Chapter Two - Defining Moments

contempt instead of compassion when Joy doubled over in pain, not knowing what it was, then straightened out. Her mother called the doctor.

After examining Joy, the doctor took her mother and stepfather into the room and told them, “She has had an acute attack of appendicitis. The appendix has ruptured and that’s why she straightened out. If she doesn’t get help within the next few hours, there’s not much hope. She’ll die.”

Her stepfather towered ominously over Joy’s petite frame. His anger spread across his monstrous face like a red rash. With trembling lips he snarled, “Well then, she can just die.”

At three o’clock in the morning, a doctor in a drunken stupor operated on Joy. He put a tube in her side. She remembers waking up with her mother at her bedside, hearing the nurses whisper to each other, “It’s too bad this little girl has to die.”

“Mother,” murmured Joy, scarcely conscious, “am I going to die?”

With big tears rolling down her face, her mother replied more confidently than she felt, “Honey, we hope not. Jesus is looking over you.”

Joy survived. Her recovery was slow, her health weak, but her vengeance and hatred toward her stepfather were healthier than ever. The dark clouds of reproach dimmed Joy’s spark of divinity, leaving only a smoldering little wick.

Her tenacity was a quality that worked both for her and against her. It may have catalyzed her stepfather’s rage toward her, but it also saved her life and kept her going. She was relentless with her mother, imploring her regularly to divorce that awful man.

Perhaps Joy understood that her mother’s intense love for her was so great, she really did consider divorce during the Depression, but knew ultimately it was not in her family’s best

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