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Kristin Roberts | Brooklyn, Ny
Bryan Van Der Beek
• VIEW STORY: "Dottie Brown: Radiating Joy" •
Shuttling to and from school, sports, scouts, piano lessons and friend's houses typifies the life of many moms. But Dottie Brown is no typical mom. With the windows down, the sun-roof open, and their favorite CD blasting through the stereo, she and granddaughter Tara sing with abandon: "Ain't no mountain high enough to keep me away from you babe."
Dottie knows loss. Within a twelve-month period in 1993-1994, Dottie lost her husband, her granddaughter, and her daughter-in-law, all in unrelated incidents. Rather than responding with dejection, Dottie Brown embraces life. "For me, it's all about family," she says — and that family reaches far beyond the standard definition — as there are many in Louisiana who consider her "Grandma Dottie." Already the mother of eight and grandmother of many, Dottie assumed guardianship of Tara, now 10, when she was sixteen months old. And being a mother again at 57 wasn't quite enough — she's also now a bride-to-be, engaged to long-time Louisiana resident John Murray.
Dottie bubbles with energy and is constantly on the go in her silver PT Cruiser. After running an award-winning bed-and-breakfast for nineteen years, she and Tara moved to a smaller home in December. They are living in one room while the house is under-going complete renovation. She lifts weights at the Y, does laundry while paying bills at the laundro-mat, picks up groceries, drives Tara to and from her various activities, helps out at John's farm, attends weekly Rotary meeting and sneaks in lunches and breakfasts with John.
It is a life of moments — quick visits with her kids and grandkids, phone calls to share news both good and bad, waves and hellos while driving down the road, spontaneous visits in various parking lots. The teller at the bank, the cashiers at the grocery store, the receptionist at the hospital, the janitor at the school — their faces all brighten when Dottie walks in, radiating joy.
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