Remembering Suzanne

Suzanne, Neville and Mary Lee | Mary Lee Writes

I never knew life without Suzanne Patrick and Neville Frierson. We were introduced before we could walk, and then we shared birthday parties and all other life events. Suzanne and Neville were bridesmaids in my wedding. Though we were separated by distance, we always kept in touch, remembering the old “ties that bind” with love. And now one of these friends has died. I am sure Neville is feeling the hole in her heart as am I.

The booklet from which these accompanying pictures came was made for me as a gift from Suzanne. She also gave one to Neville. Suzanne was creative and loved painting. During a class reunion weekend, I hosted a showing of her work in the lobby of First Bank (now Simmons). I remember her excitement at the many compliments on her work.

I called her parents Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Irene. My parents were Dee-Dot and Uncle Lloyd to her. They were part of a group called the “kitchen friends” and were together every Saturday night and all holidays. Pop Sloan played the piano by ear, and Suzanne and I would sneak close enough to hear him play “Tiptoe Through the Tulips with Me.” There was never any alcohol served in this group, but you would never have known it with the loud laughter, joke telling, and teasing that went on. I have always thought this the reason their friendship survived as long as they were alive, because they cared for one another in a gentle way. I never heard any anger expressed by that group. The sons of the Ralph Sloans joined us at times, primarily Christmas night to play with my toys!

Suzanne was known for her colorful clothes, the hair ribbons, and the matching shoes to every outfit. She was very feminine both in her attire and make-up. Clothes were important to her, and she would call months ahead of a trip to ask what we were taking. Her choices were part of Suzanne’s creativity. She was a lovely model for the stores in her area until just a few years ago. There is a certain sense of amusement that she was found in her closet. I can just see her smiling as she chose her clothes for the next outing.Remembering Suzanne |Mary Lee writes

I have a funny story that I just can’t resist repeating. Several years ago, the group of high school friends met at Neville’s home in outside Chicago for the weekend. It was hot as blazes that week, and I noticed Suzanne had on a long skirt in the fashion of that year. It was black, and I think it was from the traveler’s group at Chico’s. We shared rooms in the tennis house, and that night as we readied ourselves for bed, Suzanne said she was so glad she could get out of those clothes. I was startled to be told she had a pair of slacks on under the skirt and asked her why. Suzanne replied that in case of an emergency landing she would need the pants as she had on a skirt – so, wearing the slacks under it, though hot, gave her a look she wanted. She could modestly use the chute. Though friends, we were very different.

One of the highlights of the Chicago trip was to tour Millennium Park. Neville’s husband John was our guide, showing us the reality of his dream as he had played a big role in the creation of the park. However, Suzanne said she had to have a wheelchair for the tour as her back was hurting. Neville found one and pushed Suzanne in the soaring heat so that she could enjoy the park. The love and consideration between these two friends were visible to all.

Remembering Suzanne |Mary Lee writesIn the ways that counted, we were there for each other. I will miss our long phone chats. Suzanne didn’t accept that computers are useful as a means of communication, so never learned to text or email. I found early on that if I encouraged her to learn, she would get very defensive with me.

Suzanne, I have loved you dearly these many years, and right now I want to pick up the phone and find out how things are with you today. In my deepest being, I know you as a faithful child of God. I can just picture you, so peaceful and surrounded by love. Your emotional and physical pain are of the past. You are loved and remembered for your sweetness and loyalty to your family and friends. I will miss you.


Remembering Suzanne |Mary Lee writes


An incredible woman

Melissa's story | Mary Lee writes


I met an incredible woman earlier this month on my trip East. Her name is Melissa, and she is a nearly 90 year-old physician.

Melissa was raised by her mother and aunt and, as I remember her story, she was one of nine children. In the early 1960’s, she attended Howard University and decided she wished to help others. She told her family she was entering medical school, and they pledged to help her in any way possible, a large vote of confidence as there was no extra money. She went on to graduate and complete her residency in internal medicine.

Melissa is the great-granddaughter of a slave. She has heard many stories about the tragedies of the era and relates how her grandfather was separated for years, beginning at the age of only three, from his mother after emancipation.

It took her a while to trust me because hearing my accent gave her a sense of fear. After we began visiting and sharing our thoughts, she realized I saw her as a human being, created by God, with no fundamental differences. We shared the belief that all deserve to be accepted as a unique creation, loving one another unconditionally.

Melissa asked for my phone number as we parted, telling me she had found a new friend and wanted to stay in touch. Much to my surprise and delight, she called me last Monday. She had just finished her day at the methadone clinic that she runs and was on her way to the office to see her private patients. An amazing woman, she has never stopped working to help the underserved of her New York City. My life is enriched by knowing and being embraced by her grace and dignity.


The man in the window seat

Man in window seat | Mary Lee writes
I was on my way to California on a Delta flight out of Memphis, probably 20 years ago. My seat was on the aisle, and the middle seat was empty. The window seat was occupied by a man who, when I greeted him, said he was from Mississippi. We exchanged pleasantries, and I then lost myself in a book.

The flight attendant came by to offer drinks. I told him I would like a Diet Coke, and all of a sudden, as the attendant asked, “and Sir, what would you like?” the man in the window seat absolutely exploded, telling the attendant in a thunderous and angry voice that he wouldn’t take anything from those “—damned black hands.” He also called him some of the grossest names I could imagine. The African-American gentleman responded by saying he was the server and would be happy to take care of his needs. The man just wouldn’t shut up, telling him he would wait until a white person served him. The steward smiled gently and moved on.

Then came lunch (which was served in those days, even in economy), and it was a repeat of the same horrifying dialogue. The man added that he was going to report the attendant to the airline. The attendant again responded with grace and moved on.

After lunch, when the cabin crew had a break, I went to the back service area and apologized to the attendant for the behavior, complimenting him on his handling of the incident. We both laughed a little at the fact the outburst had driven the other attendants away. The man had no food or drink on the four-hour flight, nor did he ever leave his seat.

I asked the attendant what I could do to help in case he was asked by his superiors to explain the incident. I told him I would write a letter on his behalf. The attendant wrote his name and the contact name and address of someone in the corporate office and handed it to me. I wrote as soon as I could get to pen and paper.

Never expecting to hear again from the gentleman, I received a postcard several weeks later from the attendant, picturing a city in Mexico and postmarked in Mexico. He expressed his appreciation to me for protecting his reputation.

I am sad to think how many opportunities I have missed over the years to get outside my comfort zone and speak out or act on behalf of a person who was treated in a demeaning way. The candidacy of Donald Trump has made me ask many questions. I had not thought about the time on the plane in years. However, I remember the attendant’s face and demeanor of quiet acceptance as if it were yesterday. Let’s remember we are all created as equals. What a boring world it would be if we were all alike. The man in the window seat is only an unpleasant accompaniment to a training experience.


The self-help desk

Self-help desk | Mary Lee writes
When Mary Kathryn visited several weeks ago, I was having trouble with my printer. She tried to get it working and then told me it had just “died,” and I needed to get a new one.

You need to understand that I have only plugged and unplugged under the direction of Suddenlink! I decided to purchase the wifi printer recommended by Mary Kathryn and install it myself. I spent Saturday morning getting it unpacked and set up, then started the connecting the cables. I made sure to position the cartridges. It sounds ridiculous, but it took me awhile to find the paper feed, as it is a drawer at the front in this model. John and Mary Kathryn will both confirm that I have never read directions, they drive me crazy.

I thought it ready to print, but, guess what? It refused my commands. Mary Kathryn didn’t answer my calls, and John told me he couldn’t figure it out long distance! I told him I hated to wait until Christmas to have a working printer.

So……..I called Hewlett Packard. After a half hour of the tech’s taking over my screen, I asked him if it could be something to do with my router. He said not. He told me that when I uninstalled the old printer, I had messed up the configuration, and he would connect me with someone who could help. All this time he is manipulating my screen, clicking too fast for me to follow.

I connected with the supposedly more competent technician, and he told me he would be glad to help, and that it would be $99. I replied, “I don’t think so.” I told him I was disconnecting him from my screen and would work it out myself. This is a brand new printer, and I had the extended warranty – and they wanted $99 to help me attempt to get the printer to perform? He wished me a sarcastic “good luck” and I hung up, frustrated and determined.

I started tapping around on the menu and a printed page popped out, telling me to hold down the router signal (button on top of the router) for three seconds. Voila! Printing! Now who needs a tech! Does anyone need tech support? I am free.


Je suis Paris

Je suis Paris |Mary Lee writes
On a visit to our son John, then working in London, I was asked during dinner with his friends if I had ever been to Paris. I responded that I had not, and the young man suggested that I extend my trip to include a few days there. I replied that I couldn’t imagine going there alone, but no one at the table thought that a valid argument. I was intrigued with the idea and called my husband to discuss it with him. Being unable to travel because of a progressive neurological disease, he encouraged me to make the trip. I had always dreamed of going there with him, but life demands an adaptable spirit.

John and his then-partner had planned a trip through Switzerland with me. Instead of flying home from there, I changed my reservation to go to Paris.

Arriving in Paris late on a Sunday afternoon, I took a taxi to my hotel, settled in, and then went for a walk. This was before we Americans carried a bottle of water with us, and I remember one of the first things I noticed was every young person I passed was drinking from one. Still a little intimidated by being in that beautiful city alone, I returned to the hotel and ordered my dinner from room service.

The next morning, I took a taxi to the Louvre. The driver could or would not understand me and dropped me off at the far side, nowhere near the entrance. I finally found my way and entered, feeling very alone.

I purchased my pass and was handed a map which was so confusing that I sat on a bench to study it. A woman about my age spoke to me and asked if this was my first visit. I told her it was, and she replied that it was her first, also. Her husband was ill that day and had stayed at the hotel. She suggested we see the Louvre together.

My new acquaintance and I had a delightful day. She was from Michigan and had been training for her trip by running. I was recovering from a broken leg, but I kept up. We took a break for lunch and spent the rest of the day perusing the treasures. I knew only her first name, and we didn’t exchange addresses. In this day, we would be Facebook friends sharing pictures of our families.

I walked, I listened to the sounds of Paris, I soaked in the beauties of the history, the art, the shopping, the cathedrals, the restaurants, the museums – taking time to embrace the sights in wonderment, still unable to grasp being in this magical city.

John called the third day and said he had finished his business in Switzerland and was coming the next day to treat me to dinner. He kidded me about saving the Eiffel Tower for the evening he was there, but I don’t think he minded being my tour guide.

I cherish the memories of that first trip. Talk about seeing Paris on foot, I did, and am grateful that I was able to see it “my way.” I explored, meditated, made mistakes in ordering food, got lost, scurried through exhibits uninteresting to me and lingered for a long time over the ones I loved.

The Paris I remember was a friendly one, filled with beauty. I mourn the lives lost this week, the attacks that leave people feeling vulnerable and uneasy. It is impossible to comprehend the effect of this impact on our world, the little we can do to help. I see the ways good people try to reflect the fact that we care. This is apparent through the profile pictures changed on Facebook and comments on social media.

I must not lose my trust that good will win over evil, but at what cost we do not know; I believe that going on with our lives is important, because I don’t want to let anyone be powerful enough destroy my joy in each day; I will not question or criticize decisions of government officials, because they have access to information that we do not have; I know that containing the terrorist movement is larger than any one man can control, it will take not a village but all nations; I will look carefully at our candidates for President of the United States as that election is more important than ever – who will we put our hope in to step forward and be brave in decisions that are bound to be heartbreaking to make? This goes far beyond petty comments as to religion and emotions, it is to the very existence of our nation and world. Join with me in saying a prayer for strength, let us be good neighbors to one another and keep our eyes toward the goal of peace, which begins within each of our hearts.



Seeing more clearly

Seeing more clearly | Mary Lee Writes
The day I first put on glasses, I was astounded to find that trees had leaves, that flowers were many different designs, and that faces had wrinkles and were not all a lovely blur. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought how ugly – nose weird shape; eyes set too far back; chin pointed; hair too curly – all the thoughts that an eleven year-old wearing glasses for the first time would feel and think.

My teacher had discovered that I could not read the blackboard, a problem I had hidden until a vision test. She sent a note home telling my parents I must have my eyes checked. They were horrified, as they had perfect sight and this was not what was supposed to happen to their daughter. My mother didn’t want me to wear glasses and commented that I would become dependent on them. My grandfather asked if I couldn’t take off “those damn glasses.”

This week my cousin Ruth and I were visiting about the attitude of people and how it has changed. Glasses are now an accessory and young people are not referred to as having four eyes. Ruth also said that generation quoted something I had forgotten, “boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.” Was that my mother’s worry?

I insisted on wearing my glasses at my wedding. Contact lens had not been perfected by that time and were large and uncomfortable. John supported me against my mother’s objections, and I purchased a pair of silver framed “cat eyes,” not the most flattering selection.

I recall John going with me to the ophthalmologist I saw in Memphis. His examination room was a long area with a chart at the end. A young resident came in and took my glasses, then asked me to read the chart. I told him I couldn’t see the chart. He became angry and told me not to be smart with him. I was near tears and John intervened, asking him to please give me my glasses, and I would try to read the chart.

I was frustrated choosing frames, as I couldn’t see what they looked like on my face. When the technician would become impatient, John would disappear and come back with a Coke. He knew that when I became frustrated, the tears would start. Later, I wore contacts most of the time, and they helped as my vision was clearer.

During a vacation at the beach I lost my glasses to a wave, as I was wearing them to watch our children. I always traveled with a spare pair and sometimes two. Swimming was never much fun as I couldn’t recognize those around me.

Who is that?

When I played golf, I wondered how my friends recognized someone across the course, and I would be asking, “Who is that?” It was a puzzle to me that my partners went straight to their ball, and I often needed help in locating mine.

We attended a Methodist Church in Memphis for a time while our children were in school there. After church one day, I turned to John and asked who had just greeted me with a handshake. He replied that it was the minister. The pulpit was too far away for me to recognize him. Of course, we were back-row sitters!

In my forties, my pressure in my eyes became high, and I began using drops to control it. Glaucoma was not mentioned as a diagnosis.

Several years later, my vision kept getting worse, and the doctor told me he didn’t know why I was slowly going blind. Hearing that, I switched doctors and at the first visit was told that I had cataracts and that I needed surgery immediately. I breezed through both surgeries and loved my new life. I went to an ASU basketball game and found out how you could identify the players – their names were on their shirts! I bought good-looking sunglasses and enjoyed the freedom of having good eyesight. I could read and see at a distance, so I needed no glasses.

Several months later, I had a huge floater in my left eye. I immediately saw the opthalmologist, fearing a detached retina. The doctor reassured me that it was normal. The next day it was blocking my vision, so I returned to the doctor, who was not concerned. The next day, a Saturday, I was showing houses and realized I was seeing double. I went in the first of the week to be checked, and my doctor was out of the office so I was seen by another. He yelled at me for not coming in and told me I had probably jeopardized my sight, that I would be flat on my back for six weeks, that I should have known better. It was all my fault. I dissolved in tears, but there was no Coke handy as I was alone.

The next morning John drove me to Memphis to the retina specialist. I was given a few tests and then was taken into a waiting/recovery room. I was in surgery four hours and no one ever briefed him. He was frantic. After that time, he was told I was in recovery and that my heart skipped a little and I should check that out, although no report on the surgery was given. When I awakened, I was sitting in a wheelchair and fully dressed. An impatient nurse told me they needed to close recovery, and I should get out of there. I was sent to a nearby motel, so “drunk” that I was staggering. John left me in our room to go to the drugstore to pick up pain medicine and drops. While he was gone, I had a phone call from the nurse asking if I was all right. I told her I was, and she asked if my throat hurt from the tube used during surgery. I told her it was sore, and she told me to take a lozenge and hung up.

Better care

My appointment the next morning was with the founder of the clinic. I waited one hour on the examining table, hearing him outside the door on the phone. When he appeared, he told me he had been on the phone with Jack Nicklaus. Needless to say, we were not impressed.

I never could find out which surgeon operated on me. Every bill had a different name. No one answered my question, it was like a dark secret. I went back once more during the next six weeks, then began seeing a surgeon who came from the clinic to the office in Jonesboro. Obviously, I never got my sight back, although I could see a little until the destructive effects of glaucoma took its toll. Lamp posts looked like swizzle sticks and all was a blur. Back to glasses!

I changed clinics, and since then Dr. Russ Harral has taken care of me. He is so careful, watching my pressure and treating my dry eye syndrome. I was having corneal abrasions on a regular basis when I first saw him, and I haven’t had another under his care. I have been a regular visitor at his office, and until recently, by adding drops and trying new ones, my pressure has stayed fairly stable.

About six weeks ago, I saw him and my pressure was higher. He tried an additional drop and told me to come back the next week. When I saw him that Thursday, he said it was time to consider surgery, and, before I left the office, I had an appointment in Little Rock on Monday. The glaucoma surgeon told me I should have the surgery within the next two weeks and was able to schedule it the next day. Mary Kathryn was a wonderful source of support, and I stayed with her in Little Rock for a week. It was a frightening twenty-four hours while the good eye was patched, and I had to rely on the little light from the damaged eye.

I have been fortunate as I have a wonderful ophthalmologist in Dr. Harral, and he referred me to a very fine surgeon. I am healing slowly, hoping to regain what sight I had going into surgery, and I am already driving and reading.

I saw the surgeon yesterday and was caught off guard. He told me I must have the same surgery in the left eye within the next several months. He said just imagine if that eye had also been patched and how I would have managed. He said the little light is worth salvaging. I am not looking forward to going through the surgery again, but I will do it as soon as he thinks the other eye is completely healed.

The gift of sight

I am telling this story because I am fortunate. Driving is what gives me independence, and I am grateful that both doctors are okay with that. The other is my love of reading. For about two weeks after surgery, I was using a magnifying glass to make out a word. An iPad with its adjustable script is important to me, because of my love of the written word. I panic if I don’t have a book by my side and between the iPad and the iPhone 6+, I have access to my library at any time. I keep a book downloaded to Audible and am working on listening as a source of pleasure.

This is not written to be a “poor me” story. I had never known the true gift of sight until after the cataract surgeries, and all of a sudden I knew what had been missing. I think about the blind and am awed by the stories I read about how they manage. I am such a fortunate person to have sight, and I appreciate each day as a gift. It was not until yesterday, with the news of facing another surgery, that I began deal with the fact that I truly could lose my sight. If that happens, I will be sad, although I hope that I will remember to be thankful for all the years with very minor problems.

One last comment – be patient with the nearsighted friend who might be a little short with you as you complain about having to wear reading glasses. And don’t be too proud to wear your glasses. Years ago, John and I were invited to a dinner party. I asked one of the men about his wife, and he told me quite frankly that she was too vain to wear her glasses. She had an eye infection and couldn’t use contacts for a few days, refusing to let anyone see her. Such false pride is not for me. Life is too entertaining and challenging to miss a single minute.


Walk for a Moment in the Shoes of Lee Lloyd

Lee Lloyd's yard | Mary Lee writes
This is a six-year-long story of  a homeowner’s frustration and official indifference in our hometown. I’m sharing it because it came up again recently when two friends who live near the intersection of Rains and Wilkins asked what has been going on in that block. One commented that she was sick of the street being blocked. I kept quiet, but in thinking over the conversation, I decided this story must be told if Lee Lloyd is ever to be helped. It is a current concern; work is still being done to remedy the problem, the first complaint having been made in 2009.

I sold a home to Lee in 2008. He had worked for Ann Burns Smith, who referred me to him, as Lee had worked for her family for many years and had recently taken a factory job. He was ready to purchase a home.

I called Lee and accompanied him to Liberty Bank, working with Libby Donahue. After getting verification of pre-qualification for a VA loan, we started looking at houses. The house at 1513 Rains St. had been listed, and I was anxious to show it to Lee. One of the things a former owner told me was that he had fenced in the back yard and built a deck, which he enjoyed with his dog. When Lee and I stepped onto the deck, I remember commenting that I would be by to have a glass of iced tea with him. Another selling factor was that the house is located a couple of blocks from Mrs. Smith, whom he still helped.

The disclosure was submitted to Lee. Home Inspection Service, Anita Rothgery, was hired to perform the inspection, which showed no water standing underneath the house. The termite report was excellent. We were pleased with the reports and closed on Oct. 1, 2008.

I was so happy for Lee and, as I had known him for years and respected him, I left closing with a sense of a job well done. In the 26 years I sold real estate, as I think any customer will remember, my number one goal was to put them in a house that could easily be resold, should the need arise.

On April 18, 2009, I was in Nashville, Tenn., with friends and while driving I received a cell call from Lee. He told me he had a water problem with his house, and I suggested he call the city as I was out of town and remembered the disclosure had said nothing about water intrusion. I assumed the city had taken care of it as I heard nothing more. I neglected to check back with him as I had promised and deeply regret that.

Mary Lee Writes

Lee in his driveway in 2009

In June of that year, I received a call from Mrs. Smith about flooding and alerted Nancy Burks, the listing agent. She talked with her sellers. I have a copy of her email reply which states that the seller said water had not stood on the property. The seller is quoted as saying there was some water during a strong rain but it had immediately drained off. The seller also mentioned that the ditch contained more standing water than previously.

In early July, I sent a copy of the disclosure to Mrs. Smith and Lee, and on July 12, 2009, I received the letter, dated July 10, 2009. I was horrified, as the picture accompanying the letter showed several feet of standing water on the property. You could see the line, about halfway up a smoker located in the middle of the yard.

I contacted Jeff Scriber, who had previously owned the house, and he told me that sometimes after a hard rain he had water running into his drive and garage. He said the city poured a small curb at the street, and that took care of the matter. At that point, I contacted a city council member, Rennell Woods, and we met in the conference room at ReMax with Lee Lloyd on Monday, July 20, 2009. We explained the situation to Mr. Woods, and he promised to make the city officials aware of the problem. After the meeting, Mr. Woods accompanied me to the north end of Wofford to survey the drainage issue.

I became frustrated that nothing was being done to help Mr. Lloyd, and his problem seemed to have been put on the back burner of concerns. On Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009, I met with Mayor Perrin in his office. This meeting was at my insistence. He asked Gary Harpole to sit in at the meeting. I was delighted with their response to the problem and left there with the feeling the mayor would see this through to a just solution for Mr. Lloyd. Little did I know the problem would be ignored.

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009, I went by the house to check after a hard rain. I have pictures that will attest to the destruction. I immediately emailed them to the mayor. He called and told me they would be in touch with Mr. Loyd that evening. As of Sept. 29, 2009, and on into October, we heard nothing from the office of the mayor.

Donn Mixon is the attorney for Mr. Lloyd in this issue, and I emailed him suggesting the city might consider purchasing Mr. Lloyd’s house as I knew the city had done this previously because of flooding issues.

On Dec. 10, 2009, I had a frantic call from Mr. Lloyd. The water was rushing beneath his house.

I emailed the mayor again on Jan. 1, 2010, telling him Mr. Lloyd had not been contacted as promised.

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, I received an email asking for a meeting with Mr. Lloyd and myself along with several city officials and the mayor. We agreed to a meeting on Friday, Feb. 12, 2010, at 4:30 PM in the mayor’s office. The next morning Mayor Perrin met with Brian Riga, a former council member, and Terry Barre, the engineer on St. Bernards Village. After that meeting, the mayor met with Philip Crego, city attorney, and canceled the scheduled meeting via email, explaining:

Mary Lee, I regret that after all our years of friendship that my position as mayor of Jonesboro forces me to have to consult legal counsel on matters that in simpler times would have allowed me to visit with a dear friend over an issue they need help on. However, my practice on any situation regarding contracts, agreements, or legal matters is to seek the counsel and advice of our city attorney Philip Crego. In hindsight, I wish I had visited with him prior to setting up our meeting for later this week.

After reviewing all of the information regarding this issue, Philip has advised me that the city should refrain from meeting with any of the parties involved in this dispute. It is his opinion that the city has no place in these ongoing discussions and that we also have a reasonable assumption that we may be summoned to court if the litigaton proceeds; therefore, we should not take any meetings on the matter.

I hope you understand. We are notifying you and Mr. Lloyd’s attorney of our position. If we can be of any assistance to you on matters not pertaining to this issue please do no hesitate to contact me.

–Harold Perrin, Mayor of Jonesboro

I also had an email reply from Rennell Woods saying that the stoppage of the flowing water may be the city’s problem. Also, a city official who talked with Mr. Lloyd told him he had been “had” by his Realtor. I later visited with this man, and he admitted to me he had said that. I told him he had succeeded in making Mr. Lloyd angry as he had hired Donn Mixon, and I was being sued. Also, Chris Light with the City told Donn Mixon, the attorney representing Lee Lloyd, that the city plans to build a retention pond because water had long been a problem in that area.


Construction in front of Lee’s house

After inquiring as to the status of the lawsuit, I was told it had been dropped against the Realtors as the city was found to be at fault. I saw Mayor Perrin one day having lunch and asked him about the suit, wondering if he would do anything to help Mr. Lloyd. He replied that APERMA (Arkansas Public Entities Risk Management Association) had told him the city was clear. When I told Mr. Lloyd this, he said his attorney had just told him there is still an ongoing suit against the city. That day, the mayor commented that he would check out the situation and call me. I never heard from him, and a couple of weeks later I wrote my number on a paper napkin and gave it to him, saying that he must have misplaced my contact information.

In the last couple of months, there has been a lot of activity in the drainage area by the Lloyd home. I have pictures showing a new culvert, concrete work, and a repaired drive for the neighbor across the street. Lee told me that they never even asked if they could work on his property and in asking about the construction, the one in charge said he should have been notified.

When the former attorney general, Dustin McDaniel, started his law firm in Little Rock, I called him to ask if he would consider taking this case. He told me he would have his partner, Bart Calhoun, look into it. Mr. Calhoun requested that I send the information to him by email. I didn’t hear from him, finally receiving a call from Dustin saying he was sorry, but he had too many ties with the city of Jonesboro to take on this case. I let him know how disappointed I was because I truly thought he was committed to the underserved of our community.

Next I sent an email to David Mosesso at the Jonesboro Sun. He turned it over to a reporter who contacted me to ask for Lee Lloyd’s phone number. I gave it to him. The last time I talked with Lee he had not heard from him. I had hoped an investigative reporter would be interested in this story.

I contacted Michael Booker, a friend and attorney in Little Rock, who grew up in Jonesboro. I sent him the information and have never heard from him nor has he returned my calls.

I contacted a local NAACP representative who said he would talk to some folks and get back to me. I haven’t heard a word.

Lee says his kitchen floor is buckling from the moisture. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in that house. I have pictures showing debris from the water on the back steps, a picture of water flowing beneath the house and coming through the foundation vents, water ruining everything in the garage including a nice sofa. I don’t even want to think of the mold in the walls because of the ongoing moisture problem.

Lee had saved and had an excellent credit score. He used his Veterans Administration eligibility to purchase the house. I have even wondered if the VA might have an interest in righting this situation. The VA has insured this loan, and it is an unsellable piece of property as it stands. Lee is making payments on a house he cannot safely live in, nor can he sell. Walk in his shoes for just a moment and feel his helplessness.

I am writing this because I am running out of options in helping Lee get justice. I cannot understand why a decent, hard working person who is a product of our community could be treated so unfairly. Obviously, Lee’s voice is not loud enough to be a threat and mine isn’t either. Is there anyone who cares enough to speak out and help Lee Lloyd?