Janet Wiscombe : Independent Journalist | Writer | Editor

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A Father's Faith
Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA)

Roaring with passion, the Rev. Joe Ealy delivers the story of Job's unfathomable suffering. He speaks urgently of a man who lost all of his possessions, his friends, his health, all 10 of his children. And still he believed!
He thunders into a wireless microphone about the meaning of integrity. He laughs. He scolds. He praises. He shouts. And the 500 worshipers shout right back at him.
Hallelujah!

In Search of the American Dream
Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA)

The indignities finally piled up too high. For Art and Jacqueline Wooten, life in Los Angeles County had become unbearable.
The deciding moment came on a Saturday morning in 1987. The young couple had left their apartment to spend the day house-hunting in communities near McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach where Art worked as a buyer. Instead, they were trapped in their neighborhood in South-Central Los Angeles.
There had been a kidnapping nearby. Two suspects lay spread-eagled on the street in front of their apartment. Police had cordoned off the neighborhood for several blocks, preventing people from going in or out.

The Full-Nest Syndrome
Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA)

Josie Chartier has had it. Never in her wildest, most tortured dreams did she imagine she'd be a 55-year-old grandmother of four with three adult children still living at home.
"I have no sense of humor anymore," she deadpans. "We're still going to the Price Club to buy 40 pounds of laundry detergent. We can't even carry it. We're too old."
Josie and her husband, Len, most definitely are not old. They are attractive, high-spirited people who have loved raising their brood in their comfortable, four bedroom - plus dormitory - east Long Beach home. It's just that, well, by now they kind of assumed they'd have the house to themselves.

'American Dream Has Turned Into a Nightmare'
Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA)

Michael Patterson did everything right.
He got A's in high school, proudly served his country in Vietnam, took his family responsibilities seriously, bought a house, paid the bills, helped with Little League, sent his widowed mother monthly checks to help pay the rent.
"I always believed in the American dream," the 46-year-old shipwright, or naval carpenter, said Monday during a lunch break at an entrance to the Long Beach Naval Shipyard where he has worked for the past 22 years.
"That American dream has turned into a nightmare. I've worked hard. I've done everything I was supposed to do. Is this my reward? I'm too young to retire. I'm too old to start over."

One Mother's Battle with Drive-By Agony
Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA)

There's fire in the eyes, a look of fierce determination on the face. But the words are delivered without bitterness or anger: "I'm trying to get rid of evil - and evil is all around."
The speaker is Lorna Hawkins. On Thanksgiving eve, 1988, her oldest son Joseph Nathan Hawkins was gunned down by a stranger.
"I got home from work and started cooking. It was dark and raining. At about 8 o'clock, I lay down. Then I heard it. POW! POW! POW! POW! I heard screaming. I ran outside. Joe was across the street lying down. We picked him up and drove him to St. Francis in the truck."