Family Magazine

This is Your Story. And It's Still Being Written. (updated January 28th)

By Accidentalxpert @AccidentalXpert
As most of you know by now, my Granny moved in with us the first week of January. It's been challenging but rewarding. Dementia is taking her from us very quickly. I decided to write down everything I could possibly remember plus stories she tells during good  moments for her to read when she is confused and unsure who she is. My own rendition of The Notebook you might say.
I wanted to share with you what I have so far and invite you to add your own memories so I can add them to her story.  She usually has no problem right now recalling old memories when reminded. But I know there will come a day when she can't anymore. Enjoy.......

This Is Your Story, Granny, And It's Still Being Written.
I know your memory is getting worse and you often wonder who you are, where you came from and why you’re here. I wanted to write you something you could pick up and read when you are confused and scared.  First, know that we love you and your right where you are supposed to be. Surrounded by friends and family and people who love you and have known you all their lives.
First of all your name is Lillian Agnes Jeffries. You were born on August 4th 1922. That makes you almost 92 years old. And secondly, my name is Kathy Jo. I am your granddaughter. I am the one who wrote this for you. I along with most everyone else have always called you Granny.
Granny, you have one son. His name is Larry Keith. I asked you once how come you to name him Larry. You said it was just a name you liked. Larry is my Daddy. Other than me, he also has two sons. Their names are David and Brent. They both visit you often along with their wives named Lesia and Terrie.
You have lived with me since January 8th 2013. Prior to that you lived right beside me in your home. You lived alone there for many years. You were married to my Grandpaw for over 50 years. Grandpaw passed away in 1993. We are not exactly certain, but we believe he suffered from an aneurysm that burst.  
Since his passing you remained in your home until moving in with me. You took some serious falls at home alone and the final fall before moving in with us was very dangerous. Doctors believe you were on the floor all night long before we found you and called an ambulance. It scared your family a lot as well as your Doctors. That’s when we decided that it was no longer safe for you to stay home alone. We only have your best interest in our hearts.I know things are confusing to you, but it is normal. You see, you have been diagnosed with dementia. Other than dementia you have always been very healthy. You have never broken bones or been extremely sick very much you whole life. You have always been very independent and I know that’s making this all even harder. I know you worry that you are a burden but you are just the opposite. We all love you and want you here with us until time comes that I am unable to care for you safely. As I mentioned earlier, my name is Kathy Jo. You live here with me, my husband and four boys. My four boys are named Peyton, Eli, Zackary and Evyn. My husband’s name is Danny. You don’t see Danny very much because he is a truck driver and stays gone quite a bit. All four of my children attend school now. They go to Savoyard Christian Academy. It’s the school that the church started and Daddy let them use his community center building for the school. The same building we had your surprise 90thbirthday party in on your birthday in August 2012.We live in a little town called Savoyard. Most of us call it Chicken Bristle. You’ve told me before that it was nicknamed Chicken Bristle because there once was a hotel about two miles out the park road that got in too big of a hurry dressing their chickens and left bristles in them. People soon started calling that hotel Chicken Bristle and the name just stuck around.   You were raised in a little cabin not far from here. The cabin is barely still standing. Last year I dug through the remains of it and found a window frame that seems to have been from the upstairs. That frame now hangs beside your bed in the room here in my home that we have for you. You’ve told me stories about living in that cabin. One that I remember the most is you telling me about rocking in a rocking chair there and accidental rocking on one of your sisters toes. I’m not sure why that story has stuck with me and I don’t recall now which sister it was. You had a large family. Travis Hall, Dee, Wayne, Lovie Mae, Amy Florine. I remember all of them except Florine. We use to visit Wayne and Lovie often in Indiana. I never met your parents. They passed before I was born but you often confuse Daddy and your Poppa. I think by photos they must resemble a lot. Your Dad, whom you always refer to as Poppa, passed away when he was 94. He lived a long life and you always claimed for as long as I can remember that you too. And you have. You are almost 92 and up until a couple years ago still insisted to push mow a portion of your yard. Which reminds me of one of the only injuries I’ve ever heard of you having. While push mowing a ditch in your yard your foot slipped under the mower and you lost a portion of a couple toes. I always thought about that every single time you would get in the ditch with your push mower. You made me a nervous wreck!!    On your good days I probe you for memories that I can jot down. Not only for you to read but for myself. On one day in particular we spoke a lot about your siblings. We talked about how Lovie never had any children of her own. She was pregnant once but lost her baby. After that she had to have a hysterectomy due to tumors that had invaded her reproductive organs. We also spoke of Florine and you named her children. Florine had one boy and several girls. Roger, Rita, Mary Ellen, and Sherry are who you remembered off the top of your head. Amy Florine was named after a friend of your mothers. She had a friend named Amy. You also told me your Grandpa Johnson had a nickname for Travis. He called his Travis Hall Screaming Balls. We laughed about that for a long time. It strange the things that seem to pop into your mind so easily from so long ago but you usually can’t recall what you had for breakfast. I know that it is part of your dementia, and I gather as much information now as I possibly can for both of us.
January 28th

You had a lot of stories today. We chatted and I secretly took notes. Today we talked about William Garret Johnson. He was your uncle. You called him Uncle Tuck. Apparently he worked out of state and his coworkers nicknamed him Tuck because he was from Kentucky. It stuck his entire life. He was married to a Clack.
This morning you stared out the window at the road that runs in front our homes and remember a time when you and Lovie would walk to Uncle Tucks house. Tuck shoed horses among other odd jobs. You girls done a lot of walking. None of your family ever had cars although Uncle Dee bought himself one when he was older. There is a Clack Cemetery Rd just down from here, which is were he lived. Years ago most everyone had a small family cemetery on their property were they were buried. You were not certain but thought Uncle Tuck and his wife were buried there after their passing. I'm sure it must have been her family buried there as well.  When it gets warm Peyton and I will have to investigate some of these things.
We also talked about your Grandpa and Grandma Johnson. They had a big house somewhere over around Aunt Norma's home. I'm picturing it must have been close to the little cabin you grew up in that I've been to several times.
You claim to have many great memories about their place. I've seen a photograph of their home and often wondered how anyone could have such a large nice home back then. You said he was a good business man.
They too, had a close family cemetery. Another that me and Peyton will have to visit. You said two children were buried there and that they passed from what was believed to be Typhoid Fever. They were there when you were a child so I imagine their graves are unrecognizably by now.  Grandma and Grandpa Johnson are buried there you believe. Uncle Jim Wheeler was also buried there but his family moved his stone to Glasgow some years ago.
You lived in the little cabin on that land many years until your grandparents were old and sick. At that time you moved in with them and lived there until they both passed away. That big old house didn't remain in the family. Through the grapevine it was believed that the home was later burned for insurance money.
I was surprised to learn that two stores sat in Chicken Brissle here across from each other. It seemed to me that would cause many arguments to have two general stores in the small  community. You said y'all traded only with the store that had been here the longest and some years later that other store also burned. Once again......gossip was it was also burned for insurance.
It must have been in the water today to tell stories. Daddy came in and joined in with stories of his own and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to jot those down a swell.
Some years ago I decided to clean out the garage and toss some of the kids old bicycles. One had dry rotted tires and one was simply too small and rusted. Daddy was very upset that I intended to toss two perfect bikes because someone could enjoy those. Today I understood that better.
Daddy (which is your son) never had a bicycle. He also done a lot of walking. A few of his friends had a bike but he didn't. Daddy saved his money once and purchased a bicycle for ten cents. It was used and worn out and had a bad chain that always got hung up in his britches leg. I imagine it was a wasted ten cents. Another time he traded a BB gun with a slight defect for a bike. It was a decent trade but he was already older by this point and wasn't really in to bikes anymore. He was more a motor bike kind of boy by this point and saved thirty five dollar for one of his own. It lasted one day, because every boy around here took a turn on it and it was pretty much destroyed by the second day. I can just picture you shaking your head about this situation sixty years ago. I imagine you would have been about the age I am now when he was making these trades.  Boys will be boys wont they, Granny?


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