James mother Alice, was his only parent from the time he was 16 until her death in 2008. James father, Howard Thomas Phelps had been sick most of James life with intestinal cancer. From as long as James can remember, Howard had been sick and in-out of the hospital. James had learned to rely on Alice for everything.
After James graduated from high school, he attended the community college near his home. This was due to financial reasons and to stay close to Alice. After James got an Associates degree in laboratory medicine he decided to continue his education in a 4 year college. He was accepted to Western Carolina university in North Carolina. James competed his education with a Bacholor’s Degree in Laboratory Medicine.
James had always thought that after graduation, he would go back to his hometown, Littleton North Carolina and settle down there. He sent out resumes to all of the hospitals that were close to Alice and got no job offers. James also sent a few resumes out to hospitals in South Carolina. One of those was Cherokee Memorial Hospital in Gaffney South Carolina.
Cherokee Memorial hospital offered him a job immediately after graduation, James started working there in January 1985. So he packed up his Toyota station wagon with all of his belongings and moved to Forest City North Carolina. The reason he chose Forest City, was because one of his suite mates from college was from there and he would at least have his suite mates family, if he needed anything.
Debra graduated from Respiratory Care program at Spartanburg Community College and sent out resume to all of the area hospitals, also thinking that she would stay in Spartanburg where Granny and Grandpa were living. There were 14 people that graduated in Mom’s Respiratory class. 3 moved out of state and 9 were hired by the largest hospital in the area, Spartanburg Medical Center. Debra and Deana sent out resumes to all of the area hospitals and we were both hired by Cherokee Memorial Hospital in Gaffney. i had started to work at CMH in September 1984.
With Debra growing up and going to school in Spartanburg, it was very unlikely that she would get a job in Gaffney SC. With James growing up and going to school in North Carolina, it was almost inconceivable that he would also wind up in Gaffney SC.
Fate was at play to put us in the same place at the same time.