In a couple of days I’ll be attending a ‘going home’ service for one of the best guys that I’ve known, Jamie Redfearn. Every since I heard the news of his passing I’ve been grieving and in my grief I’ve been thinking of ways that I could honor his memory. Now if I was a singer I would write and sing a song dedicated to him, but alas I’m not a singer so we’ll have to let someone else do the song writing and singing. I’ve thought about Jamie and all the lives that he’s touched and all of the people that knew him. I was talking to one of those people and we were talking about the fact of how Jamie and I became brothers due to the fact that many people don’t know about and that was though the Social Service, and I said to him “you know it’s not how you come into this world, it’s how you leave it and the impact that you make on people while you’re here”. Thinking about that statement I knew how I could honor Jamie’s memory. By telling the story of the Jamie that many of you didn’t know. Jamie was 6 years old when I first met him, he along with his brother Carl aka ‘Popeye’ aka ‘Crowder’ came to the country to live with us fresh off of the’ mean streets’ of Thomasville NC. Now I can’t shed any light on what happened in his former life there in Thomasville that caused them to be thrusted into the foster system but that’s another story and not for me to tell. But the boy that I met that day with all of his processions packed in a cardboard box (like myself a few years earlier) looked unsure of what to expect of this new and strange alien planet called the country that he had been dropped on. Even though he first appeared scared of his new surroundings I soon learned that he was indeed a scared young boy. If it wasn’t for his big brother being there with him, I doubt if he would have lasted one night there in Linwood NC. But lasted he did it didn’t take me long to realize that he was an inquiring young fella and despite his scary nature he was quit adventurous and wanted to know about everything. It didn’t take him long to let those that met him know that he was Jamie and you wouldn’t forget him. Jamie noticed that I was always reading so it wasn’t long before I’d taken the task of reading to him and teaching him to read. And after that my evenings consisted of Doctor Suess, The Bernstein Bears teaching writing upper and lower cap letters and adding and subtracting and it wasn’t long before the young kid mastered these. But our summers were filled with chores such as working in the garden plantin’ hoein’ (the garden variety), weedin’ and the usual summer adventures that you can only experience from living in the country. As Jamie got older, he became everyone’s darling time and time again I heard older females say that he was going to be a “heart-breaker” heck, I didn’t even know what that meant. Our life in Linwood became routine school during the week, Saturday we might venture into town where we would visit Aunt Caroline or Aunt Laura or make a trip to Ward’s (the barber shop) where our hairstyle (not of choice) was the ‘home-run’ ( completely bald) yeah bald before bald was cool. Which left us at the mercy for teasin’ but with 4 heads to keep cut Uncle Hal was going to get his money’s worth, ( hint: this was the start of Jamie’s obession for his hair and hair products, yeah he should of had stock in Afro Sheen). Now I can’t mention our weekends without writing about Sundays and going to church at Old Smith Grove cause this is where Uncle Hal and Ant Bessie made sure that we went every Sunday unless we were sick, we went to church and even if we didn’t know it or even care then this is where church got in us. There’s so much I can write about us growing up in Linwood, but Jamie has already told his story in a book which he had written so it’s not for me to rewrite. I know that some of you may have purchased and read this book but I did not, when I asked Jamie about this book he assured me that it wasn’t something that he was proud of, because he unintentionally made some people look like growing up in this family he was taken advantage of. During our discussion he admitted that he was wrong and that his being raised where he was and what he went though while there actually opened the door to lead him where he probably never would have got the opportunity to end up playing football for Wake Forest University. Because of being in the Foster system and being in this home in Linwood (then) Sheriff Jimmie Johnson took young boys and introduced them to football at the little league level playing and practicing at the Junior Order Home field. From there Jamie went on to play at Central Middle and Central Sr. and like they say “the rest is history”. So now many of you know Jamie the former football player, the ‘lady’s man’, the entrepreneur, the business man, the husband, the father, the friend, and finally the mighty man of God that has left us way too soon, but have left an impression on those that had the honor to know that little boy that left the ‘mean streets’ of Thomasville NC to come to the little country town of Linwood NC. Hey, it’s not how you come into this world it’s how you leave it. Rest in heaven Jamie Neil Redfearn my brother.
Written and dictated in your memory Jamie. (I will now state an apology to any of Jamie’s family members that may be offended by my writing of this. For any names that I have used (or failed to use), or events that I have written (in your opinion) that may tarnish his image. Thanks for reading. RonB