Je'sus mother died when he was born. He was mostly raised by Alicia and Anna (sisters). His stepmother was very young and had a baby just eleven months younger than Je'sus. His father died when he was twelve. He lived with Chinto and Juanita and their five children. A neighbor brought the Adventist message and about one half of the children accepted.
He then stayed with Anna and family and went to academy in San Juan. The principle told him about Madison. Chinto helped him some, Alberto gave him an old suit and he arrived at Madison with three dollars. He could read English but couldn't speak it. That's all the help he ever got. He graduated with lab and x-ray credits.
When he returned, I took the train from Oregon where Teresa, David and I had been staying with my parents. We got to spend a lot of time with Viola and Harley Witt and family. We came before Je'sus did and we visited Bob and Pat. While there David had what the doctor said was an ear ache. We came on to Collegedale and David got worse (he was having seizures by this time and spent two weeks in the hospital with meningitis). We took him to Thompson's Children's Hospital in Chattanooga.
DAVID, KIETH AND TERESA VEGA WITH THEIR GRANDMA LAWRY
The college told Je'sus he had to take more classes than he thought, David was sick, got better but it took two years to be potty trained, etc. Je'sus was discouraged and we moved to Puerto Rico to be in charge of the lab at the Bella Vista hospital. A doctor there encouraged him to go back to school. He had his GI bill to use so we went to Nashville and he earned a Masters Degree in Biology.
We went back to Madison where he taught at the academy. Theresa started first grade there. Before the year was up they needed him in the lab so he went. The doctor who encouraged him to go to Madison still encouraged Je'sus to go to Loma Linda. He applied and was accepted. We bought a better car loaded all we could in it and took off! It was 1961 and we had Eric, one year old, Keith, two years old, David, five years old, and Teresa, seven years of age.
THE VEGA'S ON THEIR WAY TO LOMA LINDA, CALIFORNIA
While at Loma Linda I finally had to learn to drive. My mother tried to teach me in my teens but I had no interest. With Je'sus in school and all, I had to learn. The Oldsmobile was automatic and that helped a lot. Je'sus rode his bicycle to school. (I hear that Danika and David skateboarded to school and to work!). It is hard to believe they are living where we lived so long ago.
They hadn't completely finished the new hospital when we left. They tore down the old original before we left. Lola Fay took classes in it. We spent eight years there. Four years in medical school and four years internship.
When we arrived a friend was leaving and he could have taken his job at a very good salary by working every weekend but he chose not to work on Sabbath. He could also come home evenings and be with the family. Instead he worked part time as a lab tech and for the first four years he got $200.00 per month from Puerto Rico. That's why we went to Puerto Rico to pay it back. He lost the GI bill by going to Peabody.
Later, Lola Fay and girls came to Loma Linda where Lola took Physical Therapy. We had lots of good times together, us and our four kids and her and her two. In the Oldsmobile, we would go to the desert and camp or to the forests. Twice we went to the mountains for a white Christmas. His niece Ruth from Puerto Rico stayed with us a year. Dino and Fay settled there and we enjoyed them and Gracella came and fell in love and married there.
Je'sus finished in 1969. We shipped our stuff to Puerto Rico. We found this used Cadillac, drove to Kansas to visit my family, stopped in Florida and visited Donna and Bill. We stayed in their camper and watched the first shuttle to the moon. Then in our motel in Miami on TV we saw them land.
I am glad we spent time in Puerto Rico as the kids got to know their Spanish heritage and learned to speak the language and to know and love our other family and you know the rest of the story.
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.