Grab a coffee. This may take a while. This post matters – to ME. And I am sharing it with you. THIS IS ONE WAY TO LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED. There are many others.
Once upon a time, in a small town in the southern part of the United States, a town named Gainesville, Georgia, there lived a young couple, a beautiful young girl named Anna Louise, called “Anna Lou” and a handsome young man named Jesse Jewell – aka Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Jewell. They lived in a small 2-bedroom, 1 bath house on a country road to Cleveland, Georgia, outside of town – called Cleveland Road. In March 1937, Anna Lou was expecting her third baby. She was 34. Jesse had just turned 35 on March 13th. They had two girls, ages 5 and 7. Patricia was the oldest – she was 7. Barbara was two years younger – she was 5. Jesse was hoping for a boy. Anna Lou just wanted it over because this was her fourth try. After this baby, she did want to try for a boy any longer. Needless to say, Jesse wanted his boy. At that time, Jesse was helping his mother in a chicken feed store in town. The south was in the throes of a deep depression and everyone was doing his best to make a go of it. Franklin Roosevelt had just been re-elected for his second term as President of the United States and was frequently giving his “fireside chats” on the radio. Jesse and his mother were struggling to help the local farmers get feed for their chickens and the farmers were struggling to pay.
Across the “highway” on the other side of the street, lived the Lilly’s. Johnny Lilly and Jesse had been best friends for years. And Evelyn, Johnny’s wife was also pregnant, expecting her first baby. She was expecting her baby in August. So, in the evenings after work, Johnny and Evelyn would come over after supper and sit on Anna Lou and Jesse’s screened-in porch with Anna Lou and Jesse and talk until around 9:00 p.m. At that time, Anna Lou would make sure the other two girls were in bed.
Then, on March 30, a Tuesday morning at 11:30 a.m., Dr. Davis delivered another baby girl to Anna Lou and Jesse Jewell. They named her “Janet Tallulah”, after Jesse’s mother. Anna Lou was glad it was over; Jesse …. No boy.
That is the way it all began for me – March 30, 1937. I was not a boy. I just turned 85. Lots of life and years in between. I have been reminded of this many times during my life. Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” and the speech that will remain indelible in my mind forever, “Let’s really look at one another!…It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed… Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute? (Emily)” ― Thornton Wilder, Our Town. Bottom line. I did not think I was wanted. I was not a boy.
It started with a train whistle in the middle of the night in Gainesville Georgia. The train was on its way to New York. I / Janet Jewell wanted to get far, far away from my family who did not love me and never return. And I changed my name and mentally became another person for a lot of year. I tried too forget about my unhappiness. I left Gainesville Georgia in 1968 and moved to Los Angeles California.
Three unhappy marriages later, Flash forward to 2014 in Encino, California in the San Fernando valley. It started in 2014. My fourth husband was a good friend and I loved him very much. Happy marriage finally.
But Steve wanted OUT of LA.. i loved LÀ. Steve HATED it. So I -unbeknownst to me – made my move – this thrust / goal to get to Paris. Steve wanted to move back to Sarasota Florida. He lived there for some years after his mother died. I did not like Florida at all. I did NOT want to live there. So I suggested that we move to France. WHAT?????? Italy? Steve was a fully – loaded Italian. He would want duel citizenship. WHAT? HOW? USA and Italian. Okay. And we move to Formula One territory Grand Prix Monaco. Okay. Nice France. Okay. Deal. Deal.
That is how it started. And we burned bridge after bridge . We left no trails to return
Do not go where the path may lead,
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail…
I did not know I was planning to stay but I was.
Am I sorry? Sometimes. I cannot believe that I burned the bridges and I did not want to return.
I set it up
Remember “Janet had dreamed of living in Europe for years- as long as she could remember. Every time she heard the train whistle from her bedroom upstairs on green street circle in Gainesville Georgia. The train was on its way to New York where she would take a boat. And live somewhere beautiful. With lots of trees. In a cozy happy home where people were loving and happy with everything.” I did not know what hugs were. I had never been hugged.
So Janet began to help Steve get his Italian passport. It took two years. And Jay was an attorney and put her research skills to work.
Jay -my alter ego – subscribed to International Living magazine and Anglo Info website and found a realtor in Nice who was independent and would work with me to help me find a property to rent. I was also a USA Real Estate Broker in California. I knew what I was doing . I also watched House Hunters International a lot. Steve did not think we could find anything decent. We did and our contact helped us rent it, but Steve wanted his Italian passport and he got it before we left for France. I had a trial until the last minute and we departed and arrived on October 1 2015.
We made a bad decision on moving company. Big mistake. I went for cheapest. Never again. And major downsize and I still took too much. Plus I got rid of things I wanted. It is painful to remember what happened.
Our contact met us at the airport and we were there ! We did not know that we were there for good and would never would return .
Lots of decisions good and bad. But we did it and were very happy for 11 months. I was in love with Steve and life and Janet had made it to Europe at last. I was a happy camper!! Then Steve got double pneumonia. WHAT???? Cured but heart failed. He died. WHAT??? Noooooooooo. NOT OKAY!!!!!
I floundered until JANUARY, 2020 and moved to Paris. I arrived but was very rigid. Very scared. I didn’t know what to do. So I broke. Brain strokes. I have had to simplify everything. I did not know I had intended to burn my bridges. I had reached my goal. Oops. Now what . Damaged and broken in Paris, France, during a pandemic and regional war. Oops. And no one wants anything to do with brain strokes.
“No one is a great poet because she is a miserable drunk. No one is a great poet because he has had a nervous breakdown. Suffering, however, can be experienced as a curse or a blessing; the luckiest is the one who can experience it as a blessing.” ~poet Carolyn Forché
So a blessing? I don’t know yet. It is all new. Maybe.
(singing) “To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
And to run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
And to love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march, march into Hell
For that Heavenly cause
And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable
The unreachable star
And I’ll always dream the impossible dream
Yes, and I’ll reach the unreachable star.”
Cautiously optimistic, I realize that I burned all bridges. I am still processing that one. And Paris is just a big city with a lot of buildings.
At least that is one way to look at what happened…… I am sure there are others. Please forgive all of the mistakes. I am doing my best and plan to keep writing anyway.