Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is my stepmother an alien?

This post is about one of my Moms (yes, I have two). It's not what you think, LOL. Technically, I have a Mom and step mom, so this would be about my step mom. I don't like that word "step," especially, when it's about my Mama. I love both my Moms, but I am especially close to this one, whose name is Jean. She did so much for me during my teen age years and left a positive long lasting impact on my life.

Even though my Dad passed away nine years ago, I am still close to Jean to this day. In fact, I have more contact with her than my biological Mom. After Dad died, Jean sent me almost all of his things and also all of her old photos and newspaper clippings. In this post I will share a couple of things that was sent, but first some back history.

Jean is also one of my Mom's first cousins, which makes her my second cousin. Our families were very close, especially in the 60's and 70's, when we all lived in the Memphis area. During their teen years Mom and Jean were BFF's.

Many years after my parents divorced and Jean and her husband divorced my Dad and Jean found themselves in love and later married. My mother became angry and felt betrayed, wondering if something had been going on during all the earlier years.

My Dad and Jean swore to me that they never had any interest in each other until long after their divorces. Of course, I told my mom this, but she refuses to believe it and to no avail always tries to turn me against my step mom. Even if they did have a fling or a thing that is not something for me to concern myself about.

During high school I moved back and forth from my two sets of parents and I couldn't have had a better step mother. She never had anything negative to say about my biological mother, but my own mother to this day hates Jean. It has caused much friction, with me caught in the middle. Let's just say, I don't put up with this. I am not going to let others tear down my good relationship with my step mom, Jean.

Jean used to be a member of the Germantown, Tennessee Police Department. In the fall of 1968 she was chosen to be the first officer to use a new futurist tool known as a radar gun. Here is a copy of a newspaper clipping that appeared on the cover of the Memphis newspaper back then. This one is actually a rerun clipping that appeared in her home town newspaper. I can remember everybody in both families being exciting, when Jean made the cover of the Memphis paper! To me, it looked like an alien's ray gun though!

Here she is trying out the department's new radar gun at a school crossing in Germantown. The Memphis Police Department did not own such equipment at the time, which is one reason it made front page news. I always thought this clipping looked straight out of a science fiction movie! Anyway, I'm proud of her and have her blessing to show this off on my blog.

You can magnify this page by pressing Ctrl + one or two times or more.

Here's a vintage photo of my Mom, Jean in her police uniform, as she stands in front of her beautiful Germantown, Tennessee home. Check out the long skirt! For school crossing duty, she had the choice of wearing the skirt or pants. She was such a stylish lady back then, and of course wore the skirt.

Jean is retired now, 71 years young and living in rural central Alabama. With that long distance I don't get to see her as much as I'd like, but we do keep in touch by phone and mail. I love my step mom! By the way, in the south we say "Mama." So, she is really my Mama! And no she's not really an alien (even though she did have that big hair like the female alien in "Mars Attacks") and it looked like she used an alien's radar gun at work! Anything is possible, but I don't think she's really an alien.

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Larry Ohio said...

Cool story John. That's really wild about your Mom and step Mom being BFFs back in the day. I'm glad you were resistant to the tension between them.

Michael Rivers said...

What a great story. Very interesting background. Parts of it sound like a Lifetime Movie! I think it is wonderful that you have such a great relationship with Jean! She sounds like a wonderful lady!

Kyle said...

Great story John. Mystery, intrigue, suspected betrayal, I agree with Michael this seems like the outline for a Lifetime original movie.

Jean seems like quite the lady. She must be a very positive force in your life, even though you don't get to see her as often as you like. You are very lucky!

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Sweet post.

Beth said...

It's good to see that this lasted, even after your father's passing. After my father passed we lost most contact with out step-mother and brothers and sisters. We used to be close, helped out etc. Than after my father passed from cancer, a miss diagnosis that could have been cured if found earlier, we lost contact.

We trusted her by signing any rights to my father's estate and when she settled she changed.

lavonne said...

Your a blessed man to have 2 women who love you so much and that you can call mom. Some people have none. Kool story and unusual too.!

Mary Ellen said...

Aren't mom's great? At least that's what I keep telling my kids. They'll believe me someday. Right? '-)

I'm glad you still have the opportunity to keep in touch with her and this post is a beautiful tribute. I hope she gets a chance to read it.

Colin said...

Nice story, and you are right, the picture does look straight out a sci-fi movie :)

John said...

@Larry Ohio, thanks! I figured it was past time for me to write something original (I never have time)! It wasn't easy at first, but the older I got the easier it became to resist my Mom's attempts to turn me against my step mom. Like I said on the blog, Jean never had anything negative to say about Mom though.

@Michael Rivers, I'm so glad you think it was a great story! Thanks! There is so much drama in this family I could write a book, but I wouldn't want hurt anybody's feelings. Yes, she is a wonderful lady!

@Kyle, It's all true my step mom is also my 2nd cousin and her mother was my great aunt and also my step grandma! Jean is my rock, one person (of very few)that I can confide anything to and never be judged. She always knows exactly what to say.

@Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein, Thanks! I appreciate your comment!

@Beth, After reading your comment, I guess I really am lucky. My step mom is one of a kind.

@lavonne, I agree--very blessed. I wish everyone else's step parents were as loving as my step mom.

@Mary Ellen, thank you! You always have such nice things to say. My step mom's brother offered to buy her a computer and she turned him down! I think I will print this out though and send it to her. She will get a kick out of it!

@Colin, Hey thanks for your comment and I'm glad you agree the newspaper picture does look straight out of an old science fiction movie!

heatherbelle said...

I have been both a Mum and a Step Mum so I find your words touching and encouraging.

Anonymous said...

I love your stepmom too! She's beautiful in her photos. I'm so glad you posted them!

BTW, no need for radar guns in Germantown anymore. They have cameras at the intersections, which snap pics of the offending license plate, and they just send you the ticket in the mail.


themom said...

Great story John. You have shown yourself as taking the high road which is commendable. I'm glad you have such a good relationship. I love my stepsons, and never talked bad about either parent, but their mother insisted I broke up the marriage (I didn't even meet my husband till they were legally separated), so her influence has strained a possibly great relationship. Such is life. Have a great day!

Allen said...

Love the real life story John! I think you are an awesome man for keeping in touch with Jean and blogging about it. Jean seems like a great gal.

themom said...

btw - I have an award for you at my place. :)

John said...

@heatherbelle, thank you for such kind words! And thanks for visiting my blog.

@sweet-britches, I thought you would like this post! Thanks so much for the nice things you said. I'm glad you like the old photo and newspaper clipping!

I found out when researching the radar that they later found out it was not so safe for people to be holding these radar guns! I'm not surprised that Germantown has the cameras at the intersections. More and more cities are doing that.

@themom, wow, I never thought of it as taking the high road--just doing what seemed natural. My step mom took her role seriously and she knew the bond we had established long ago couldn't be broken. I just got a card and note form her Friday too!

I guess I do take the high road though, when it comes to my biological mom. But I can only take so much negativity and I tune it out and eventually avoid the source.

Your circumstances seem very similar, so I know you understand what it must be like for me. Seems like the new wife gets blamed for everything, but we know better.

@Allen, thanks! Yes, Jean is great and one of my closest relatives still.

Lauren said...

Hi John,

That's nice that your dad and Jean found each other later in life. I can understand your mother's anger and feeling of betrayal. It's a shame that it affects your relationship with her. The situation is rather complicated. Jean sounds like a really cool lady. My husband was extremely close to his step dad until the day he died several months ago. His biological father died when he was four years old. I'm a firm believer that the emotional component is far stronger and more important than the biological component. I'm following you BTW on Facebook and FriendFeed.

John said...

@Lauren, Thanks for following me through facebook! My Mom's anger and feeling of betrayal doesn't make sense to me, at least to put me in the middle of it and practically forbid me to mention Jean's name. My Mom could learn a lot from Jean. She can't see the forest for the trees. Jean was always good to me and that's all I care about.

I can understand your husband being close to his step dad all his life. I wish I could say the same, but truth is that my step dad was physically and verbally abusive to me. I feel like my step mother rescued me and changed my life for the better.

Lauren said...

Every one's story is different. That's horrible that your step dad abused you. Sounds like Jean is an angel.

John said...

@Lauren, you were so kind to comment again, so I did the same. Jean is like an angel to me, always there, never judgemental, always saying I love you. Thank you again!

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