Dedication, Family, Hard Work, Motivation

One in a Million

Jojo and Stella
Jojo and Stella

One in a Million

What I wish I knew then when I was 25 years old is how to balance a new baby and a 7-year-old marriage. I know that in my heart everything happens for a reason, but I never wanted to be a “Divorced Woman”.  After being divorced for more almost 17 years, I am finally coming to terms with the fact that it is okay and it doesn’t mean I am a terrible person.  My biggest regret in life is that my daughter grew up so far away physically from her father (he lives in Turkey and we are in the States).  Even though they were not able to see each other as often as they both would have liked, he has always supported not just her but me as well.  Most people want to bash their ex-husbands.  Not me. . . To me, he is One in a Million.




Jojo Old Cars Ozark
Jojo Old Cars Ozark

Crazy Kids

When we met at Alabama Technical College now Gadsden State Community College,  I was a shy quiet girl who grew up in Ivalee, Alabama.  Jojo (that’s his nickname) was a wild and worldly college student,  He came here to Gadsden to study engineering but decided to go into the Cosmetology Program.  For me, it was love at first sight.  Once I met him, I drove my parents crazy talking about him, “Jojo this and Jojo that” lol.  We had a whirlwind romance and married after only knowing each other about two months.

We moved to Atlanta in November and worked our asses off.  He worked at Stanley Steemer and I worked at Cracker Barrel.  Well, while working at Stanley Steemer, he met someone who had gone to AATC (Alabama Aviation Technical College) in Ozark, AL.  When he came home that night, he was so excited.  He said “We are moving to Ozark.  I want to become a pilot!”  This was news to me.  Little did I know, he had written this in his Kindergarten Annual when he was a child.


Jojo Single Engline
It all started here!

Flying High

We lived in Ozark for several years.  He got his pilot’s license and taught at AATC as an instructor.  I got a Diploma in Business Data Processing from Wallace College in Dothan.  We were both working very hard towards goals and a good future together.   One day he said he had a chance to work at an airline in Turkey which was managed by Sevinc Pinar Pasha (Alla Rahmet Eylesin!)  We sold everything we had except two suitcases each.  One of those was filled with my huge desktop computer and monitor!  Off to Turkey, we went.  Once we get there, we find out that company was going to close.  “Don’t worry,” Sevinc Pasha told Ercan “Jojo”, “I am starting a new company, you will work there!”  So TK Airlines (Tonguz Kazim) airlines started and Jojo went to work as a first officer.


Me at Onur Air
Me at Onur Air December 1992

Fun times at Onur Air

I went to work as Sevinc Pasha’s secretary.  At this time, my Turkish was limited.  Each time someone would call him, I would ask them “May I ask who is calling” (in Turkish).  I was so nervous that by the time I connected the line to Sevinc Pasha, I would say I am sorry Sevinc Pasha I can’t remember who is calling.  He loved me anyway.  That is how Turkish people are.  Very kind, loyal, loving, and giving people.

After a couple of name changes, the company became what is now Onur Air.  Jojo was the first pilot in Turkey who did not become a pilot through being in the military.  He was soon promoted to Captain and I think the youngest Captain in Turkey at the time also (maybe just Onur Air).  He is an excellent pilot and he even recently flew the 14th Dalai Lama, which I think was awesome.  I feel an honor and respect every time he does something like this.  He is one of the smartest, kind-hearted, supportive and giving people I know.

Dreams Do Come True

Some of you may or may not know that I have been without a regular job for a very long time.  I applied many places in Gadsden and this area but could not get hired.  This discouraged me and made me feel terrible for not having a “real job”.  When you know you are qualified to do things (and better than the people who are hired) and you can’t get a job, it really hurts your self-esteem.  I have felt worthless for a long time.  Anytime I talked to Jojo about this, he was very encouraging.  You may also remember, that I found out I had high blood pressure in June and have lost 62 pounds since then.  You can read about that here.

If you read my other blog In The Kitchen With April, you should be able to tell that I LOVE to cook and feed people!  It has been my dream since I was a little 12-year-old girl in Ivalee, Alabama to one day have a restaurant.  Well, in January, that dream is coming true.  I have rented a location in Downtown Gadsden.  My sweet sisters, Kim and Donna, and my brother from another mother, George clean so much yesterday to help me get everything ready.  There is still a lot of cleaning to do and then I will apply for my Food Permit and Business Licenses in January.  I could not have done any of this without JOJO.

Thank you, Jojo!

He truly is One in a Million.  I want to thank him so much.  I pray every day that God blesses him with 10,000 times what he has blessed me and Stella with.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!!! You are the best!


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