Home in Freeny, MS, - 1990s
By Nancy Sue Reeves
Joe continued to do some building, but mostly remodeling until early 1990. He was building a porch for Roger and Earnestine Lindsley, when he lost his footing and fell off the steps into the yard. A trip to the local hospital confirmed he had cracked the left hip. Since Dr. Caden had retired after his break in 1985, he had to take pot luck on surgeons, and we don't think he got a great job. Now he had two bad hips and a bad knee from the wreck and all his falls. He applied for Social Security disability, and after 3 months was rejected. He appealed, but it took two full years to get his first check. During part of that time we survived on my salary at Leake Academy. Joe got a small disability check from the VA, and did a few minor remodeling jobs, for cash, to keep food on the table.
The year after Joe Shepard died, they brought in a young guy (who'd graduated there a few years before) to be headmaster. He was not up to the job and would always ask me what Joe Shepard would have done, but then do the opposite. I was frustrated all the time and Joe told me just to quit, that we'd make it the best we could. At the end of that school year, I told him I was retiring, though there weren't any retirement benefits, but at least, I didn't have to work for him the next year.
After I quit at the school, we started doing interior remodeling, including wallpaper, painting and stenciling. I got pretty good at this and we added that to the construction business. I did the interiors on several remodeling jobs.
This time had it's bright spots, however, with the greatest being the birth of our grandson, Nathan Allen Best, on July 3, 1990. Amanda was thrilled with her new brother and we now had two beautiful grandchildren. I was getting more into stained glass and, for the next few years, I made several craft shows each year with my glass work and as Joe gradually got less involved with construction, he got more into business with me.
For a time Joe got involved, in building chicken houses which didn't work out very well. In August 1994, Joe was 60 years old and started drawing his military reserve retirement. We decided then to go to Alaska the next year, 1995.
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