fabrics mar 2009




Before my surgery, I started writing to my friend Frances. But, I never got around to sending the letters.  In order to tell my story, here are all three un-sent letters.


Feb. 12

Hi Frances!

I just wanted to share that my lumpectomy is tomorrow. I have to be at the hospital at 6:30 a.m.  I do not feel particularly nervous at the moment but am eager for this procedure to be over with.  I had a lumpectomy five and a-half years ago, and it was cancer. 

Today I saw an announcement about a workshop for people with cancer entitled

“Spirituality and Suffering.” I thought about how my spirituality has grown as I have gone through the last six or seven months with physical problems.  When I focus on others and when I stay in today, my problems seem much more manageable. 

I feel as ready as I can be for tomorrow.





Feb. 13


The surgery is over.  It went well. The doctor found two lumps, and the second was not a cyst as she had originally thought. She told my husband it did not appear to be malignant but didn’t tell him anything about the first and larger tumor. I am feeling a little better now, although the incisions (there were two) still hurt.  The doctor did prescribe a pain killer, but I’m trying to hold on without the pills. 

       The doctor said she will call me as soon as she gets the lab results, probably the middle of next week.  I realize that there is a good chance that the report will be “cancer” but I am not freaked out about waiting to know like I was the last time.

I know if I have a re-occurrence, there is treatment and that I can still have some good years.





Feb. 14

Dear Frances,

My doctor called with the biopsy report today!  NO cancer.  My husband and I are thrilled and grateful. 

The doctor called our house first.  I wasn’t home but she told my husband the good news — which was nice.  I was having lunch with a friend and the doctor caught up with me through my cell phone.

I had really expected bad news because I had cancer once before, so I was really surprised.   




Jane (Feb’09) adds, “I had worked hard on turning over the outcome to my Higher Power, and I was prepared to try to accept whatever the news was.” 




One Sunday my family was having lunch with my in-laws. After the prayer was said, the side dishes of mashed potatoes, gravy, black-eyed peas and biscuits were passed around the long table. My mother-in-law had fried up a big platter of chicken which sat in front of her husband.

There is only one wishbone in a chicken — which my family always called the pulley-bone.  At home, firstborn Judy always claimed her right to it. That was fine until my second child, Bruce, arrived.

Although he wasn’t sure what a pulley-bone was, he wanted one, too — of course.  Using a little strategic deception, I managed to keep the peace for several years until that fateful Sunday at my in-laws’.

         Three-year-old Bruce watched wide-eyed as his grand-father reached to the platter and forked a piece of chicken.

 “Bruce, do you want a drumstick?”

My young son looked at the chicken and then smiled brightly. “We call that a pulley-bone at my house!” he chirped.

The adults all looked at me and laughed. I had been found out!


            June Poucher (Feb.’09) adds: “My little white lie had kept family peace while it lasted.”





The scene of the young father and his “tattooed” boy — probably now both late for church– continued to unfold. As I watched the man, the white-coated pharmacist  produced a bottle of  clear liquid  and  a bag of cotton balls.  The father handed over several bills.  Opening the rubbing alcohol on the spot, with cotton swabs he dabbed and rubbed at the “tattoos” on the boy’s arms. The cotton turned blue but the majority of the ink stuck fast to the boy’s skin.     (Continued on the next page.)

I leaned back against an edge of a shelf that held shampoo and soap and other toiletries, enjoying the sight of the “tattooed” child.

I wanted to say to the father, “Great! Your son is on the long pathway of experience and exploring that makes life worth-while. He has discovered his imagination, wondered about the world, and decided to change his status quo. He follows in the footsteps of all of us who became curious.”

I pictured the child sitting on the floor of his bedroom, marker in hand.  Naked and painting himself like our primitive forebears, he had changed who he was. He metamorphosed into an object of beauty that could only be understood by the pleasure and satisfaction he experienced while taking this leap into the unknown and discovering that he could create change.

            My thoughts were interrupted by an announcement my prescription was ready.  I paid for my pills and I moved on to finish my own journey of discovery — exploring items that were on sale today.

I hoped the boy’s parents would appreciate the humor in their son’s creative venture.  When the boy went to preschool tomorrow, I also hoped his teachers and peers would take in stride a “new primitive” that now existed in their midst.

Over time, the child’s skin would do its miracle and slough off old cells.  The previous boy would re-emerge sans blue. But he would never be the same. Having experienced this life-changing event, his soul would be ever watchful, ready for the next adventure.


              Wallace (Feb.’09) adds, “I try to be thankful and make time to recognize and nourish the child that lives in all of us.”




            Now that I had my family all stirred up about finding my father’s correct or legal name was “John” Johnson–not George H.Johnson he used–they began to report other name discrepancies noticed over the years.

Brother Jimmy said his birth certificate lists Mom’s middle name as “Hilija.” He thinks that’s the nickname for Lilly!   I thought back. Mom’s name on her tombstone lists her as “Sophia L.”   On the other hand I had seen her name also spelled, “Sophie!”

     While we were at the county court house Brother Jimmy and I also discovered some interesting trivia about how names had been inadvertently changed. The clerk went to a small file and pulled out a card from which she got the information necessary to find a larger record book.  

This was an enormous thing, and all the entries were written by hand, and in alphabetical order. The clerk told us that the person or persons who made the entries had to decipher people’s handwriting to make the entries.

The clerk speculated that many times the entries could be in error.


Le (Feb.’09) adds, “Until recently I had Mom’s driver’s license, When I locate that record again maybe that will shed more (diluted) light on her correct name: Sophie Hilija Johnson or Sophia Lilly Johnson!”

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>