Sunday, August 14, 2011

And To Think That I Learned All of This In A Cemetery!

I recently moved up here to North West Arkansas to be closer to my grandchildren.. I had so much that I wanted to teach them but, who would have ever imagine that what they had to teach me would be much more important.


It is fair to say that I love cemeteries and I love just walking around and reading all of the different monuments.. A cemetery is so much more than just a place to place our dead. Whenever I tell people that I am going to a cemetery just to walk around and enjoy myself they all look at me like I have two heads.. “Gross, that place is so creepy and morbid”! And whenever I tell them that I am taking my small grandchildren; they freak!? My grandchildren are ages seven, four and two and a half. I am used to that reaction! Well, I tell them, in a cemetery you can do so many wonderful things and you have the leisure time to explain and talk about everything! First of all, I can teach them to respect the graves and those who are buried there. And why we still respect those who have died. And it is a great storytelling time! It is a great spelling lesson, I have them find as many monuments that start with a capitol B or D or any other letter...or find a monument with the oldest numbers, or find a monument that has a tree trunk as the monument or a rose on it. We can do math. Math is so much more interesting when we can put something with it and make it real. How old were they when they died? How long were they married? Geography: like where they were from and where they lived and where they died. I have some huge books that have many of the cemetery symbols in it so we can learn them together...Every monument has a story and I want to know what it is! And I love hearing their ideas, too! I can have them find the tallest trees in the cemetery and we discuss what kind of tree it is and the shape of their leaves and we can learn what kind of flowers that are there….all of that and we have a history lesson, too!..We can talk about wars and good times and who was President at the time they were born and where they died. We can talk about causes of death so there we have a health lesson. They have fun and I will be able to teach them so very much...I can also teach them natural history...like how much has this tree grown. Look at this rock or look at this leaf and the flowers and we learn what every flower looks like and feels like and smells like! Or how does lightening affect things you see...There is always an old tree where lightening has struck. We can study bugs, the possibilities are endless. And, priceless! I know it sounds like a lot for little children …don’t get me wrong…I was just thinking out loud. This will take place over a long period of time... God willing! I would never put that much on such a small child. When they are old enough to ask they are old enough to get a straight answer! I can even teach them how to grow plants, grow their understanding on how things work and I can also teach them how to grow up. The possibilities are still endless! It is our family time... I can tell them stories about when their mother was a little girl and when I was a little girl and when my mother was a little girl...I can tell them about how their ancestors fought in the wars and how some of them immigrated to this country to have a better life. Where they came from and how they came... And how some of them were here to meet the new settlers when they came to the “new World”!

We will find graves of important people and the common man and we can also find the graves of paupers and the nameless.

But, my grandbabies are also teaching me so much! As many of you already know my childhood was not the story book kind. They have taught me to open up my heart and to let people in. They have taught me to take time to really smell the roses and jonquils and look at the world through their eyes. It is amazing to watch my two year old namesake, Ella Ruth, discover something new and my four year old, Ike, frolic through the cemetery without a care in the world and then there is my seven year ol, Jack , he is wise beyond his years. My daughter, Allison has even really gotten into all of “this cemetery stuff” and we are beginning to really understand each other and become friends. Who would ever have believed that?My family has always used funerals and cemeteries to continue their wars and to divide the family and to make their points no matter who they hurt. We put the Fun in FUNerals. It is my turn now, I have broken the cycle of dysfunction and hatred and I can have my family just the way I had always wish mine had been. Now I have my own family and I can leave the past behind me and really look forward to the future... And to think that we can find all of this in a cemetery!



Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Need Your Help For A Friend!

I received a desparate email today from a friend on Face Book. I will post the letter and maybe you can help him. Here is the letter he lives in Perry County Ohio:

i have some bronze WW2 markers from my grandfathers private grave(the family lost the farm and a lawyer bought it).. i was wondering what could be done about the property owner destroying the gravestones and markers of the grave, and he also stole a few markers and possibly a bronze vase that is missing. i have contacted the VA at every level. contacted my district congressmen and senator, and left about 3 messages with the attorney generals veteran affairs. the only offices that have even gave me the time of day is my local VA and local congressmen. and they researched the federal law and said there is no law against destroying the bronze markers on veterans graves.. i am dissapointed in the whole justice system at every level and about to just go to the local media with my mangled and broken markers and have their camera crew go out to the graves and shoot a news report. do you know of any other actions that could be taken other then contacting my township trustees?!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Its Official!

 I had a conversation with an old colleague and I now a true story.. a  plot, characters, rap sheets, major drug ring, murders and a cemetery   What else does it need? Let me know your thoughts....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Remembering.....

It was Christmas 1983, while I was in Hawaii that I first started talking about what would soon be known as AIDS. I was on vacation there where my cousin lives in Honolulu. I had heard of this disease which was killing gay men and killing them fast...It was called GRID, Gay Related Immune Defencity and I was scared for my dear cousin Raymond. He was young and gay and I asked him about this disease? He told me that it was ok, that it only hit Gay men in San Francisco. No need for me to worry, just have fun! Still, I worried. I kept it in the back of my mind... Throughout the week I met more and more of his friends who assured me that I would never even know of anyone who would get it. Relax, they said...Enjoy your trip...


Kane was one of Raymond’s best friends, he was a super great guy...He and Raymond decided that I needed some “fixin up” since I was from Arkansas. So one day they closed the salon, I went in as a brunette and came out as a blonde! Then they took me shopping...It was quite the experience and it was fun... Back home in Arkansas I caught HELL for bleaching my hair! Just to think that would be my biggest problem...How little did everyone know? Kane, Raymond’s friend, and I stayed in touch. He looked just a little weak to me but, he blew it off as a cold...Nothing to worry my new pretty blonde hair about, he’d be just fine in a few days... So, on with my life went. Potty training my daughter, wondering when the snow would ever melt...little things like that. Life was normal...So, I thought. One day Kane called me and we talked for a while and I knew something was wrong. He had a funny cough, he said that it was just a little hangover of his cold and that he was fine...we hung up but, I still worried. We didn’t have home computers back then and only a few magazine articles on this new disease and every now and then a TV news report. It was still in San Francisco but a new case had been found in Los Angeles... Still, they called GRID.

In the spring, I sold a house to a guy who would be moving right in to be closer to the hospital where his brother was. He was a little quiet about what was wrong with his brother so I didn’t pry. I just sold him the house. In the meantime Kane had called again and I missed his call. When I called back his mother answered and told me that Kane had died the day before. I was stunned and heartbroken. He had died from that new disease that he had contracted while on a visit to “The Mainland”, San Francisco...I was stunned, heartbroken so I called my cousin, Raymond. He didn’t even know what he had; now things were starting to look a little different, a little bit scarier. I devoured everything I could get my hands on about AIDS.

I had seen Gordon the next day while we were at the closing on his house and he said that his brother was not any better and was getting worse and the Doctors couldn’t find the answers...I took a huge risk, I asked Gordon if his brother was gay? Back then you never, ever talked about that kind of thing...He took a long breath and started to eyes started to tear up...I stood still and held my breath! He then asked me “Why do you ask?” I stumbled and stammered along... I then told him about this new disease, this horrible disease that was killing young men. He said that he would be in touch... I was still stunned... I was thinking that he was going to call my broker and have I fired...I thought “what have I done”? So, I waited and held my breath. What was I going to be able to do in the first place? Why did I shoot my mouth off like that? Finally, His Doctor called me and asked if I could come to the hospital and take a look? Tell him what I thought? I wasn’t a nurse or medical professional. I just played one from time to time. His doctor was a good friend of mine so up to the hospital I went... I remember asking God not to let me die...I was scared…Back then the only thing we knew about what would soon be known as AIDS was to cross our finger and pray..Maybe God would not let us die?

I walked in and he had “the look” and he was very close to dieing. The nuns came in and they were scared, too. Sister Mary Werner was the head nun and hospital administrator... She asked if we knew anything. I asked his doctor if he could test him for this new disease that he had never of. It was called AIDS, he had never heard of AIDS. He told me that he didn’t know how; what in the world could we do? So we called the CDC, Centers of Disease Control, in Atlanta, Georgia. But, by the time they got back to us it was too late, he was dead. Now we had a bigger problem. What to do with the hospital bed and all of the things in the room? Sister Mary Werner didn’t know...They needed me to call the CDC and ask... Why me, I wondered and Sister Mary Werner told me that it was ok, that I knew more about this disease than anyone. Really, Me? Oh, well why the hell not! The CDC instructed us to burn everything that had come in to contact with the person who had died from AIDS. We did. We were all sure that we had contracted AIDS from him...We would look in the mirror to see if there were any changes? One of the symptoms was night sweats...I had them one night! Oh, my God, what was I going to do? I had a daughter to raise. I didn’t want to die...I was only 25 years old... Oh, God what would I do? Then I noticed that my electric blanket was on. My cat had stepped on the controls in the middle of the night and turned it on! No wonder I was sweating! That is how paranoid we all were. During that same week my friend, Bonnie was in Little Rock at the University of Arkansas having her tongue removed because of cancer... She was only 32 and had never smoked. It was a very tragic week for all of us...

While at the hospital with Bonnie, I had become a world champion hall pacer. I could not sit still so I paced and I paced and I paced…I had been watching this particular room on the cancer floor. It had a big red bag taped to the door warning no one to go into that room...CONTAGIOUS!! It was a bag that covered the entire door and I also noticed that the nurses’ would draw straws to see which one of them would have to go in and check on him…Best two out of three..I had never seen nurses act that way before. So I paced a little closer to the nurses’ station... They just ignored my pacing. That is what I wanted them to do...As I had suspected he had AIDS. No one would go into his room, not a nurse, not a friend, not a family member. NO ONE! Bonnie had by then gotten settled back into her room and had a feeding tube and no way to speak... I could understand her because I knew what she would try to say but, she could write...boy, could she right! And did she ever? I was her interpreter. It was to say the least, a very bad week. Now you probably already know what I did, because you probably know me by now, I snuck into his room to see what I could do for him. I didn’t even know his name. I stood at the foot of his bed and asked him his name? He was very near death. I knew that, too. He told me that his name was Jimmy and that he wanted his mama. He was so very weak that I could barely hear him. I was scared of AIDS, too but didn’t let on. I told him I would get her for him. Whew! That was simple enough. He drifted back off to sleep. So, I marched right up to the nurses’ station and announced that he wanted his mama. They scolded me first for going into that room and then they all laughed! They said “he has been up here for six weeks his mama is not going to come up here. Nobody’s coming up here “WAS I CRAZY? Well, I guess that I was a little crazy and probably still am.

But, I marched back into that room and when I did he looked at me and held out his hand and said “oh, mama I knew you would come”. At that moment panic rushed all over my body. The nurses’ reminded me that I was taking a huge risk going in there and that I was on my own. Panic began to set in real hard. I was about to bolt from the room when he reached out for my hand and a tear ran down his face. He was so dehydrated that it was all that he could muster…I was stuck. What was I going to say what was I going to do. My mind raced for an answer...I wanted to go back and ask Bonnie what to do but, there wasn’t time...And I really didn’t know if I could carry this disease back to Bonnie. What in the world had I gotten myself into? What was I going to do? Why had I don’t this stupid thing in the first place? I asked God for help and strength. I reached out my ungloved hand and took his hand in mine…He started to cry...What was I going to do? What was I going to say...I stayed still as a little mouse, glued to the floor. He sobbed some more as I stood there. I was afraid to breathe. He still had no tears and I started to cry for him. My daughter was at her daddy’s house for the weekend. So, I stayed with him for thirteen hours while he died. At one time while he was sleeping I went out into the hall and scrubbed myself down thoroughly and went to check on Bonnie. She wrote for me to stay with him. That she would be ok. He needed me. I was kinda hoping that she would need me so I wouldn’t’ have to go back in. I knew that wasn’t what God was asking me to do. So I went back into Jimmy’s room, pulled up a chair, waited and watched a man die for the second time in my life. The first one was my daddy, when I was only five years old. Daddy died on Thanksgiving Day 1964 at home with just me and my mother. I vowed right then and there that no one with AIDS would ever die alone if I had anything to do with it. And I kept my word.

Not one single nurse came in while I was there. I guess they were relieved that they didn’t need to check on him anymore. That I would come and get them, if he needed anything. All he needed was for me to sit there while he slipped away. He just didn’t want to die alone. Who would? The nurses asked me what funeral home? How was I supposed to know that? I asked for his mother’s phone number? They gave it to me. When I called his mother she answered the phone and I told her who I was and that I was calling about her son. She hung up on me. So, I called back and told her if she hung up on me again I would put his obituary in her home town newspaper and list his cause of death. I had her full attention! She told me that she did not care who I sent him to and that she did not even want him back to bury him. To her, her son had been dead for years. She hung up the phone. I didn’t know what to say. All of the nurses’ were hanging on to every word of our conversation. I did not say those words to her to be mean. I knew that she was the right woman; I just didn’t know that she could be so cold hearted. I also did not know that throughout the next fifteen years I would have that same conversation over and over again. I would be known as The CRAZY AIDS Lady.

Billy was my youngest AIDS Patient.

I called every funeral home in the state of Arkansas and no one would take him. I finally got a hold of a black mortuary in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. They said that they would only cremate him. I didn’t have the money to spend on a cremation. The hospital had a fund and they paid for an indigent cremation. I had to call his mother one more time for permission to cremate. She gave it and told me to do whatever I wanted to with his ashes. The funeral directors came in these horrible moon suits. They looked like they were from outer space. They put him in a bag and carried him off without one shred of dignity. They came after hours and left out the back door.. It was all a big secret. Jimmy’s room was closed for a couple of days. No one knew what to do? In the meantime, Bonnie continued to get better and went home. Her fiancĂ© could not deal with her surgery so he packed up and left her. She had only had surgery two weeks earlier. Allison came home from her daddy’s and I tried to get back to normal as best as I could. Weeks later a box of ashes came in the mail. I didn’t know what to do with them so got a donated cooking jar from a local potter and i dug the grave and I buried him on top of my daddy’s grave so that no one would know what I was doing and I would remember where Jimmy was. If word had gotten out that I had buried an AIDS patient, much less taken care of one; there was not a judge in the State of Arkansas who would not have taken my daughter away from me and given full custody to her father and I knew it. I was back to being scared.

So now word got out that there was this crazy lady in Hot Springs who wasn’t afraid of AIDS patients and the calls started coming in. I had promised God that if he didn’t let me die I would take care of Jimmy. I hadn’t said anything about the rest!

Call after call after call came in and they all were frantically asking for my help they were dieing and needed help. I didn’t know what to do? I didn’t know of a doctor who would see them? I didn’t know of a medicine to help them? But, I would listen to their sobbing phone calls in the middle of the night. I would pray with them over the phone. Friends would call about friends. Patients would call about themselves and mother's would call about a friend of a friend of a friend. The more friends they would put in the more I knew it was about them.

“I will try and see what I could do”. I was over whelmed, I was still scared. I prayed and asked God for guidance? I asked God ‘Why me” and God answered..”Why not you?” He does have a way about him! And so that is how it all began.. Over the next fifteen years or so I would care for over five hundred men and women who died from HIV disease and AIDS. I became the Executive Director of HPWA, Helping People with AIDS. I was only one of twelve international delegates to the First White House Conference on HIV/AIDS. I was a consultant to the American Physiological Association. But, I digress. I found a doctor who would see them after hours and in through the back door. Not a word was to be spoken about what was going on or he would quit. If his patients knew that he was seeing AIDS patients they would all leave his practice and I knew that they would, too. The news stories got even worse and fear and panic was spreading... In March of 1985 the Western Blot test came out to test for the HIV antibodies. We only had one drug for the treatment of AIDS, AZT, it was the best anyone could do...I saw no change in their condition. But, it gave them HOPE and black fingernails.

The story was the same for the next few years. Person after person would be rushed to the Emergency Room in a life threatening state and they would die very shortly from AIDS... I knew everyone of them. The hospitals would call me in a panic to get them out of their hospital...PERIOD! Hospice asked me if I was kidding. Take an AIDS patient, was I CRAZY? I finally found a pharmacy who would order their medicine but, I would have to pick it up. And who was going to pay? That was quite a dilemma. We all just stood there shaking our heads and wringing our hands. What WERE we all going to do? I called Then Governor Bill Clinton asking for funds to pay for medicine...He said yes without hesitation!

During Christmas of 1986 There was an AIDS house where about five AIDS patients had moved in together to try and take care of each other. That year I went to local businesses who I knew would help and asked for donations for these AIDS patients last Christmas... A Christmas tree from one, Christmas cards form a Hallmark Shop, so that they could sent them to their friends and family one last time. Stamps, from a Realtor. Little things that I knew would make a big difference. I gathered a pickup truck load and took them over to them on a Sunday. I also took the most important thing in my life with me, my daughter, Allison. She was only four years old at the time. I told her that she could not tell anyone what we had done or who we saw or what they had. I felt so guilty. For two reasons, One I was taking my only child, my baby into a house where I knew people were dieing with AIDS and two, I was teaching my daughter to be kind, loving, and giving and asking her at the same time to keep a secret. A BIG SECRET! How could I teach my daughter all of this good and at the same time tell her it was a bad thing to tell anyone? We arrived at the house with a big surprise for everyone...CHRISTMAS!! We unloaded the tree and all of the trimmings. EVERYONE cried. We all knew it would be their last Christmas and they knew that no one would care. They were wrong. I cared and my daughter cared even thought she was only four years old. Then came the moment of truth; which I will never forget someone offered my daughter a glass of Coke. WOW, my daughter would have to drink out of a glass that they had drunk out of? I still had my misconceptions about AIDS, we all did. But, my daughter drinking out of a glass? She looked at me? I looked at her? The glass was at her hands…what would I do? Would I let my daughter drink out of that glass? Here I was teaching that AIDS could not be spread by touching anything that an AIDS patient had touched. It was safe to drink out of a glass that an AIDS patient had used and washed. That soap would kill the virus... Now was my time to put up or shut up! I told the guys my fears for my baby. I could do it but, could I let her drink out of that same glass? They all understood, really they did. My honesty just came out. We all talked about the fears and living with AIDS... My daughter took the glass and drank from it.

On that Sunny, Sunday afternoon in December 1986 one of the young men taught my daughter how to paint using water colors, one of those men taught her how to make ornaments for the Christmas Tree out of construction paper and glitter and all of those brave, generous men taught us the real meaning of Love, Faith and the true meaning of Christmas! Two weeks later both of those men were dead.

On this eve World AIDS Day of 2010, I look back at all of the courageous men and women who have fought the battle and lost their lives but, blazed a trail for future generations to come. They volunteered themselves as human guinea pigs. They brought about major changes in the health care system. Because of these very brave people, drugs go through clinical trials much faster than before. New drugs used to take over 10 years of clinical trials. Now it only takes a few years to come to market. They didn't have time to wait. Now we have privacy laws, HIPPA came out of the AIDS crisis. Universal precautions came out of the AIDS crisis. Compassion came out of the AIDS crisis. Now people are living with HIV/AIDS and thriving. No one even knows. They have lives and careers, families and HOPES and DREAMS. AIDS is no longer a death sentence to be lived out in isolation from what used to be their friends and family. Knowing that you were going to die no matter what. I read last week that there is now a drug out to help prevent the spread of AIDS. Family’s no longer having to live in shame and fear that their friends, family and church members would shun them just because the child of theirs, which they loved and cherished, had a virus called HIV/AIDS. We have come a long way from those dark months and years... There is still a long way to go. On this World AIDS DAY I want to remember all of those who have died and all of those who are living with this virus. You are the brave ones, you are the strong ones and you are the keepers of kindness and honor and love. You taught us to live like Christ lived, accepting, loving and caring for each other. Today I honor all of those who gave their lives so that someday, somehow how we could find a cure for this disease and we can all live happily ever after every now and then.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

If You Really Knew Me..

There is an Emmy award winning show on MTV called If You Really Knew Me http://www.challengeday.org/mtv this show is a must see for everyone. And we should demand that we get this program in every school district in America. We have to stop bullies in their tracks. Sometimes it may be our own family member; sometime's it may be us. We have to recognize this in ourselves and others and stop it in its tracks. Bullying destroys people's lives. We have to be brave enough to tell our own bullying stories in hopes of showing those who are bullied and to let people, especially young people that you can overcome being bullied and that Bully's can learn not to bully. They’re some people who are so hurt so badly that they hurt others... Others are taught by adults to bully.In adulthood they learn to hide it better. They get more
sophisticated "you are too thin skinned, It was a joke".
When I was a child I was bullied unmercifully. It all started in grade school. My daddy died when I was five and I had always eaten with him so when he died I stopped eating. I was so skinny.
You will see the difference in my photos from before my daddy died and what my mother did to after he died. She cut my hair herself  all of my beautiful curls and dressed me in clothes i could grow in to for two years..I looked that way all through school. Daddy was the only one who loved me..and now he was gone...My mother was 40 years old when I was born so now she was 45 years old with a five year old child, me. I suppose I was lucky to not have a sibling that had to go through it too.
My mother was wrongly incarcerated in a Tuberculosis sanatorium when I was six months old and not released until I was five and in time for daddy to die. She lost her mind at the sanatorium and was profoundly mentally ill when she came home. She was also very ill with a lung condition that there was only four other cases in the United States . She had to have a lung removed  when I was in second grade so I was also her care giver. Her only care giver. From time to time she would put me in Hillcrest Children's Home and I wouldn't know if she was coming to get me in a day or for months at a time. My cousins were bully’s so I had no escape...I had undiagnosed dyslexia, so some of my teachers just thought I didn’t want to learn...They all thought that I was just dumb. I was called all kind of names. I had a second grade teacher who paddled me every day for something...Like failing a test... I later found out that she was going through a divorce and that is why she was so mean. Boo Hoo. There were other teachers who did the same, why? I don't know. There are a lot of mean people in the world.

I was bullied on the school bus, at school and at home... I wore clothes that came from the Salvation Army...Life as a child was miserable and at home was just as bad, if not worse. I was teased "your daddy's dead, your daddy's dead" or your mama's crazy. I was always picked last for any team on the play ground and everyone would groan because i had to be on the team...

 But, I beleive that school life was the worst time of my life. Then in junior high, I had a speech teacher who taught me to succeed for the first time in my life, her name is Beth Childs. I learned through speech and prose and poetry that I was good and could win at tournaments. I learned to act in plays...I was a success for the first time in my life! Then I met a man who let me work in his dark room developing film, David Vann is his name.. He saw a flicker in me ..He let me go from developing film to taking his assignment to go to the local airport and COVER Jimmy Cater who was running for PRESIDENT of the United States for a local newspaper.. I was on the map because of him..He also changed my life. For both of them I will be forever grateful!

Home life wasn’t any better but now School was. I became the photographer for the school year book...so people liked me because everyone likes to have their picture taken. I never had a date in High School not even for homecomming or even my senior prom..No one would ever ask me out. It ws a very lonely childhood..This is the only photo I have of my mother and me. It was taken on a Christmas 1961 visit with her.  I was scared to death of her because i did not know her.

When I graduated from high school no one was there for me... My mother didn’t even come to see me graduate. There was no one to stand up for me...I made it anyway... I went to The University of Arkansas at Little Rock and graduated with a degree in Speech and Communication.
When I married, I married a bully because, why would I know any different? It indured for five very long years but,  I got my daughter out of it...So it was good for something. He came from a long line of bullies .When I became involved with HIV/AIDS in 1984-85, it was still called GRID Gay Related Immune Diffency. They hadn’t coined the name AIDS yet. I had the very first AIDS patient in Arkansas... My friend, Bonnie,  had her tongue removed from cancer in 1982 and while she was having all of her reconstructive surgeries, I paced the halls. I noticed a room with a big red bag all over the door and the nurses were drawing straws to see who would have to go into the room and check on the guy, then they would do it again. I learned that he had something that they really didn’t know what it was…it was AIDS...So, as you probably know I snuck into is room...He wanted his mother.. So, I went out to the nurses’ station to have them call his mother... They scolded me because I had gone in there. They said “honey, his mother isn’t coming, no one is. They haven’t been here is six weeks”.
 I went back in against medical orders and he thought I was his mother so I sat down, took his hand and waited for 13 hours while he died. I then called his mother back and she hung up on me. I called back again and told her that if she hung up on me again I would put her son’s obituary in her hometown newspaper and list his cause of death...I had her complete attention. She told me that she didn’t even want him back to bury him...So, I called around and finally found a black funeral home who would cremate him...It was in south Arkansas.

My daughter and I went to a local pottery store and got  a chipped Cookie jar for free and I put this ashes in it, then my young daughter and I dug a tiny hole in my family cemetery and had a do it yourself funeral . I couldn’t even get a preacher to say a prayer over this young man. After that, word got out that this Crazy woman in Hot Springs who wasn’t afraid of you and would help you…over five hundred men and women with AIDS came along in the next few years. I helped them all. I even buried over forty of them in my family cemetery...Because, their families didn’t even want them to bury them...I vowed right then and there that no one would ever die alone, and they didn't. My mother had gotten mad at my uncle when I was ten years old and bought 262 spaces in our family cenetery so that he and his family couldn’t be buried with the rest of the family. I was an only child; what would i ever do with that many graves? ...Actually, God had given me all of those graves so that no one would go unburied. Now sick and dieing people were being bullied. It was open season on People living with HIV/AIDS.
After that chance encounter at a hospital, I knew why I had been bullyied . It was so I would never forget how it felt and what it looked like...In the next few years there would be such an illness that people would bully the sick, be mean to them and let them die without dignity.  I now knew what to do to stop that fear and the bullying that came along and I did. Do I get teary eyed about how I was bullied? Absolutly. Does it still hurt and make me cry for that little girl in me? You bet it does! And you never want to forget how it feels, never, because that is what will give you strength to stop it from happening to anyone else.
I have worked with bullies , I have gone to church with Bullies, I have found them everywhere I go, I have lived next door to them..they are everywhere.

Since have received The Arkansas Community Service Award from the Governor's Office and KARK, The JC Penney Golden Rule Award, One Thousand Points of Light from George Bush and many, many others..I tell you this not because I am special but, to tell you that being bullied has made me stronger and that the Good Lord had opened that door which I would have never found.

I want to tell you that if you were bullied, for whatever reason in the world, you can overcome it and that you really can make great things in this World happen,.. It will get better. It will get better! Always look for a child who is bullied and take up for them anywhere you go. Bring this program If You Really Knew Me to your school. You can make a difference!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Someone In Port Charlotte,FL Is Using Last2cu On Their Blog

A woman in Port Charlotte Fl is using my name. Last2cu, as her blog and for posting picturs on Photobucket. It is not me. I own the Copy Write and the Trademark for last2cu under the United States Patent and Trademark Office Office.
I have sent her three cease and desist emails. So if you see anything from her; it is not from me. Thanks until I get this settled.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shades Of Black

This was written by me after a funeral in 1986 of one of the first AIDS patients that I had.


Polyester Black,
Knit Black,
Silk Black,
Cotton Black.
All for the same purpose, all for the same reason.
Wet smoke creeping around our legs, hanging at our waist.
Waiting.
Incense.
An Orthodox preist. Watching an old man's trembeling hands
holding golden candles
many candles,
mourning a dead son and his dying memories.
Cold October rain
                                dripping
                                              off
                                                   his
                                                        ear.
As the wet smoke hangs at our waist, waiting
Praying and chanting in a forgein tounge
Forgien faces,
Forgein customs
Beside his grave.
Eating the honey dipped bread and not knowing why?
Remembering the day we that we brought him here.
He was the first one who just died. Right then , right there.
I walked into his room, he took my hand, he nodded and then he died. They beleive that through my body and part of it stayed.
They are right.
but, not just him.
All of them.
This is where I gain my strength
To carry on.
They give me more than I give to them.
They give part of their souls
To me.
The part they want to leave behind.
He was tired.
He was ready.
He waited for me to arrive.
I did.
Now, I would go and tell his mother.
She would not understand my words.
My forgein tounge.
She would see it in my eyes.
He would tell her.
He did.
I was there,
I am here again, today
Different shades of black.
All with the same meaning.
They miss him.
Wet smoke hangs in the air.
I watch it slowly creep about those standing near.
It visits.
It waits.
They are unaware.
Cold October rain.
Dripping, dripping of of  mother's hat.
Black eyes
Black wool
Black
         hole
                in
                   her
                        soul.