Joan Celeste Paulk Harris was born September 17, 15 months before me (how was that for year evasion?) She was the baby sister in a family that already consisted of three sisters and two brothers. My mother was the oldest member of the siblings. When my grandmother Paulk was expecting my mother’s birth, her own mother and mother in law were also carrying children and were born 3 and 6 months, respectively, after my mother! So having an aunt only 15 months older than me was like having a bonus sister. I felt like the youngest child in the Paulk family instead of the oldest grandchild.
Joan was my teacher..Lord knows how we played school with her always being the one who told me what to do. Every year when she had her birthday, mine didn’t come until December 25, she would gloat about being two years older than me. The year she became a teen was the absolute worst! I was still 11 and she was a teenager! In the time of American Bandstand’s hey day that was a big deal! She got to wear heels first, had boyfriends, which I heard about endlessly and hung on every word, and started her period…that was HUGE, I felt like such a baby! The place that I did trump her was that I already wore a bigger cup size than she did! OH JOY, and the day she turned 40 with me still 38!
As you would expect, she married first and had a beautiful baby boy, Dana Donald Paulk Harris! Now Joan was in her natural element, a mother. This was not the rubber doll, always named Kimberly Dawn, but a real baby with big blue eyes and a personality to match. A few years later, Joan had a near fatal car crash and broke or rather crushed both of her legs. The doctors said she had lost so much bone and would be crippled for the rest of her life. I saw in a dream Joan walking on her casts, one on each leg…she had high heels on her feet over the casts! I told her the dream, and guess what she did, she got up out of that bed and began to walk and take care of her house on those casts. Soon there was an announcement that I must say distressed her busy-body brothers and sisters..she was pregnant! I remember the day she told us!! They were afraid it would be too much for her body and legs to carry, but Deanna Joan Harris Maxwell is alive and well with three beautiful daughters of her own to witness that she made it through the pregnancy just fine! You have never seen a little girl dressed so fancy, and all by Joan’s own tapered fingers doing the sewing.
Joan had the most beautiful high soprano voice, I can hear her singing the last song I ever heard come from her lips: My Jesus I love you, I know thou art mine.. I never hear that song without hearing her voice come through. She died too soon, that young, sweet, loyal sister and friend, victim of cancer. But before she died she had the testimony that Jesus had walked into her room through a beautiful light, that was on Easter Sunday and on Pentecost Sunday at 10:10 PM after church services were all done, she walked back through that light with Him.
Today is her heavenly birthday, she is “30”, and I wanted to say “Joan I love you. You have two beautiful children and between them there are five beautiful grandchildren..4 girls and 1 boy, Aaron! You did a good job as a mother, a sister and my best friend.
Joan, we love you and still miss your laugh, your presence in our life and I am jealous that you are in heaven enjoying the company of our loved ones who are already there with you.