The phone rang in my cubie, at the Library of Virginia. “Can I speak to Joye” the voice said. “Speaking” I said. “Joyebell, this is Miss Shelia; I live across the street from Bertha and Presley, remember?” she asked. My ears are pounding! “Yes ma’am” I said.
“I don’t know how to tell you this baby, but yo mama is gone” Miss Sheila said. I was quiet, so she repeated herself. “Pat is gone baby”.
I was instantly consumed with overwhelming guilt! I spoke to Momma maybe once a month. It was the only way for me to not let her get into my head.
But Momma had come to visit almost a year prior and I had been hell bent on letting her know that I was grown. I picked a fight with her and made her go and stay at Sand’s apartment just because I could. I had never apologized for that.
“I’m sorry” I cried out loud! “I’m so sorry Momma” “Please forgive me” I cried out... Eric was there before I knew it and took me home.
Sand and I went to Dallas, TX to make arrangements and to take care of her affairs. We had no money to bury her, but Uncle Donnie had a policy on Momma that paid out $300 and the funeral home agreed to cremate her for that amount.
Sand and I brought her back to Richmond and we were grateful. We held her funeral in Goldsboro, NC so her brothers and sisters could attend.
As we went through Momma’s things we found that she had kept everything that Sand, Kooky and I had ever made for her or given her. She had our report cards, cards from us and pictures that we were not even aware of. She even had a VHS tape of me performing on Showtime at the Apollo.
She loved us…
I had put in seventeen years at the Library of Virginia and then four years at United Way as I continued to sing, traveling and performing out-of-town on the weekends and in my church choirs at Saint Paul’s Baptist Church.
I put several bands together over the years; meeting some great musicians and performing locally around Richmond. I even played lead in a couple of plays at the Carpenter Center.
I submitted a press kit to Aylse Rooks of Johnson’s Inc. Kenneth Johnson’s marketing company produced an annual summer series called “Friday’s at Sunset”.
Alyse, the events manager, called with the great news that I was being booked for the Friday’s at Sunset summer concert series!
It was a great opportunity to perform and grow with a large venue and Alyse and her staff were great, I learned a lot through them.
Being booked for Kenneth’s series was the opportunity I needed to continue to grow and become more comfortable on the stage and it provided a medium for Richmond to get to know me as an artist.
Next Kenneth and Alyse booked me for their new annual summer event The Richmond Jazz Festival. It was awesome!
I recorded several new singles over the years that are still available on iTunes today and several songs from the Project Butterfly cd are still in rotation on the Gospel Music Channel.
I was blessed to be able to continue to grow as an artist, after coming off of my distribution radio promo tour with WEA; I had asked God to preserve me and He did above that… He allowed me to be cultivated.