I was born in Statesboro Georgia in April 1955. I am the oldest of three children. My dad was a farmer. With the exceptions of leaving home briefly for my education, I have lived on the family farm near Register Georgia all my life. My parents named me after Anthony Wayne, who was an American Revolutionary War general. However, I have always been known as Wayne. I am a 1974 graduate of Pinewood Christian Academy; a private high school located in Bellville Georgia. I briefly attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) in Tifton Georgia, for two quarters in 1976.
June 1976: Four friends and I traveled to Savannah Georgia, for fun times in the big coastal city. This trip would become a significant life changing event for me, at the young age of twenty-one.This was during the years of the initial construction of I-16, and some sections of the highway were still unfinished. A friend, who was driving his car, decided to use one of these unfinished sections of interstate highway, as a short-cut for our return home. He drove around a barricade, which had been erected to prevent anyone from driving, onto one of the closed highway sections.The overpass bridge at I-16 mile marker #124, which spans the Nevils-Denmark Highway, was incomplete at this time.
I was told it was around midnight when the car arrived at this bridge, plummeted from it, and burst into flames. It is a miracle none of us were killed.
I awakened after a 2½ week coma, to find myself as a patient in a hospital bed at Memorial Medical Center,now Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah Georgia. The left side of my body had been paralyzed. I had sustained a severe head injury. I remained in Memorial, for a month after regaining consciousness. I underwent strenuous occupational and physical therapy, and recovered to some degree. I found myself requiring a wheel chair during a portion of this time, and faced the possibility I would never walk again. I was an outpatient for two months, after leaving the hospital.
I am unable to remember our trip to Savannah that evening. I am no longer paralyzed, and I still have a sharpe, clear, mind. I have never had a seizure, which is common, after suffering a head injury. It could have been so much worse, but God took care of us. We should not have been traveling on an unfinished highway. I have never been told, but we may have done some wild partying in Savannah. I very clearly recall what my friends and I were capable of doing in those days. The results of one night of immature partying have haunted me, for all the years of my life afterwards. Therefore, I tell as many young people as possible, that they will not live forever without the grace of God. Terrible things can and most likely will happen, if anyone does not use good judgment and/or, are not saved through Jesus Christ.
February 1977: I attended the Georgia Rehabilitation Center, now the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, in Warm Springs Georgia, for a year and three months. It was decided by so-called medical experts; my education at ABAC should not continue after my injury.
May 1978: I came home and made preparations, to begin a small poultry farm. I began my operations in April 1979. I bought a small mobile home nine months later, where I lived alone for 26½ years.*
I struggled tremendously for almost 24 years, as a contract grower, for Claxton Poultry Farms. I never made a lot of money, in the poultry business. A company official had initially led me to believe raising broilers would, “...be so easy a child can do it.” However,I should never have begun such a business, because of the physical limitations due to my injury. In spite of a lot of hard work and effort, I was rarely able to satisfy the desires of Claxton Poultry servicemen, who would visit my farm on a weekly basis. I was forced to retire for the second time in my life, and began receiving government disability benefits in March 2003. My advancing years and the lingering effects of my 1976 injury dictated my retirement. Raising broiler chickens is a very physically demanding job.
October 2003: I have not wished to remain in a disabled status, therefore; I started school at the age of 48, for the first time since my Warm Springs experience. I am a student at Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro Georgia. I am majoring as a microcomputer specialist. I hope to be trained for a job, which I can physically manage. I will not expect to find a "Top of the line" job, at fifty-two years of age. But I will be very satisfied to be working again, and making an honest living.I am not giving up on life, because society insist on labeling me as disabled. (CLICK HERE FOR UPDATES ON MY PROGRESS AT SCHOOL)
Marriage did not happen until very late in life, but it's not because I haven't wanted to. I have never aspired to live my lifetime alone. Many people don't seem to understand why this has happened, but the reasoning should be clear from my story. I believe most women do not care to have a serious connection with a man, who has been through the things I have.
However, it was my great pleasure and fortune, to have met a woman online in September 1999, who would come to think of me as a special man. Her name was Emilie Johnson. Her home was in Navesink New Jersey, but her heart belonged to her childhood home of nearby Atlantic Highlands, and she would always claim that city to be home. She must have enjoyed chatting and talking with me on the Yahoo Messenger chat program, because I soon earned the nickname "Sweetman" and she became my "Sweet Yankee." She infatuated me in such a way; I flew to New Jersey to visit her three times.
Some people have hinted I am crazy for meeting a lady "From the Internet", But I wasn't able to find a woman in Georgia, who would pay me any attention, and so I decided to
take any risk involved, and... "Let the chips fall where they may." Visiting Emilie turned out to be among the best decisions I have made in my life. She needed a special friend, and I did also. I have come to care less about what people might think of me, if I feel I'm doing the right thing.
I used Yahoo Messenger voice chat, and talked with Emilie often. I checked her street address, and found she lived precisely where she said she did. I also talked to her by telephone on several occasions. We were in almost daily contact for a year, before my first trip to see her. After much discussion with Emilie, I could no longer ignore my feelings and made up my mind to visit her. My plane left Georgia soil and arrived in Newark New Jersey on September 11, 2000, for my first trip to see her. I feel God brought us together through the Internet, for a good reason. I believe I was able to give her a little hope, and maybe added a little happiness to her life. Meeting Emilie was a defining point in my life.
Emilie was the most understanding, sweetest, and intelligent woman I had ever met. Emilie was the ONLY woman to have truly desired my company. Emilie made me feel needed and cared for. I was, and am still amazed, Emilie actually loved me! Although, It took some time to realize her feelings, because no other woman had ever cared for me. I had no standard to go by. She was severely disabled, but that did not matter; for she was a Christian and had a heart of pure gold. I started to care a lot for her.
But God needed Emilie more than I. She passed away in May 2003, because of physical problems arising from her disability. Emilie had been,for the most part, a quadriplegic for the last thirty years of her life. But she accomplished much in her life, and inspired me to do my best regardless of my own disability. I will never forget the love in her eyes for me. During Emilie's funeral, one of her brothers was heard to say, "Emilie is in Heaven dancing with the angels." This is also my feeling. I knew Emilie for only three years and eight months. I wish it could have been longer. I spent a total of five weeks, with the finest woman, I have encountered in my life until now. I will always remember the first woman to love me.
I realize there will never be a copy of Emilie.
Emilie was the only woman to have loved me, and she wanted the love of my heart. She had it Emilie helped me to become a better man and prepared me for the woman, who would become the true Love of my life.
December 2007: I married a Christian lady named Cheri, who has a very similar heart. I had a taste of what a good relationship is like with Emilie. I am now experiencing those great feelings once again. I am determined to succeed at everything in my life. I will build a wonderful future for us.
People in chat and everyday life have said, I look several years older than my actual age. If this is true, I think the reason should be very clear from my story. Some have called my story sad and one lady has called it "Uplifting." Nevertheless; these are the facts of my life, and I can't change anything. No one should dismiss their past, for it is what shaped us. All these events have helped to strengthen my Character. But I WILL press forward. There are more chapters of my life, to be written. My dream is God has much happiness planned, for the remaining years of my life. It WILL be nice to have a little help with finding it. GENESIS, 2:18