Thursday, November 5, 2009

Diamonds in the Rough

One of the joys of Ann Arbor was the large number of students who came to our home.  While many have done well, I have to mention two who spent so many years in our home that we think of them as "ours."

Rosalyn was a foster child in Detroit and once you finish high school you are out of the welfare system and on your own.

When she graduated from high school in 1992, we had formed our own foundation and was looking for someone to give a scholarship. I didn't know her but she applied for our scholarship for future teachers.  When I read her essay, I stopped and declared her the winner.  There was no need to read anymore. Her writing, about her childhood and ambitions, was that powerful.

She came to Eastern Michigan University, where I was working, so that I could watch over her. When I retired she transferred to the University of Michigan and watching over her was transferred to my husband.  She worked several jobs the entire time she was a college student yet there were days she would come over, despondent and depressed, needing only a couple of dollars to make it through the semester.  We would give her what she needed and away she would go...another semester down.

One summer we sent her to Atlanta to live with our son and his family.  She babysat, worked in his office and became a "sister" to our grandchildren. This was a new experience, an intact family unit and it gave her more hope and determination.

Rosalyn with the granddaughters she baby sat one summer at our
50th Wedding Anniversary in 2005

Long story, short, she finished college, taught school in Detroit, bought her first home, and is completing her doctoral dissertation this year. Her new husband finished his doctorate this year.  We are so proud of her.

Us at Rosalyn's Wedding in 2007 in Detroit with daughter-in-law, Kimberly

The other student I must mention is Tony. He began staying with us when he was in 5th Grade.  My son told me about a boy who was staying alone in public housing.  I sent him to fetch Tony and asked him about his circumstances.  His mother was in the hospital so we called her and asked if he could stay with us until she was released.  She cried and said yes.  She was suffering with cancer so he spent many months with us.

She died when he was in middle school so he moved in again until his family could find someone to take him.  After he left to live with his older brother, he still spent a lot of time in our home because he was one of Corey's best friends.

He completed college in four years, (1983) always working 2 or 3 jobs.  We encouraged him to travel so he get out of the safe environment of Ann Arbor and see the rest of the world.  He was so close to our family that our sons and my husband were groomsmen in his wedding.  When we put our house up for sale in Michigan, he told us we couldn't sell his family home.

Again, to make a long story short, he received his Ph.D on his 30th birthday and is a Department Head at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.  Check him out, Janie, if this is close to you.  Click link to see his page.  Anthony Troy Adams

Tony in his office at Arkansas State

Both were without parents, both worked hard in school, both never gave up, both always had at least 2 or 3 jobs, both had outgoing personalities, both never felt sorry for themselves, and both achieved at a high level. They are my favorite Diamonds in the Rough.


  1. Oh, but they DID have parents! How wonderful for all of you. It takes special souls to welcome people into a home. You and your husband have hearts with no borders.

  2. You and your husband are truly special people. I was just reading another blog about a woman whose baby was choking and her neighbor wouldn't even open the door to help and then I come here where you're giving so much to help people. It's too bad that their aren't more people like you and your family in the world.

    Thank you.

  3. You, your husband and family are we what call "Good People" in Southside parlance.

  4. I think the two of them just brought us so much joy. Thanks for thinking of us as special but there are many people who helped us and you have to give it back.

  5. I just stopped by from Janie's blog and was very impressed with what I'm seeing in yours. You and your husband are amazing people. We need more people like you in this world.