I got more than I bargained for.
Adele was a wonderful interviewee. She was open and eager to have her story heard, in all its many and complicated details. She edited the final version, making a few minor corrections. I gave her a copy for her own use. She graciously has given me permission to post the entire interview on-line.
Q. What is your name?
Jesus A. Christ. I have the right [to use that name] and now I'm not accepting anything less.
Q. What name were you born with?
Joan Adele Parker. It always gave me the willies -- Joan. I wanted to change it. I was born in Portland, in Queens Hospital -- it's now Mercy Hospital -- on January 11, 1935.
I was adopted when I was eight months old. I was told I would keep an inheritance if I kept my first two names, so they only changed my last name.
I was adopted a Ross. Mother was divorced. She had to work in those days, there were no food stamps. The woman taking care of me said I was a week away from having rickets.
I was raised an only child, but I was one of six, or maybe seven. I had a blood brother, I don't know if he was six months old when he died or if she was six months pregnant when she lost him.
I had an older sister who went to Portland High when I did. She knew me, but I didn't know her. The kids were sworn to secrecy. The rest stayed with mother, they are half-sisters, their father was a violent alcoholic. I was the oldest.
I was married the first time on January 26, 1952 to Weston Arnold Shaw of Portland. He was a cousin to Ivan Braun in Bucksport [a prominent local businessman]. His grandmother and Ivan's mother were sisters. He was a senior, I was a sophomore, 17. We were both in school, Portland High. I thought I was pregnant when I got married. A week later I had a massive period. I stayed in school, left in February of 1953. I went to the osteopathic hospital, and worked in the insurance office and switchboard.
Q. Why did you leave school then?
They wouldn't let me go back to the business course. I was on the college course, pre-nursing. Mother wanted to live her dream through me. That's Mildred Jeannette Ross. She wanted to be a dancer. I took three years of tap dancing at Nissen's Dancing School in Portland. I took elocution lessons for three years with the children's theater, all while I was in high school. I was a Civil Air Patrol Warrant Officer. I took flying lessons and came within 25 hours of having my own pilot's license.
Then Weston came back from Tripoli, in Africa. He was in the Air Force Reserve. I had sent him a picture of me and a girlfriend, he accused me of being a Negro. I was very black [in the photo]. Marie was so light and I was so dark. He said we got married under false pretensions.
Q. It's not like he had never looked at you before. What prompted him to say that?
Someone was leaning over his shoulder when he had the picture out, and he said ``she's a mulatto.'' At that point I didn't know I had been adopted, until I went to get married.
We were divorced in November 1953 on the grounds of incompatibility.
Mother Ross' mother was a full-blooded Indian, her husband was Spanish. Mother Ross was engaged to the uncle of the man I now call Jesus, Ira Closson of Ellsworth.
Q. How did you feel about your husband coming home like that and demanding a divorce?
From a man that you thought loved you, it was quite a shock. Plus he tried to strangle me, and I punched him, and almost threw him out of the three-bay window. I gave him a shove with my feet. I'd been used as a punching bag by all the men who supposedly loved me.
I was raped when I was eight or nine years old. A bunch of kids in the hay mow experimenting. I really didn't understand that until I did some counseling with some kids. I was raped by a man I thought was my cousin, so I didn't think I had a chance with him [socially].
My second husband was Everette Elmer Carter of Blue Hill. He was named after his grandfather who owned the house you had [that interviewer had once owned in Blue Hill]. I had known him since I was 12 years old. He used to visit, came to Portland in a dump truck.
Q. How did you meet him, if he was from Blue Hill and you lived in Portland?
I used to come to North Penobscot to visit my adopted aunt and uncle, Alberta and Kellar Galen. He was one of 20 kids. With him it had always been serious. He wanted me to go to Alaska, but in those days you didn't live together. He was an Air Force Sergeant. I waited until he came back. We got married on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1953.
We left on January 9 for Texas, Bryant. We were there a year and three months. My oldest daughter was born there, at the discharge base. He gave up $1,700 and a raise in rank to come back to Maine. April Nadine Carter was born on April 1, 1955.
We moved into Dogtown in North Penobscot, with his folks. We moved out to North Penobscot to Aunt and Uncle's house, both of them were then living in Portland.
On January 11, 1956, I had my second baby, Cindy Adele Carter. Dr. Berry was my doctor. Everette was working in the woods, raking blueberries, driving truck.
We moved back in with Everette's people in 1957, when Everette was born -- August 6, 1957. Everette Elmer Carter II. His father wasn't well.
Diane Marie Carter was born Dec. 14, 1958.
I went to Stinson Hospital about then and had all my teeth out. April 1959. By then I was working at Jed Prouty Tavern [in Bucksport] as a cashier and hostess in the coffee shop. I got pregnant again. Betsy Ross was born July 29, 1961.
In August of 1962, I was raking blueberries in Frankfort for Mike Astbury. I met a guy, Lyman L. Closson. The car was full, but Sonny Bishop said to sit in Lyman's lap in the car. We went from Frankfort to West Brooksville.
He offered to help carry my berries. That was the day I looked him in the eye and felt I had laid down and died.
I had the feeling at 12 that the biggest problem with the world was that no one was living their own advice. When I met the man I call Jesus, he gave me the courage to fight for what I always believed in.
[Her change in attitude apparently had repercussions]
Everette talked it over with Lawrence Dennis, for whom he was working at the time. He suggested I go up to Bangor State Hospital, yes, BMHI. I went there for 10 days, I was checked out by 22 doctors and nurses. The doctors said the only thing they could find wrong was that I lived my faith 24 hours a day, that I wasn't a religious fanatic.
Q. Why did they send you there?
Because of the way I felt toward this man. Before that I never felt anyone cared. Mother said she loved me, but unless I was dressed up in make-up and all that, she didn't pay much attention to me. I never was a feminine female. They tried to make a feminine female of me. I don't know what Webster's meaning of a lady is.
I went back to Bucksport for a month. We were divorced on Dec. 13, 1962. I had five children with me, we went to Belfast. I worked at Maplewood Poultry, in the business office and then cutting gizzards and pin feathering.
Lyman got engaged to Judy Doughty. The song ``Judy's Wearing His Ring'' came out that same time. They both drove a yellow cab in Belfast.
Everette came over in January, he had been with another woman, but she left him. We were remarried on January 26, 1963. Because they made a mistake on the divorce certificate, made it Dec. 26, it wasn't 30 days, and we wasn't legally divorced. We had to get that fixed.
Lyman knew I had left Everette with the intentions of us getting together. We were in John Snow's field one night, and he asked me if I knew what I was getting into. I said, ``Yes, you make me feel like a whole person.'' I felt as though he was the one person who cared about me as a person. All my life I had tried to please people. But I didn't talk right, act right, dress right, when they got it they didn't want it.
All along it had to be a spiritual thing. He had been drinking, and he gave up drinking when he married Judy. A month later, he got violent with Judy. He had been on probation at the time and they put him back in Thomaston.
Q. What was he on probation for?
I think it was assault with a broken beer bottle.
I used to go down every Sunday to see him.
I was like two people. I was standing here and psychologically someplace else. I couldn't see it then, but I was fighting for the right to be me.
I went back up to Bangor [BMHI] in May of 1963. I sent a letter from there to Lyman in prison, under the name of Jesus Christ, and he accepted it. That was when I started writing to him under that name.
I was pregnant with Charles, who was supposed to be born Dec. 10, 1963. He was born in March of 1964. That means that I got pregnant while I was up in Bangor. That's why I claim Charles does not have a physical father. I put up with sex but never enjoyed it. They said you had to do that for kids. Charles proved them wrong.
In July of 1963 I sent a birthday card to Everette E. Carter Sr. under the name of David Carter, and he accepted it.
Q. Why is that significant?
Because Jesus came from the house of David. It's a spiritual kind of thing.
Everette didn't go along with this, outside of saying that sometime this town will regret treating us the way it has.
We moved to Ellsworth in January of 1965. We were having problems with the farm, getting it banked, heating it, getting it fixed up for winter. We got a rent in Ellsworth, on Fifth Street.
In May, it was Ash Wednesday, Barbara Moon Pert, who had been going with Everette in February when he left for a time, she told me Lyman was out of prison. That Wednesday at noontime, or one o'clock, I had the thought that the two men were coming home together. I timed it, dated it, put it up in my Bible. I set the table for two people, I had already eaten.
Everette is six foot three, 300 pounds. When he came home he filled the door. I asked about the little guy behind him. He said, how do you know? I said go look at my Bible. We all had supper and we talked.
We moved back to the farm in June.
On August 30, all the kids had measles. Cindy died of brain fever, on August 27, at 2:30 or 3 p.m. It was a Friday. It was the old-fashioned measles that went to her brain. It only happens to one in a million. She was nine. It was 1965.
The Saturday of that weekend, a double rainbow started and ended in our 50-acre field. We owned 150 acres at that time. Nine people there including Mr. Murchie, the minister that saw it. All the time we lived there we had rainbows.
She [Cindy] was born on my 21st birthday. She was named after me, her middle name. I always felt like we changed places. There has to be a death, you know. God gave up his son, I gave up my daughter.
I always felt toward Everette like a brother. I never felt like I thought a man should feel about a woman.
I did feel that way about Lyman, like we were one person, two people under one identity.
Jesus A. Christ and Jesus O. Christ.
Weston was older and fairly nice looking. Everette was 5 years older than I was.
At this point Lyman was working, cutting wood, he picked potatoes.
The first telephone call I made to Lyman as Jesus Christ, after Cindy died, the operator almost wouldn't put it through.
You know that if anybody receives mail through the federal government and accepts it, that person exists. The federal government has a ruling or you could get 20 years in jail for fraud for accepting someone else's mail.
John Edward Carter was born Dec. 4, 1965.
Esther was born April 13, 1967.
Joseph Lawrence Carter was born Aug. 14, 1968. He was named after my first father-in-law and Lyman's father.
I left him [Everette] again in July 1970. Before that I was driving cab in Bangor, in June, July and August. On June 20, Jesus had told me five years before, he said he would come home on a full moon.
On the weekend of the full moon in June, Jesus asked me to open a joint bank account. I put my name down only as Adele. I took the signature cards. He signed them as Jesus Christ, all three cards. The bank manager said if that's his name, then that's your name, too, and it's been that way ever since.
I had left Everette and had a room on Ohio Street. I drove cab there until August 30, when my mother died. August is either a good or a bad month for me.
GOOD -- The first and last son in the Carter family were born.
I met Jesus.
BAD -- My daughter died
My mother died.
Joshua Hubbard, the man I worked for, died in August.
We lost the Ridge this year in August.
We got divorced in 1970, Everette and I did. I stayed up with my father in 1970 and 1971, came back to Belfast in April of 1971, started driving cab for Roy's Taxi.
Jesus and I took three Spanish-speaking men to New York. When we got back the next day, the man who was supposed to go [as a driver] said they had entered the country illegally, and we had thrown the address away. It cost them $150 in those days. For three men, that was $50 apiece. I think we got $26 out of it. Maybe it was $52 and we divided it.
Then in July I moved back to Blue Hill with Don, Lyman's father, into a Scotty trailer, one of those little bulb-shaped very tiny trailers. I was digging clams for a living. The kids were with Everette. There were eight kids at that point. Everette couldn't pay child support. You know, he always called me mother. I got married in black [the first wedding]. He gave me a mustard seed necklace for a wedding present. The second time we got married I was in blue. Blue the second time with Everette, and blue for Weston.
No, I never married Lyman. But we were soul mates from the beginning. We don't need to [be married]. It's like we've been more or less together since the beginning of time. I was 27 when I first met him.
I dug clams from 1970 to 1975, in and around the Brooklin - Blue Hill area. Daddy Don died May 30, 1975. My adopted father died May 19, 1974.
I went to work out in Waltham, outside Ellsworth, living in a house as a companion for Mendal and Annie Kemp. He was 93, she was 75. The house was immaculate for old people. Ten cord of wood was brought in there, and he put every piece in the woodshed. I worked there until September 1975. Then I moved back to Blue Hill, to the Treworgy's across from the firehouse. My daughter Betsy came to live with me so she could go to school in Blue Hill.
In November 1975, Eugene Lloyd Tripp came into my life. He was one of our regular passengers when we were driving cab in Belfast. Louis Hutchinson brought him to my house and stranded him for three days. He had no wheels, it was the three days before Thanksgiving.
He stayed in my life. We lived together. On July 27, 1976, I had a miscarriage. It was the same day that my oldest daughter was getting married.
I got pregnant again. Chris was born Sept. 19, 1977.
While Gene was with me, about Nov. 25, 1976, we had a young girl in the apartment visiting. A man came in, hit her over the head with a big Stetson. He had called her a jackass, and said she had to go with him. I was down in South Blue Hill. He was the drug dealer. I went down to East Blue Hill and called to him in the middle of the road and said the town wasn't big enough for both of us and I wasn't leaving. She had been beaten.
Three nights later he came by my house and put three shotgun shells in my 1965 Chevy Impala. We assume it was him. The state trooper said the only reason it didn't blow up was because the gas tank was full, and only fumes explode.
He [the drug dealer] did leave Blue Hill. Gene and brother Donald and a friend caught him on the stretch in North Penobscot, turned the car up on its top. Gene said ``Mother does not like violence.'' I never saw him again until many years later. He had stopped drinking and partying.
In April 1978 I started working for Martha B. Hubbard and Joshua C. Hubbard, who was by then totally blind. He had been an economics professor at Bryn Mawr College. She is the granddaughter of Charles Brewer, the sea captain who owned a lot of property in Hawaii. I've worked for her ever since, as a chauffeur and housekeeper. For awhile I lived in Brooklin. They built a new house on the property, and on July 4, 1982, I moved in and lived there. Joshua died in 1985, on August 27.
Gene and I got married. We had our honeymoon on Oct. 10 and 11, but we got married on October 29, 1986. We moved in with Aunt Lillian [Treworgy] in October 1987.
My [biological] mother died Oct. 27, 1987. One of her friends looked me right in the face and said, ``If I hadn't seen your mother lowered in the ground, I wouldn't believe she was dead.'' I look just like her.
Q. You seem to have seen a lot of deaths.
Death don't bother me. Being crippled was what bothered me, but not any more.
Aunt Lillian's old house had burned down around Christmas in 1984. She moved into her new house on Oct. 26, 1987. Lyman was raised as her nephew. Donald Closson, Lyman's father, was her son, she had him at 15, but he was raised as Lillian's brother. Everette called her Aunt Lil. She was a sister to Ira Closson.
Gene got violent when he was drinking. We were together from 1975 to 1988. Finally in February he got so close to hitting Aunt Lil that I asked him to leave. He left in February, we got divorced in August of 1988.
He was down to Martha's on Oct. 29. He had Chris for the weekend. They were putting up the snow fence at Martha's. He stopped to leave Chris off. I had not gone near him because I knew I would get sucked in. But when he was there, he came over to me and we hugged.
On Nov. 1, 1988 he died in an auto accident on the Back Searsport Road. He was going 35 or 40, the car went up in the air, and nosed down in three pine trees. They figured he had some sort of attack. They found him under the dash, under the gas peddle, and he never bled a drop. He was a good driver, he would have still been hanging onto the wheel if he had been conscious. May Tripp, Gene's mother, called, she said he was dead.
Ordinarily I wouldn't have let him do it, hug me, but God knew. He was a miserable man. Nobody wanted him around when he was drinking. One time he kicked me so hard in the pelvic area that even Dr. Newkirk was afraid of him. There was 12 years difference in our ages, he had just turned 42. Yes, I married someone 12 years younger.
I stayed with Lillian from 1988 to February 1991 when her niece and nephew moved her to Ross Manor Nursing Home in Bangor. They stole at least $120,000 from her. They sold the Blue Hill place for $90,000, and sold the Brooksville property for $80,000 to $100,000. They took the lawyers fees and deeds out of her third. She did end up in a wheelchair and dying before very long.
In 1991 I moved to Martha's, actually moved to Timmy Walls' on the Hinckley Road in North Blue Hill, working part-time a Martha's.
Now about the Ridge. Cindy Gray called me up and told me about it. I put $500 down, and started making payments. It's on the Sedgwick Ridge Road. The Rainbow Ridge Connection. There were rainbows at the barn like there were at the farm.
I wanted it to be a place where we could recycle things, and employ 15 people, with arts and craft work, stuff from the transfer station. It's ridiculous what people throw away. I wanted it to be a pilot program. But we couldn't get a 501(c)3 [non-profit organization status]. They would give money to H.O.M.E., which is ruining it.
By the time we left, there was 8 to 10 truck loads of stuff. I lived there from June 1992 to March 1997, when I moved here to 88 Central Street [in Bucksport] with my daughter Betsy Ross Carter and my two granddaughters.
McRae Worth is both a lawyer and a minister. [He helped her legalize her name.] We went through Probate Court and Judge [James] Patterson denied it. He didn't actually deny it, but he didn't agree to it. We went all the way to the [Maine] Supreme Court. Right now my Social Security card, my car's registration, and my driver's license all say Adele Christ. I now have the right to use the name Jesus Adele Christ. I spent 35 years getting here.
[She discusses importance of dates in general, and this year in particular]
Three definite dates came together all this year. This year is 1997. It was in 1970, 27 years ago, that I started using that name. I am 62, I met Him in 1962. We have been together 35 years this past August, and I was born in 1935. I was 27 when I met Him. The Dead Sea Scrolls said we would be in one world government in 1997.
Lyman met Becky in 1967. They supposedly got married on July 28, 1967. She's had one daughter, on August 20, 1970. They now reside in North Brooklin.
He is walking proof that the system believes in lies and not the truth, because he denies what I am saying is true. If anyone asks him directly if he is Jesus Christ, he will say, ``she's crazy.''
For a time he and I and Becky lived together.
The Bible said Jesus was coming back and taking a bride. I claim that my family is fulfillment of that prophesy. The word ``Bride,'' if you look it up in the dictionary, means one woman preparing for marriage. He [the Biblical Jesus] was alone the first time around. If I'm right and God has made us the way we are, then we've been together since the beginning of time.
In 1994 I went to a Pentecostal church in Bar Harbor for a healing. I wore my glasses home that night and got up the next morning and haven't needed them since.
I have 16 grandchildren and 2 great-granddaughters.
I'm writing a book, on Respect, Responsibility and Reality: What Is It?
To me it is living in the moment, the width of your hands and your arms, whatever physically you can take up space. That is the beginning and end of life. That's all we have. How we do it is what makes life. It's so simple, that's why most people can't grasp it.
I have a part [in the book] on how to change how you speak and act. You are responsible for every word you say and every move you make.
I'm in a writing class Monday nights, with Charles Pratt, Ellsworth Adult Ed. I hope to have it [the book] done by the end of December.
There are only two things in my life I wanted to do but didn't get to: finishing my pilot's license and going to Alaska.
I got a pin from the drugstore. It says, ``We'll get along fine, as soon as you realize I'm God.''
I saw some bumper stickers I like:
``Heaven doesn't want us and Hell's afraid we'll take over.''
And ``Live life. This is not a dress rehearsal.'' That's a good one.
I found this fish emblem [on a chain around her neck] at a yard sale for a quarter. You know it's the early symbol of Christianity.
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