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Category Archives: Fathers

The Chickasaw – Part 9

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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.  She and her mother were happy when it ended; Jane was seventeen-years-old.   She would only say up to the end of her life that the greed of the white man would be his downfall.  Sipsee and Jane remain in the Chickasaw village until the War ended.

It was there that Jane met Pap, he was an Indian Scout for the South, and Jane just becoming a young woman and no longer referred to as a child 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.  Sipsee considered Jane still a child and to Jane he was some sort of God, a Warrior like her father fighting for the South.

Sipsee did not see him as a great Warrior and neither did the other people in the slave quarters; at best he was to laid-back and lazy, he went from family to family in cabins to be fed.  Yet, he never contributed to the quarters, no deer, rabbit, nothing.  He seems to slip in and out, as he pleased.

Pap had his own story; he had been a scout for the Southern Army, it was apparent that the South was falling, hunger, no coats or fires to keep away the cold nights. To have a fire could be deadly.  He had witnessed much during the past four years, it was his job to go ahead and scout out the “Yankee” camps.  There they were tents and fires to keep out the cold nights; he could smell the food being cooked or roasted over the fire and he was always hungry.  He had been issued a rifle but was weary of using it to draw attention; he had no bow and arrows (only a romantic notion by the whites), his silent weapons were his knife and a hatchet.  He was good at catching game but it would not be wise to make a fire inside enemy lines.

It was close to the end of the war, Pap had not returned to Chadwick since he left; he rode into Decatur, Alabama bareback on a sway back mule.  His horse had been shot out from under him in a getaway on his last scouting trip; he stole the mule from a sharecropper close to the Tennessee River and rode toward Decatur.  The company he scouted for was now somewhere over on the Georgia line.

Pap received no more than a glance as darkness set in; he pulled the old mule into the river holding onto the bridle, he guided the mule between the railroad and old bridge linking the North side of the river held by the Yankees and to the South side guarded by the Confederates’.  When he reached the other side, he walked into a Yankee camp all eyes and guns were on him.

To be continued…

Story Resources:

Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton” 1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was intact, 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 as she took her last breath, speaking softly to 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

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The Chickasaw – Part 3

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I will continue the story of my great great- grand parents and of course…Ma.

“I am no longer Little Bird, my name is Hawk”.  This was to be the father of Jane Over-town “Ma”.

Hawk grew into a man that was respected by all, as his father one day he would hold a powerful place among his people.  He also was in love with a pleasing to the eye, Choctaw girl named Sipsee; she was named after the Cottonwood tree.  He knew that she loved him too.  They had known each other all their lives.  Hawk had watched her grown from a skinny weed into a beautiful exquisite flower.

All of their lives were changed with the removal of all Native Americans from their ancestral lands.  The grandparents were all gone, Hawk was glad that his grandfather did not live to see them removed from their home.  Hawk, his parents, Sipsee, and her parents packed what they could for survival and all herd together to a holding pen.  Hawk could see that all people of his ancestral blood as well as other tribes.

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 had not yet been born but her parents believed that what would have been her grandparents died before reaching the end of their journey…

 

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

 

 

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The Chickasaw – Part 2

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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

 

 

 

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The NAACP has a message…

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The NAACP has a message for a mostly white Alabama town that got the green light from a federal judge to split from a racially mixed county school district and start its own system.  In the end, however, Haikala allowed the split to be fair to the parents in Gardendale “who support a municipal separation for reasons that have nothing to do with race.”  However, Haikala also reserved the right to reverse her decision if Gardendale reverted back. Corky Siemaszko – NBC NEWS

The subject of this news clip is a small town that is home to some of what I call “shirttail” relatives’, however, I am certain they are relatives from the “white” side of the family.  Gardendale, Alabama a suburb of Birmingham was always white; it is located in Jefferson County and there has always been racial discord there.  Since desegregation became a reality to die hard Bible belt white folk, Gardendale has wanted to create its own school system and town leaders, it appears that these white folk are concerned that their town may become mostly black, while they prefer it to be mostly white.

I suppose that I am back on Trump again, nonetheless, I am fearful that these types of shameful situations will be on the rise as segregation, outlawing Islam, destroying US agriculture by deporting most of its field workers is the plan wanted by many of his followers.  Trump has been endorsed by major racists in the US, many White Supremacist hate groups openly campaigned for him.

AGAIN, I AM ORIGNALLY FROM ALABAMA!

I remember some of the wording (so I had to look it up) of the ORDINANCE OR GENERAL CODE created by the City of Birmingham, Alabama.  It stated that it would be unlawful for a Negro and a white person to play together, or be in the company with each other in any game of cards, dice, dominoes, checkers, baseball, softball, football, basketball or similar games.  Now, this ordinance was created from some of Alabama’s finest!

I have seen what happens up close and personally, what hate will do.  I personally witnessed what hate can do, and I will tell you now that even as a student in school if you were not a part of the “Jim Crow” laws or believed in them, you were called traitor or worse .  I lived through the demonstration eras of the 1950s and 1960s; it was horrible to hear of innocent people being treated as horrible as they were and the rules were made up as each incident occurred, not lawful rules; rules of hate.   There were still struggles to follow but the Civil Rights Act of 1964-banned segregation in public accommodations and employment in Alabama.  This may have ban segregation in the physically, but not the mentally.  There were no laws on how southerners thought and felt about what they were being “made” to do.

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Which brings me to the rise of African Americans as they were called in those days of essential freedoms, and that the Native Americans were not even considered American citizens at the time; the 14th Amendment that gave Blacks their citizenship excluded Native Americans.   Native Americans were not granted U.S. citizenship and the right to vote 1924 was 54 years after African-American men were allowed to vote, and four years after women received the same right with the 19th Amendment.

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My father, who was of Native American Chickasaw heritage, did not have the right to vote until he was twenty-one-years old.  His grandmother who was of the Mississippi Old Towne Tribe raised him, she eventually moved to Tarrant City, Alabama where she became a woman of means for the times.  My father came to live with her when he was just a boy after his mother died because he was going to be sent to the Indian School where they Americanized children.   The idea was that when indigenous people learned United States (American) customs and values, they would be able to merge tribal traditions with American culture and peacefully join society.  She removed him from the danger of this Americanization and placed him (for the right amount of money) into the local Catholic School.

I went through school hearing “kids” say that my father was a dirty Indian; that was the country school I attended, when we moved into town not so much (maybe the city kids were less “Redneck”).  Rarely did my mother go anywhere with my father, I believe she was embarrassed because she was a very prejudice person, why did she marry him, that’s another story.  When he moved his grandmother in with us, along with a grand old black lady that I called Aunt Francis (a common name for the times) that help raise me; I rarely saw her myself.  It was my father, great-grandmother, and Aunt Francis who taught me the values I possess today; I am so very grateful to them.

Therefore, as you can see I have lived in both worlds where prejudice lived and it was not present, when I read that towns like Gardendale, Alabama can now return to segregation I am embarrassed all over again.   Alabama is a beautiful state and I am certain that there are wonderful people who live there, but beauty as it is said to be only…skin-deep.

As a country that has always been GREAT…we cannot go backwards, we have lost too much in gaining what we have to let these crucial laws be changed.  We all need to join the fight against segregation laws being overturned.  Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

 

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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

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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

 

 

 

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Estrangement from Family …

Estrangement from Family…

With the book, Flying with Broken Wings finished and in the “mail”; before I begin the next writing project I wanted to post my own feelings about ESTRANGEMENT …some type of estrangement appears to be an ongoing part of my life.  Therefore, I will share a few with you…

I want to write about estrangement from family, mine and my point of view.  First comes the Alabama “shirttail” redneck relatives oh yes…I use to go back home to visit and their first words upon seeing me was “You still a Yankee”?  Still living is an aunt and uncle neither have ever been outside their home town except when my uncle went to fight “The Big War”, which in reality was the end of the Korean Conflict.  He returned to work in the same factory forty or more years and she was a homemaker.  Nothing wrong with either of those statements accept you would have to know them personally, as there are various levels of “Redneck”.

I call it a YO-YO estrangement spanning about forty- years.  I went those many years going back to a place I knew was never “home” just a place where I grew up.  Always spring and Thanksgiving breaks with my parents whom have since passed, I had one sibling who passed as well.  During those, many years visiting on Holidays brought a new meaning to the word relatives.    

I understand that I left home when I was sixteen, but I tried to keep in touch with many of them.  I must say that it was a one-way communication, hard to believe but it was…I would call my parents weekly, reach out to the only sibling I had, and the others who I thought of as relatives.

Now after all of these many years later I have to wonder why relatives chose to distance themselves, choose to demonize you while painting themselves as virtuous, sailing a tide of bitterness and anger mostly for unknown reasons.  Most thought if you crossed the Alabama state line you would fall into the Pits of Hell, yep, Alabama was the world and it was flat.  It appeared the closer the “Pecking Order” leading to the top…the nastier they were when talking behind one is back.  Oh, this was not just me; this deeply embedded Redneck dysfunctional family went after each other as well.

My parents made it known to me in the hidden messages in their conversations that visitors should stay in a motel.  I was the visiting relative.  I kept my visits short and casual, the love I had for my out of touch parents would never end.  I was not alone in these situations, my aunts, uncles and families were not welcome, including my only sibling.  The only one my parents ever accepted was a grandchild whom had lived off my parents all of their life. However, this individual would never learn to function alone, not my problem I say.

Three years before my mother died (my father already dead); ask that I “not come back”.  I honored her wish and did not return until her death.  Estrangement…the only relative I felt close too ostracized me for about ten years.  I reached out and the email relationship and an occasional visits were on and off for another twenty years, having three year gaps.  Please understand that I continued to try and “hold on” to this individual because of my parents.  In the beginning of 2017, the mixed messages and/or lies seem to give me reason to turn loose, to stop the acting, to stop listening to how their entitlement created by my parents caused all of the problems.  From parents that made the mistake of “dying” leaving them to fend for themselves.  Oh my, what a dilemma! 

I finally went “Oh my God”; I have been holding onto a family member that clearly does not want to continue communicating with me or have a family relationship.  Since, I have made it very clear that I no longer want to be a puppet in their lives, strung along to whatever tune they are playing. 

I realize that some might be empathetic and others will say for the sake of peace live with their poor reasoning skills and their sense of entitlement.  I understand struggling, but I was not the child that lived free well into adulthood under my parents “roof”, I was not the one who did not know how to survive.   

Honestly, I wrestle with the challenges, struggles, and consequences of writing about my estrangement.  It is hard to decide what to omit and what to disclose.  The stakes are high and paying the price for transparency can strike hard.  While many people are empathetic, some think I should bury the hatchet for the sake of peace and family.

While I am no person’s judge, I do not presume to know what others should or should not do in the same predicament.  I do not have to explain or justify my decision to draw boundaries between my family and me.  I do not have to help these people understand my position.  I do not have to defend myself or prove myself. Please do not underestimate the power or long-lasting effect of emotional and verbal abuse.  With the death of my parents, I would tread lightly as the family I was dealing with had a passion for lying and being a victim.  I have known all my life that my family would never inspire to match the image of a Norman Rockwell painting.

For those who are empathetic with my situation or suffer from their own estrangement, thank you for understanding!  I know estrangement is tough especially during the holidays, which promotes families and togetherness.  It is plagued by awkward moments where we dodge communication about our family and suffer in silence.  

I try to remember that no two people view any event the same, even within a family.  We have different vantage points, shaped by our own perspectives & life experiences.  Our different levels of awareness are impacted by our beliefs, ideas, fears, & motives.  I have quit trying to change my estranged family or trying to get them to consign to a common perspective.

There are NO completely innocent parties with estrangement.  I try to reflect on my part.  I do not question if somehow I could have handled things differently.  What would I do differently next time, nothing, as there will not be a next time?  Life hands us pain and hurt to teach us lessons.  I have finally with aged wisdom learned from my experiences with family.

I have chosen to focus on the healthy relationships in my life and my children and grandchildren, which I have built on respect, support, & appreciation where I am loved for who I am and not what others wanted me to be.  My was not imprinted with images of unconditional love and acceptance from family.  I do know that I am not alone…with these words in closing old wounds, I have a new perspective on my life and will now begin my next writing project…”Rain, Fire and Lies”, my autobiography.

Thank you for reading and supporting me, I will do my best to keep all of you posted with the progress of the book and my daily life.  Love to all of you.

2017©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

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