Joyner finds holiday spirit in decorating
By BY LYDIA GRIMES - Features Writer
Louise Joyner is not a person that you see in the limelight every day. In fact she goes out of her way to stay in the background. But one thing about her that does draw attention is her excitement and love of decorating for Christmas.
Seventeen years ago, she started collecting Santas and got into shopping the sales after Christmas. The Santa collecting led to nativity scenes and the tradition was started. She decorates every Christmas and then shops the after-Christmas sales to get started on the next year.
Joyner came from a large family and a poor one. Christmas was not a holiday that was celebrated with much fanfare. In fact, she was the only one in her family to graduate from high school. She missed those pictures that she formed in her mind as to what a great Christmas should be. She wanted her children to be able to really enjoy the sights and sounds of a merry Christmas.
Her house and yard certainly lives up to the reputation that they have earned over the years. When one approaches the house there is the sweet sound of Christmas music to greet guests along with the many lights and greenery that decorates the front porch. Once inside the house, the eye is overcome with the lights, figurines and ornaments. Just inside the front door sits a 10 and 1/2 feet pre-lighted tree that is breathtaking. Around the living room are placed six more trees that range in size from small to large with various types of decorations. Wreaths are everywhere and fruit baskets, along with candles give off scents of the season.
Even the bedrooms and bathrooms have not escaped the handiwork of Joyner. They, too, are decorated for the holidays.
One of Joyner's prize decorations is an old Santa face that was given to her by her son, Brock. It hangs in a place of honor on the door of an old chifforobe just inside the front door.
Her son, Brock, was born with a genetic disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Joyner had seen this disease ravage her family in the past. Four of her uncles had it and died early deaths; her own brother had it and died young. This is a disease that is carried by the females in the family and is manifested in the males.
Brock was born about 1978 and at first it seemed that he had escaped the disease, but as time went by and he was slow to walk, the parents knew that something was wrong. After many trips to various doctors, the news finally came that Brock did indeed have the illness.
Brock was always part of the crowd as he grew up. He was very outgoing and loved sports. He participated in as many sports as he could.
The first year after Brock died in 1998, Joyner did not have the heart to decorate, but her husband convinced her that their son would want her to go all out that year. Ever since that year, Joyner said that she has always wanted to go on with the tradition.
Joyner attended North Brewton School and graduated from W.S. Neal High School in 1972. She met Danny Joyner in 1975 at the Dairy Queen while he was dispatching at the Brewton Police Department. Soon she, her son, Darren from a previous marriage, and Danny became a family. In 1978, Brock was born and she went to work at First National Bank where she stayed until 1982. She worked for Miller Investments for two years and went to the Bank of Brewton in 1984 where she worked for the next four and 1/2 years.
The needs of her son was beginning to increase so she left her fulltime work and started selling Mary Kay Cosmetics in order to spend more time with him. They sold their home in East Brewton and lived in an apartment while they were building a home on, coincidentally, Joyner Street off of Waters Road. During this time, her husband worked at the police department, but later he gave that up and set up his own business, Safety and Security, at their home so that he would be available to help with Brock.
Over the years, the business grew and now is located in the Elmore Building. Danny has shown an interest in public service as he has ran in three political campaigns.
During this time, Louise has helped him with his campaigns and now assists him at work as his office manager.
The main thing on their minds these days are the expectation and anticipation of a new grandson who will be born in February to their son, Darren and his wife. A new life will soon grace their household and decorations for next Christmas may take on a whole new meaning.