In 1979, at the age of 24, I discovered that my juvenile record in the State of Utah was long, very long.
My juvenile problems resulted in the State, in 1965, removing me from the care of my mom and stepdad, and placing me in the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden. It was at “The Dee” where I met Barbara Hunt, an 18-year-old woman, also a resident, from Bakersfield, California. She befriended me and helped me write a letter to my paternal grandmother in Kingsville, Texas. A month later, my grandmother arrived at The Dee to tell me that she was going to adopt me and take me back to Kingsville. All she needed was my approval. Although it took more than just my approval, by Christmas 1965 I was living with my wise old grandmother.
As we walked in the front door of her home in Kingsville, I noticed a huge picture hanging over the sofa. Elements of the picture included the corner of a house, an elderly couple sitting on lawn chairs under an old oak tree, a dog at their feet, and flowers blooming in the gardens. That picture has stayed with me although it took me many years to figure out why. I now know that it showed what I wanted—a love of life, a love of flora, a love of fauna. When my grandmother died in 2003, my oldest uncle asked me if I wanted the picture. I did. Sadly, he never sent it to me.
A few years ago, during my career as a home inspector, the house I was inspecting reminded me of my grandmother’s picture. My camera captured it:
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