These are the faces, my faces, behind this blog. I was once all of them.
This last face is as old as I’ll let the camera do me. I was, I think, 69 when it was taken, the one that’s on the paperback version of my first memoir, In the Mirror, and the one on my first blogspot blog where I met hundreds of great bloggers/writers back when we all felt like we were a great part of a supportive community.
I’m definitely old enough to have memories. Once, in a poetry workshop at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, the instructor said when you’re young you have style and when you’re older you have content.
I can’t say I was a great stylist as a writer, but now I don’t need to worry about that. With almost eight decades of living behind me, I have lots and lots of memories aka content.
I’ve also been many names. Born Rita Ann Carbine, I don’t know why my mother decided to call me Ann, disrupting not just future genealogy but also pointing me in the direction of several identity crises in my early years. Just who was I? And why did my kindergarten teacher, just because she had another Ann in the class, call me Rita? Maybe she got permission from me or my mother, but I’ll never know. It was so long ago. Thus was I called Rita through elementary, junior high, and high school.
Then, the year I turned twenty-one, I was a student at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where I met Larry Best. He met me as Rita, but I said I preferred Ann. Years later, I realized he rarely referred to me by name. It was always dear, or maybe honey. Not sure. It was so long ago.
And so was our marriage that now feels like a parentheses. After four children and nineteen years with me, he wanted someone else and I divorced him. Anyway, my name confusion led to our not giving any of our three daughters a middle name.
Therefore, the other name behind this blog is Jennifer NMN. Just Jen, as she prefers. Born June 27, 1965, she’s now fifty-three years old, and has been in a wheelchair for almost thirty-three years. I’m her full-time caregiver.
She was twenty and a half years old when she was in a catastrophic accident. It’s been a long journey for both of us. You can read about this in my two memoirs: In the Mirror, a Memoir of Shattered Secrets, and My Journey to Christ With Jen.
She loves this baby picture, and so do I. After two months of screaming with colic, she became the lovable child that, deep down, she still is.
Tomboy Jen loved to climb trees and ride her bicycle. But now she can’t even walk, but she has learned to enjoy reading, writing in a journal and watching her favorite movies on Amazon video in this amazing digital world. She loves to have friends visit because she loves to talk.
She’ll tell you it was eleven months after her accident before she could do this again. She was at Mt. Vernon Hospital for eighteen months. That was long ago. If it had been today, she would have probably been sent home as a “vegetable.” I will always be forever grateful that it happened in that time and that place.
A few pictures tell her story.
Way to Go, “Just” Jen