The Aunts – A Short-Short Story

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The Aunt’s and the “World’s Oldest Profession”
A True Short-Short Story…

 
In the early 1800s, the hectic harbor in Mobile, Alabama was bustling with upriver planters who came to town for the annual cotton-marketing season. Along the waterfront a variety of establishments from boarding houses, hotels, saloons and other places know as the gentlemen’s entertaining facilities, as a group they were known as “Shakespeare’s Row”. During the South’s Antebellum Era prostitution ranked right up there with vagrancy and public intoxication. It later became a prohibition of any disorderly behavior public or privately. The fines for “keeping a disorderly house” ranged from $10 to $25; there were no consistent laws on the subject.

 
It was during mid-1850, when my Aunt Molly and Modena Veste found themselves visiting a distant cousin in Mobile near the waterfront. They had inherited a hotel outside Birmingham, Alabama and after working night and day for months decided to give themselves a vacation. Leaving the Veste Hotel in the capable hands of their hired staff off the two went on their seashore retreat.

 
It was toward the end of their stay when they ventured onto the waterfront and Shakespeare’s Row. Neither Molly nor Modena wavered from having a good time. When they inherited their Aunt Ira’s Hotel the entire family encouraged them to turn their lives around and make a living running the upper-class establishment.
It was during that trip to Mobil that the idea of turning the Veste Hotel into a “Gentleman’s Club” became a reality. They did not identify themselves with the Shakespeare Row prostitutes, but they did discover since their youth their need to pander with men.

 
These two young women catered to the wealthy, cards, cigars and liquor became the enticement. Upon paying a substantial monthly fee to join, a daily fee deposited at the door would give the gentleman their choice of available “Ladies of Pleasure” or “Ladies of Easy Virtue” for one hour. The city agreed to turn their heads to these nightly “Whore Parties” for a reasonable tax! A wink and a nod condoned and protected prostitution at the Veste Hotel for almost 50 years.

 
Therefore, Miss Molly and Miss Modena brought the red-light district to Northern Alabama. It was one of the few buildings left standing when Yankee troops pilfered their way through the south. The women that worked in the hotel were not cheap, but to test the virtuous caverns of the Veste sisters’ could be costly.

 

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The Chickasaw – Part 8

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The Chickasaw – Part 8

Sipsee and Jane thought life at Chadwick Manor was worse than they could have imagined witnessing pain and sorrow.  They also learned to live in a world where freedom was recognized only by the color of one’s skin; they learned that the world they lived in showed hatred for both the Negro and the Indian people.  The Indians were mostly free in many of the states that withdrew from the Union.

They would learn how to survive…

Jane had wonderful memories of her mother and father; she also had nightmares of seeing her father killed and of the Master of Chadwick coming to their one room shanty during the night.  The sadness of moving from the forest onto land where she was surrounded by cotton, and living with her mother’s sadness, Jane knew that both she and her mother would need to learn a new way to survive.

As a favor to Sipsee, Mistress Chadwick-Alboin and Master Alboin allowed Jane to be schooled along with their daughter;  Jane learned  reading and writing, elegant manners.  Her mother told her that an education was the only way she would escape from being an Indian; Sipsee wanted her only child to do extremely well in this new land, to be accepted in any social setting.  Jane did want to learn the white man ways; she would never forget that she was the daughter of Hawk Over-Town.

Their home may have been a one room shanty in slave quarters, but it was home; Jane was a tall gangly girl that did not have the beauty of her mother, instead she was to bare the hard sculpted features of her father.  She felt safe when she and her mother were roaming the woods collecting herbs and plants for medicine.  Sipsee would teach Jane the ways of their people, the custom, the culture, they would grow strong and some day be more than slaves to rich landowners.  Sipsee wanted to see the day when she and her daughter did not have to address these people as Missus and Master.

Then War came to Chadwick Manor…

The State of Alabama declared that it had seceded from the United States of America on January 11, 1861.  Jane was thirteen-years-old; she had learned many things like gracefulness and proper manners; Sipsee had succeeded in keeping her daughter from the Master, now she had to worry about the soldiers both Union and Southern, neither respected women.  It was during the beginning of the war that Sipsee found out about other Chickasaw’s living in the area; the Mistress of Chadwick sent them there to be safe, neither side Union or Southern bothered the Indians.  When they arrived everyone greeted them, they were shown kindness; it would be their home until the War Between the States was over.

Jane right up to the end of her life would not talk about the War.  She and her mother were happy when it ended; Jane was seventeen-years-old.   She would only say that the greed of the white man would be their downfall.  Sipsee and Jane remain in the Chickasaw village when the War ended.

It was there that Jane met Pap.  He was a scout for the South, and Jane just became a teenager and was smitten by him.  Sipsee did not care for him as he was twenty years older than Jane was; Sipsee hoped that he would not come back; Jane felt a sadness she could not explain.  

To be continued…

Story Resources:

Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton” 1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything, It was her body that was ready for death; she lay down for an afternoon nap and woke only to say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father.

Grandson – Roy C. Johnson

Granddaughter – Vina Evans-Quinn

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree Great – Granddaughter

 

BOOKS AT AMAZON.COM BY ELIZABETH ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE

https://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8/

https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought/dp/1540862356/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Rutted-Roads-Collections-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1532909365/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF81

https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Art-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500502960/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

The Chickasaw – Part 5

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The Chickasaw – Part 5

Hawk found a way to cross the Mississippi River into Northern Alabama.  They made their home on the Eastern side of Alabama.  They lived among a few Indians that were not forced to leave.  Hawk knew that if they did not live like the “white man” they would be forced to leave or killed.  Sipsee learned the language and would walk to the nearest settlement to work; they wanted to build a cabin.  Sipsee knew that they must change with the times, Hawk kept to himself and his own dreams.

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In 1848, Sipsee gave birth to a baby girl, the only child she and Hawk would ever have; she call her Jane and never gave her an Indian name.  It was Sipsee’s way of trying to go with the coming change in their lives.  This change did not mean that she would not teach her daughter to old customs just learn to survive.  Both Sipsee and Hawk learn to survive in their own ways.  He in the way of the land and playing the white man’s game to his advantage.

Once when Sipsee ventured into town and the general store’s proprietor ask her what was her name, she told him Sipsee.  He asks for her last name, she said “Over-Town”; they had tribe names, but no last name.  He misunderstood and called her Sipsee Overton.  Sipsee decided when dealing with the white man she would use the name Overton; it stayed that and continues in the descendants today.

 

To be continued…

Resource – Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton” 1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything, It was her body that was ready for death; she lay down for an afternoon nap and woke only to say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father.

Other Resources:

Granddaughter – Vina Evans-Quinn

Resource and Post Writer – Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree Great – granddaughter

BOOKS AT AMAZON.COM BY ELIZABETH ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE

https://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8/

https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought/dp/1540862356/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Rutted-Roads-Collections-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1532909365/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF81

https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Art-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500502960/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

The Chickasaw – Part 4

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Continue – The Chickasaw

They all spoke softly among themselves about what was happening and of the strange land, they were taking them too.  What use to be a proud people, they were now faltering under degrading conditions. Many elders, young children and babies died as all were herded like cattle on a dusty path.   Many years later, this action by the white man against the Indians would be called “The Trail of Tears”.

Ma’s grandparents died before reaching Arkansas …

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There were many fires at night when they were allowed to stop; all Nations were represented, the most were the Cherokee.  Ma was told that many young men spoke of escaping, Hawk agreed with them.  She remembered her father saying that he had rather be dead than living like animals herded into circles by the soldiers.  One of the Over-Town elders a Shaman, “married” them, giving them many spiritual blessings.  Hawk would not leave without Sipsee.  During the darkness of night, they slipped away; Hawk did not tell Sipsee, he knew that their parents would pay for their freedom with their own lives.

 

Hawk found a way to cross the Mississippi River into Northern Alabama.  They made their home on the Eastern side of Alabama.  They lived among a few Indians that were not forced to leave.  Hawk knew that if they did not live like the “white man” they would be forced to leave or killed.  Sipsee learned the language and would walk to the nearest settlement to work; they wanted to build a cabin.  Sipsee knew that they must change with the times, Hawk kept to himself and his own dreams.

 

 

To be continued…

Resource – Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton”
1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was
Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything,
It was her body that was ready for death; she lay
down for an afternoon nap and woke only to
say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father

Post Writer – Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree
Great granddaughter

 

The Chickasaw – Part 2

womanwriterblog

My last entry I wrote of a feeling of impatient irritation in reading “FAKE” or “REAL” news, that feeling continues however I have not had time to post; please excuse me; the mind or body did not cooperated these past few days .  My depression sometime has a life of its own that I cannot win.

I told you of my great-grandmother who was the “Keeper of the Memories” for the family.  Everyone called her “Ma”;   I spent many hours sitting next to her rocking chair just listening.  You read of her father Fosee, her grandfather and grandmother, all Native Americans living in Alabama Territory.

(Ma as the storyteller continues) However, Fosee like all of the boys in his vision could not wait to go on his Vision Quest.  Early one morning his father woke him it was time to find his own Totem.  At the edge of the forest (this would later be known as the Black Warrior Forest), he was shown a path that he must follow, yet, to find his own path in life.  Somewhere down that path, he would discover himself.

On that path he saw many signs of small animals, he found a bush with his favorite berries; quickly pushed his hunger out of his mind, he could not eat until he discovered his path in life.  Mid-day he came upon a clearing Fosee lay down in the tall yellow grass staring at the sky and watching the clouds drift by; he drifted off to sleep.  It was in that sleep he dreamed that his grandfather was with him; Fosee smiled when he looked at the leathery chiseled face with deep furrowed lines and the long white hair cascading around his strong shoulders.  Then he heard his grandfather calling his name, Fosee jumped from his warm bed of wild wheat and ran toward the river, he had much to do before dark.  Fosee carried rocks and cedar branches to the top of a large flat rock, the made a circle placing twigs in the circle, he used flints to light his fire and was soon fast asleep.

Fosee did not move from the flat rock where he drifted in and out of sleep both day and night, he was hungry; one day led to the next.  On the third day, he leaned over looking at the river below; then he thought that he heard his grandfather.  Then, he saw him, sitting across from him, the smoke stung his eyes and it was like a thick fog, but he could hear his grandfather talking to him, although his mouth never moved.  It was the spirit of his grandfather.

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On the fourth day came and this would be his last night on the rock, floating in and out of consciousness.   The eastern sky looked like the forest was on fire, the western sky a full moon seems to be dipping behind the cliffs that edged the river.  Suddenly, a Hawk with massive wings glided over the fire landing next to the circle of rocks.  The Hawk spread his wings pointing at one of the rocks saying, “This is where you life began”; then he spread his wing around the circle saying “This is where you life will end”.  There was one rock missing.  Fosee returned to the path, the Hawk followed him, and then swooped down landing on a fallen tree.  When he looked back to the path there stood his father and they returned without talking to meet his mother at the cooking fire.  He turned to the center yard saying, “I am no longer Little Bird, my name is Hawk”.

 

Resource – Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton”
1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was
Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything,
It was her body that was ready for death; she lay
down for an afternoon nap and woke only to
say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father

Post Writer – Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree
Great granddaughter

 

 

My soapbox for the day…

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Today begin like any other Monday – Friday; weekends are for rest and relaxation; and like any other day I take Mason for a walk, brew a cup of coffee and turn on the computer.  I scan through the headlines, “as usual”; today my thoughts ran away toward the headlines that never change, only the wording.  Today’s list:

·         Ex-Giant arrested with 20 pounds of marijuana

·         Amazon’s chaotic jobs fair and found troubling insight about the American economy

·         The Department of Justice announced that it would withhold federal funds aimed at reducing violent crime from cities if they don’t work to cut down illegal immigration

·         Middle-income Americans report loads of financial stress

·         Norman Lear to Boycott Kennedy Center Honors over Trump Presidency

·         U.S. Heroin Trade Rooted in Mexico’s ‘Corridor of Death’

·         Justice Dept., Under Siege From Trump, Plows Ahead With His Agenda

·         China says India building up troops amid border stand off

·         Why have suicides in teen girls hit a 40-year high?

·         Federal officials say they agree with a decision not to prosecute a white Tennessee police officer who fatally shot a black man after a traffic stop.

These are but a few bad ones; then the next group, which does nothing for me.

·         10 secret’s men keep from women.

·         Game of Thrones to telecast shortest episode…Ever.

·         Mom invites Obama’s to daughter’s wedding.

·         Un-combable hair syndrome.

·         Grand Bar-B-Q list.

The good ones are there but you must scroll “way down” the page, so far that you give up and return to the top.  I am not a news junkie but I do like to scan the news on internet, and I must confess it is for “storylines” more than need to check out bad news. 

Good and bad are a part of life, what is good for a person may be bad for another.  The News Media and Society as a whole sets the standards people accept things at their face value. I believe that it is time to reevaluate our standards, do not allow news or society dictate what we should believe, how does the saying go “To Thy Own Self Be True”.

We become habituated to the division of good and bad in all aspects of our lives, we create stereotypes and judgments that are wrong.  Therefore, we have good food and bad food, good and bad music, good and bad writing, good and bad films, good and bad actors, good and bad rulers, and so on; we are told what is in fashion and what is out of fashion.

Most stress in our lives results from hanging on to beliefs that are simply outdated in our world.  Stand up for what you believe in and your individuality and uniqueness will shine through.  When you are true to yourself, you respect the opinions of others but do not have to conform to stereotypes or others expectations of you.

Are those like myself who does not conform to a government that is wrong; we must protest those standards that government would like to put upon us.  We must assemble, march and let our voices be heard with non-violence and with respect to authority  If you give respect you will get respect from law-enforcement; it is then and only then that we can make our voices be heard.

Off my soapbox for the day…

A great weekend to all of you.

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At Amazon.com:

https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Broken-Wings-Charlotte-Murphree/dp/1547051329/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501732166&sr=1-1&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

 

Days of Pondering…

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Here we are beginning August…I have many things to recall from this month as all the others.  January marks the death of my father, my daddy the subject of another book series; and brings to mind my mother-in-law and the Smith family, which I have a book outlined waiting in line for others to be finished.  A gift came on a cold January day, my granddaughter Elizabeth was born.

February marks the birth of my oldest son Carl, a wonderful father and husband, towers over all, intelligent, a man who can take control when necessary, he and Cindy have given me three wonderful grandchildren.  February is also the month that my daughter Terri was born coming into a world with fiery lungs that has only grown throughout the years; her words are quick and sharp, and sometimes kind.

March, April and May have been lost in the foggy paths we all have taken.  June brought the baby of the family Chuck, a quiet, intelligent man; loves life and his wife Karen; he is a serious writer and educator.  July, a month of remembrance, the loss of my daughter, the pain never goes away; the scars of her death are prominent on my mind and soul.

This month August, I remember my only sibling, my sister Billie passed away.  September is the month I lost my mother, one that I loved and the one who could never love me back, a painful month when I  truly felt like an orphan.  The other months October, November and December will come and go like a thief in the night; giving us time to reflect again and start another year.

This sounds more like and end of year post, but I sat on my patio alone accept Mason my four legged furry adopted son…and I had to work my way out of the “mood” that I was in…and get back to my latest project a series “The Generations – Secrets and Lies”.

I also thought of all of you, my followers and how lucky I am to have such wonderful support; my heartfelt thanks to all of you.  I wish for you love and happiness.  EAJM

 

At Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com

41+QY3Qs2IL._AC_US218_

https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Broken-Wings-Charlotte-Murphree/dp/1547051329/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501732166&sr=1-1&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/flying-with-broken-wings-elizabeth-ann-johnson-murphree/1126510816?ean=9781547051328

 

 

RIP Sam Shepard…

samA great American Artist 

“There are no words to describe how I feel, we have lost another great one!”

 

 

ELIZABETH ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE BOOKS AT AMAZON.COM AND BARNES & NOBEL.COM

FLYING WITH BROKEN WINGS

41+QY3Qs2IL._AC_US218_

https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Broken-Wings-Charlotte-Murphree/dp/1547051329/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018149&sr=1-1&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

BEYOND THE VOICES

11th

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018788&sr=1-3&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

HONEYSUCKLE MEMORIES

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https://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-5&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

REFLECTIONS OF POETRY

untitled

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-6&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

ECHOING IMAGES

66th

https://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-7&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

ASTERIAL THOUGHTS

asterial_thoughts_cover_for_kindle-jpg

https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought/dp/1540862356/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-8&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

RUTTED ROADS

1th319iyzau

https://www.amazon.com/Rutted-Roads-Collections-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1532909365/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-9&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

SACHET OF POETRY

55th

https://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-10&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

MY JOURNEY INTO ART

whales

https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Art-Johnson-Murphree-2014-07-28/dp/B019NRG4YG/ref=sr_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499019157&sr=1-14&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

 

Thanks for reading and in advance thank you for your comments.  EAJM

 

 Painting below:  Acrylic and Watercolor created December, 2010-The First Christmas without Charlotte…

19.charlotte winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sad time for all, the death of Sam Shepard

 

womanwriterblog

What a sad day for me and I am sure many other fan’s of Sam Shepard. I have read everything publish from the imagination of this prolific writer, seen every movie. It is my belief that we have lost a great human being.

samSam Shepard

 

Thanks for reading and in advance thank you for your comments.  EAJM

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Broken-Wings-Charlotte-Murphree/dp/1547051329/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018149&sr=1-1&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

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 Painting below:  Acrylic and Watercolor created December, 2010-The First Christmas without Charlotte…

19.charlotte winter

 

 

Your support is appreciated and thank you for following…

BOOKS ON LINE AT AMAZON.COM…

BEYOND THE VOICES

11th

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018788&sr=1-3&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

HONEYSUCKLE MEMORIES

thvz0a0qe0

https://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-5&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

REFLECTIONS OF POETRY

untitled

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-6&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

ECHOING IMAGES

66th

https://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-7&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

ASTERIAL THOUGHTS

asterial_thoughts_cover_for_kindle-jpg

https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought/dp/1540862356/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-8&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

RUTTED ROADS

1th319iyzau

https://www.amazon.com/Rutted-Roads-Collections-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1532909365/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-9&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

SACHET OF POETRY

55th

https://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-10&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

MY JOURNEY INTO ART

whales

https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Art-Johnson-Murphree-2014-07-28/dp/B019NRG4YG/ref=sr_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499019157&sr=1-14&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT.  EAJM

Helping People with Disabilities…

womanwriterblog

Finished a three-mile walk, Mason is tired but he kept those little four legs moving.  He was ready to go back to bed; me I am ready for coffee.  It is a beautiful day here in Wisconsin.  Therefore, today I tackle “Rain, Fire, Secrets and Lies”.

It may possibly be a series as there are six families…do not know where it is going I am just going to keep writing until it makes sense as to what direction I need to go.

July 21, 2010, will be the seventh anniversary of my daughter Charlotte’ death.  The last ten years of her life, she was involved in such programs below.  My appreciation goes to the person who writes these articles, they are important.  I realize that it is long, I hope you have time to read it all, and support such programs located near you.

Have a great Tuesday and I will try to check in on as many blogs as possible today.  Hugs

__________________________________________________________________

Medicaid Cuts In Wisconsin Would Undermine Training For Adults With Disabilities

June 14, 20172:32 PM ET

Alison Kodjak

It’s morning meeting time at Our Place Day Services, a day center for adults with disabilities, housed in a small concrete and glass building on Lovers Lane in Slinger, Wis.

About 30 people are gathered here, around a long table, reciting the pledge of allegiance. One man paces alongside the table, another sits in a wheelchair a few feet away. There’s a woman holding a baby in her lap and a friendly dog — a goldendoodle — wandering around greeting people with a sniff and a lick.

A modest operation based north of Milwaukee, on Interstate 43, Our Place serves as a safe place for people with severe cognitive disabilities to spend their days and learn news skills while the family members who usually care for them are at work.

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Clients at Our Place can participate in fun activities — do art or go bowling with staff from the center — and they also work on specific skills like money management or cooking. The center provides the sort of crucial support services that many people are concerned will no longer be offered if Republicans proceed with their planned cuts to Medicaid.

On this Monday morning, the clients at Our Place are sharing their goals — big and small. One man wants to finish a mosaic he is working on, while a woman down the table says she hopes to go to the movies with a friend someday.

Danielle Wirsbinski reads from a long list.

“To have a job, to do more volunteering, learn new skills, talk …. Taking classes go to school, to live on my own,” she says.

Another group member, Eric S. (who asked that we not use his last name because he is not comfortable going public about his condition), describes the work he is doing to be able to live on his own someday.

“Learning how to cook with Justine. Justine teaches me how to shop,” he says, referring to Justine Orr, a staffer who works with him at Our Place. “I learn how to clean with Justine and I did safety skills in the home.”

“We help men and women become the men and women they were meant to be,” says Donna Ellenbecker, director of Our Place.

However, she is worried about the Republican plan to overhaul Medicaid.

All but one of her 33 clients pays for their classes and care at Our Place with Medicaid dollars. Wisconsin’s Medicaid system includes a program called IRIS that grants people with disabilities a budget, based on their level of need, to use for services that help them live in the community.

The state’s approach is part of a national trend in recent decades to move people with severe developmental disabilities out of institutional settings by providing the support they and their families need to live more independently – either with their families, in community-based group homes or even on their own.

“Many of our people are interested in having their own apartment someday, and are living with their parents now,” Ellenbecker says. “They really need some help with the everyday skills of cooking and cleaning and doing the things that everyone else does to be able to live independently.”

President Trump and Republicans in Congress want to restructure the way Medicaid is funded. Instead of paying for all the medical care and services beneficiaries need, the health care bill Republicans passed through the House last month would grant each state a fixed sum per beneficiary based on what the state has spent in the past.

That per-capita allowance would increase over time, but at a slower rate than health care costs generally rise. Therefore, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that Medicaid funding under the plan would be 25 percent less in 10 years than it would be under current law.

“We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs but by the number of people we got off those programs,” White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said last month. “We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the amount of money that we spend but by the number of people that we help.”

While Medicaid is best known as a health care program for poor people, more than 80 percent of its budget goes to care for the elderly, children and people with disabilities, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Only 15 percent goes to health care for able-bodied adults, the people that Mulvaney was likely referring to in his remarks.

The program has been growing in recent years and it now makes up almost 10 percent of federal spending. That is why it is the top target in President Trump’s proposed budget, and figures prominently in the House Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Some estimates suggest the program could be cut by more than a trillion dollars over 10 years.

Nevertheless, some Republicans in the Senate, who are now hammering out their own plan to replace Obamacare, are hesitant to make such big cuts to services for the poor, elderly people and those with disabilities.

The people who come to Our Place each day are not likely to be among those who can “get off” Medicaid. They are likely to need care and support services for their entire lives.

Ellenbecker describes how her program helps people engage in the community.

“We actually have a class that’s a date,” she says. “You know, ‘how you go to the movies with a friend.’ ”

That everyday joy has a number of steps — you have to figure out transportation, money, movie times and simply how to choose a seat in a theater.

To navigate all that, the woman who had listed going to a movie as one of her goals “would need somebody to come with her to help her with all of those things,” Ellenbecker says, “because she doesn’t have the skills to be able to do it independently right now.”

Other group members benefit from a job coach who can help them learn how to find and do a job, or keep one. Others need help managing money, cleaning their homes or getting to work. And other clients have even more basic needs, such as personal care and help with eating.

Ellenbecker worries that if the current Republican plan is passed, or the kinds of budget cuts Trump is proposing go through, the money for those support services just will not be there.

“It’s a 25 percent cut you know, and a 25 percent cut it is going to affect these programs,” she says. “There’s no way that a 25 percent cut can come out of any other program — except long-term care.”

That’s because many support services are considered optional under the law that governs Medicaid. So, if state lawmakers are forced to choose between say, job coaches, and traditional medical care, the job coaching is likely to lose out.

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