My life is but a weaving between God and me. I do not choose the colors. He worketh steadily. Oft times He weaveth sorrow and I in foolish pride forget He sees the upper and I the under side. Not til the loom is silent an shuttles cease to fly will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why. The dark threads are as needful in the skillful Weaver’s hand as threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.
Two years ago I began this blog and in that time I have shared many things.. a lil decorating.. delicious recipes .. a few remodels.. my family.. my home.. my prayers and many tears for those whom I’ve met here that have had suffering in their lives. The one thing I’ve never really shared is my early childhood years .. for they are the darkest part of my life so far and most memories are hard reliving even now. For everyone to understand the true measure of my love for this person I’m going to be sharing with you .. the story has to be told from the beginning.
To Understand All ..
When I was 6 years old “Mary” ..the woman who bore me from her womb.. abandoned me and my 4 year old brother one night.. we were left behind a church on an old dirt road in Elberton Georgia. How unimaginable right? .. Why or how could a mother do such a horrendous thing? I have no answers .. But I can honestly say that it turned out to be the best thing she ever did do for us. Up until that point we had never known love .. had never been told or shown any type of love. Living conditions and care for us were the worst imaginable.. Simple things such as bathing.. brushing our hair.. brushing our teeth and wearing clean clothes were something we knew nothing of.. we were lil cave kids wandering through each day hoping each new one would bring food or one less hurtful event. Thomas was our biological father.. He was a great deal older than Mary.. she was in her late 20’s when I was born and Thomas was 57. Thomas fought in World War II and had a lot of issues that stemmed from that along with an injury that turned him into an alcoholic. He was a harsh man during those days.. beatings and being drunk is mostly what I remember of him during that time.
The morning after we were abandoned..
A lady .. not sure who she was.. came to the church the morning after we had been abandoned. She was there to put flowers on a loved ones grave and found two tired wet and scared little children. We were taken to the sheriffs department and later separated and sent to different homes. I went to stay in what was the first of many different foster homes over the next 9 months before being reunited with my lil brother.
The Weekend Visit…
My baby brother “Tommy” had been living with a family in Georgia while I was living with a relative of Thomas’s in South Carolina. Unknown to me at the time a neighbor of the family I was living with reported that they were abusing me and arrangements for my removal were underway. One day out of the blue I was picked up at school by my Department of Family and Children Services caseworker .. I was told that I’d be spending the weekend with a couple who were looking to adopt a young boy and girl and that Tommy would be joining me there. I was so excited to be seeing Tommy.. the thought of going to another family didn’t faze me .. to me it just meant more of what I’d been use to .. abuse .. neglect and sleeping on another sofa or floor.
Prelude to Life…
Back to Georgia I go .. as I’m sitting in the DFACS waiting room ..waiting for yet another old couple to arrive and pick me up.. in walks a beautiful Princess and her handsome Prince. They were two of the most beautiful people I’d ever seen. Both had hair of gold like mine and smiles that radiated the whole room. When she spoke.. it was magical and soft and carried nothing but love. He had eyes that sparkled and hands that were the softest and prettiest I’d ever seen on a man.
Am I dreaming.. do people like this really exist outside the fairytale books? Will they like me.. Will they want me.. will Tommy like them .. will they like Tommy.. my little mind was on overload. We left DFACS.. The Prince, the Princess and I and went to the next county to pick up Tommy.. he had grown so much but I knew it was him. There he was cute as ever with that cotton hair and that big ole smile.. no more wondering if he was okay .. no more worries of him being taken care of .. he was there with us and life was wonderful. It was late when we arrived at what was to be our weekend home.. we had bathes.. brushed our teeth and were tucked in .. yes tucked in.. something that was foreign to me. Parents tuck you in?? .. make sure you’re nice an comfy and warm.. leave a night light on so you’re no scared.. what?? This can’t be real .. it’s a dream Debbie you’ll be waking up soon. The weekend was filled with abundant fun .. laughter.. play fights in the living room.. playing outside. These two people were like kids with us .. it was the greatest time of my life .. I never knew this thing called happiness .. this feeling of being loved… this feeling of being alive. As the weekend came to an end we had all fallen in love with one another .. They wanted us .. we wanted them and for the first time in our lives Tommy and I finally had a family with a real Mother and Father. They were no longer Jan and Bobby .. They were Mom and Dad.
After that weekend we were only separated from Mom and Dad for a couple of weeks. Things were settled .. schools were transferred and life began in our new home with our new family. Mom worked at a bank and Dad owned his own business “Honey Creek Hair Salon” .. Yep my Daddy was a hairdresser .. and a darn good one. Each day after school we’d get off the bus at the beauty shop and stay with Dad til Mom finished work. We’d do homework.. play with the mannequin heads.. wash out brushes an combs.. separate rollers .. all that fun kind of stuff.
We had dinner as a family .. went to the movies.. cut firewood.. went deep sea fishing ..it was always us.
We had adventures, we traveled .. we even built a house as a family. Course Dad did all the building and 99% of everything else but we toted wood and other building supplies. We’d camp out in the new house lots of times because Dad would work way into the night trying to finish the house. When the new house was finished we had all this land and Dad quickly started filling it up. We had cows and pigs and had so many fun times going to the live stock auctions. There were so many fond memories but one of my most fondest of Dad was of a pig we had.. he and I would ride this pig.. yes ride her like she was a horse. Now we were the only ones that could do it .. she didn’t just let anyone ride her. Oh at the laughter that we had watching him ride her a bucking and a carrying on .. those memories are priceless and so precious to me. As the years passed we made other memories .. I was Dad’s lil shadow .. where he went .. I went. My Mom was the perfect Mother .. they didn’t make them no better. Tommy was in little league and I was in Girl Scouts we were living the perfect family dream. We were proud of our beautiful family .. Mom so angelic .. Dad so strong and life had found us.
During the years Tommy and I were finally living our lives .. Thomas who at that time was 69 or 70 years old.. had began cleaning up his life. He had stopped drinking and divorced Mary and wanted his children back. Tommy and I were never legally adopted because Thomas would never give up his parental rights. Over the years Thomas had rights to see us and on each scheduled visit he always came. I did not know this man he had become .. he was a stranger to me and someone I had to get to know all over again.. someone that I looked at as a Grandparent .. not a Father. When I was 13 years old Thomas petitioned the courts to regain custody of us and he was granted a hearing. For some reason .. still not sure how or why .. but Tommy wanted to go back to live with him… I did not. My life was here with the two people I loved and the only Mom and Dad I’d ever had or ever wanted. When the day finally arrived for Thomas’s hearing I sat in the courtroom and pleaded with the judge to not take me from my Mom and Dad. My Mom and Dad both fought for me without prevail. The Judge sided with Thomas and I was ordered to go live with him. I lasted about 6 months there and I ran away .. several times in fact… not far .. just a mile away to my Aunts house. After about the 3rd time DFACS stepped in and placed me in the first of 3 short term foster homes. Homes of people who had a combination of long term and short term foster children. These were not good places .. or good people.. I was abused mentally, sexually, and physically while living at 2 of the homes and in the last home I lived in there was a child killed at the hands of the foster Mother. Thomas asked that DFAS send me to a group home in Atlanta and forbid any contact with Jan and Bobby. That home was The Atlanta Christian School…a home for wayward children. The school at the time was located next door to the famous Callanwolde Mansion in Atlanta… and was anything but a Christian school. I wasn’t like any of the kids that lived there and that was soon recognized by the cottage leaders in charge of supervising the girls my age. There were many troubled kids living there.. many nights I feared for my life .. many nights I lay sleepless from fear of being attacked. Everyday someone would either break windows or lamps.. throw chairs.. attack the cottage leaders and some even tried killing themselves. I fell into a deep depression mourning for my Mom and Dad. I found peace in playing my clarinet .. something that I was allowed to keep that had belonged to my Mom. I had actually became quite good at playing it..as I was outside practicing one day a lady from Callanwolde overheard me and I was asked to be a part of their arts program. This offering and my playing skills presented me with an outlet to be away from the watchful eyes of the Group Home I was living in. While at Callanwolde I would sneak and call my Mom and Dad and let them know of places that I’d be performing so they’d come and I’d get to see them. Like everything you do that you’re not suppose to do .. I got caught .. and was severely punished. I blankly went through the remaining days of my 1 year punishment stay at the Home. When the time came for my release hearing I pleaded with Thomas to please allow me to leave .. and he agreed to do so. I spent the next few months there and out of the blue I asked if I could go see “Bobby and Jan” I wasn’t allowed to call them Mom and Dad in front of him or I’d get my head knocked off.. he surprised me and said yes.
During the couple of years I was away from Mom and Dad life had moved on for them. They had adopted two children. A young girl Kristi who was a lil over 2 years old and an infant boy Landon. I was crushed .. even a lil jealous at first. Did these people not mean what they had said to me all these years.. was I not loved anymore.. was it that I was so easily replaced? Had everything I had been through over that last 2 years been for nothing? .. These questions soon were answered when I returned home. I was still loved by them and that family love grew even larger because of the addition of Landon and Kristi.
The next few years my time was spent between 2 homes .. School in Elberton with Thomas and Tommy.. and school holidays an summer breaks in Conyers with Mom, Dad, Landon & Kristi. The day after I graduated I left Elberton for good and moved to Conyers to stay.
This stage called being an Adult…
Mom and Dad both had businesses of their own and I split time working for both. I started college .. fell in love and married all within my first year and a half of returning back to Conyers.
That marriage ended a little over 3 years later and I found myself yet again back to the one place of comfort .. the house that Dad built. There I stayed briefly until meeting my now husband of almost 19 years.
The Man of Many Names..
Bobby “Hut” Fritz..
Son.. Son in Law .. Brother.. Brother in Law.. Grandson.. Uncle.. Navy Man .. Entrepreneur .. Beloved .. and Best Friend.
Years ago when I was in my early 20’s I had an argument with my Dad. I had accused him of not loving or ever really wanting me.. my Mom got upset about this and told me of a letter that Dad had written to the Judge who took me from them. In this letter he had compared the Judge to the man who ordered the crucifixion of Christ and how he was sentencing me to sorrow and robbing me of a loving family by sending me back to live with Thomas. I never knew of this letter .. never knew how they had been affected by having to give me back. They too had suffered and struggled .. they had opened their hearts to a child .. their first child .. and had it ripped from them. All doubts of their love had been cast aside from that moment on.
Life with each new day brings the unexpected .. Mom and Dad got divorced and both remarried .. yet through it all they remained best friends, business partners, parents and grandparents.
The Business Man..
Over the last 40 years my Dad built and owned over 10 very successful businesses. A lot of those businesses also birthed other businesses for friends who worked with him and for him over the years. Dad never attended College .. never received any degrees or PHD’s but he was the most intelligent man I’ve ever known. Many people sought his advise .. Many used his advise and leadership to also become successful in their own businesses. In the business world he was highly respected and kinda like that saying “ When E F Hutton Speaks.. Everyone Listens” .. Well when Bobby Fritz spoke .. everyone listened. Dad worked hard every single day and even in retirement he was still working hard. Over the last few years Dad sold off his remaining businesses and narrowed it all down to just managing his rental properties. After leaving the big city he moved back to his birth place and settled down as Advisor.. handyman .. peach farmer .. Dad and Papa. He and Mom remained very close and were still partners that respected one another’s advise.. opinions and they continued to share an unbreakable bond.
This Man .. This Man I Love .. This Man Our Dad.
The Dad who would rig up ropes under your bed and through windows to give you a lil scare at night .. The Dad who’d tickle you mercilessly only to stop long enough to squirt mustard all over you or to soak your ear with a wet willy. The Dad who’d sing “cry lil bluebird stick your finger in your eye and watch the teardrops fly” just to crack you up so you’d stop crying. The prankster Dad who’d tickle you as he’s hovering you over the toilet telling you he’s gonna flush you down the bowl. The Dad who told you to make crying sounds so Mom would think he’s giving you a harsh scolding instead of the hugs and soft words he used when telling me I was grounded. The Dad who let me tag along everywhere he went .. who let me slop those pigs and feed those cows all the while getting more on them than in them.. and he let me get all kinds of dirty while doing it. The Dad who taught me responsibility and hard work ethics and the one who had enough courage to teach me how to drive for the first time. The Dad who said to me when I found myself divorced and all alone “It’s ok baby.. you come back home”. That Dad … was our Dad.
As we all grew older whatever an whenever we needed .. Dad was there. Dad always knew what was best for us all .. even when we sometimes didn’t realize it ourselves. Dad never complained of taking care of his family .. he always did what was best for us his children and for our Mother.. then he’d step back and let us unfold.
On Thursday night September 23, 2010 Daddy went to Heaven to be with Jesus..
Together as a family we sat outside the Cabin the day before his funeral and told happy stories of him. There was peace and comfort there for us.. we were surrounded by his memory and the land he loved so much… He was wrapped around us all.
I search for that peace again each day now .. as I find myself full of regrets. I’ve thought about all the times that I never got to say thank you and I feel that I didn’t tell him I loved him enough. I think about all the times that I had disobeyed him when I knew he was doing what was best for me. Since his death I’ve not gone a single day without thinking of him and looking at his picture. Each night in my prayers I ask Jesus to allow my Dad to hear my prayers as well .. I want him to know how much I love him and how much I miss him. I also thank him for giving me life .. a real life .. a life full of his love .. for choosing me to be his daughter and for loving me no matter the circumstances. I reconfirm promises that I made .. to reach out .. to keep communication lines open .. to keep our family unit as one because family was everything to him… the one he loved with every ounce of his heart.. the one stronger now for having together walked through the valley of the shadow of death.
You’re the strongest man I'll ever know.. your beautiful eyes.. your laugh and your love I'll never forget. Thank you Daddy for all that you have taught me. I'm a much better person because you taught me what is most important in life.. to always work hard.. to tell the truth and above all that love perseveres..
I Love You Daddy…