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Thursday, July 29, 2021

My Grandmother's Bucket List: Wondering What I Can Do Now, About Her Hymn?


As mentioned in the story about my grandmother in the posts below, one of the items on my grandmother's bucket list was to confront the man who took full name credit for the hymn she wrote that was published in the national Southern Baptist Hymn book.

Having a lifelong fear of confrontation (except with me and my grandfather), she was unable to bring herself to do it, and once again, asked me.

I say "again," because she always asked either my grandfather or myself to confront people for her, lifelong - family, neighbors, cousins, people renting from her - and especially my mother (because we were all terrified of my mother lol).  

Even when the managed the local ASCS local office, unheard of, by a woman, at the time (but men were off to war), she had someone else do her confrontation :/

My grandfather stopped doing it for her, because it always came back on him - she'd act like she didn't ask, and would actually say "Oh, you two, stop fighting - Orville, shhh."

Classic triangulation - victim-antagonist-rescuer - and the rescuer always ends up the bad guy.

So of course, she started asking me, starting very young (like in my teens) and the same thing happened - she acted like she didn't ask/had nothing to do with it. 

Like my grandfather, I eventually got wise to this game, especially after therapy - so I refused to confront this man for two reasons:

The first being as I said, any time I pushed past my social anxiety to confront somebody for her, she sat back and acted like she didn't ask me to do it.

The second reason being there would be no sense of accomplishment for her on her bucket list if I did it.

However, she was unable to bring herself to do it. 

I thought about this a lot, since I wrote it, especially with her birthday coming up - whether there was anything I could and should do now? 

I'm not sure - because first of all, it would look especially crazy, this long after the fact, to call this dude up lol.  

Plus she's not around anymore to verify she asked me to do it (as IF she'd admit she asked  if she was, she never did before lol).

Plus my social anxiety is still a problem - and though I was always better at confronting people when it was for someone else, rather than myself - I fear I'd stumble over my words, or get mad and say too much, with his denial of the situation.

Plus neither my husband nor I are willing to dig up too much old drama, these days.

But I looked him up, just to see if he was still around - admittedly, hoping he was leading some small church choir in Podunk Backwoods, Kentucky somewhere lol 

Instead, unfortunately it appears that he is now the head of music at a local, world-famous, well-respected theological university, and after obtaining his Master's in music, he has supposedly composed music for the World Equestrian Games when they were held here in Lexington.

I also note that he has since started putting "arranged by" on his publications if he didn't actually write them -  which is one good thing.

HOWEVER, I also found a YouTube video in which he "shared some encouraging hymns" under his own name, without crediting the people who wrote them, as per his usual - for his own glory - which tells me he's still up to his old tricks, wanting to get his own name out there :/

I can't tell you the feeling it gives you when you know someone who has done your sweet, old-fashioned, charitable Christian grandmother wrong, goes on to be so successful without censure or sanction :(

It also makes me think twice about ever confronting him, in any fashion, or even publishing my grandmother's hymn that he took credit for here, because that could result in a legal action, because it's his name instead of hers.

And if that happened, though I watched her compose it, I have no evidence she did - as I mentioned, I signed off on all rights to her estate, to prove my being her primary caretaker was not about money and was genuine - so I don't have her handwritten notes or compositions.

So it would be his word against mine - and I've learned in life that when it's my word versus someone else, if that someone has more money, more social support, and/or more power than I do, nobody will believe me - they will win that battle, despite the truth, because of those things - so often just better just to let it go and walk away, Let Go and Let God.

But this is not for myself - this is for my grandmother. 

Well, not just for my grandmother, but for ALL women this has happened to. 

And as mentioned, it's easier to push past my social anxiety and confront someone when it's on behalf of someone I love or the issue is bigger than just me.

So, what to do ... 

So perhaps when Mark retires, before we move (hopefully to North Carolina), I will confront him privately, before we leave.

By the way, NO, I will NOT ask my husband to do it for - as mentioned, that is an old family game, with women in our family, and women in general, that takes us women back centuries.

I understand why women did it, back in the day, because of this situation in the first place - a man taking credit for a woman's work would take another man confronting him on it or standing beside her to take her seriously.

In fact, it's still that way, but asking someone else to do it for you doesn't help.

So when I told my husband, Mark, about what I wanted to do, this morning, he said (paraphrasing):  

"Okay, but not until just before we move when I retire, because we don't need the drama backlash that may result." 

"Also, I know you loved your grandmother, but I'm not a big fan, myself, because look what has happened to your family because she was too afraid to speak up against their lies?"  

"But then again, I know you and everybody else loved her anyway,  and I never met her - maybe I'd feel differently if I had." 

"So okay, if this is what you want to do.  She wouldn't do the same for you, you know that - she proved it time and time again." 

"But I know I'm talking to a brick wall, because that never matters to you - you'll still defend the people you love till the bitter end, even  if they'd never do the same for you, or shit on you repeatedly." 

"But if you're going to do this, you're NOT going alone - I'm going to sit there with you, when you say it. This a-hole may railroad your Granny, maybe even you, but not me"

See, this is why my husband is the best husband in the world :)

Honey, where were you, all my life again, until 10 years ago?

Oh, that's right - MSU in Michigan, then Africa and Latin America as an Army Ranger - I guess those things were more important, so you're excused, Hicks :)

But back to him at least accompanying me there, that I can do - because even though I won't let him speak for me, unfortunately, in this day and age, it apparently does still take a man standing beside you to give you more credibility :?

If I do, I think it's best that I plan what I'm going to say, with perhaps a few adjustments in time - but  I'm hoping it would go something like this?


Do you remember Dolores Singleton, from the little church you started out in, in Nicholasville, Kentucky?  She was my grandmother :)   

She wrote a hymn, which you were able to get published in the Southern Baptist Hymnal.  Despite losing most of her voice due to lung cancer, she still played that piano and sang hymns, hers and others, until nearly the day she died, raspy voice or not :)

So, as to why I'm here :) 

She had a bucket list of things she wanted to do before she died, and one of them was to talk to you about that, but she was unable to do it - so I'm doing it for her now. 

First, let me start by saying we  do appreciate that you got it published, this made her so happy  - but the fact is, it appears you took full name credit for music and lyrics, when from our understanding, you merely arranged the hymn for chorus and contacted the Southern Baptist Hymnal Organization for publishing, is that correct? 


(Wait for a response)


Okay, but shouldn't you have put her as the composer of both lyrics and music, and yourself as simply the arranger?

Perhaps we've misunderstood, because we weren't there - but shouldn't the way it was credited at least been discussed with her first?

It's also possible that we didn't misunderstand - and that you did take full credit for something my grandmother wrote.  

So could you explain to us why you alone are listed as the music and lyrics composer, with a small note at the bottom about my grandmother's "contribution?"


(Wait for response - if there is a denial, which I anticipate, then this ... ) 



Okay, we can rationalize and justify it all day -  but the fact  remains - my grandmother both wrote the music AND the lyrics for that hymn, even composing it on paper for the piano, I watched her do it -  you just arranged it.  


As a result, putting a small note about her contribution in the lyrics, you can't search for that hymn by her name at hymnal.org  -  and  though she didn't care as much about this part - you got paid handsomely, while my grandmother got pennies. 

Now, my grandmother forgave you (though you didn't ask) and told everyone she was just happy it was published and hoped it gave people comfort and praised the Lord - but the truth is, it was the top unresolved thing on her bucket list and mind, before she died.   

So I just wanted you to know that it hurt her deeply, but she couldn't bring herself to tell you that and asked me to. 

You can justify it to yourself all day, but we both know what you did to her was wrong - you took advantage of her naivete about this business, and her gentle nature, fear of confrontation, lack of money/power, faith in you and your being a Christian, and the fact that she was a woman versus you. 

And you did all this despite knowing she was the most devoted, compassionate, loving Christian woman around, beloved by many.  She actually became a grandmother to about 10 of my friends, growing up, who still talk about her to this day :) 

So I'll pray that our sweet God of justice, whom it's clear often doesn't intervene on the justice in this life as part of free will,  will discuss it with you someday, when you meet him - because his sense of good-parent justice better than anything we humans can conceive. 

As for me, though it's admittedly hard for me to say, I forgive you, too, for taking credit for my grandmother's work, too, as Christ commanded - and I will pray for you and bless you, as Christ also commanded (Luke 6:28 "Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.) 

So God bless you, my Christian brother - and all I want from you is to ask that you please at least consider the effect that taking credit for someone else's work has on the true authors and composers?

Thank you for your time.

Or something like that.  I'll work on it some more ;)


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