I grew up in the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon. I was 18 when I graduated from Phoenix High School, Phoenix, Oregon. I was the fourth and last child of my parents to graduate from high school in the traditional way. A few days after graduating I took a road trip with some friends. To date I have been in 35 of the 50 states in the U.S.A. and I am looking forward to visiting all of them, especially the east coast, Alaska, and Hawaii. I worked fulltime while attending high school full time during my junior and senior year to afford this trip. When I returned I moved out into The Girls Club, similar to a college dorm, for girls living on their own for the first time and working or going to college. I was taught to work and attending college was not an option for me at that time. It was fun living on my own. My father drove me there and fought the tears. Looking back I know how hard that was for my mother and father to see me go. They knew I would never be back except for visits, and they were right. I was extremely independent. I wanted to make it on my own.
When I was 19 years old I met my future husband, Jerry Alton Lee, through our churches. We wrote to each other for a few months and became engaged. He lived in Fresno, California, so marrying Jerry meant I had to move. We were married on November 2, 1973. We went to Yosemite National Park for a short honeymoon. It was very beautiful there. A deer with large antlers tried to climb in our car to come home with us when we left. It was a wonderful experience being that close to a friendly deer. I was 19-1/2 when I got married and Jerry was 20. He is exactly 9 months older than me. We were two young and ignorant kids who really did not know what we were doing but we thought we did. Because of the distance between us, we hardly knew each other when we got married. It was not the best way to begin a marriage.
Jerry and my marriage had a lot of ups and downs. Jerry and I were married for 28 years before our divorce. November 2, 2013 would have been our 40th anniversary if we had stayed married. We have remained friends despite our divorce. I have never remarried. I am very content with being single.
Jerry and I were married 11 years when we found out that I was pregnant. I had not planned to have children. I had taken care of children all my life. I was working fulltime at Fresno Community Hospital in the Emergency Room when I found out I was pregnant. I thought I had the flu but this flu grew 10 fingers and 10 toes. Melissa Pamela Lee came into this world 8 months later. I knew I was going to have a girl, because every female in my family had a girl first and then boys. Sure enough, I followed this same pattern.
Except for God touching my life, my children were the greatest blessings I have ever received. I loved being a mother! On the day I found out I was pregnant I began writing a diary to Melissa about us, the pregnancy, her family, our joys, our fights, our life. I wanted to record everything that happened. I totally loved every part of motherhood. My pregnancy with Melissa went very smooth and wonderful. I had a beautiful and healthy little daughter to take home with me.
Read my testimony to learn about my desire to be home with Melissa once I had her. I was a career girl before that, but not anymore. I wanted nothing more than to be home with my baby and raise her myself. It was an impossible dream. I began to fast and pray that God open the door in my life and grant me my request. At the time Melissa was born we were living in the adult section of a trailer park in a mobile home. We didn’t want to raise Melissa there. We began to look for property to move our mobile home onto. When Melissa was almost two we bought 2 acres outside of Fresno. I did not know at the time we were moving that I was pregnant with Kevin. I was extremely exhausted and I thought it was because of our move.
My pregnancy with Kevin was nothing like my pregnancy with Melissa. I was extremely tired and dragging throughout my entire pregnancy with him. When I was 7 months pregnant with Kevin and my blood pressure had skyrocketed. My blood pressure was 190 over 150 when I walked into the hospital door. I stayed in the hospital for a week while they tried to get my blood pressure down. I woke up early in the morning sick and with heartburns. Later I realized it was my heart acting up but I did not know at the time. When the heartburn would not ease up the nurses finally woke up my doctor who was asleep in the doctor’s lounge. He came to check on me. When he walked into my room I was sitting on the side of the bed. Suddenly my nose just started pouring blood as if someone turned on a water faucet full force. It scared my doctor. They took me to surgery immediately. Later he told me that he was extremely frightened. He thought he was going to lose me, the baby, or both of us.
Kevin was born without any fat. He looked like a swiveled up old man weighing in at 3 pounds and 5 ounces. He stayed three weeks in the hospital until he finally came home after gaining one pound. He was so tiny I could hold him with one hand. For a premature baby he did fine. My blood pressure settle back down and we both did fine.