By Jenean Way
Ms. Janie was a virtuous woman, a good neighbor, an outstanding citizen, and a survivor. She was from a different place and time where people believed you treat your neighbor as you want to be treated and everyone looked out for each other. Ms. Janie was born in 1916; she survived a deadly pandemic over one hundred years ago, a great depression and many other personal hardships and tragedies. Yet, she went on to marry at age 14 to her 17-year-old groom. She bore and raised nine children, helped rear a host of grandchildren and many more. This is where she developed her great capacity to love and care for others.
My most memorable impressions of Ms. Janie were of her strolling down the street bringing supper to my next-door neighbor, Mrs. Mattie Lou Cooper, who was a widow with heart disease and diabetes. Many days when I came home from work there, she was like clockwork coming down 17th court. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, it was dinner time. We’d exchange a brief greeting and she’d quickly be on her way, as not to get distracted from the task at hand. On the days when she was probably too tired to come herself, she sent her granddaughter. Oftentimes she’d come sit on the porch a spell to just visit awhile, and she even tidied up Mrs. Mattie Lou’s home on a regular basis. And she repeated this routine, day after day, month after month, year after year. Ms. Janie was a force of nature that had no time to rest on her laurels, because she voluntarily did the same for a couple of other neighbors up the street, as well.
Now, these small acts of kindness may seem insignificant to some, but for an isolated lonely senior, the offer of companionship, a hot meal, or someone to tidy up your home when you ‘re not well enough to do it yourself was priceless. Of all the gifts Ms. Janie shared with her neighbors I think time was the most important. So often no one has time for the elderly any more. But Ms. Janie let her little light shine on those that needed it most.
Over the years Ms. Janie was a blessing to many people, in turn she was blessed with 103 years. She also showed us how to be better, a better person, a better neighbor, a better friend and how to love one another. Through her works and deeds, she exemplified that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things. Our lives here on 17th Court have truly been made richer by her presence. Just imagine, if there were more people like her, the world would certainly be a better place.
As a great gesture to a giant of a woman the City of Lauderhill on Wednesday, December15, 2021 at 10:00 am renamed NW 17th Court in Lauderhill, Florida 33311 to Janie McCutchen Ct.