Elizabeth Johnson Skeete

March 27, 1932 - October 21, 2020

y mother, Elizabeth "Betty" Johnson Skeete of Roosevelt, Long Island  went home to be with the Lord on October 21, 2020. She was born in  Flushing, New York on March 27, 1932. Betty attended PS 20 Elementary School and Flushing High School.

Her mom died when she was very young. Grandpa married his second wife because he needed a mother for his five children. She was not interested in being a stepmother. Mom did not have fond memories of her. She grew up in a cold water apartment. Grandpa left the stepmother with the children and enjoyed the company of his girlfriend. The stepmother would leave to enjoy herself elsewhere. Little was left in the apartment to eat or to heat the place in cold weather.  When Mom found work, the stepmother would demand her wages.  

She worked in a bank at night in Flushing, New York. While it was becoming a promising career path, Betty became pregnant with her first child, me. Vern was born a year later. Betty lived in the James Bland Housing Project and worked as an administrative assistant at its community center.

Betty worked at F. W. Woolworth in Flushing, Queens because it was close to home and her children.

She left her two young children to go to work but doubled back. She found her husband sitting on the toilet as my brother and me, then 3 and 4, attempting to wash soaked and soapy  twin sheets we wet the night before. Mom knew she could not trust her second husband. That became the reason she worked near home. Mom shared that the youngest child, who went to a Lutheran school because of the bullying she experienced at the local elementary school would come to the store and change her clothes to avoid even more bullying when she walked through the projects to our apartment. Mom did what she could to protect us.

Mom and Kimberly, her youngest daughter, on her wedding day in 1997

She retired from F. W. Woolworth using the last of her 30+ years as a Sales Associate at their Long Island store.  Her favorite holidays were Thanksgiving and Christmas.  For Thanksgiving, she loved to cook from scratch for her family, while the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was on television, and always made plenty so that there would be leftovers for visitors to take home.  During Christmas, she would have the Yule Log on the television so that she could hear the holiday music playing in the background and enjoy the image of the burning yule log in the fireplace.

Psychic art for Mom on Mother's Day, 2012.

In 2019, her grandson, Christian Carlos Martin Herrera was on television dancing with Alvin Ailey for their 20th anniversary it the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He appeared front and center in "Revelations."

Betty taught all of her daughters how to sew, and/or knit, and crochet. Her job was an economical means of collecting patterns, material and notions to create their own clothes.

She collected many cookbooks to select and create pleasing dishes, always for family. Her collection of recipes included magazines and newspaper clippings. She also enjoyed playing solitaire and completing cross-word puzzles.

Another activity Mom liked were jigsaw puzzles.  We got into doing them too. I went to the UK in 1992 and walked a crop circle. I visited Stonehenge. I shared my experiences with her. I mentioned how, at that time, both were puzzles.

Mom shared her experience she had in California when she visited her best friend Shirley when they were visiting assisted care facilities for Shirley's mother.

Mom lost interest in the process and saw a resident putting together a puzzle at a table. She asked if she could join him and got permission. She entered her bliss. I thought why would anyone, in sunny California, be inside assembling a puzzle? That was the beginning of my invention, the Puzzle Box (link). 

This psychic art was done earlier than the one below. I meditated on my mother and produced these fissures of color and light out of the earth. Within the sprays and the ground there are faces, representing and communicating information that  revealed interesting things about her life then and the greater parts of her being.

Mother, 2000

When I was in the British Virgin Islands, my sisters preferred to not inform me about mother's illnesses. She had diverticulosis and other co-morbidities. They felt that I could not do anything from where I was and it did not serve to worry me.  I was angry because they made decisions for me. Healing is available locally and non-locally. I could have sent healing energy to mother had I been made aware. On the other hand, when I thought of her, I used my abilities.
After my husband died in 2015, I asked for permission from Mom and the sister to move to their co-owned house. They agreed. I was helping to take care of Mom.

Mother, 2017

Mom was in hospital in January 2017 for ten days. She was moved to rehabilitation for six weeks at Townhouse on Long Island. While she was there, I spoke to the sister who shared the home with her to reorganize her belonging so Mom had a wider area to exercise her legs and the choice to sit in the living room when she did not want to be in her bedroom. The sister appeared to want to do this but never did.

Mom moving with a walker in the hallway. She was making progress. Her scoliosis was hardly noticeable.

See the photos of the common spaces,  the kitchen where Mom expressed the desire to create her own meals and more for the family, and the living room with huge limits to her being in it.  

The kitchen in the house Mom lived in.

Part of the living room in the house where Mom lived.

Mom's room

Mom slept in the recliner chair, foreground. She did not like the bed (background), because, as she remembered, she was never consulted on the type of bed she wanted. It was higher than her former queen-sized bed so it made it difficult for her to get on and off it without assistance.  

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma happened in 2017. Hurricane Harvey galvanized my attention. The damage; the disaster preparedness among residents and the blame laid on meteorologists -one said, "They did not respect us enough to tell us the truth", and the disappointment of the Red Cross' services. Hurricane Irma's sudden appearance nearly twisted my neck. I returned to the BVI in 2018 to clean up the sites to eliminate the potential of flying debris harming other properties.

She shared stories of how her property, bones in the freezer she wanted to boil to use for soups, were discarded. What she placed in the refrigerator, the cabinets would disappear and no one, the sister or her son, would say anything about it. As if her relationship with her second husband foreshadowed this, Mom collected depression glass because she appreciated it. The budding collection was grown with her own money before she met Colin. He took it upon himself to throw it all away because " was not being used."

Over time, Mom expressed how sad she was to continue living in the house.  I overheard the other sister's response, "And I do more for you than your other three children put together."

I was told to leave by the sister. What I am sure was a surprise to them was that Mom continued to express how unhappy she was and that she wanted to leave.

I had hoped that I would obtain assistance from Social Services to locate a place where I could have taken care of Mom, become her health proxy. She died before that happened. After I left, it appears to me that Mom's care declined hastening her departure. After Hurricane Isaiah, her chair shorted. Unfortunately, her ability to incline was lost. The sister who was responsible for her health was told, "I have money. Get me a new chair." Her legs swelled from the knees down. She was transported into a hospital and then a nursing home where workers found her out of the bed on her head with one leg still on the bed. I learned, in dribs and drabs, what was going on. The nursing home insisted that an incident report was to be produced by the hospital she was taken to after the incident, not from the nursing home where it happened. It is February 6, 2021; the incident took place in August 2020. 

What Mom wanted most was to be able to bathe herself and wash her hair. The arthritic pain and limited movement prevented that. This was a photo of her last beauty salon visit at Townhouse. She did like how she looked.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel and Coretha Johnson; her husbands, Colin Skeete, James C. Williams; her only son, Vern Williams, two brothers, Sam "Sonny" Johnson and Martin "Marty" Johnson, and son-in-law, Clement Edwardo Hill, II.  She is survived by three daughters - Allison Williams Hill, Tracey Skeete and Kimberly Skeete-Herrera;  son-in-law Carlos Herrera; three grandchildren - Cameron Skeete, Christian Herrera and Cydney Herrera, her last surviving brother, Laverne "Pee Wee" Johnson; her last surviving sister, Mary Johnson Rosa, and two sisters-in-law, Helen Johnson and Juanita Millett. She also leaves to mourn a host of nieces, nephews and friends.

My  Words At Mom's Memorial Service

Mom, I speak directly to you.
Thank you for what you did for us, your children, that came through you and did not. I remember your abilities that, I feel, you had but did not have the opportunities to use them. You were brilliant with numbers that the path in banking was promising until I came along.

You would say you didn't do enough for us, however, I disagree.  I am full of joy for having known you.

You were consistent. You always liked my art work. I, for a long time, thought you said that because you were Mother. Mothers love their children whose singing may make ears bleed, but they'll praise them. Strangers complimented  my work and when that happened I would smile and mentally say, "Thanks, Mom. You were right."

I will always see your smile when I see flowers; the color blue; my sisters, and the faces of people who knew you.

I will think of you when I create using what you taught me. May even talk to you in my head, maybe forget where I am and talk to you out loud.
It will be a while before I stop thinking about you being in a specific place on the planet.

I love you.





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