We had moved to a small town in southwest Florida to be near my husband's elderly mother.
My mother and our 6 year old grandson, Sam, moved with us. In rapid succession my mother, who was Sammy's best friend and caregiver died, and then Dick's mom died following a short illness.
We were reeling and confused, rocked to our foundations. We were trying to make a home,
find jobs, grieve, and be good parents, when one of Sam's teachers invited us to Edgewater United Methodist Church. Many of Sam's school friends attended there, people remembered us and included us. We had a church home.
That was wonderful, but we needed paying jobs. During the illnesses of our mothers, our savings had dropped drastically and neither of us was eligible for Social Security. Sam went on Florida Healthy Kids, and got free lunches at school.
No one in either of our families had ever had to ask assistance, even during the Great Depression. Then we rediscovered football.
In Charlotte County Pop Warner is total participation. Everyone attends the games. The kids
from the high schools attend because they learned the game with Pop Warner. The Cheerleaders attend because they learned to cheer with Pop Warner. Their families go because they always had.
We registered Sam for Pop Warner football and became part of that community. Many of
our church friends were involved in coaching, playing and cheer squad. It was an enlarged family.
We took turns driving Sam and his friends to practice while Dick worked toward his real estate license. The football fields for Pop Warner are better than some schools I attended. Money to support the fields and the teams was raised by holding a raffle. They cost $25 and night after night I fended off the football moms saying I had no money with me. But on one of Dick's nights, he pulled out his wallet and paid up.
I exploded. Our bank account is down to 3 very low digits and how could you be so foolish
and what did you think you were doing and all those accusations came out of my angry
My anger sizzled for weeks. I am pretty sure it festered everything I touched. Then,
one night at Bible study, friends at our new church prayed with me for peace and the anger left. We hadn't starved yet, we had a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and even decent cars to drive. We were blessed and Dick was studying for his real estate exam.
The day of the raffle drawing Dick came home stunned and bemused, holding the
winning ticket. He was now the owner of a big, beautiful boat contributed by a Marina
owner whose son played on Sam's team.
The generous contributor agreed to keep the boat on his lot and sell it for us. May God bless that good and decent man.
The proceeds from the sale supported us for nearly nine months while Dick learned the
business of real estate.
My family was saved by a $25 boat.