Yesterday was "Aunt Debbi"s birthday; she is 59. "Aunt Debbi" is in quotes because she is not really aunt to anyone in my house -- she is my step sister.
In 1965 there was a man and his wife, Emmert and Alice, bringing up their family of four children the best that they could, struggling to make ends meet. He had fought in World War II in the Army. When the War ended, he married his military sweetheart, Alice Drolette, whom he met in California.
I'm not sure who the man up on the left is. Alice's father, maybe.
They moved to the east coast. He went to college on the GI bill, studying Veterinary Medicine full time, working full time, while his wife had babies. He worked, the bought a car. He worked, they bought a house. He invested and was half-owner in a gas station, all while he sent to college full time.
After six years of college, the University of Maryland, in its infinite wisdom, decided to revamp the requirements for graduation in this field, informing Emmert that he would need two more years of classes. That shouldn't be a problem, right? After all, it was covered by the GI bill. You try being an adult male, married, going to college and working full time, both, and parenting four, and tell me if it is a problem. He dropped out and sold lawn mowers.
The youngest baby in the above photo -- that's "Aunt Debbi". She lives with my family.
So, he sold lawn mowers for Toro. He sold his gas station. They bought a new, big, brick house and moved out to the suburbs. He started his own company, a company that installed underground sprinkler systems. They didn't do fabulously, but they scraped by. The kids got older.
Those were the Jimmy Dean actor days. Every boy wanted to look like him.
But there was a growth on Alice's throat one day. She went to the doctor. He said it was a cyst; ignore it, leave it alone, go home. It didn't go away; she went back. He said the same thing. Dr. Lyon. Said it's a cyst. It's a cyst. Six months later she was dead. It was cancer. It was 1965. Back then they didn't know as much about cancer, but no matter how you look at it, she died younger than she should have.
It was a tragic time for the family. The oldest son, above left, Buzz, had a car -- it had been refurbished by dad after an accident. One day, while brother 2 above, Jimmy, on the right, was in the passenger seat and Buzz was driving, the front axle cracked in half. The car veered off the road into a telephone pole, and Jimmy was killed. Buzz was scarred for life: physically, emotionally, relationally. It had been six months since mom had died.
In another neighborhood less than two miles away, a woman was in a marriage she found intolerable. She had dropped out of high school without graduating to marry a man. She didn't even have a driver's license. Her mom and sister wanted her to marry the man. The man had asked her to marry. The sister was marrying the man's brother. They had married. Now, 13 years later, she was trying to get away. But generally speaking, people in 1965 did not divorce unless they were movie stars.
Skipping details we don't want to think about, two years later they were divorced, and Ida was married to Emmert. Emmert's older kids saw it coming and wanted out before it happened. They both got married and left the family. Then they married, and Ida brought three children with here into a house where "Aunt Debbi" lived alone with her dad, still reeling over the sudden explosive loss of first her mother, then her brother Jimmy, the the "abandonment" by Sandi and Buzz. There was nothing Debbi could do, herself. She was only 15.
Then Debbi's Florida Grama died, and her grandfather moved in with the crowded family. He didn't adjust well to his wife's death, and was an alcoholic til the day he died. When he died, Ida was expecting a baby from this blended marriage. When Roy Scott Walker died, Ida almost miscarried, but she didn't. Three months later, their son was born, and she named him Scott, after his grandfather that he never got to meet.
Amazing the way the family blended. That's me on the left. Our hair all looks the same color! Now, when I look at that photo, I can see how Debbi, the one with bangs, looks like her dad, and the rest of us don't exactly. Now Scott, as an adult, is the spittin' image of Dad Walker, in my opinion.
Well, Dad Walker died in 2006, and Mom did in 2007.
Now, where were we going with this... Yesterday was Deb's birthday. She's not yet 60. She is terminal with breast cancer. It was stage IV before she even asked the doctor to look at it. She is diabetic, and was constantly at the doctor to attend to the diabetes, but didn't bother to mention the issue with her left breast. ::sigh::
Don't have any digital photos of her on my computer right now. She hates to be photographed. Anyway, please pray for her. She is in a lot of pain right now, is on oral chemotherapy and other treatments, but has lost a lot of weight. Thank you for your prayers.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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