So, my life begins. In a small country town, where the inhabitants live nestled between the Tennessee River and several mountain ranges, I was born. The city is called Jasper and the state is Tennessee. It is the gateway to the beautiful Sequatchie Valley. In the year of 1960, my life began. It was a hot summer day. My mother’s labor was long and arduous. But it was nothing compared to the gift my mother was about to receive. A year and three months later my brother Randall was born. Later in my life, my mother told me that ever since she could remember she always wanted children.
My mother and father were poor growing up. They ran off to get married when my mom was sixteen and my dad was twenty. They were children really. What does one really know about life at such a young age? Both of my parents lost their mothers when they were young children. They lived with various relatives for a short time until the grieving parent could get a handle on things. Losing a mother can be a tragic thing for a child. The rest of their lives they search for a mother’s love. It’s impossible to replace it with any other kind of love. However, they tried to find it in each other.
Tennessee was magical to me. I remember the smell of the air in the morning. It was pure, like crystal clear spring water. The mountains were endless with millions of trees from top to bottom. Often, I would gaze at the loveliness which surrounded me. In the back yard, there was a very large honey suckle bush. I would pull out the stem and lick it, tasting the sweet nectar of the flower while trying to avoid the bees. In the evening, the lights would flicker like candles on a cake from the various homes scattered across the mountain range. Oh these were the days of innocence when nothing mattered but candy and toys to a small girl.
In 1968, we moved back to Fort Wayne for the last time. My father had a hard time finding work yet again. This time we had to move into government housing. Not only did we need assistance with housing but surviving in general. My father, being a proud man, tried very hard to find a job. In about a year’s time, he found a job at Fruehauf Corporation as a spray painter and stayed with that company until he passed away. In February of 1970, my parents bought their first house on Elm Street. The day that we moved in, the temperature was 10 degrees below zero. We had a hard time getting the furnace going, but once we did, it was wonderful and the house was large inside. I had my own room finally. It wasn’t a dream house by no means, but it meant that we were going to stay put for a while, which was okay with me.