A Man Remembered…

When you are born, as a helpless infant you are relying on an adult of some kind to take care of you. This would be the prefect picture for every baby born into the world, but sadly, it isn’t true for all babies.

There was a man born October 17, 1930 in Texas, and the exact location I have no clue about. He didn’t know much about his mother and father only that he and his younger sister were left on the railroad tracks to die when he was about 4 yrs old.

Once picked up by police or someone he was taken and placed for adoption never to see his younger sister again. This little boy was very sickly, had poor coloring and was deemed not adoptable. In walked Mault and Anné Blake. They saw past the illness, decided to adopt him and gave him the name Jimmy Johnson Blake.

Jimmy was given over to his Grandmother named Bunny; as Bunny could heal anyone. Very quickly Jimmy began to thrive but his stomach began to swell. He has tests and it was determined that he had rickets and needed to have his gall bladder out. It was touch and go for about 6 months because of infections but he recovered. After this he did well till playing sports of some kind he broke both ankles. Jim was told he would never walk again. But he once again surprised the doctors and did.

Mault, Jim’s dad, ran a tailoring business. Just imagine being the sickly kid who’s father sews, presses and repairs clothing. The kids were just as cruel in the 40’s are they are today. Jim helped his dad in Blake’s Tailoring shop after school and weekends. One afternoon, when Jim was in high school, his dad came home to have lunch and nap before going back to work and never woke up. Jim dropped out of high school to try to work the business but he was not able to do that. After the business failed Jim enlisted in the Navy to get his college paid for.

While in the Navy, Jim, traveled overseas and saw many amazing things. He also did some drinking and partying like many men do once they get overseas. He got both his arms tattooed and then hated them for the rest of his life. As they got older, they turned green since the ink was not the best quality. A life altering event involved drinking with three friends and they were all involved in a car accident. The other guys left Jim in the car supposedly to go get help. Jim was in bad shape as he had gone thru the front window with his head and back. He waited for an hour and then began to walk to find help. When he reached medical attention they told him they needed to stitch his face wounds right away as the time limit was close at hand for infection. This event left him with a large bump of skin sewn back to his nose that would always be a reminder of what happened.

Shortly after this event, Jim left the Navy and began his college career at SulRose University in Texas. He graduated with a BS in education. Somewhere along the way he met a woman name JoBeth Taylor. I am not sure they loved each other, but they got married. JoBeth came from a well to do family and my honest opinion is her parents pushed the wedding.

In December 1965, Jim and JoBeth, adopted a baby girl. This was more the prompting of Jim more than JoBeth to have a baby. JoBeth was not attentive to the baby so Jim became the sole caregiver and the baby girl really developed a deep love and close bond with her daddy. In 1975, JoBeth died and left Jim with the daughter. This was a time of closeness between father and daughter and they grew even closer. Jim being adopted seemed to understand his daughter very much. He had the mind set that his daughter was her own person and she had a good head on her shoulders. Jim loved her but allowed her to be herself.jo beth Jim became a Grampaw in March, 1986 and again in December, 1987. He loved these girls with all his heart. Even thought the daughter lived far away, if events happened during the day she would call Jim quickly just to share. It seemed that moving into adult stages had not changed the bind that they had.

January, 1990, Jim became very ill and had to be hospitalized. His daughter knew this was serious as he vowed he would never go to the local hospital there. As Jim became more ill he was placed on a vent to allow his body and lungs to repair and heal. The daughter being pregnant with a third baby was not able to just travel down and stay indefinitely. The daughter knew things were not going good.


Monday, January 15th, 1990 began as normal day but that would soon change. The daughter decided that the family needed to go her dad and Monday she was making plans to leave the following day. The daughter received a call from her mother in law “just to chat” which seemed weird. She began to panic and she tried to call the hospital to speak to her step mother to find out what was happening. There was a glitch with the phone system and no long distance calls could be connected. When the call was finally connected Jim’s daughter received the news she never expected to hear; she needed to get there quickly or it would be too late.

The daughter packed up her family and they began the long snowy drive from Colorado Springs to Farmington. The snow storm was covering the entire front range and most of the state of Colorado. They hit Wolf Creek Pass after dark and began the slow drive up and over, not realizing the pass had been closed on on side while they were on the top of the mountain. Coming into Pagosa Springs they hit solid ice on the road that had a deer on it. Fortunately the deer moved on before they had to make a decision with the blazer.

Shortly after the deer the daughter was laying down in the back seat with her two daughters when she realized that more than likely she would not make it home to say goodbye to Jim. At that moment, in the ICU at San Juan Regional Medical Center, Jim died. The only person in the girls life who ever loved her totally and unconditionally was not gone. The one who had her past, her childhood and should have shared many happy years with her daughters was just suddenly gone.

This man I speak of is my daddy, Jim and I am his beloved daughter. For many many years I have grieved for my daddy. He had missed out on so much of my life and I should never have been orphaned at 24 yrs old. As big of a loss as this was, the death of my daughter, Heather way outweighs this loss. I do think about my daddy but nothing like Heather. I know that Jim was waiting for her when she reached glory and I cannot wait till I see the both of them someday.IMG_1372Today, Monday January 15th, 2018 is Martin Luther King Day just like it was in 1990. This year the thoughts are real and vivid and I have missed my daddy very much for the last 28 years.

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