Chapter Two - Defining Moments

The year 1929 brought the stock market crash, the death of her father, and an end to the life Joy knew. She was only eleven but remembers well his long battle to overcome double pneumonia and an abscessed lung without the benefit of antibiotics.

In the final days of his illness, relatives and neighbors came to their house to comfort and assist in any way they could. He was critical now and the minutes seemed like hours as he lay there dying. Gentle hands ushered Joy and her siblings to his bedside while he breathed his last laborious breath… each one farther and farther apart. Then he was gone. Her daddy was gone! The daddy who held her on his lap, warmed her little feet in the winter by the old pot-bellied stove, told her Bible stories about Jesus, took her to town with him in the old spring wagon, and beamed with pride when she spoke her recitation in the school program. How she missed her father’s love, his smell, his warm laugh, his strength, his reassurance!

Poverty stripped Joy of all security, as these years proved to be more than Joy’s mother could bear with three children. They sold the family farm, and Joy’s mother met Thomas, a successful businessman who seemed to love the family. His surface charm faded faster than the wedding bells. Once the ceremony was over, the nightmare began for Joy and her siblings. He loved Ollie, Joy’s mother, but he loathed the children. Unspeakable abuse became a way of life for many years. Yet, it was this time of turbulent brutality that birthed in Joy an unquenchable longing to help people.

The memory of her father’s love and was quickly becoming a faded movie in Joy’s young mind. Being born into a Christian family, she treasured the unconditional love lavished upon her by her Mommy and Daddy when she was small.

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