The Number of Visits to JoJo The Dog Face Girl's BlogSpot

Monday, January 31, 2011

What Would Mom Do?

My mom was “Aunt Audrey” to many. But, especially to her friend Becky’s kids and grandchildren. She loved them as her own. Mom would play Bingo (winning 50cents a game) and save the money to buy those kids Christmas presents. She loved those babies.

One of the grandkid’s name is Rex. He’s 9 years old. A very intelligent child.  And a beautiful soul.  And he loves his Aunt Audrey. Much.

After Mom's memorial service, Becky came up to me with Rex. He stood there looking up at me with tears spilling down his cheeks behind his gold rimmed glasses, bottom lip trembling.    I could tell he wanted something. Becky whispers in my ear, “Rex wants some of his Aunt Audrey’s ashes”. “His mom told him he couldn’t ask you…. Jo Ellen, he insisted on bringing a Ziplock baggie.”

What would Mom do?

This is a no-brainer.

“Jo Ellen, give that baby some ashes!"

So, I bent over and told Rex, that not today, but when I open the urn to spread Aunt Audrey’s ashes, I’d save him some.   And I told him his Aunt Audrey would want him to have them and that she loved him very much and would be honored.

Rex, looked so relieved... swallowed back his tears, ran to his Mom’s purse and brought back a Ziplock baggie.

He handed it to me and I shook his hand and promised him I’d get back to him with it. He hugged me.

An odd request? The ashes? Odd, that I’d “share” them with a 9 year old? You’d have to known my Mom. She’s have had it no other way.

I will honor my promise to one of “Aunt Audrey’s” babies.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


BOSSIER CITY, LA - Ms. Audrey Lee Willis went to be with her lord and savior on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 after a lengthy illness. Visitation for family and friends will be held from 3:30-4:30, followed by a memorial service, celebrating her life on Friday, January 28th at Boones Funeral Home on Airline Dr in Bossier City.

Ms. Willis was born December 6, 1947 in Shreveport, LA, where she was a lifelong resident. Her proudest role was as a selfless ,loving mother. Ms. Willis worked in the admitting department at LSUMCS, retiring after 27 yrs of devoted service. She was a loyal friend, and "Aunt Audrey" to many. Audrey was a loving spirit and one of the kindest people anyone could have the honor of knowing.

Ms Willis was preceded in death by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew W Willis; brother, Alfred Doyle Willis; sisters, Sally Putnam, Jo Ann Martin, Mary Gipson, Nancy Davis, and Billie Berker.

She is survived by her daughter & son-in-law, Jo Ellen & Ronnie Sellers Jr of Bossier City, La.;, son Jason Davis of Austin, Tx; grandchildren, Blake Corder of Blanchard,La, Jacob Corder of Bossier City, La., Ryan Sellers of Bossier City, La, Matt Sellers of Denham Springs, La and Jennifer Guarisco of Laffayette, La..     Ms. Willis is survived by sister, Rosalie Whetstone of Memphis, TN; many nieces and nephews: and life long friends Mariam Martin & Rebecca Addison.

Ms. Willis was once asked what she'd do with the money if she won the lottery, without hesitation, she stated she'd give one-third to find a cure for sickle cell anemia. The family requests that memorials be made in lieu of flowers to: The Sickle Cell Foundation of Louisiana.

The family would like to express their sincere appreciation to the wonderful staff at Riverview Care Center, her nurse Millie, and Dr Deanna Donley.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My halo... I'm ready for my halo

My mom's nurse, Millie, walked into her room yesterday and said," Audrey, is there anything I can get you?"
Mom responded,"My halo... I'm ready for my halo"

This is been a very tough few months with mom.  She has lost even more independence, her health decline, her quality of life deteriate.
Her worse nightmare has never been death, but going on dialysis.   Being bedridden.  My mother is "living" this now.  And she's tired.

I went to her yesterday evening and talked to her.  I asked, "Mom, do you take dialysis for me... or do you take dialysis for you?"    You know her answer.   She told me mostly for me.   I insisted she atleast try dialysis.   I insisted she try.   And she HATES it.  She is angry, depressed, not eating, can't stand, no longer lifts her head.

It was my job to "let her off the hook".  I did that yesterday.  I asked her was she "done fighting"  and she told me she was.   I told her that was OK.  That I understand.  And I do.  Watching her body be sick was hard enough, but watching my mom's spirit be so sick... is not something I can live with.   And she would "fight"  and "not let go" as long as she though I wanted her to.   Because... I am her world.  Always have been.   So, I did the hardest thing a human ever has to do... tell someone they love beyond comprehension that it's OK to "stop trying".    I talked to Mom about Hospice.

I'd already discussed Hospice with her nurse earlier... the nursing home staff had met and were concerned about approaching me with the subject.   Because they know I want her to fight.    And I do.  But, more than that.. I want her to WANT to fight. 

As a nurse, I've seen it so many times.  The family hanging on.. so the patient hangs on.   And all the patient needs, is to be told.. that it's ok to go.   My mother needed that from me.

I'm not a crier.   Just not by nature.  But I honestly feel like my eyes are tennis balls right now from the bawling.  Not a sympathy ploy.  I'm only sharing, what many of you have experienced.    I'm so scared for her.  For me.  No more mom? no hugs?  Not hearing those three words from her?  I can't wrap my mind around it.    I know most are close to their parents.    A part of me is dying.  And it won't come back.  And I wont be the same.   And I'm glad it's her first and not me, I think she'd die of the heart break.

When I was there talking to her yesterday evening...  she began gagging, with nausea... so I called Millie to the room.    She came in, sat on the edge of Mom's bed and said, " Audrey, what's wrong honey?"   Mom answered slowly,"My daughter has problems with her lungs and I worry about her".   You see, that's my mom.    She's laying there, sick... and worried about my asthma.   I let mom know that I am OK.. and  promised to take care of myself so I stay OK.    My mother is an angel already.

There is not a doubt in my mind that my mom will get her halo.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I want to be a nurse, but,...

I quit school at age 15 pregnant. I was repeating the 9th grade at that time. Technically, I’ve never passed a high school algebra class to this date.
I’m not bragging. I’m just laying it out there, so you know where I’m coming from. In Junior High, I got by on the tests. I didn’t do class work or homework.    In high school… I got Mono my freshman year and missed a month. And then really was interested in.. NOT school. So, I failed my Freshman year.  Around this time, my aunt passed away and we moved to another rent house.

My new school district was Fair Park and got in a fight on my way to register. Defending myself!!! I didn’t pick a fight. Isn’t like all 5ft and all 95lbs of me could really have been a bully. I just objected to the shove I got in the hallway. A lot. The Vice Principle basically told me he was NOT spending his year tied up with a little white girl who thought she could fight.  So, he sent me to the Caddo Parish version of alternative school:

“School Away From School”.

Thug heaven baby.

I could smoke. Heck, the teachers smoked with us. Sometimes they even bummed them from us.

We had no cafeteria, which was fine, brought a sammich and my Marlboros.

Had to ride the city bus to West 76th streeet, then walk through the hood to the school.

We had a coke machine and a snack vending machine. WE HAD A COKE MACHINE! Regular schools did NOT have that (not back in that day).

It was basically one big room with partitions into the “classes”.

We worked at our own pace. You finish a chapter, take the test, etc,.. You finish the book? You’re done with the subject. You didn’t have to sit in that teacher’s “section” for the rest of that quarter.

There was no teaching. The teachers, just sat there. And joked and talked to us students. I don’t even recall there being a chalk board for them to teach from.

And all the boys, were bad boys.

Did I mention the frequent smoke breaks?

Thug heaven baby.

Most of the girls there were sent to this school because they got pregnant. It’s what they did back then. You didn’t just go on to high school with the rest of the students. You were sent away. I just so happen to be one of the few females that was sent to School Away From School and wasn’t pregnant. Well.. not when I started there anyway.
At age 15, I got pregnant. The moment I found out , I grew up. I knew I had to plan a future. I knew I’d have to fast track it. I knew I had another human being to consider. I knew this changed EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING.

I decided I’d quit school and go get my GED. I couldn’t legally quit until I was 16, but knew by the time they “caught up” with me, I’d be 16 and a Mom. This isn’t a recommendation to anyone’s teenagers , just confessing what my thoughts were at the time. This was probably the least "grown up" decision I made.  But, in MY situation... it was what would benefit my future best.

Bahhhhh!   Young and dumb.

The October after I turned 16, I had my son.  I was a natural mom. My son had a renal disease (which is this whole other story) and I was very mature for my age, I handled everything well and in my son’s best interest.

At age 17, I was working at a Day Care and went to take my GED.

The test was given at Centenary college. (Very intimidating environment for a little girl who’d dropped out from School Away)

The professor admistering the test was kind.  I found out through conversation with the other applicants that they'd all taken classes for this. I was feeling even more concerned because when I went and took the pretest, they told me just schedule the test. OMG! Everyone else took classes?!?!?!   THEY STUDIED!
Toast. I’m toast.

So, I began the test. Found it easy. Seemed like more common sense than book sense to me.

When I finished the test, I placed it on the professor’s desk, and returned to my seat. He’d call your name and either give a thumbs up (and you could go!) or ask you to come up there… those people looked quite dejected.   The ones called up.

I was getting nervous, because I’d finished so fast and well... he wasn’t calling me. Not doing the thumbs up thing. But he kept looking up at me as he graded tests.

Finally, He calls my name. And asks me to come up there.

He asked me to sit.
Double Damn.

Then this man, this stranger, this college professor (what I perceived as) to rich kids… he changed my life. Sounds dramatic? But, this is true. This man changed my life.

In one conversation , this man took a leap of faith and took the time to talk to me.   He asked me what I’m doing with my life.

And in my mind.. all I could think was great.. I bombed this so bad, this man is concerned.

I told him I was working in a day care.

The professor asked me what did I WANT to do.
I told him... be a nurse. I really wanted to be a nurse. I was raised around a hospital (my mom). And I had a sick son and all I’ve ever wanted, was to be a nurse.

I finally eeked out,”Did I pass?” I remember him chuckling at me.  And nodded his head. (whew!)

He says, " Your application says you didn't pass the 9th grade".    I confirmed this for him.   (Sinking deeper into that seat)   But, then...he told me how high I’d scored, (Apparently, I rocked that test) he only wanted to verify my actual level of education and said, “you do know you’re a very intelligent young lady, don’t you?”    I recall my voice cracking, “I guess I didn’t”.

The professor told me that I needed to go to college. Finally, tears began spilling over my cheeks. And I told him, I’m a teenage mom with no money. I can’t go to college. The professor then told me about grant and loans. And that the government would “grant” me the money to go to school.  Even with "just" a GED.   Wow.

This was not something I knew anything about. I mean, no one in my family had really ever mentioned that you could go to college for FREE. I had no idea that I lived in the greatest country in the world, that a poor high school dropout could get an education. FOR FREE!!! God bless the Pell Grant.

Do you know what?
That professor was right.

I DID get grants and loans. (I'm also sure I’ve paid them back several times in taxes)

I was intelligent. I rocked college.  (yup.. that's me bragging)

I could be what I wanted. I’m a nurse. (20 years this May)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Cable (Dish) Guy

"There was this one time, when I was single..."
I allowed a girlfriend to set me up on a date.


He worked as a cable dish guy.  He was a nice looking fellow… showed up on time. We’re at my place talking for a bit.  The plan was to go eat and catch a movie.

OK… let me interject here. My cousin, Mary..  Was my “phone-a-friend” to get me out of a date I was not enjoying. I’d call her. She’d call me in the time told and tell me she needed to me to come… it was a "family thing"… you get the picture. My ditch-a-dull/creepy-date call.   She was the Thelma to my Louise.    And at this point, she was a newlywed, pregnant and had moved to Texarkana, Tx.  

Back to the cable dish guy... seemed nice enough, very talkative. Now, I don’t normally “define” someone by what they do for a living.  The reason I refer to him as the "cable dish guy"… was IT WAS ALL HE COULD TALK ABOUT!!! 

It was like that “There was this one time, at band camp”… That movie had come out the year or so before and that's all I could hear... only it was,"There was this one time, I was installing a dish and...."

Within 20 minutes he’d told me four (not so) exciting stories about him installing cable dishes.  One was about a snake under a house, the other was when he fell off an house, one I’ve forgotten, and the other was that he actually installed TWO dishes for the one rich doctor.   Oy.    This was the longest 20 minutes of my life.

So, I excuse myself to the restroom.. and make The Call:


Me (whispering),”You got to call me with an emergency in 10 minutes"

Cuz (giggling),”he he he he he”

Me,”^$^$^(*, Call ME!!! I’m serious! This guy tells me one more cable dish story.... I’m gonna scream!”

Cuz,”Cable dish story?”

Me,” Please just call, when he’s gone I’ll explain"

Cuz,”10 minutes?”

Me,” Yeah… we’re suppose to leave in about 20 minutes, so yeah.. I don’t want to leave here with him”

Cuz (still giggling)," Ok... 10 minutes"

I go back to my “date”. He goes on and on about.. you guessed it.. the advancing technology of cable dishes. (shoot me..) And technically, he was talking about satelitte dishes...

10 minutes pass…. Hmmmm….. 15 minutes….
OMG! I’m gonna kill her! I swear! I knew she was jacking with me. and I'd already begun stalling about leaving.

At this point, he's quoting me a price on a cable dish.   (He was willing to work me a deal)

I'm mentally disowning Thelma.


At this point I'm pressing the phone to my ear so he can't hear her cackling.

All he hears is me telling her that of course I can come to Texarkana now. 

He offered to drive me there.    Ummmmmm....passsssssssss!

He leaves.  I call Mary... she was quite pleased with my reponse.  Grrrrrr!
And of course called my friend that had "set me up"    Double Grrrrrr!
And believe it or not... I actually let this same girlfriend set me up again... but.. that's another story.... I'll tell you one day.  A snippet?   He asked me if I had money for gas so he could get home... Sha! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"I'm not doing another thing until I get a cigarette"

I said that MANY times.  And meant it.

I use to smoke .  And I don't mean... I enjoyed one with a beer.  I don't mean a 1/2 pack a day.   I'm talking about a 2 pack of Marlboro light 100s (in the box) a day habit.    I like it.    LOVED it.   Smoking.   I was a hardcore smoker.   I was cranky if it'd been two hours between smokes. 

Not bragging.  I was a fool.

I have asthma.  And then.. chronic bronchitis.   Yet.. I smoked.  A lot.   My friends/family always "preached" how I needed to quit.   I found this annoying.   I didn't want to stop.  I liked smoking.  I had smoked since as 12 or 13.  I was addicted. 

(Ironically... I hated other peoples smoke)

Well... In 2001 I got sick.  Not a little sick.  I got low O2 level, bronchitis, chest constricted, pneumonia in my right upper lobe admitted to the hospital, go to the ER NOW sick.   I was a single Mom.

I smoked my last cigarette on the drive from his office to the hospital (which is across the street...), but I knew it'd be a while til I got another one.    When I finished, I sat there... short of breath... coughing.   I went into the ER, they were expecting me.

 The admitting clerk asked a very important question of me.  "Who's your next of kin?"   I sat there for a moment.   She looked at me kind of odd.   My mind was reeling.   BAM!    It hit me.. My next of kin was a 3yr old and a 15yr old who was struggling with the divorce still.  OMG!  If I die, my sons.   If I die... I will leave my sons.  If I keep this up... I will kill myself and leave my sons.

I get the the floor and my doctor meets me there.  He lays it out for me.  As long as I smoke...this was going to be my life.  Frequent addmissions and probably an oxygen tank to attend my son's graduation.

When he left.  I prayed.   I made a deal...  "Dear lord... get me through this.   I will never smoke another cigarette.  I need to live for my sons.  I need a better quality of life to be a mother.  Help me with the cravings and I promise to never touch another cigarette"    I felt his presence.
 I quit smoking.  Not patches.  No gum.  No cravings.  Nothing.  Just God's grace.   He took that craving from me.

I never wanted another cigarette.   Not even when stressed, out with friends, or any of those situations that triggers a smoker to light up.  Anyone who knew me then, is still amazed that I quit smoking.  My own doctor would question me when I went in about if I really had quit. 

I do weigh more (much) than I did when I smoked like a chimney.  It is true... food tastes better. (ha)   I recently found out my biological father was a heavy smoker and passed away with emphesema.   This was the path I was on.  

My whole point to this... is that God is there for us.   I was blessed that day in that hospital room.   God answers unselfish prayers.   And I never would have quit for myself.   It wasn't until I realized how hurt my sons would be by my self destructive demise, that I called upon God's help.   And being a graceful God, He answered. 

And I have never once gone back on my word with God.  Nor will I.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Santa touched you where???

I could have blogged this around Christmas...  but I kinda like Christmas to be more about the birth of Christ than a pervy mall Santa.

So... there was this one time...
My cousin, Tami and I were about 11... and my mom's friend's daughter, Mary was about 9.   We went to St Vincent Mall (a big deal for us po kids).  

Our mother's INSISTED we sit on Santa's lap.   We didn't want to... we thought it laaaaaaaaaame.   But... Mom insisted.   And I do love my Mom.

We went up there one at a time.   I went last.  He had red hair peeking out from under his Santa hair and I noticed freckles.   I sat on his left leg and noticed his left hand was cupping my hiney.  Strange.

Fake Santa gave me the creeps.

As I told Fake Santa what I wanted...  I felt SOOOO uncomfortable.   Then Fake Santa said,"Give Santa a hug".    I noticed he'd done that with Tami & Mary as well.     

As I hugged him.. he brought his right hand up... and groped my left breast.  I had developed young... and there was no mistaking what had just occurred.   His entire hand on my left chest... hidden from public view by the hug.

Santa was a pervert.

It wasn't until we got in the car that we began whispering in the back seat.   "Santa touched my booby"  "He did that to me tooo...."   etc,....

"Mooooooooooooooooooooom!!!!!!!!!"   Oh yeah... I was SOOOO telling on pervy Santa.   I'd tattle-tale on you in a heart beat.  My mom had my back... always. 

When we got home Mom called the mall manager.    Not sure what happened... if they fired the Pedofile Santa or what.   It was a different time.   Because really the police should have been called... not the Mall management (who'd much like to keep that a secret).

Needless to say... I kinda always had a different view on Santa after that.  

The other day when my cousin and Tami were recalling this "event"... she reminded me of this website...   and said it reminds her of of our Pervy Santa encounter.  

Yes, I had my kids pictures taken with Santa... I stayed close.    Someone touch my kid inappropriatly... I'd have reverted back to my Cedar Grove roots and caused a scene.   I'd toe dat mall up actin' a fool, I tell ya!!!

Sooooo.... Watch Santa when your child is in his lap, closely.   Remember this is a man, that is getting paid to have children sit in his lap.   Perfect job for a pedofile.   If your child doesn't want to sit on Santa's lap... don't make them.

Today... Perv Santa would have been on the front of the Inquisitor.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

“God told me you were coming…”

I’m a Mom, a mother, a snuggler, kid-is-center-of-my-world, protector…being a mommy... it is my purpose.   It’s why I was put on this earth… to bring two incredible young men into the world. About 10 years ago I was a single Mom living in Marshall, Texas in a lil trailor on the side of HWY 80. (Sounds like a country song, right? My every moment with Jake was about Jake.    I kept my "single woman" and "single mom" roles SEPARATE.   Jake only ever met two men that I dated… and I married one of them. My friends always asked the same question before asking me to go somewhere with them, “Hey, Do you have Jake this weekend?” Because if the answer was “yes” they knew I had plans.   I had a Friday night date with a blonde haired, blued young fellow who was a messy eater and always stuck me with the bill. But… he was a good snuggler… so I didn’t mind. 

The whole point of this is, I never understood how someone could “forget” their kid at a store, at home, in a car... Until… I did that very thing.


I did the unthinkable. I “forgot” him at home.  I worked 12 hour shifts, so sometimes if I’d worked a bunch on “my” nights, his Dad and I would swap up a night.There was a schedule switch, I didn’t normally have him that night of the week. I got up for work and didn’t see him in bed next to me (and like all Mommy’s boys he slept with his Mommy) , this did not strike me as odd. (Later he told me he woke up on the couch, and I saw a little blanket there… the set up of the trailer… I never had to “pass” by the couch to get showered, dressed or leave out the front door for work)  So... I went to work… in Shreveport… Shreveport, LOUISIANA!!!!… ANOTHER STATE!!!

His father calls me at work… asking why I didn’t bring Jake (he watched him while I worked). I assured him HE had Jake, it was HIS night… then it hit me. HARD. I had Jake… and OMG where was he this morning??? I didn’t see him in bed with me. My knees buckled. . My friend Paula was standing there, she said I turned a whitish gray. His father and I both said we’d rush over there.

As I’m leaving, I began calling the Sheriff’s department to send someone there. I recall another employee telling me, don’t do that... you’ll be in trouble for leaving him. I looked at her like she was from Mars. I just wanted my son safe. I lived on a highway. I’d left my 3yr old home alone!!! ME!!! I DID THAT!!! THE MOMMY!!!

My heart was exploding as I ran to my truck and began to drive that way. I called the Harrison county sheriff’s department. They kept me on the phone for my entire drive. I was so upset, they kept telling me to calm down so I don’t wreck. I barely recall the drive… I was pretty much in hysterics. God must have been steering…. Because I could barely see the road for all the emotions. And all I wanted to know was that my son was ok… “Is he there yet?” I must have said, ”Oh My God” a hundred times. They assured me that the sheriff got there and my Jake was ok… I think I cried harder.

I arrive and the sheriff and Jake’s father were already there… Jake had let the sheriff in.

Jake’s eyes were red. I could tell he’d been crying.

After the sheriff left..  I hugged him and kissed him and apologized a billion times (Jake, not the officer... sheesh!!!)  I asked Jacob, “What did you do?”

Jake told us that he woke up and didn’t see me and looked out the window for my truck. And he kept looking,” because Mommy’s always come back” (Yeah… that made my eyes water again) He told us that he was thirsty and tried to open a bottle of water and couldn’t. “So, I threw a fit right there” (as he pointed to the middle of the living room floor… had to smile at his wording and the way he pointed when he told us this) I told him how sorry I was and I know he was scared.

Jacob then said,” It’s OK… God told me you were coming”


Ummmmm… I had not introduced any type of religion into this 3yr olds life. He’d never been inside a church. I have faith… and prayed a lot. But, had not exposed my son to religion.

 I asked Jake, ”God?”   He said, “Well, maybe God… he told me that you and daddy were coming”. I said, “Jake, someone talked to you?” He said, ”Yes, he told me you were coming and I would be OK and not to cry” I was at a loss as to what to say. Jake bubbled on… and told us he stopped crying and...he just sat there...and waited.... the policeman knocked on the door and he was OK.

I didn’t question him more. It was kind of like the cemetery thing. I didn’t really need or want to know more.

All I know is an angel helped my son in his time of need. That my Jake was so pure of heart and open minded… he could “see” what many of us are “blind” to everyday.

“God told me you were coming…”

Monday, January 3, 2011

I'm a Dog People. I know.

I've become one of THOSE people. 
You know THOSE people. 
 The DOG people.
Talking about my animals like they are children.

Now, here's the thing... 10, 20 years ago.  I didn't "get" those people.  I'd never bonded with an animal.  All my dogs were outside animals and although I cared about them... I never had that bond.    I never understood how I could be talking about my children and someone would tell a DOG story in response.    


Then came Speedy.   When I began dating my husband, he had a chihauhau named Speedy.    She fell in love with me after he brought her over once.  (I fell in love with her as well....)    And after I came to the house, she'd sit there waiting for me.    I loved her much.      When she passed away...   (A larger dog bit her.... she was so little, that was all it took) I cried harder than when my grandmother died.  But, then again, grandma didn't sit in my lap everynight while I watched TV.     For a couple weeks, Relode would go stare at the ground where Speedy died.  THAT did not help.   It's only been in the past couple of years I can say her name without choking up (most times anyway).  I can't explain it.  Only had her a couple of years.   But.. the bond. 

I have 3 dogs.... I know I take pictures of over and over .... and talk about their every move.   But.. my Speedy... is where my love of dogs truly began.    When I opened my heart to something not human. 
When I became one of THOSE people. 
 A dog people.