Gennie's Story

My name is Gennie Nunley-Thompson and I am a third generation African American woman born free.  My mother and grandmother were born free, and my great grandmother was a girl when slavery ended.  My great-great grandmother was also born a slave.  I know because I lived with six generations of women, and was taught by these women as we lived in the same household. my story is of an intelligent motivated adolescent uprooted from a supported matriarchy composed of six generations under one roof, and all born in Many, Louisiana.  In the late 1950's my mother transported me and my siblings from our home in the rural south and transported to San Francisco Housing projects.  My mother took me and my siblings from the south because the stresses of forced integration caused her to fear for her children.  I was enrolled in San Francisco's Polytechnic High school from which I graduated from high school amongst the top ten in my class, receiving a $150.00 check, not scholarship for my participation in the school.  I was married at 16 and had four children by the age of 20.  Driven by  the desire to break the cycle of  poverty in my family, and to get my children and myself out of the projects, I worked 40 hours weekly for PT&T and 40 hours weekly as a counselor at Mt. St. Joseph's home for girls while going to school full time.  I enrolled first at City College at San Francisco, and a then continued my education at Lone mountain college in San Francisco, a catholic college for young women, administered by the University of San Francisco.  I divorced my husband at 22, and had cancer at 23 and, having a total hysterectomy and a bilateral salpingo oophorectomy.  I completed a masters program in sociology in 1978 at which time my oldest child was entering Stanford for her BS in engineering, and she later received an MBA also.  Through trial and error, I learned behavior that helped organize my life and eliminate chaos.  I became determined to assist others through my own education and experience and went to work, after missing my retirement date at Pacific Telephone by four days prior to going to work at the S.F. Adult probation department.  I grew up with my children, and sent each one to college.  I remarried at 40 years old, while continuing to assist my children with their education.  I have been very successful working for the city and county of SF adult probation department. I have received awards from who is who in professional women of the world, awards from the Governor.  I received the governors award in 1990 for victim services and public safety.  I was also honored from the National Black Prosecutors Association for celebration,  Awarded from commission of status for women as well as the juvenile justice committee in San Francisco.  July 28,2002 was named Gennie Nunley Thompson Day in San Francisco because of programs that I had built for incarcerated women.  I have spoken all over the State on the plight of women and children.  My story today is of a 65 year old widow living on a fixed income and unable to get employment, while struggling with the assistance of my children to stay in my home.  I listen to the economic crisis on the television and learn that I am a senior citizen on a fixed income, fighting with the help of some of my children to live in a house that my husband and I could well afford, with money in the  bank, and I was retired and my husband worked, and we were ready.  Things happened and my husband died the first year in this house.  I could not get help from anyone because of income, etc.  It is awfulawful when your social security is being taxed, and the medicare is so expensive that it is unbelievable.  My co-payments are three times they were before medicare.  I have private insurance, but medicare demands that you pay your part.  My insurance is paid by my employer, but I found out that at 65 medicare is the primary.  My retirement is also taxed.  I have paid those taxes, and now my house is in default, credit rating is in the toilet and I am now fighting every month to get meds, eat, pay household bills, and pay c0-payments.  My story is very elaborate because I have worked from 17 until I turned 59.  My health is diminishing, I am afraid and so are my children.  My children help as much as they can.  I hear Ms. Winfrey's stories and watch her shows and have though that I need to tell my whole story because it is motivational.  I remember that Attorney's from Oakland and San Francisco sent a letter to Miss Winfrey asking that I be a part of her show because of my background and how one can have faith, dedication, character, and sense of self without having role models.  I am a motivational speaker, and I am unable to secure employment because of the times.  I often wonder how I got here, worring about eating and sleeping and feel somehow that I have let myself down.  No, depression is not a part of me,  I do not have time for depression, but I do need to express myself a part of the time.  I want to share.

gennienunleytho gennienunleytho
Feb 25, 2009