BS in Elementary Education from FAMU and MS from Nazareth College in Special Ed; has 20 years in the educational field and 16 years in Rochester City School District; she has performed for various schools, churches, and civic organizations. Gwen is currently the President of BSL.
WEBSITE STATEMENT: How will you hold on and pass on your precious story memories?
The most precious person in my life went home to be with the Lord on March 5, 2008. His name was Carlton Lonnie Joseph Sr. Some called him Jack the Ripper, Papa Jack and my nephew Jeremy, as a little boy called him Bat Man. I called him Daddy. Daddy was a man that stood tall and was as handsome as could be. He had a deep voice and when he spoke, you listened. He was a hard worker and he did whatever he needed to provide a stable home, and support for our family. He had his quiet moments and very seldom did he speak of his childhood. He was like his mother in some ways. When you asked “Grandma Bessie to tell you about herself when she was growing up she would reply“ ain’t nothin to tell. “But that was okay, because I learned so much from and about her through observation.
Daddy would tell us the most important thing you can do is respect yourself and others. Go to school and do your best. One of his favorite sayings was “what a shame that we have free school and dumb ……….! “He would tell us about how we had every opportunity to be whatever we put our minds too. Daddy would say “see you all got it easy, me! I had to go to the fields and pick beans.“
I have plenty story memories of daddy. From fighting in the Korean War, spending months in the hospital from injuries he sustained, to discrimination issues at Eastman Kodak. Fond story memories include hearing his voice when the preacher asked “who gives this woman to this man?” Also, his waiting impatiently as I was giving birth to his eighth grandchild.
Lately, one story memory that has engulfed me daily is his journey with cancer. This was a dreaded journey. Some days, when daddy was in good spirits it brought smiles to our faces, other days we would laugh at his jokes. Oh! Daddy could come up with some stuff. Then there were days when the tears just wouldn’t stop flowing. Losing a love one is devastating, but we have all been left with a special gift of story memories. I say to each of you reading this, gather all of your family story memories from the beginning to the end and PASS THEM ON! They will indeed be a part of you forever. They maybe all you have left after that special love one is gone.
Now, I am going to say good night to all of you readers and listen to one of my daddy’s voice message:
(I’ll share just this one)
“Gwennie, give me a call and tell me where my peanuts at? You got me on hold now. When I be looking for something and think they coming. I want them NOW!! Give me a call okay bye-bye.
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