27 Apr Saving The Only History I Have
It has never been an easy task for me to ask for help. Having been a single parent for the first 11 years of my son’s life and having to always be the one who made a way out of no way, I found my pride constantly getting in the way… I found I’d rather go without than ask for assistance. But I found that having that type of mind set can only hinder one’s progress towards becoming a well rounded individual who is actively seeking to become a better person every day and that at some point in one’s life you have to bow your head, swallow your pride, and admit you can’t do it by yourself…which brings me to today.
Today, I am coming forward with a humble, nervous, and hopeful heart. When I first began thinking about starting this campaign, I can admit my nerves and anxiousness almost got the best of me, but I had to focus on why this is so important to me and what it would mean if I am able to accomplish what I am setting out to do. Please allow me some of your time to explain.
In 1986, at the age of 8 my foster parent at the time Velvet Norwood asked Willie and Pauline Williams if they could keep me for the weekend. Of course they said yes because that was the type of people they were. I remember as if it happened yesterday…come that Sunday, I remember crying because I didn’t want to leave. In 2 days I had fallen in love with two people who would change my life forever. See, I had been a foster child from the age of 5 up until my mom and dad took me in at 8. Over those 3 years I encountered abuse, neglect, mistreatment, racism, etc. But everything changed that weekend. And from that Sunday on, I became a permanent fixture in their home.
At the time my parents took me in, my father was 63 and my mother was 65. They had already had and raised their 8 children and here came this little girl with the pigtails who hated taking baths ready to wreak all kinds of havoc (at least as much as they would allow her to get away with, which wasn’t much). Two years later on November 7, 1988, it was official. At the ages of 65, 67, and 10 Crystal Wynn officially became Crystal W. Williams, always introduced as the 9th child. I was never referred to as the “adopted child” because that was not how they or my siblings saw me. I was a Williams, plain and simple (and you can believe I got the same tail tappings as everyone else; being adopted came with ZERO special privileges…I should have read the fine print and asked for an amendment to that adoption certificate 🙂
Over the course of my life, these two people taught me so many valuable lessons. They taught me to love the Lord (my dad was a minister), how to love, never give up, be honest, and to always, always forgive. These were life lessons they taught and lived by daily. Were they perfect? Absolutely not, but they were as close to perfect as I feel anyone can be. My mom once told me her and my dad never argued or went to bed mad with each other. I never did get the instructions to that recipe 🙂
But she was serious. The kind of love that I was able to witness firsthand and be showered with was nothing short of GOD working in his miraculous way. He took a child who needed unconditional love and devotion and placed in my life the only set of parents that could give me what I needed. They along with my brothers and sisters gave me what I had lacked being in foster care…a loving family and for that I will always be thankful!
Now to fast forward a bit. In May 2007 my father passed away after having been in a nursing home suffering from dementia. I saw how hard it was for my mom not having my dad home. The one thing I remember her telling me she missed the most was being able to talk to him. I remember when we would visit him, she would say “Honey, (the only name she ever called him) don’t you want to get up out of that bed and come home?” And she meant it! She missed him so much. And understandably so because when she passed, a year later in May 2008, they had been married 60 YEARS!
My mom and dad worked very hard in their lives. My dad worked for DuPont in Seaford, had a garden that he was KNOWN for (yes, driving around Seaford in that red Ford pickup with his vegetables in the back and yes, I was sitting back there too) with his little pocket sized notebook writing down what he sold people so he could collect later when their checks came in (yep, he was THAT kind of man!) My mom also worked very hard. She was a seamstress, made beautiful quilts that she would sell, all while working in a tomato factory. And in 1983, at the tender age of 62, she went back to school to get her High School diploma (Oh yeah, she was THAT kind of woman!). They had a 3 bedroom home in Seaford, the one I grew up in, with daddy’s garden to the right of it and a lot of land to the left that he had hoped he would build his new church on. Unfortunately that never did happen.
After their passing, the house was left to the surviving children (there were 7 of us still living). When my mom passed, we thought it would be a good investment to fix it up. Unfortunately it was said at that time it would take a SIGNIFICANT amount of money to fix. So it was decided to allow a person to move in who would live their rent free in exchange for fixing up the house. What a disaster that proved to be (as you can see from the photos). The first time I went into the house (about 4-5 years ago) and saw the condition it was in, I cried. This was not the house I grew up in. This was not the house my mom and dad worked so hard for and even in their 60’s maintained. It was and is an absolute wreck.
And at one point the decision was made to just sell it for the amount of debt owed under my mom’s estate just so that everything could be settled; but that didn’t work out. Things just kept happening and coming up and it just wouldn’t go through. During this time, my oldest sister Rita passed (May 23, 2011) and 3 years later my 2nd to the oldest brother Billy passed (January 9th, 2014). My family has really just been through the ringer with all the life changing events that have taken place (especially my 2nd to the oldest sister who had been handling EVERYTHING; my mom and dad’s passing, their estate and financial matters, the estate of my sister who passed, trying to (and unsuccessfully) trying to get Veteran’s assistance for my brother Billy when he had his stroke before he passed, etc.).
But I believe everything happens for a reason! I believe now selling the house wasn’t meant to be. This year I asked my siblings if they would turn the house over to me. I would assume the debt, negotiate with the creditors, and try to start renovating the house. The day they all agreed was one of the BEST days of my life! That house along with all of the memories made within it is the only piece of history I have and I want to save it! But I need help to do that and that is where I am hoping, through the kindness and compassion within people’s hearts, that I can raise enough money to settle mommy’s debts and restore this home to what it was when I was 8 because…It is my absolute dream to be able to move back there one day. That is and will always be the ONLY place I will ever truly call home!
I know that what I am trying to do is no small feat, but what I believe in my heart of hearts is that with GOD anything is possible! He has proven that to me time and time again…and I’ll give you a very quick example (because I know it’s time to wrap this up 🙂
I have a gene that makes me prone to cancer. I have had to have a surgery procedure every year that started at the age of 5 to check for cancer. About 15 years ago, my doctor started allowing me to have the surgery procedure every 3 years. And EVERY YEAR, the results have been the same…CANCER FREE!
Nobody can tell me that the power of prayer doesn’t work. And my parents were two prayer warriors if I ever met any. We prayed EVERY morning and EVERY evening. There was never a time that when my mom got up off her knees that she wasn’t crying. Her and my dad knew GOD intimately and they knew what he had done in their lives, my life, and the lives of so many others. So I know what GOD (and I ) are capable of! I am determined that I will get this done and ANY help I receive will go towards the goal of restoring the home to which, at 8 years old, my life finally began…
And please understand that I know not everyone can donate…And I COMPLETELY understand…But if you can, please just do me 2 favors.
1) Spread the word. If each person who reads this can just let a handful of people know, it has the capability to be seen by many. In the words of one of my cousins “It takes a Village.”
And perhaps through being shared, maybe there is someone out there who may be willing to donate their time or maybe material that is going to be needed. ANY AND ALL HELP IS APPRECIATED…not just money!
2) Please pray for me, my strength and diligence to see this through to the end, and its success (I know everyone may not be a “religious” person and I do not wish to offend any with my own beliefs).
I truly appreciate your time and from the absolute bottom of my heart, I sincerely and earnestly Thank You!