiting family, friends and sightseeing. As we left Las Cruces, we traveled to Corpus Christi, Texas. The home we visited in Corpus Christi was the home of Gordon's parents. It is located in the canal area near the gulf.
In Corpus Christi we visit our youngest daughter Patty, her husband Gordon and granddaughter Kathy. Kathy was only four years old with a beautiful smile and lovely blonde hair that was a bit curly. Her dark brown eye along with the smile was enough to melt the heart of this grandma.
In Corpus Christi, I was stuck be the oppressive humidity. The humidity was so bad that with the central air conditioning, it caused the inside to be cooler than outside of the windows, condensation was present on the windows outside. This was the first time I had ever seen this.
Leaving Corpus Christi we traveled to Dallas and visited my dear friend Nora and her family, it was a short visit, but did allow us time to catch up on our lives since we had last been together.
As our journey continued went to Hutchinson Kansas where we visited our daughter Pamela, her husband and our grandson Kyle, who was almost one year old. It was fun getting to hold Kyle as I had only seen him when he was about six weeks old and then only for a couple of days.
Next on our agenda was a visit to my twin brother Patrick and his wife Diana in Fulton, Missouri I seem to remember we were there for several days. Patrick and Diana owned a home out in the country. The home was built close to a gravel road, and as cars passed the home things became quite dusty.
When we left Missouri, we traveled west to Nebraska and northward to South Dakota. In South Dakota we went to Mount Rushmore. It was a bit on the cool side and there we some clouds, but we were able to see that impressive monument.
As we proceed westward, we passed through Wyoming and Montana. We were going to go to Yellowstone National Park, but it was late may and there had been snow and Yellowstone was closed to visitors so that was a disappointment to both of us.
In Montana, we had an emergency with our car and it had to be fixed. The cost of the repairs being more than we had with us in travelers checks and the mechanic would not take a credit card. He did however, accept out personal check. We were grateful that he would take our check.
From there we went on to Yakima to visit my youngest sister, Kathy and her family. While we were there, we celebrated my birthday on June 7th. We had a wonderful visit. Knowing we were pressed somewhat for time, needing to get home to put our house on the market to sell so we could move to our new home in New Mexico we left Washington and arrived back to Southern California on June 10th.
The next day we put our home up for sale. Our home sold on July 11th, escrow closed within 30 days and we moved on August 15th. We stopped in Phoenix to see Penny again and then traveled on to Las Cruces, arriving on August 18th. When we arrived, the moving van was waiting with our belongings at the apartment we had rented one month before.
On August 19th we went to a new church which had been recommended by our pastor where we served in California. The next week we joined the church.
The property we had put a down payment on was soon to have builders building our new home. We gave the owner 1/3 of the asking price for the house and building was underway. When the property was half way finished, we paid another 1/3 of the price and upon completion we paid the final payment, so we had a new home and it was all paid for. We moved into our home on November 14, 1990.
There was one really funny thing that happened while our house was being built. One morning early the ICE agents came to the building site. When one of the green card workers saw the agent, he ran as fast as he could across the field. The agent caught up to the worker and brought him back to the site. The contractor told the agent the man had fogotten his green card.
After the agent left the contractor ask the worker in Spanish, "why did you run?"
In Spanish, the worker said, " I ran because I couldn't fly, man."
This is a time in our lives where we wanted to be in a little less hurried world than in the Southern California, so we took a vacation to travel and decide to buy property in New Mexico where we moved later in the same year.
The photo is of the modest home we built.
Marie And The White Limo
After we moved into our new home we bought an airline ticket for our dear friend Marie whom we had known in California for many years. Marie was suffering from lung cancer.
When Marie was younger she and her husband divorced. With the divorce her life became a struggle as she had two small girls. Marie lived on a shoestring budget most of the time. She worked hard doing odd jobs to provide for her family. She never had money for some of the luxuries in life and Wayne and I felt it would be nice to fly her to New Mexico for a visit. It was the first part of December and Marie was becoming more ill with each passing day. We picked Marie up from the International airport in El Paso, Texas and brought her to our home.
Marie spend about a week with us. We were able to catch up on the time since we had last seen each other. We all had a delightful time, went many places and saw some of the sights in Las Cruces, that Marie had not seen.
At the end of the visit Wayne called a limousine company and ordered a white stretch limo to arrive at our home early in the morning when Marie was to take her return flight to California. The limo arrived an Marie said, "What is the limo doing here?"
Wayne replied, "Marie that is what we wanted as a Christmas gift for you. The limo will be taking you to the airport in El Paso."
Marie, Wayne and I got into the limo for the ride to the airport and is was a pleasure to see the big smiles on Marie's face as we rode along.
Marie arrived back in California in late December just before Christmas with her daughters. As it turned out Marie died from the lung cancer on January 10th, 1991.
So Wayne an I were so grateful we could be a bright spot in the life of a dear friend.
That trip was a rose garden, rose, but Marie's death was a thorn experience.
My hubby and I loved doing things for those who could in no possible way give us anything in return.
Photo Google Image
Manic-depression Rears Its Ugly Head
This story is a time when God allowed for more thorns in my life, but by having the treatment, He was also giving me roses for my garden.
After several years of being symptom free from the throes of manic depression, in late 1991 I became very depressed. I wanted to take my own life, but wanted to take the life of others with me. I knew I was in trouble mental health wise and I reached out, telling the people I was with what I was thinking. These lovely friends took control. They called my husband and took my keys. Then they took me home.
After I arrived home, my husband called my doctor and told her what I was struggling with. My doctor then called the mental health hospital and told them she was sending me there to be evaluated. When I got to the hospital I was evaluated and it was determined I should be hospitalized for my safety and for the safety of others. Being in the hospital was not scary for me, as I had been hospitalized before for this awful problem.
It was at this hospital that I would learn many new things about myself and how to handle anger within me because of hurts of my past. At one point I was put into a room with padding on the walls, given a pair of boxing gloves and told to box the padding until I could no longer lift my arms. As I did this, I was letting go of the anger I was feeling.
Another time the counselor was pressuring me about wether I had been sexually abused as a child. She hammered the point so hard that I became angry at her. Many times when I become angry like I was that day, I cry. She then told me I had told her more with my tears than with my answers to her. She was so very wrong. As she surmised I had been sexually abused as a child, which was not the case.
In the hospital I took part in the activities. There was art therapy, which I liked so much. We had group therapy which I found helpful. Many patients would deny they had a problem and would not work to get well, It was my desire to be well and back home with my dear husband.
Each day as we moved through our day, we were escorted from place to place with the attendants locking an unlocking each door for us. We were in a very protective place. Being in this situation for days and weeks tends to make a person become dependent on others.
I was in the hospital for 22 days as my medicine adjusted and I no longer wanting to do bad things to myself and others. On the morning before I would leave the hospital, our group therapy had a time to present imaginary flowers to the person who was leaving. One of the flowers given to me was a carnation, which just happens to be my favorite flower. Next a rose was given me, and the person giving it to me said, "I am giving Patricia this rose as I smell a sweet fragrance when I am with her." Next a young man gave me a bouquet of wild flowers as he saw me as a fun loving person. Lastly our counselor gave me an allium and said, "Patricia, I am giving you this flower as I see you as one high above the field." That became a big ego boost at a time when I felt like my self esteem was at its lowest point.
The next morning I went home. At home I was almost fearful as I was no longer in a place of great protection with others taking care of my every need. It took me several days to adjust to not being in a place that was not locked. It was so good to be home with my dear sweet husband who was my constant friend through all my difficulties.
I am telling this part of my story so others who are having mental health issues will seek help. There is help, we just need to seek the help and not be ashamed of the illness. Our brains sometimes break down as our bodies break down.
So, please if you are reading this and are depressed, seek help.
Heart Attack and Open Heart Surgery
As we were in our garage doing a project, when Wayne suddenly reached for his neck and said he was having pain.
I realized right away that it could be his heart because of how he described the pain. I brought him into the house and called his internal medicine doctor and said. "This is Mrs. Lawrence. I think Wayne is having something bad going on with his heart."
She said to me, "is he stable enough to drive him to my office?"
"I think he is." I walked him carefully to the car. In about ten minutes we arrived at the doctor's office. When we arrived at the office, the doctor immediately did an EKG and said "he has just had a heart attack." The doctor called for an ambulance and he was taken by ambulance to the hospital here in town. Once hospitalized here in town, they did a test and found he had a blockages in three ares of his heart. He would need bypass surgery to fix the problem. He was transferred to a hospital in El Paso, Texas where they had facilities that could do the bypass surgery. Two days later surgery was done. The surgery had lasted about four hours. My daughters, my pastor and I were waiting in the area for families. The doctor came out and told us the surgery was done.
Wayne was in ICU for five days. In ICU they were having trouble getting him off the respirator, because he was not wanting to breathe on his own. Finally they were able to get him to breathe on his own, then sent him to a heart unit. A couple of days later Wayne coughed so hard, the wiring in his chest gave way and again he had to go back to surgery to rewire his ribs. Then he went back to ICU and there was more trouble getting him off the respirator. Finally he was off the respirator and spent another three days in the heart unit. I was the able to bring him home.
While he was in El Paso I made the 100-mile round trip each day however, there were about four days I had to miss because I got a bad cold.
As he was on very many medicines for his heart, he developed a bleeding ulcer and he had to go back to the hospital.
There was not a lot I could do for him and he was in good hands with the staff of the hospital. I would go to the hospital to visit him and because he was in ICU, I could only visit for 15 minutes at a time. While he was hospitalized here, he again coughed hard and broke the wires in his chest and developed an infection, so it was back to El Paso for another opening of his chest. It was a struggle for me to keep up with the driving and caring for our home.
Wayne said, "Pat all the miles you are having to travel, why don't you only come to the hospital once a day to
visit. I can see you are getting quite tired." But through it all, I had comfort in my spirit that Wayne was a child of God and that God knew what was in the future for him. He was in the hospital a total of 64 days and spent 18 of those days in ICU. Our pastor Bob Diggings was good to help as he would go visit Wayne when I was unable to do so, and my church had us both bathed in prayer. Scripture was comforting me as I read the book of Job and God encouraged my heart to rest in him. The book of Job comforted me as in Job 23:10 it says, when he has tried us we will come forth as gold.
After Wayne was finally recovered from the surgeries and the many days in the hospital, he was instructed by his doctor, that he was not to drive for several months. However, one evening I had left Wayne at home and went to church.
When I got out of the meeting at church, I went to the TABY for a frozen yogurt. I had just come out of the store when Pastor Dwiggins and his wife drove up. Mrs. Dwiggins said, "Pat, we need to take you to get Wayne, but first you need to go to your house and get him some clothes."
" We will tell you on the way to get Wayne."
It seemed my rebellious grown man, had done what he was not supposed to be doing. He had taken our small pick-up truck for a drive. He drove on a road going north of our city. Along the way was a railroad crossing. According to a man who was following, Wayne didn't follow the roadway as well as he should have and hit the rails at a bad angle and it caused a problem to the alignment of the wheels. The driver behind Wayne continued to follow and said Wayne was having a difficult time steering the truck and was weaving all over the road so much so the man though he was drunk.
Mile after mile as the man followed, he was worried my husband would have an accident some where along the way. About 19 miles later, sure enough there was an accident. Wayne lost control of the truck, and ran off the road and plunged into the big irrigation canal.
The truck did hang up a bit on the edge of the canal. The man stopped his car, got out and climbed across the bed of the truck and helped Wayne out through the open window. Wayne was soaking wet and the water was quite cold. The man took Wayne across the road to a home and the people who owned the home took him in, allowed him to shower and gave him a robe to wear.
When Wayne came back out after his shower, then said, "She is gonna kill me, I just know she is gonna kill me."
He gave the people the number of the church where I had been. It just happened, Pastor had not left the church and was there to take the call. I had also mentioned I was going to TCBY, so Pastor and his wife knew where to find me.
I didn't kill him, but I made sure he no longer had keys to drive. At this point he willingly gave up his driver's license.
|Author Notes||This was a thorn experience in my life as well as in Wayne's life.|
Dream About To Come True.
At this point in my life God was helping me cope with a very ill husband, and yet he was ready to give me five beautiful roses for my garden.
It was early in the morning on January 11, 1993. As I got out of bed, it seemed unusually bright outside at 6:00 A.M.. As I looked out the window, I could see what was making it so bright. Over night, snow had quietly fallen and there was near 6 inches of snow on the ground, What a day that was for me as it just happened to be the birthday of the son I had given up for adoption 35 years before. Taking my shower and dressing for the day, I slipped into winter garb. Going out to the front yard I proceed to make a snowman. I dubbed the snowman Dwight. Why Dwight? This was the name I had given to the son when he was born. Each of his birthdays always carried with it pondering in my heart, about who adopted him and if he had been raised in a good home.
Over the years since the adoption I always prayed his life had been a good life. I prayed he knew the Lord as his Savior, I prayed for the mom and dad who raised him. My family knew about my giving the son up for adoption. So, they were understanding on his birthday knowing I would be in a bit of a reflective mood.
In 1989 about the time my daughter Pamela gave birth to my first grandson, Kyle. My husband and I decided I could search for the son if I would like to do so. We hired a search company, who for a set fee would search until they found the son. There were many letters to and from the search company as to the progress of the search. There would be a little detail that began to emerge and my hopes would be raised. Sometimes I was doubtful if finding the son would ever happen, but I was hopeful.
Before in my life I had not wanted to find him as I felt it would not be right to disrupt his adoptive family. However, in 1981, I developed manic-depression and found out it a disorder that has a very heavy genetic component. There is a stong possibility about 12 percent of the males born to a mother who is manic-depressive, could develop it later in life as well. It was also made known to me that the disorder could skip several generations and surface again in an offspring. Weighing all considerations, I determined it was not fair to withhold this health concern from my son and any children he might have.
In April of 1993, I began the process of writing my testimony of how the Lord had so wonderfully changed my life. Then with a group of wonderful Christian ladies, I read my story. Mothers' day was coming up and I was to do the
final reading of my testimony for the Christian group so I could be approved as a speaker for Christian Women's Clubs. This reading would be on Monday after Mothers' day.
This story is the piece of my testimony that was needed to fill out the story and make it interesting.
As I was working on the final polishing of my story, the mail arrived and in the mail was a letter from the search group. I opened the letter to find a dream come true. I now knew the name of the son. I knew where his family lived when he was adopted. There was a copy of his amended birth certificate and the original birth certificate. The details of his birth were exactly what I had remembered all the years since his birth. I called the information operator for where he had lived as a child. I asked, "do you have a listing for a Henry Fry?" (alias to protect his privacy). The operator came back shortly, giving me the number for a man by his name. I carefully wrote the number on a post it note.
Now I was really excited as I was getting close to talking to the one I had thought of and prayed for so often through the long years.
My youngest daughter, Patty happened to be at our house doing her laundry. I went to the garage and said, "Patty, I have his phone number, so what should I do?"
She looked at me and answered, "Mom, I can't tell you what to do, this is a decision you will have to make."
My husband was in the den working on the computer. I sat beside him and said, "Wayne, I have his number, what should I do?"
He said, "honey, I cannot tell you what to do. That is something you will have to determine on your own. Whatever you decide, is fine with me. I will support you."
So being the one who was always a little late to call upon the Lord to help with decisions, I went into my bedroom, closed the door and sat on the bed. I bowed my head and said, "Lord, I have his number, what should I do?"
As soon as those words were out of my mouth, it almost felt like the Lord slapped me on the forehead and said, "I did not give you this much information for you to do nothing, now go make that call."
I then went to the phone in our kitchen and made the call. Henry's wife answered the phone and I ask, "is Henry Fry there?" She said, "just a minute."
A couple of minutes later I heard this very male voice and I said, "My name is Patricia Celeste Lawrence, were you born on January 11, 1958?"
He replied, "I was born on that date." He also said, "when you got your first and middle name out, I knew I was talking with my birth mom."
We talked for 92 minutes long distance. He kept saying to his family in the background that he needed more paper. He was asking about his blood relatives and all kinds of questions about me, my husband and our children.
In the course of the conversation he stated he had only had his phone number listed as an adult just two months before I found him through information. It is my belief that there was some divine intervention going on to allow us to meet.
I also found out that Henry loved to do two things better than any two things. These things were fishing and playing pinocle. Those just happened to be the two things my mother had loved to do more than any other things. The mother who was so opposed to me having him and wanted me to abort him, never knew she had lost out on having a buddy to fish and play pinocle with, had I been able to keep him.
Before we said our goodbyes, we arranged to meet in his hometown just before memorial day weekend, two weeks later.
The roses God gave me that day, were my son, his wife, his two daughters and the lovely mother who raised my son so well.
|Author Notes||The name of the son was changed for privacy of the family.|
The Long Awaited Meeting
On May 10,1993, I met with the ladies from the Christian women's group for the final reading of my testimony. It was an exciting time to share with the ladies I had found the son after so many years. The ladies could see how God was working in my life to have this story come about at just the right time. My testimony was approved to become a speaker. My first time to speak was scheduled to be here in Las Cruces, NM on September 15, 1993.
Since my son and I had agreed to meet in his hometown, we prepared to leave later in the month. First we had to go to Phoenix to attend our daughter Penny's graduation from a community college with her associate's degree in accounting. Before we left for Phoenix I was out for a walk, caught my toe on an uneven spot, causing me to fall heavily on my left arm. My left shoulder became dislocated. It immediately popped back into place. But I was put in a sling. Wayne had given up his driver's license at this point so, the driving was to be my task. I did manage to drive. Many miles on the road, four hundred miles to Phoenix, another four hundred miles on return home.
On May 20th we began the trip to Missouri to the home of my son. Another 1,100 miles of driving. We traveled as far as Hutchinson Kansas to spend the night with our daughter Pamela and her family. On May 21st we went to Fulton, Missouri and spent the night with my twin brother, Patrick and his wife. Early in the morning of May 22nd we left to drive 100 miles to St. Louis. Then headed to a small town south of St Louis. My son and I had agreed to meet him in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store. When we arrived, we did not see anyone who might be my son, so we waited on a bench outside the store. In about 10 minutes, there was walking toward us a big man. He was 6'4" tall and he had his wife with him. I had described what I would be wearing so he knew how to identify me. As he approached, we shook hands. We talked for a bit then he asked us to follow him and his wife to their home.
When we got to his home, I met his two beautiful daughters. They were not yet in their teens. Henry brought out a box of photos and a photo album and showed us pictures of him as he grew up, at the big events in his life. His graduation from high school, his wedding and the birth of his children were all recorded in pictures for me to get a glimpse of his life.
He told me one interesting story. He said, "when I started school I was already far bigger than most children of my age, so the teacher thought I was in the wrong classroom. She wanted to put me in the third grade. It soon was straightened out that indeed, I was to be in first grade."
That evening Henry took my husband and me to the home of his mother for a dinner to celebrate the graduation of a family member from high school. It was an honor to meet the wonderful woman who had mothered so well the son she got to raise. I have deep gratitude for the job she did, that I could not do.
I had made her an afghan as my gift to her for doing the wonderful job she had done in raising my son, her son. Although I am his birth mom, she is indeed his mother. She did all the things of a mother and did them well. In my mind she will always be his mother.
Before dinner she said, "Patricia, would you ask the blessing on our meal." I was honored.
This time was a very special time as I got to talk to and hug my son for the first time. My heart was bursting with happiness, and I was feeling so good about having given him life, when others wanted me to abort him.
I did give him the details of how it came about that the only thing I could do at the time, for his best and for mine as well was to give him up to adoption. When I told him the story, he said two words that made the wait of 35 years worth it all. He looked into my eyes and said, "THANK YOU."
I wrote the following poem as a poem of praise to my son's adoptive mother.
Seeing The Children Together
May 20, 1994 brought another bunch of roses into my life.
My husband was still too ill to travel so my daughter, son-in-law, a grand daughter and I took a trip to Hutchinson, Kansas where we were to meet my son, his wife and daughters for a visit of four days. For me it was exciting as well as it was for my daughters, Penny, Pamela and Patty. They were going to meet their half brother for the first time. I had told them what I could about him, but they longed to meet him.
When Henry arrived with his wife and daughters, we made our round of introductions and took pictures to record the meeting. With my daughters and son and his family, were Brad, Gordon, grandson's Kyle and Tyler and granddaughter Kathy.
Everyone was comfortable with each other. It was like a dream to me to see, at long last all four of my children in the same place. My emotions were like the rolling waves of the sea.
It was close to lunch time so we ordered pizza to be delivered to the home. While my four children and I sat at the table, we talked for an hour or so. I was totally amazed as the children shared stories of their lives, their likes, dislikes and interests.
Listening to them talk it seemed as though they had been raised in the same home. They had so much in common. Say what you will about nurture and genetics, in this case I am sure because of their common genetics, that their lives were so much alike.
Since my son loves to fish, Brad had arranged to take us to a lake for the afternoon the next day. "The lake of good size and the fishing will be good," Brad told us.
We had prepared a picnic meal to take to the lake. At the lake we were going to BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs. All had been packed into each car. The lake was about 30 minutes away. Arriving at the lake it was lunch time so the girls and I laid out the meal on the picnic tables. The men prepared the BBQ for cooking the hamburgers and hot dogs.
After the meal we began to do some fishing. We did catch some fish. This was catch and release, sports fishing. At one point the men were excited about something away from where I was fishing. I put my pole down and went to see what was happening. My son was fighting with what must have been a rather large fish on the line. It took him probably 20 minutes or more to bring in the catch. It was a rather large carp. A carp this large was probably not good in the lake as they would eat the other fish which would have been good for eating. So Henry took the fish several yards from the shore and destroyed it to keep it out of the lake. If I recall correctly, the fish weighed about 15 pounds.
After we finished fishing, I took Henry aside so I could share with him my written testimony that I gave at Christian Women's clubs. Henry at this point got a little better understanding about me. And why, I had gone through the pain of giving him up for adoption.
Even though my son's mom had accepted me at the first meeting, it was still a bit of a problem for her that I had found him. Before he made the trip to Kansas, his mom had expressed her displeasure at his wanting to make a trip to meet his half sisters and me. He said, "I assured her that she had nothing to worry about." This statement from him was exactly what I wanted to hear him say. It showed me what a gracious son he was to her.
He then said to his mother, "Mom, I will always love you as my mother. "
When he told me about this, my heart was heavy as I knew I had caused her some discomfort. So it was my goal to help her understand that Henry would always be her son, and I would never do anything to come between him and her.
I asked him, his wife and daughters to call me Pat. To which they all agreed to do. As we were at the lake the younger daughter came running toward me and said, "hey grandma, come see what I have." I slowly walked with her to see what she wanted me to se, and reminder her that she was to address me as Pat, not grandma, as that title was reserved for her daddy's mother. The daughters still call me Pat. If they think of me as grandma that is okay. I just want them to refer to me as Pat when with their grandmother.
As we finished the days of the visit, I was so pleased to know that my four children thought and acted much alike. Their personalities are pretty much the same. All four are unassuming and rather laid back.
The photo is of our trip to the lake for the BBQ and fishing time. It is the scrapbook page I made of the trip.
Since this meeting with my four children took place more than 20 years ago, I would like to say, I cannot remember the conversations. I do not remember much about the emotions any of us were feeling. I would like for the reader to put themselves in my shoes during the read and think about how they might feel. Words fail me to describe my feelings which were many.
|Author Notes||Please take note of the last chapter before you comment about emotions from my family.|
Continuing Heart Problems
Wayne had been through so much already with the open heart surgeries he had and the long stays in the hospitals. One hospital was in Las Cruces, NM and the other in El Paso, Texas. After the open heart surgeries once he was healed, he did better for a short while. Then his diabetes began to be uncontrolled. His blood sugars would go to dangerous low levels or would go to extreme high levels. Either high or low levels could have sent him into a diabetic coma.
I worked hard to prepare meals which would help keep his sugar levels controlled. He was defeating what I was doing as he would get up in the night and eat more food than what the insulin dosages he was taking could handle to keep the blood sugar stable.
In early 1994 Wayne and I were listening to a Focus On The Family program on the radio. On the program they were talking about writing your personal stories of you life memories to leave for your children. Wayne said, "Pat, I think that would be a wonderful idea for me to work on doing. Since I can't walk much or do other activities, I could sit at the computer and write my life stories."
I agreed with him and replied, "that is a wonderful idea. You could write and I could proofread your work."
He spent about ten months writing stories. One of those stories is done in several chapters in this book. The stories were about our first year of knowing each other. There were stories about our dating days. There was the story of our engagement. The story of how we planned the wedding was included and the wedding itself. Our honeymoon adventures and moving into our home. In all he wrote 19 different stories about his life. Compiled them into a book and gave each of our daughter a copy of the book as his last Christmas gift to them.
In late 1994 Wayne developed a big ulcer on the bottom of his right foot, which had to be treated three times a week at the hospital at the out patient treatment center. The treatments took about two hours each time. When he was home between treatment there was a home care nurse that came to bandage his foot. For more than eight months Wayne could not take a shower or a tub bath so he had to do sponge baths. I felt so sorry for him, because I knew how much he enjoyed showering. To wash his hair I would take him into the kitchen a shampoo his hair at the sink.
While Wayne was so ill, he and I became closer with each passing day. We spent many hours playing scrabble or cribbage. I like scrabble and he loved cribbage. When he was up to going with me we would go to the grocery store together and attend church services.
As his health became more perilous he began to have what the doctors said he was having mini strokes. I would be asleep at night and I would hear him get up to go to the bathroom and I would hear him fall. I always feared he would hit his head on something and cut his head open and I might not hear him and find him in a pool of blood next morning. But it seemed like God was only allowing him to fall in a safe area. I didn't tell Wayne of my concerns for his health, but I think he knew I was concerned. When he first became diabetic, I would nag him a bit about eating something he knew he wasn't supposed to eat. Finally in the last 10 months, I said, "I am just not going to nag him again." He was dying and he knew that to be the case. As a matter of fact I think with all he had been through he was looking forward to his death.
Several times beginning in the spring of 1995 Wayne had to be hospitalized to get his blood sugar levels under control. He was also having breathing problems and had to be on oxygen at home. With all the medicines he was on, it was a chore to keep track of the dosages and the times they were to be given. I felt like a nurse, who had never been trained to do the job, but I had to do it. Loving him made it a pleasure to help him, but my energy was at a low point as well.
On Friday, September 22, 1995 Wayne had to be hospitalized yet again. I called my sister Kathy who was a nurse in an intensive care unit in Yakima, WA. When she learned how he was doing, she flew out on the quickest flight she could get to be with me.
On September 25, 1995, my sister and I talked to the doctor about hospice care, but the doctor felt he was not in that great a need at that point. So he remained in the hospital. The next morning September 26, 1995 I wanted to talk to Wayne's doctor. I want to tell her that he did not want heroic measures taken in the event his heart failed. So I tailed her for almost an hour until I could finally get her to write in big bold letters on his chart DNR, which she did.
The night before Wayne died, I visited him in the hospital. At the end of visiting hours as I was ready to leave the hospital so I could go home to get some sleep. The last thing I did before leaving was to kiss him and tell him I loved him and say, "Wayne, I'll see you in the morning." Morning is still coming for me.
When Wayne passed away I had received a call from the nursing staff at the hospital at 3:30 A.M. telling me he was not doing well, so my sister Kathy went with me to the hospital. We got to the hospital about 4:05 A.M., but Wayne's heart failed quickly. One half failed and in less than two minutes the other half failed. He had died only 7 minutes before we arrived.
Wayne died on September 27, 1995. We had been married 36 years and eight months at that point.
This has been a very hard story to write, so I hope everyone will understand as they read what I have written here.
The funeral for Wayne was on September 30, 1995
The following poem I wrote about seven years before Wayne died.
See You In The Morning
As I left his bedside that night,
He’d not see morning light
My parting words were,
"I’ll see you in the morning."
I had to get some rest
For the days ahead of me,
Strength to see me through
The days of darkness ahead.
The dreaded call came
And I heard the nurse say
He is not doing well
You need to come now.
I got dressed quite quickly
And drove the nine miles to
The hospital to be with him
But his life was gone.
After twenty long years
Morning is still coming for me.
Living His Dash
Born on July fourth
coming to live his dash.
He was the first born son
a good example to his brother.
An obedient child was he,
going to school he did well
and was loved by so many,
as he was living his dash.
He joined the US navy
during World War II
And sailed the Pacific,
for about 3 years.
Coming home he went,
to aircraft mechanics school,
learning his trade very well.
Then he worked for Lockheed,
a factory that built aircraft.
He was engaged to marry
but the one he loved jilted him.
He was not sure he ever wanted
to get involved with another woman.
For five long years he never dated.
He threw his efforts into helping
those physically and mentally
disabled, carrying them to parties.
He was living his dash doing his best.
Then came a day in August 1958
His dash was to find a new path.
It was at a party for the disabled that
he met me, and little did he know
I was the one God had waiting for him.
In January of 1959 we were wed.
Still another fencepost was planted
Along side his dash, Penny our first born.
Her birth was followed by two more
fenceposts along his dash, Pam and Patty.
Happiness was found in his life
and his heart did sing with love for
his precious daughters as he lived his dash.
He worked hard, was a good father
he was a husband extra-ordinaire.
In 1992 he had a heart attack
had to have a triple by-pass surgery,
a difficult time it was for this man
as he was living his dash.
But through it all he didn’t complain
he just kept living his dash.
Now He is with the Lord
for all eternity waiting for his family
to finish living our dash
so we can join him in Heaven.
His dash is 1925-1995
It is the dash between the years.
I am so blessed to have been in his dash.
After my husband died in September of 1995, I was working in the yard. Using a spade without the proper shoes, I caused a stress fracture in my right foot. I had to be put into a walking cast and had to walk with crutches for about six weeks.
I was scheduled to be a speaker for Christian Women's clubs, giving my testimony of how the Lord had changed my life. I was to speak in Farmington, New Mexico one day later I was to speak in Cortez Colorado. I receive a call from the clubs wanting me to delay my speaking to them because it had only been about three weeks since my husband had died. They felt it would be hard for me to speak with having only lost him so recently. I convinced them that not only would it not be hard for me to speak, but would help me by allowing me to be away from home for a week so I would not have to deal with all the memories that faced me each day being alone in my home. I did make those meetings, walking on crutches, but able to do what I was being called to do, At the two meetings, there were several people who came to know the Lord as their Savior. This is the goal of the clubs. So that was a blessing to my heart.
A dear friend Marie Martens went along with me as a companion. Marie and I had a close relationship, even though she was 20 years older than I was. We talked a lot during the many miles of driving about 350 miles to Cortez and then driving another 350 miles coming home.
When we left Cortez, everything was fine, but as we got close to Farmington I had a flat tire on my car and so had to replace both rear tires. This was an expense I could have done without, because my financial situation was not yet worked out so I could pay my bills so I had to put the repairs on my credit card.
When we got to Albuquerque, New Mexico, we went to see my daughter, Patty, her husband, Gordon and my grand daughter Kathy. We spent the night there then came back to Las Cruces, New Mexico the next day.
After that trip I spoke several more places but do not recall where or when.
Several years passed and a friend asked me if I would be willing to take foreign exchange students. I agreed to do so taking two seniors in high school. Both boys were placed in my home. One boy was from Brazil. His name was Carlos and the other student was from Germany, his name was Rene'.
Carlos was raised in a very rich family in Brazil where there were servants in the home, Carlos didn't know how to do anything for himself, so I made him pay me for washing and ironing his clothes. He was a bright young man, but was a momma's boy. He called long distance every evening to talk to his mother.
Rene' was the opposite of Carlos. Rene' loved older people so he was very good to me. Rene' was most fond of his grandparents. He also only called his family every two weeks.
When the boys arrived they each had gifts for me. Carlos brought me a lovely pair of blue topaz earrings and a set of glass coasters. Rene' came in and set a box on the table and said in enlish, "This is for you."
I opened the box and saw a lovely cuckoo clock from the Black Forest in Germany. I began to cry when I saw what it was. Rene' saw me crying and said, "you don't like it?"
I said, "Rene', these are tears of happiness I always wanted a cuckoo clock and thought I would never have one."
In September after school had started, I got permission from the school to allow me to take the boys to Phoenix Arizona as a part of their educational experience, while in the United States. The boys were both amazed that it was so hot. As I recall while we were there the temperatures got to about 109 degrees. Carlos didn't find it too uncomfortable. But Rene' really suffered at such heat.
When we came back from Phoenix, the next weekend there was a hot air balloon rally in Las Cruces. I took the boys to the rally. There were about 30 colorful balloons ready to launch. Then about 15 minutes before there was to be a launch the winds came up to a point where it was unsafe for the balloons to lift off, so the rally for the day was cancelled. However in the afternoon the winds had eased and the balloons were allowed to travel so we went to a nice viewing spot and watched.
A couple of weeks later was the chile festival on the downtown mall. There were vendors selling their wares, food booths and strolling bands. The boys enjoyed this event and talked about it for several days.
In November both of the boys were stricken with a very difficult virus. The virus left them both very weak and they were not able to go to school for over a week. I thought they just didn't want to go to school, but they insisted they were weak. In a few days I myself came down with the same virus, which left me very weak, and I apologized to both of them for doubting they were weak.
Each week Carlos and Rene' both went to church with me. Carlos would go into the church and go straight to the teen department, but Rene' would go to the meeting place where the senior citizens had the Sunday class. I asked, Rene' why he chose to go straight to where the older people were and he said, "Pat, I miss my grandparents so much, so being with the older people helps me."
At Christmas break time from school Rene' and Carlos bought airline tickets to got to New York City for holiday. They did sightseeing and went to some Broadway shows as well. One day they went by ferry to the Statue of Liberty. On the ferry Rene' took a photo of the statue which turned out to be one of the best photos I have ever seen of Lady Liberty. He made me a copy of the photo and I had it custom framed and it hangs in my dining room and each time I see it I think of Rene'.
In mid January the mother of Carlos came to the United States and took her son with her to return to Brazil. I was elated that Carlos was gone because his attitude frustrated me and Carlos got on Rene's nerves so he was glad Carlos was gone as well.
For the Easter break from school I took Rene' to California. While we were there Rene' went to Disneyland with someone in the family and he and I went to Knott's Berry Farm. The weather was a bit cool and it rained the first day we were the so there was not any smog. We stayed with my brother, Jerry and his wife, Flora.
About 7 days before the school year was over, Rene's parents arrived from Germany for an extended visit of eleven days. My birthday was to be in just a couple of weeks. On the day Rene' and his parents were to leave to go to Germany, Rene, came in with a mylar birthday balloon. Tied to the ribbon on the balloon was an envelope. It was a birthday card for me, enclosed was a gift certificate to allow me to fly in a hot air balloon. Since hot air balloons cannot fly if the air is too warm, the balloon ride would have to wait until the fall. So I made arrangements with the pilot of the balloon to fly in November. That shall be the next chapter.
He Is My Hiding Place
Dwelling in the hiding place
Of the most high God
I will abide in His shadow
He is my refuge and fortress
So in Him I will always trust
He will deliver me
From the snare of the enemy
And keep me from pestilence
He will cover me with His feathers
He will be my shield and buckler
I shall not fear of terror in the night.
Nor the arrow that flies by day.
life, we fell in love
soon we were married with three kids
now he has been gone for twenty years and I miss him.
|Author Notes||The photo is of Lady Liberty which Rene' gave me. It was taken from a hard angle so it look a little off.|
My Hot Air Balloon Rides
In 1996 on Christmas, my daughter Penny gave me a gift that I had always wanted. She gave me a ride in a hot air balloon. We went to the desert close to Phoenix, Arizona. Penny, her husband my grand daughter, Julie and I were there. When we got to the launch site, there awaited an enormous hot air balloon. The pilot was in the process of filling the balloon with air, using a huge fan. Attached to the balloon, was a very large basket. There was enough room in the basket to accommodate twelve people and the pilot.
All of the passengers got into the basket, Then the pilot pulled the cord to turn the big burner on, which put heat into the balloon. As the balloon heated, we started to rise. As we rose, the ground crew, who had been holding the ropes released the ropes, soon we were rising. When we were up about 200 feet, the pilot pointed across the desert. Where he had pointed, were vehicles and people milling around. The pilot said, "That is where we will be landing." In about 45 minutes, we were nearing the spot where the pilot had told us we would land. As he pulled some cords to let small amounts of air out of the balloon, we were descending to the ground.
The crew where we landed had spread out a long red carpet for us. When we got out of the basket, we were directed to kneel on the carpet. Then the crew, all holding champagne bottles shook the bottles, uncapped them and sprayed us all with champagne. We were then given towels to wipe the champagne off our faces. Then we were directed to a long table where there was a fine brunch with beautiful china, lain out for us. There were bagels with cream cheese, scrambled eggs and orange juice. We were presented certificates as first time flyers.
It was an incredible flight and I never expected to ride in a hot air balloon again.
Fast forward with me if you will, to June 5, 1999, two days before my 61st birthday.
My foreign exchange student, Rene' gave me a mylar balloon with a birthday card attached by a long ribbon. I opened the card and there was a certificate for another hot air balloon ride.
What a wonderful birthday gift this was to me, from Rene'. He is a very fine young man from Berlin Germany. Rene' came to America in September of 1998 to spend the school year with me, in my home. He's a very respectful young man, and I grew to love him like a son while he stayed with me.
On November 11, 1999, I met the pilot of a much smaller balloon than the one I had ridden in Phoenix two years before. We met at the school yard in the town of Old Mesilla, New Mexico, the same town where Billy the Kid had been tried for his notorious chimes.
When arriving at the schoolyard the crew had the balloon carefully laid out across the yard. Then a huge fan was brought in and they began to blow air into the balloon. This took about 20 minutes. At this point the pilot got into the basket, then he assisted me as I got into the basket with him.
I so much enjoyed the flight and shared with the pilot about Rene' and how nice it was for me to have had him in my home. I said to the pilot, "One day I saw your balloon land close to my house. When I went to see your crew, take the balloon down and put it in the bag after the flight. I asked them for a card about balloon rides."
I had the card laying on the table and Rene' found it and without my knowledge, he had the youth pastor at my church, order the flight for me.
The flight lasted for one hour and we flew over the Mesilla Valley in Las Cruces, NM. We flew southeast over pecan orchards and over the Rio Grande River. It was a beautiful flight. As we began to descend, the pilot told me to help him watch below for any electrical wires. All we could hear beside our talking to each other, were dogs barking from the ground and the swish of the burner as heat was put into the balloon.
We came down in a very desert area, as we landed the crew was waiting for us. We landed on the side of a road and the basket almost turned over, but the crew righted it and then directed the balloon up a dirt road for about 500 feet to a nice area where the balloon could be stowed in its bag.
The name of the pilot was Bob Haynes, so I was on the Hale Bob balloon.
My sincere thanks to Rene' for a most delightful flight on the hot air balloon.
|Author Notes||The photo is of the actual balloon I was riding in that day.|
Roses and Thorns
The year was 2001 and in my life there had been so many events that hurt, and events that brought joy. There had been many thorns and yet in the garden of my life, God had planted beautiful roses along my way. This year was to be no exception.
Early June and I traveled to see my youngest daughter and her family in Fort Worth Texas. Here God planted another rose in my garden. My son, Bob and his wife Patty and their daughters came to visit in Fort Worth, so I got to see his family again. Patty was suffering from cancer and had just found out she had another cancer. The visit was a blessing and Patty was such a positive person, just sure she would survive. She was very tired, but she didn't let her tiredness keep her from enjoying the fun things that the family was doing.
Since my son and I had only had two other times meeting with each other. With him having been given up, by me for adoption at his birth, we wanted to learn more about each other.
While the families were out doing many things, my son and I chose to stay back at the house. We wanted to have time where we could talk. It was a very private time of communicating with Bob. He got to better understand who I was and I got to know him better as well.
The days passed all to quickly and Patty and Bob and their girls had to return to their home in Illinois. I didn't want the time to be over thinking I may never get to them again. So their departure felt like another thorn in my life. Only time would tell.
Here came a day of a major thorn in my life, but not only my life but in the lives of many in American and many from around the world. This is my memories of that day in my life and the days that followed.
September 11, 2001
It was the morning of September 11, 2001. I was in Farmington, New Mexico as guest speaker at Christian Women's club. It was a brisk morning and I was excited about what I was going to be doing that afternoon. I had a quiet breakfast, a cup of hot tea and a bagel with cream cheese on it. I visited with my friend Karen Hunter who had traveled with me on the trip as I was not only going to speak in Farmington that day was going to travel on to Cortez, Colorado that afternoon to be a speaker for the Christian Women's club in that city as well the next day.
After breakfast I told Karen I would go take my shower and get dressed for the day and then she could have the bathroom. I brushed my teeth and noticed I still had a bit of the bagel between the spaces in my teeth, so went into the kitchen and got a tooth pick to free the morsel. Then I got into the shower, and took an exhilarating shower. I very carefully fixed my hair and put on my make-up. I then dressed in the nice outfit I had taken for the occasion. I finished off the outfit by putting on homemade jewelry, made from potatoes. After showering and dressing I told Karen she could have the bathroom.
I went into the living room of the host family we were staying with and bumped the lampshade slightly as I turned on the lamp beside the chair. It was at this point I got another cup of hot tea and thought I would turn on the television to see what the news was for the day.
In the space of about five minutes I was to see on the news all of the horror of that dreadful day. It seemed that in the twinkling of an eye the world seemed to have gone mad. I watched as the planes flew into the World Trade Center Towers, and the plane flying into the Pentagon, blowing the towers and the Pentagon to smithereens. Information was coming at me like a mighty hurricane and I wished I could have been relaxing in a hammock in forest between two pine trees. I was having a terrible time making my mind engage what was happening. I was not wanting to relinquish the peace I had felt earlier that morning, but knew what was happening that day was real.
At this point I arose as Karen was coming out of the bathroom and I told her to come see the horror of the news that morning. Karen and I both stood watching the television, crying for our nation, for the people who must have been lost in the attack, and for their families. Karen had family members who lived in Pennsylvania close to where the plane had gone down and this even more upsetting for Karen.
For the next couple of hours both Karen and I seemed like we were living in a nightmare. For each of us this was a nightmare, and was not going to end for some time. Neither of us would ever forget this day.
Then it was time to leave for the luncheon where I was to speak. Getting into our vehicle, Karen did the driving, I could see Karen's hand trembling on the steering wheel and I asked her if she would like for me to drive. She said she would be okay and I asked her to be careful as we drove the short distance.
Speaking that day was a very hard task and as I spoke my voice was trembling with each word. But it was good for me to be able to speak telling the audience in the room about what God had done for me in my life. I had been a terrible person in my past, but God's grace had taken me unto Himself to be His child, and had given me the opportunity to tell of His wonderful grace when He saved me some 40 years earlier.
When I was finished speaking for my Lord and Savior, I had the honor of leading a young lady to make her decision for the Lord to be her Savior as well.
Karen and I drove to Cortez Colorado that afternoon and spent the night with a host family there. When we arrived in Cortez the television was on in the home and most of the afternoon and evening, we watched the events of the day, knowing that our world would never quite be the same.
Why had this horror happened and who could hate our country enough to do such horrible things? That was the question that was on many minds I am sure.
I prayed and asked the Lord to help me sleep that night. It was hard to sleep, but finally I fell asleep.
The next morning our hostess took us to a lake north of Cortez to show us how dry the lake had become because of the drought we were experiencing in New Mexico that year. As we left the lake our attention was drawn to the sky which was a beautiful azure blue and noticed some clouds in the sky. There was a bigger cloud that almost looked like an eagle with its wings spread like it was soaring and below and around the bigger cloud were many smaller clouds, maybe there were 50 of the smaller clouds. I took comfort in the clouds and looked at them as a sign that God was saying to us that, He had His hand on America and all would be well, but never quite the same.
On Friday of that week I drove from Albuquerque to my home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It seemed so strange as I drove to not see any con trails in the sky. I listened to the radio and heard President Bush speak from a church in Washington, D.C. The president's tone comforted my spirit.
God had been good to me on the trip. I had seen a soul come to know Jesus, had a nice visit with lovely people we had stayed with, and been in the company of a wonderful friend for many miles as we drove from Albuquerque, to Farmington, and Cortez and back to Albuquerque in a four-day road trip for our Lord. God is so Good!
After 9-11-2001 I traveled to Kansas to speak at Christian Women's clubs in the Hutchinson Kansas area. Since I was leery about traveling by air, I chose to make the 700 mile by car. I traveled by myself. Spent two days to making the trip. I stayed one night in a motel at about the halfway point in the trip.
In Kansas I stayed with my daughter Pam and her family. This was another rose in my garden as I got to see my grandson Isaac who was only nine months old. I spoke to two different clubs and that was a blessing from God. After my commitment to speak, I stayed a couple of days with Pam. Then I returned home.
After getting home from my trip I learned that Patty, Bob's wife was doing very badly as the cancer in her body was taking a major toll on her health and she was in severe pain. The last couple of months of her life she had to be on morphine to control that pain.
Patty died in late November so this was another thorn time in my life as my heart was aching for my son and his daughters as they lost the loved wife and mother. The daughters were only in their teens and this was so hard for them.
|Author Notes||Four random stories form the year 2001 in my life the good and the bad memories|
A Thorn Experience
When things seemed to be going wonderfully in my life, I was to once again have another thorn experience. An experience which could have very well cost me my life, but didn't.
The date was November 2, 2002. I had attended church that morning. I was feeling great. On the way home from church I stopped and got myself a hamburger at a fast food shop. I ate the burger when I got home. I decided to lie down for a short nap. I slept close to an hour. When I awoke, my stomach was churning and I had to hug the white throne in the bathroom, as I was violently ill and lost all of the hamburger and even the breakfast I had eaten earlier. The nausea just kept coming in waves. I called my dear friend Pat Morris and told her I was very ill. She came and got me and took me to the hospital.
At the hospital doctors tended to me and there were many tests done to determine what was making me so ill. In a couple of hours the reports were ready and it was determined that I had pancreatitis. The first question the doctor asked me was this, "How much alcohol do you drink and when was your last drink?"
I said, "I don't drink alcohol at all." I had done some drinking in early adult life and had quit drinking. I had problems each time I would drink and I could see, if I kept drinking, I was going to become an alcoholic. So I determined to quit drinking.
I spent the whole night in the emergency room, because there was a lack of beds in the intensive care unit. Finally, at five in the morning I was taken to an ICU room. I was not allowed a drink of water, a simple ice cube or any food. The pancreas needed to be as quiet as possible so it could heal. In all I spent four days in the intensive care unit. I had not a thing to drink or eat for those four days.
On November 4 our state was having an election. I had not voted early so I was distressed that I would not be able to vote, which I always did. My friend Pat went to the county offices and was able to obtain an absentee ballot so I could vote from my hospital bed. The ballot was in a sealed envelope and I was the only one to see what was inside. I took the ballot and marked my choices which included a vote for governor for our state. I then put all the papers in another envelope and sealed it. My friend took my ballot back to the county office. I was grateful I had been allowed to vote.
During the hospital stay, they would come in several times a day to draw blood. After five days my veins were so fragile they could no longer draw blood. This being the case, they put in what is called 'an inline catheter' which remained in place for the rest of the hospital stay. Having the inline catheter, they were able to draw blood through it, which was such a blessing. I no longer had to be poked many times a day for drawing blood.
I was in extreme pain and the first four days, I prayed to die. It was so painful that I hope that, never would a friend of mine have to endure this kind of pain. In all I was in the hospital for 10 days. After being in the hospital, when I came home the pain in my belly was still very bad and with each step, my belly hurt to the point where I would almost double over in pain. The pain in my belly when walking lasted for eight months before it was not there anymore.
Since I was unable to do much in the eight months, I spent many hours knitting a queen-size bedspread, all in one piece and it is the picture you see here. I entered the bedspread in the Southern New Mexico State Fair. It was awarded with the second best of the show, which had about 400 entries in the stitching category. The ribbons it won are in the picture. The bedspread is on the bed in the guest room of my home.
A the time of this awful illness I had no help in keeping my home as I lived alone so I struggle each day just to keep up with the necessary things which had to be done.
I am finally getting better with my eyes. The surgery has helped greatly.
Things in my life were moving along quite well after the thorn experience of pancreatitis until the spring of 2003. I was still having a bit of difficulty with the stomach hurting badly when I would walk. In the spring, I was to get another blow, one that was devastating. It involved my grand daughter Julie. Here is the story.
It seems Julie's step father had been sexually molesting her since she was 12 years old, now she was almost 17 and one day at school a friend and she got to talking about abuse. The friend shared a story about sexual abuse and described it to Julie.
Julie said, "That sounds like what has been happening to me."
Her friend then said to Julie, "You need to go talk to the school nurse about this."
Julie told her story to the nurse. The nurse asked Julie for the phone number where her mom worked. The school nurse called my daughter, Julies' mom, at work and told her what Julie had shared. Julie's mother dropped everything and went to the school and got Julie. She then proceeded to go home and get clothes for herself and Julie, and they went to the grand parents of Julie.
That day Penny, went to the hardware store and got new locks for their home and changed the locks, so the molester could not enter the home where they lived. Penny then filed for a restraining order against the molester.
Shortly after, there were charges filed against the perp. The process of going to trial was started. I was still suffering from the effect of the pancreatitis. After I got better, I began a walking program and in 13 months, I walked more than 1,300 miles and lost 70 pounds.
Finally in 2004 the trial was held against the perp., and the jury found him guilty on 13 counts against a child. He was sentence two months later to 125 years in prison with no parole possible. This being behind our family my life got back to pretty much a normal pattern. However in April of 2005 I had a minor heart attack and had to have a stint put into my heart.
On April 21 I met a gentleman Bill Meadows, and we had a wonderful relationship. We traveled to Nashville, went to the grand Ole Opry and took a couple of trips by boat on the Cumberland River. On our trip back to New Mexico we stopped to see my son and his family, then on to visit my twin brother and his wife for a couple of days, then to Kansas to visit with my daughter Pamela and her family.
In November I had to have surgery on my shoulder for a torn rotator cuff, then shortly developed a very bad cold that lasted for several weeks. Then just before Christmas Bill found out he had cancer and needed surgery. He gave me an option to just walk away, but that I could not do, as I loved this man and we had even planned to marry the next year. The marriage did not happen as after surgery Bill never recovered and one month later he passed away.
My health improved for two years, but in 2008 I had a serious heart attack and really thought I would die, but with quick action by myself and the emergency crews I went to the hospital where another stint was placed in my heart.
In 2009 I began to have problems with my eyes as I developed macular degeneration. I have had treatment on both eyes now for more than five years and now it looks as though the eyes are doing well.
This is the ending of my story to this point.
It has been a struggle for me to have this written in hopefully an understandable way for all of my fan story friends.
God bless, Patricia
This has been a hard journey for me to write my story. I am not a skilled writer, but wanted to try to tell my story. If you have read most of my story you will appreciate the difficulty.
If you have just now come to read my book, if you would bookmark you could come back and read it at your leisure. My story was made into a radio drama and is available on the internet at
When at the site go to the archives for Oct 2014 and the name Patricia Lawrence
Doing my story for the drama and for this book has been a most humbling experience for me. God has blessed my life in so many ways and even saved me from death on a number of occasions, which are told in my book.
I have finished my book now, but want to acknowledge those who helped me writing the story.
First and foremost, God the Father for giving me many of the words as I was writing each story. He was helping me to recall memories which had been lost for many years. He, on several occasions saved my life from almost certain death. He saw my whole life before the foundation of the world and knew I would one day write the story. Without Him, I couldn't have written any of the story.
God allowed me to have several wonderful men of God as pastors who proclaimed the words of truth. Brother Don Miller the pastor under whose ministry I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus as my Savior. Brother Ted Trisler at Puente Hill Baptist Church in Covina, CA under whose ministry I sat for about 10 years. Brothers Bob Dwiggins, Jim Shirley and Max Perkins. All three men served as pastors of Temple Baptist Church in Las Cruces, NM. Brothers Butch Carroll, Mike Haggard and Johnny Roberts; who were faithful pastors at Hill Baptist Church in Las Cruces, NM. Brother Richard Johnson my pastor now serving at Scripture Baptist Church in Las Cruces, NM.
Another group that helped me come to faith were the workers at the Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers in S. Louis, MO This was the home where I gave birth to my son. Shortly after his birth I relinquished him for adoption.
My wonderful aunt and uncle, Thelma and Cecil Pugh, who allowed me to live with them for several months before I met and married my husband.
My wonderful, loving husband Wayne Lawrence. And the parents of Wayne who welcomed me with open arms into their family.
My beautiful daughters Penny, Pamela and Patricia who were very good children and didn't give me many problems as their mother.
The son I had given up for adoption when he was a baby, I was able to locate when he was 35 years old. Bob and his family and his adoptive mother MaryLou are now friends of mine. Bob is very respectful of me as his birth mom.
Then there is Kennetha Gaebler who inspired me to write my story as I had to write so much for her to use to write my story as a script for a radio drama for the Unshackled Program, a ministry of Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago IL. The Pacific Garden Mission staff. All helped in writing my story. As well as the actors and actresses, who played the parts of the various people in my story.
I would also like to thank the many who reviewed my story as I was writing and posting it on the website, for Fanstory.com. Many of you have been helpful to me by carefully proofreading my work and noted corrections needed to be made as I wrote the chapters.
At some points in the writing, I struggled with my emotions as I recalled painful memories.
For all who have read and commented on my book I want to say thanks and God bless you all.
This has been a very humbling journey, but a journey I am happy to have taken.
God was faithful through my life to give me roses to have me smell His goodness, and thorns to keep me humble. Mighty is our God and greatly to be praised.
On Her God Smiled
Her life was a troubled life
Having much to overcome
She dealt well with the strife
She did right, now she does write.
Her father abused her, his child
Yet she was very compliant
Her manner was meek and mild
She did right, now she does write.
She was raped and was with child
Her family wanted her to abort
Since she chose adoption, God smiled
She did right, now she does write.
I have taken you from my earliest memory of my twin brother and I burning our barn, as we were playing with matches. Early childhood memories, trip to Minnesota the be in older brother's wedding, a couple of short stories for a bit of a break for the readers as at some points the story is rather intense.
meeting and marrying a wonderful man to whom I married almost 37 years.
Serious auto accident. Seeing husband go through open heart surgery.
Finding a son who I had to give up for adoption. Losing my husband to death almost 20 years ago and so much more.
The photo is of the pastor I sat under for about 10 years and who also wrote the forward on the prologue page. Dr. Ted Trisler. I learned a lot under his ministry.
Thank You God For Using Me
God said to me, "I will not let you go,
I have work I want you to do."
I said, "God, what talent do I have
To offer You that You could use?"
God said, "Child you are good with words
And with my help we can put them together."
I said, " Okay God, I understand you want
Me to write praises to You."
God said. " I also want you to share your life
As a testimony on a radio drama."
I said, "But God I don't remember
Much of my childhood which is required."
God said, "Child, trust me
And I will give you those memories."
I said, "Okay God, I know now what You
Are asking me to do."
So God said, " I need for you to do it now,
I will help you along the way."
So as I began to write the story,
And as the memories I began to recall,
Many times from my eyes,
Tears would form and fall.
Now God said, "Child, I am pleased,
You did as I asked You to do,
And my grace is going to
Flood you like a river."
And I said, "thank you God for seeing
Something in me You could use,
For taking a sinner like me,
To use for Your Glory
As You had me tell my story."
This is the conversation I was having with God as He was asking me to do something I didn't think I could do. But, He proved to me that with His help I could achieve what He was asking of me.
To hear the drama this poem speaks of on the internet, it will be available in US Oct 5th and 12th, 2014
It can be accessed by googling Patricia Lawrence/free indeed and 2 links will come up for 3325 and 3326
The first verse those who thought I had it all together were High School peers who saw me that way. Years later I was telling one of them about my life in HS and she
said to me she saw me as one of the most put together girls in the whole school.
The image is one I did on the computer
This took about 6 minutes to write.
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