My name is Teresa Evonne Dye. I started my Journey as Teresa Evonne Brown. My journey in this life started on Sunday, July 21, 1957, at 7:51pm to the union of William and Lilly Brown at Muskegon, Osteopathic Hospital, 601 Webster Ave, Muskegon, MI.
I am the third of 9 children, 6 girls and 3 boys. When I was 2 years of age my family moved to Twin Lake, MI. where I resided until I graduated from Whitehall Schools.
I was married at the age of 18 to Wayne Knox. From this union was born, two daughters, TaMara and Lavonda Knox.
Going back, I was raised by my mom, along with my other siblings. I was raised on welfare. My dad was kind of in and out. Which left my mom with the role of being mom and dad. My mom was an awesome caregiver. She made the best of what we had. I did not realize we were poor until I grew up.
I really enjoyed the era that I grew up in. This was the time period when the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” had real meaning. I grew up as neighbors with the Turner family, who had 8 girls and 2 boys. It was almost like we grew up in the same household. We spent a lot of time together as neighbors and friends. My mom and their mom (Ms. Dorothy) as we called her, were good friends. They looked out for each other’s children and would help each other out in other ways if needed. One of the children still checks on my mom and refers to her as his second mom. We are blessed to still have our moms.
We also had other neighbors who would help. One that I recall, was Ms. Beulah as we called her. If you have not figured it out, we referred to women by Ms. with their first name, which showed a sign of respect. She lived just down the road from us. She had what seem to be perpetual rummage sales, what we know today as yard sales. She was very generous with my mom when it came to clothing for us.
There was also a family owned store in the neighborhood. The parents were Paul and Norma Rawdon, they had 4 daughters. They allowed my mom to have an account, what she would refer to as a bill. She made sure she did not get behind in her payments. Ms. Edna, who was our next-door neighbor, had 6 boys and four girls. At times when we had problems getting water from our pump, she would make sure we had water.
Not to forget Ms. Laura and Fred Brown. Ms. Laura was one of the people who was instrumental in making sure my mom was able to get where she needed to go. Ms. Kirks was the preschool teacher. She also supplied us with nice clothing. Being on welfare was different when I was growing up. You were not just on a case file. Your case worker as they were called then really looked out for their clients. Two I can remember fondly is Ms. Ward and Ms. Hough.
I cannot leave out Mr. Amos Norton who was my mom’s landlord. Although we were poor, we had the best Christmases. My mom’s rent at the time was $50. Mr. Norton would allow my mom to skip paying rent in December and double up in January.
Going back, my children’s father and I separated after 12 years of marriage. We were divorce after 15 years. This started off as being a devastating time in my life. First it was unexpected, and I had to go from basically doing nothing to everything. He had always made sure we had what was needed. With my daughters being in my care, I had to go into sink or swim mode. Sinking was not an option. There was a time when I worked three jobs and went to school at night. I would not recommend it. At the time “do what you have to do” was my motto. It was during this time that I started selling baked goods to help make ends meet. I cannot leave out the fact that my spiritual family Jehovah’s Witnesses were a great help, spiritually and physically. Unbeknownst to them there were times we did not have food; we would get an invite to come for dinner. Although things did not work out with my children’s father and I, he is still a good father and we maintain a good friendship.
I am now married to Robert Dye, my husband of 14 years. We have a blended family, 3 daughters, 2 sons, 5 granddaughters, 3 grandsons, and a great granddaughter.