For Janice

I’d persuaded a friend to steer me to a Juneteenth celebration in north Minneapolis. My first children’s book had been published a couple of weeks before, the weather was actually warm, and I was on a roll.

Roy and I had just arrived when I saw a lovely woman and a little boy coming toward us. She walked up and hugged Roy, and they began to chat. I was only five years out of Chicago, where people didn’t hug without a good reason. If there had been something between Roy and her I thought I would’ve known about it. I hoped that this was just Minnesota nice and didn’t mean anything serious.

I thought all that because I’d fallen in love. I fell in love readily back then, with all sorts of women for all sorts of reasons, nearly all of them superficial. This one was different. I’m calling it falling in love, but it was more than that. I recognized her. Roy introduced us and her voice was lovely, too. Bam.

I was a children’s book editor, and she was an artist who wanted to illustrate children’s books. Pow. We exchanged numbers so she could bring her portfolio to my office the next week to be considered for an assignment. She left soon after for a previous commitment and promised to call me for an appointment.

Roy then told me that she had made the painting over the sofa in his living room, the picture I had asked about. Boing.

She showed me her book the next week, and I promised to get her work. We exchanged business cards, and on hers she wrote “Call me anytime.” For two months I looked at that every day on my cork board at work, knowing that calling her wasn’t gonna be like calling anybody else, and I didn’t until mid-August, when I threw a party so I could invite her. She smelled like coconut that evening. She still does, thanks to Skin Trip. I let her use my favorite mug, and she sat on my bed. A month later I asked her to marry me (music swells). That was the summer of 1990.

After twenty-one years of marriage, two more sons, and twenty-seven children’s books, the love of my life is living with stage-four breast cancer and doing her best not to make me a widower, and that’s where you come in. She’s currently at a cancer clinic in Arizona and can’t afford to stay long enough to get the most benefit. Please, help at Now, please.

Posted Thursday, January 26th, 2012 under appreciation, children, compassion, death, health care, Janice, kindness, love, Uncategorized.


  1. Beautiful. Thank you, Tony.

  2. Thank you for sharing your love story. I know how true it is. This pay check and Laci’s went to the mortgage, but we will send a gift in two weeks. Prayers for you all.

  3. Dear Anthony,

    I have been reading you since I moved here from Chicago about a year and a half ago. It’s helped me make the transition. I was about to write a long-delayed piece of fan mail, and came across your post about Janice.

    I can help a little bit, and hope you both get all you need to continue being who you are, separately and as a couple. The world works in mysterious ways. Hang in there, Anthony and Janice, and good luck.

  4. Patricia Kelley says:

    Anthony, I have been a fan of yours for a long time, and your column in the Chico News and Review is my favorite of that publication. I was broken hearted to read your column about Janice. I am sending a donation and wish I could send more. Peace and strength to you and Janice!

  5. Deb Eckersley says:

    Dear Mr Porter,

    I am a little behind in my CNR reading, and just read your column on your wife, Janice. I am so sorry to hear what you two are going through. Would you forgive my imposition to ask how she is doing? Best wishes to you both.

  6. Toni Carrell says:

    I was so sorry to read of your wife’s illness. My most sincere best wishes and healing thoughts go out to you both. I will budget very carefully over the next couple of weeks and try to make a donation. It’s pretty tough when there are three college students living in my home and only one has any income beyond Pell Grants, and the one with income doesn’t qualify for a Pell Grant, or anything else to cover his schooling costs, beyond the Board of Governors’ Grant. But we will do what we can.

    I wish you and Janice all the best, and that Janice’s treatment and recovery are quick and that she emerges from the hospital fully healed.

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