I’m sending you this letter from my new Heavenly Home. I know I just got here on October 12, 2018, but I couldn’t wait to talk to you.
I want to first start by saying I love you and I will always be watching over you and the family. I’m here with Carmela, Lee Jr., Albert, Levie, Joyce, and my father, Booker T. and my mom, Mary Lou. Everyone sends their love. Do you know the first thing Carmela and Lee Jr. asked me? They asked if I would bake them a cake and make some homemade ice cream. Those kids don’t forget anything.
My mom and dad were reminiscing, and they went all the way back to June 9,1942, when I was born in Heth, Arkansas. My mom talked about how she always wanted a big family to share her love with, so I guess I got my love for family honestly. I was the sixth child born to my parents; they were James, John L.D., Jesse (Barbara), Dorothy, Doris, Mary, Christine, and Precious (Morgan) and my brother-in-law Edward. We had a lot of good times growing up together, there was never a dull moment in our household.
As I looked over at my dad, he couldn’t help but smile. He told me how he was proud of me for everything from my education to my employment. We talked about my graduation from Gladstone Elementary School and my many jobs I worked to provide for my family. My dad remembered me being a carpenter, cab driver, auto mechanic, upholster, bartender, an employee of Republic Steel; he even knew about me being a Business Owner of an Adult Foster Care Home. I had no idea my parents knew about all that.
During my conversation with my parents, I told them all about you. I told them how we got married on April 20, 1959, and about our children: Carmen (Irving), Phillip (Lisa), Curtis, Sr. (Roshonne), Kelly (Nicole), and our daughter-in-law Angelina. You know I can’t wait to tell them about our 21 grandchildren: Nanaia, Irving Jr., Jennifer, Jeremy, Clifton, Tiffany, Phillip Jr., Camillia, Britney, Phillip, Curtis Jr., Carmela, Sierra, Darlane, Eileen, KeShawn, Nathan,Tiesha, Anfernee, and Aiyana, KeAndre ; plus our 32 great grandchildren who I loved so much I shared my ice cream sandwiches, cashews, and candy with them.
My dad looked at me and asked, “With a family that big, where did everyone stay?” I proudly told him they stayed in “The House That Earnest Built!” I told him how I built our house with my own hands and how I built your beauty shop behind the house in Covert, Michigan. Some thought I was crazy, but I had a vision. Do you remember how I used to tell people that I wanted wood for a gift if they would ask? I would sit around watching my Westerns, Star Trek or the Williams’ Sisters playing tennis, thinking about what I would build next; those were the good ole’ days.
Maxine, you won’t believe who I talked to next. It was God! He told me He remembered me being baptized by Rev. Thurston Sr., in February 1979, at Stevenson Baptist Church, and then I joined Covert Community Church when I moved to Michigan in 1990. He told me He had been watching over me and He was pleased. He was so pleased that He walked me down a street paved in Milk and Honey and told me He had a gift for me. I followed Him to a room and when He opened the door, the room was filled with lumber. He said it was enough lumber to build a stairway to Heaven for all of my family and friends I had to leave behind. God knew I wasn’t ready to leave my loved ones, but He had work for me to do so before I end this letter Maxine, I want you to know that I will always love you and thank you for over 60 years of love. I also want you to know there is no more pain and my body is in tip-top shape. You know I always said I was “Good Looking”, but now I’m “FINE”. Please don’t worry about me; I will be here building a stairway until we meet again.
Love Always, Lee Earnest Steward, Sr.