It seemed there was no one in her life whom she felt she could trust. Yet, she kept all the pain to herself, giving the appearance of a happy child. In that day and time, no one discussed abuse or disloyalty within a family. Children were taught to remain silent so that no one would know and the family would not suffer disgrace.
"HER PATH OF THORNS" by Eugenia S. Hunt
Her life began in a Home for Unwed Mothers and followed a path of broken trust and loneliness. There is a special place in this world for every child...
In the Beginning...
Early on a warm summer day, at 8:03 a.m., she entered her world. It was June 30, the year, 1950, in a home for unwed mothers. Here, this little girl first opened her eyes. She was the child of both a father and a mother but was all alone. Though only four pounds and premature, she was both healthy and beautiful, and full of promise. God had set forth his plan.
Months before, in a small town in South Carolina, a beautiful young woman met a man. It was a short relationship but produced a child to come. Fearing the ridicule of both family and friends, she moved to another, larger city. She secretly checked herself into a home for unwed mothers to await the birth of her child alone and afraid. Once inside its walls, she realized she had made an error in judgement. Food was scarce and she survived on very little. There was a moment of flight where she climbed the surrounding fence but was discovered and returned to the home until her child was born and placed for adoption.
Never seeing her child, she returned home. Eventually she admitted to the child’s birth but told her God-fearing father the baby had died. However, her father did not believe her and she finally was left with not choice but to tell him the truth.
With the help of a police officer, and friend, her father and the officer drove to the city, found the little girl and brought her home in a shoebox. She had been named Edith Ann but was never called by her birth name. Instead her grandfather renamed her, always calling her his Jenny Bug.
JENNY'S BIOLOGICAL MOTHER
Her Early Years...
The first years of her life were happy ones. She was raised to call her grandparents “Poppy and Mama,” and never questioned their being her parents.
However, when Jenny was five years old, her cousin asked her one day whom her father was. She easily said, “Poppy, of course.” The cousin began to laugh, exclaiming that she didn’t have a daddy and Poppy was her grandfather. She argued with them but felt very confused.
Finally, when she was eight years old, realizing the existence of her actual mother, Jenny confronted her. She was told her father had died in a plane crash. The child accepted this explanation with no reason not to believe her and did so for many years.
That same year, Jenny was allowed to take dancing lessons with some of her classmates. As the time for the year end recital neared, her costume was readied and she told her mother it was very important to her that her mother be there. Jenny was told by her mother that she would definitely be there to see her dance.
The day of the recital, Jenny dressed in her costume and awaited her ride from some of the other girls, arranged by her mother because she would have to come straight from work. Jenny waited all afternoon but her ride never came. She found out later that her mother had told them Jenny was sick and could not attend because she really did not want to go.
At this same time in her life, she began four-years of abuse by her uncle. She kept this to herself, suffering alone. Jenny suffered ridicule from other children her age who heard stories of her birth from the adults around them. They took pleasure in throwing it in her face with laughter and teasing. It seemed there was no one in her life whom she felt she could trust. Yet, she kept all the pain to herself, giving the appearance of a happy child. In that day and time, no one discussed abuse or disloyalty within a family. Children were taught to remain silent so that no one would know and the family would not suffer disgrace.
When Jenny was around eleven or twelve years old, her mother dressed her up one day, curling her hair so that she looked her best. They traveled into town to have a special treat at the drug store which also had a soda fountain on one side of the building. She said later that she could remember it as though it were yesterday.
As she and her mother sat talking with her mother’s friend, a man entered the store, sitting on a stool at the counter. Her mother told her to wait on him. Jenny thought this was very strange but did as she was told. As she handed him his drink, he said to her, “My Goodness, you are a beautiful little girl.”
After sitting back down, Jenny overheard her mother tell her friend, “He came to see her.” The man had already left the store. As an adult, she later realized this must have been her father.
At the age of sixteen, she returned home from school one afternoon, finding a note from her mother. Her mother had built a house and was planning to move out of the family home. She would be moving all of them into the new home with her.
To her surprise, she was told her Poppy was very sick with lung cancer and she would now have to face the loss of the one person who had always been there for her.
Rushing home from school every day, Jenny spent as much time as she could helping with her grandfather’s needs and spending all of her time with him. He only asked two things of her as he knew he was dying. He asked that his “Jenny Bug” never smoke and for her to take good care of her grandmother.
By the time she was eighteen, both grandparents were gone. At that point, her mother sold the house, leaving her with no place to live. Jenny had just completed high school. Always having been there to take care of everyone as they aged and left her, she was left totally alone once again.
Finding Her Way...
Therefore, she contacted her uncle and told him she would like to attend Cosmetology School. He agreed to pay for her classes and she graduated.
However, her mother was a nurse at a nearby hospital and asked that she go on to school and enter the nursing program at the same hospital. She agreed to go, later working at the same hospital with her mother.
Jenny’s charge was on the eighth floor, Psychiatric Ward, and she remained on the job for eight years. But she was unhappy with her job and the interference of her mother constantly.
Therefore, when her friend asked her to move in with her, she agreed, and they moved to North Carolina together.
There, she met a man in the Army, Jim, and they began to date. All went pretty well until she came home one day and her friend had moved out without warning, moving back to South Carolina.
Once again, she found herself alone and betrayed.
Because she was alone, Jim decided that they should get married. She really had never thought about marriage but had nothing else. She told him she would marry him.
Jim had been raised in Michigan in the Ghetto and she in a small town in South Carolina…they were really so very different. He did not drink alcohol but loved motorcycles and smoked pot. He had been raised by a woman who was a practicing witch. Jenny attended a covenant meeting once with the woman. It was a frightening experience. However, she knew God walked beside her so she refused to allow herself to be afraid. All she could think was, “Dear God, what have I gotten myself into!”
During their time in Detroit, Jenny suffered nine miscarriages before the delivery of their beautiful baby boy.
While working at a Pizza Restaurant in Michigan, they met a little girl, though only eleven, who worked there washing dishes to earn wages. She grew closer and closer to the little girl until the child would ask to come home with her to play with their baby. JoJo finally asked if she could come to live with them permanently, already calling them Big Jim and Mama.
Taken back by the idea, Jenny went to see the child’s mother, who had 13 children. She found that none of the children attended school. They talked for a while before she told JoJo’s mother that the child had asked to live with her. The mother got up, went to get the child’s birth certificate, handed it to her and told her to take JoJo with her. She was fine with the idea.
Totally dismayed, she carried the child home with her. That night, she had to break the news to her husband that he was now the father of an eleven-year-old girl! Though Jim could not believe what had taken place, agreed readily to the arrangement.
A Place to Call Home...
Not wanting to raise her son in Michigan, Jenny decided to return to her home town. Jim did not go with her at first.
After a short time, Jim realized she meant what she said and was not coming back. So, he flew to South Carolina.
He soon returned to Michigan alone leaving her in South Carolina with the children. But she was fine with a good job and a place to live.
Jenny gave him four months, contacting him then to see if he wanted to try again. If not, she was through. It took him a week to decide to move back and settle into a new job there.
There were other bumps in the road as they searched to find their way but in time, life got better.
Jim loved working with his hands and was finally hired by the owner of a shoe repair in a nearby town. The man trained him to do the work and Jim was happy, staying with him for twenty-five years. When they retired, they turned the business over to Jim and they relocated it to their small town. They repaired boots for the town and even for numerous famous people who came to the nearby college for various reasons. The business prospered and so did their happiness.
Starting Over...But Never Alone...
Once again, in later years, life dealt her another blow in the form of a storm. The home they were renting was demolished with them inside when a huge tree fell on the house. Thankfully, they both survived. The property was sold and they had no where to go. Jenny was 62 and starting over again.
However, this time she was not alone. Jenny had Jim, her children, grandchildren and a town full of friends who had all grown to love them! And she had the Lord by her side as He always had been.
Jim and his Jenny have recently celebrated forty-nine years of marriage.
You see, God has a reason for every child he sends to earth and he had a plan for this baby long ago in the home for unwed mothers.
During her lifetime, Jenny has touched so many lives bringing to them compassion and love regardless of her own circumstances. Mine is one of those lives.
Eventually, Jim and Jenny became the official Santa and Mrs. Claus for their little town, warming the hearts of every child and adult in the town for so many years. Their love spread joy just by dressing in costume and letting the children bask in the joy and enchantment of Christmas.
Jenny has loved the Lord all her life and done her best to let others know of His wonderful love.
Recently, she needed her birth certificate. As she reviewed the document through the eyes of an adult, she discovered a last name on the paper. Jenny now knows her birth surname. The path to whom he was is still unclear but there are a few leads if she chooses to pursue them. She may not have had the warm hugs of a biological father but she had more…the love of her Heavenly Father all her life.
There is a special place in this world for every child and she found hers through trial and error and hard work and faith!
Years ago, Poppy was right to bring her home to her little town where God knew she belonged all the time!
"His Outstretched Hand" by Eugenia S. Hunt
The sandy path before me,
Reaching far beyond my view,
Looked strewn, with many Bramble,
The thorns I must pass through.
As I came into a clearing,
Lined with flowers of brightest hue,
I knelt there on the grassy mound,
For my thoughts were fearful, true.
I bowed my head a moment,
Clutching His safety near.
Praying aloud my stormy thought,
He slowly calmed my fear.
Once again, I began to walk
Along the path of sand and thorn.
Ahead, I saw His promise,
Sunshine falling on each morn.
As darkness fell around me,
I came to the end of day.
And there waiting for me,
Was His blood for which he lay,
Upon the cross, for me,
So that I might truly live,
Without fear and thorns of sin,
For, years ago, His life, did give.
No more the fear, the hopelessness,
Do I carry there within me?
What this life holds along the path,
Beyond what I alone can see.
For He is there beside me,
Sharing the path of thorn and sand.
All I must do is love Him,
And reach for his outstretched hand.
Eugenia S. Hunt