COLUMN: Generation Gap: Darla Jordan

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Guest Columnist

Editor’s Note: The Perry County News is publishing a series of interviews conducted by eighth-graders in Joyce Stath’s English class at Tell City Junior-Senior High School. The interviews are of people one or two generations older than students. Today’s column is by Breanna Swaney, who profiles her grandmother, Darla Jordan.

My grandmother, Darla Jordan, has led a very interesting life. It has been absolutely filled with life-changing experiences, and because of this I believe she has become very wise.

She has been through quite a bit and I admire her for making it through some of the tougher portions of her life. My grandmother has always been a very important person to me, and to all of the people who are close to her.

Darla Jordan was born April 3, 1955, she grew up in Tell City. She is one of four children. Her parents are Emma Dixon and Jabie “Bud” Jordan.

My grandmother was extremely close to her father, or “Daddy” as she always refers to him. She describes him as being very smart, funny, and kind. She also says he loved to read, and that he could sing very well.

He believed very firmly that everyone was equal, and that no one was better than anyone else. My grandmother has told me that this was one of the things about him that stuck with her the most, and that she greatly admired him for it.

Unfortunately, Jabie was killed in a freak accident when my grandmother was only 13 years old. His death was very unexpected, and she was completely devastated.

Darla attended school at Tell City High School. For a brief period of time she was a cheerleader, which was something that she really enjoyed, and her favorite subject in school was English. She had to drop out of high school for personal reasons, but she did get her GED later in life. She says one of her biggest regrets was not getting a better education.

After she left school, she had a few different small jobs. For one she was a mother. Her oldest son is Jarred, then there’s my mother, Vanessa, then Olivia and Jordan.

Darla is also very skilled with her hands. She has always been able to sew, and do other things related to that. She also decorated a few cakes for special occasions. She has always been very good at making things.

Eventually, my grandmother moved to Louisville, Ky., with hopes of becoming a nurse, but she didn’t make it into nursing school; however, she got a job in a prison system.

She spent the next 10 years of her life working in Kentucky prisons, and doing other jobs involving inmates. She supervised inmates, and worked as a secretary.

After a few years of working in prisons and jails, she took another job that gave her plenty of opportunities to travel.

Her job was to transport prisoners to other states when they had finished serving their time in one state. As you would expect, she had quite a few scary experiences while doing this. Even though this job was definitely not for everyone, my grandmother really enjoyed it.

Because of this job, she got to go places that otherwise she probably would never have gotten to see. She visited many states such as New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, and many more. One of her favorite memories was seeing the ocean for the first time while traveling. She thoroughly enjoyed the 10 years she spent doing these types of jobs, and she is very proud of the work she did.

Unfortunately, in 2003, my grandmother suffered from a traumatizing experience. She was in a horrible car accident and suffered from traumatic brain damage. Because of this, she lost some of her memory, and it became impossible for her to continue doing the job she loved. The doctors said it was a miracle that she even survived the wreck.

While my grandmother may have brain damage and she may technically have a disability, she is still perfectly capable of doing things on her own. She has dealt with it very well, and even though living with the effects of brain damage is hard sometimes, she has always made it through.

After the wreck she stayed in Louisville, and lived there on her own for about 10 more years. However, she has recently moved back to her hometown of Tell City to be closer to her children and grandchildren, and we are very glad to have her back in town.

I found this project very interesting. It gave me the opportunity to ask my grandmother questions that I had never had the courage to ask before.

As it turned out, there were many interesting aspects of my grandmother’s life that I never knew about before now. During this interview I found out some fascinating things that made me appreciate my grandmother a lot more than I did before. I don’t believe I will look at her the same way after this interview.