Her name is Marcy. She is the Marcy of MarcyJo’s Mealhouse and Bakery. People often call her MarcyJo because of the name of the restaurant, but I call her Momma! She was born in Atchison Kansas, March 5th, 1967 and just a short 15 years later in Greenville Ky, she had me. By the time I was 9 months old, she and her 3 older brothers and 1 younger sister had lived in 44 different homes and 16 states. To say, ” Grandma did her best to make ends meet!” just wouldn’t be enough! From the stories I’ve heard and from what she has told me, she was a bit of a wild-spirited kid. She loved anything to do with the outdoors, her daddy, and seeking any kind of crazy adventure. Anything but school! She spent most of her school years struggling to keep up, only to find out later that she had dyslexia. She ended up dropping out in the 9th grade after having me, which I don’t think she minded very much!
Her dad past away unexpectedly in 1989 from a heart attack and it tore her world apart. We were living in Port Saint John Florida. I faintly remember standing in the airport as she got ready to fly back to Kansas for the funeral saying goodbye and asking why I wasn’t allowed to go. She told me later she felt like I was too young to understand what was going on or to go to a funeral at that age. Looking back now I think she knew she wasn’t going to be in any shape to take care of me while she was there… I don’t blame her!
I guess when you move around a lot when you’re young it gives you a sense of never feeling like your at home. I don’t think we’ve ever sat down and added up all the states that we moved to or places that we lived in since I had come along but I know it seemed like a lot. The family mostly followed grandma around, or she followed us, but somehow we all stayed pretty close.
I was 3 years old and we were living in Merritt Island Florida when mom met Don Gary. God knew exactly what he was doing that day he gave grandma the idea to set mom up with one of her roll off drivers at the garbage company she was running dispatch for. I thank Him every day for that and I know mom does too. I was 11 or 12 when they finally got married. We were living in Converse Indiana at the time. I guess mom figured since they just had their 3rd kid together she might as well finally say yes!
We’ve been through a lot growing up together. (As I like to say). The thought of what it would have been like to have a kid at 15 years old or even having a 21 year old right now makes me respect her more every day. Though she was young, and she had a lot of help from aunt candy and grandma. (Above) She was a great mother to me and my siblings growing up, and she’s an even better grandmother now! I think she had a great role model.
The Good Lord called home two of the closest friends mom has ever had only a few years apart. Rita Feek and Joey Feek. We lost grandma July 30, 2014, and Aunt Joey on March 4th, of 2016 and Mom hasn’t been the same since. None of us have been the same since. I don’t think I have the page space or enough experience writing to describe the bond that mom and grandma had. But it’s something I’ll never forget. (I’d like to think that mom and I have a little piece of that now ourselves.) Mom never really had a lot of people she called close friends and I know Joey was so much more than that to her. She was the Jo of MarcyJo’s and still is, and always will be. Joey touched the lives of people all over the world with her music, her personality and most of all her unwavering faith and love. She asked Rory to share their life together beyond the TV show through his blog at Rory Feek.com. And what unfolded changed the lives of millions and still does to this day!
Mom and Joey opened MarcyJo’s Mealhouse and Bakery in January of 2007. Joey was in the middle of a slow period in her music career and mom was struggling to make ends meet at an antique shop she opened a few years back. Mom spent most of her life raising kids while pursuing a waitressing career always dreaming of having her own restaurant, to work for herself and do things the way she believed. With Joey’s baking skills and moms restaurant experience, it was the beginning of something no one saw coming. Side by side they worked together for the first year, day in and day out building MarcyJo’s from the ground up. Setting the foundation for what they believed in, how they wanted people to see them and what they wanted the customers to experience when they came to eat there. A little over a year in, Joey’s dream began to come true and she and Rory made their way out on the road traveling around performing their music and sharing their story to folks all over the US. Joey and Rory always made sure to tell people everywhere they went about the restaurant that Joey and Mom had opened up back home and how they should be sure to stop by if they were ever that way.
Joey and Rory have always had a way of pulling on the heartstrings of people with their music. In 2010 they came across the opportunity to do a TV show about their life back at their farm in Pottsville. The Joey & Rory Show. It included a cooking segment in every episode that featured Joey and Mom doing one of their many homemade recipes out of their MarcyJo’s Cookbook. The show aired from 2012 through 2014. They recorded 4 seasons that included 52 episodes. The show had quite an impact on the restaurant. People still come from all over these days to stop by and try one of the homemade meals they had seen on TV from the reruns that still play on the RFD Channel, or they drop in on their way to try and sneak a peek at Joey and Rory’s Farm just a mile down the road in hopes of catching Rory or Indy outside. I like to believe that even if the show never aired and Joey and Rory were still out traveling around singing to the world, that mom would still be down at the mealhouse waiting tables, hiring anyone of our family or friends to come to cook or wash dishes for extra cash and it would still be just as special as it is now.
I can easily say that mom is my best friend. She is my rock! She is my fishing buddy, my cheerleader, my shoulder to cry on and my business partner. I have hundreds of stories about Mom I plan to share over time as I learn and get better at writing these blogs. I plan to share the ups and downs of life as we know it at MarcyJo’s as often as possible. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to help promote Marcyjos in a unique way since I have been so blessed to become apart of it. But it was also to follow in the footsteps of my uncle and try to share stories that would carry on the faith, love, and hope that Joey taught us all, and continue telling the world about the amazing and inspiring woman that I call mom. MarcyJo!