By Patsy Robinson Timbs
My name is Betty Jane Howard. My birth date is July 21, 1934. I am now 80 years old. My dad and mom were Rayburn and Ethel Snyder. We lived in Ashe County, North Carolina. I had two sisters, Doll and Corena, and a brother, Darl.
I was married to Clint Howard and our home was in Johnson County, Tennessee, for most of our 60 years. We had three children-Clarence, Ray and Patsy.
I worked and retired from Levi Strauss. I enjoyed it and the many friends I made there. I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s soon after treatments I had for breast cancer in 2001.
I continued managing my household duties–shopping, driving and enjoyed my family for another 10 years.
I became worse and unable to live alone in 2011 after my husband died. I always had a garden and stored our food for the winter months.
I have seven living grandchildren and one deceased grandson. I have nine great grandchildren. I have lived with my daughter Patsy and her husband Larry for the last three years.
I miss my husband, my home and my church. I miss doing and caring for myself. I am mostly in a bad mood because nothing looks or feels like home.
I eat a lot but continue to lose weight. I have eggs and toast spread with butter and strawberry jelly for breakfast. I like Rice Krispies and a banana for my mid-morning snack. Sometimes I alternate these two. Vegetables cooked tender and potatoes cooked in a variety of ways are what I eat most. I can eat most any dessert, though lemon cake is my favorite.
The thing I would like most in the whole world is to go home. I just can’t find it even when I’m there. I look for it constantly. I can’t remember it though I loved it terribly.
I do know hot from cold. And wet from dry. I do not like either. I do not like bathing but tolerate it because my daughter doesn’t give me a choice. Now I must depend on people like you to perform these duties. Please match my clothes and be kind to my laundry. Oh, if only I could think, I would stay at home or move to an apartment. I would cook, clean, maybe quilt a little. I might work with the Levi retirees.
What I miss most is my church and driving. I’m sad not to remember my own children and that they are grown. I worry because to me they are babies and need me.
The bond between mother and daughter must be beyond strong because I miss my mother more than anyone. I talk to her and dad and don’t remember the 74 years that I haven’t had them.
I don’t like inside pets, but have accepted I don’t have a choice. At least they don’t cry.