Jamie Langston Turner


When I First Became Ooma

September 30, 2017

September 30, 2009, was a special day for my husband and me. It was the day we officially acquired new names—Oompa and Ooma. (The “Oompa” suggestion came first, from our daughter-in-law’s father, who said it was the only logical name for a tuba-playing grandpa. We loved it, so we removed the “h” from “oompah” and Dan had his new name. “Ooma” was a natural fit for “Oompa,” so we were ready to go.)

We had to wait all day long that September 30 for the exciting phone call from our son late that night to learn that our new granddaughter, Carolyn Svana Turner, had finally made her appearance. (Carolyn is her paternal grandmother’s name, and Svana is a Scandinavian name her parents liked, meaning “little swan.”)

Here’s an excerpt from my diary from that day: “This is VERY hard, waiting for news! It’s 9:40 as I write this, and still no word that our sweet baby Peachling has arrived. We’ve been on pins and needles all day. I took a walk this morning and got teary-eyed over by the church, when I walked by the little two-year-olds toddling around the playground. It seemed like an odd day, sort of a floating-in-air feeling with no real structure. I did some humdrum chores but couldn’t quite stay on track. Big, clear, cloudless deep blue sky and cooler temp—beautiful day! Will the Princess’s birthday be September 30 or October 1? We went through the motions of the day and finally got to suppertime and . . . still waited for the phone to ring. It’s now 9:50 pm. Oh, please come, Princess! We want to meet you so badly and send you hugs and kisses. ,[Almost two hours passed, then the grand conclusion of the day’s entry, written in red ink.] THE phone call came around 11:40! Carolyn Svana Turner was born at 11:11 pm—weighed 7 lbs. 15 oz. We’re full of joy! Will be hard to sleep tonight. Thank you, God, for this Precious Gift!"

Sweet Svana had a rocky start in life, and we spent a couple of very anxious weeks as her weight continued to drop. On October 14, 2009, they found a new pediatrician who took their concerns very seriously. By then Svana’s weight had gone from 7 lbs. 15 oz. to 6 lbs. 1 oz. The new doctor sprang into action with a set of clear directions to follow, and by the next day Little Swan was already up to 6 lbs. 6 oz.

Remembering those first two weeks, we look with awe today at our healthy 8-year-old granddaughter and praise God for blessing us with such a treasure. When she was a toddler, Svana said something that makes us smile every time we think of it—it tells so much about her naturally sunny personality. We were visiting them at the time, and Svana was eating her breakfast at the kitchen table. Jamie said to her, “Oh, Svana, you’re so sweet and so good and so smart and so pretty and . . .” At which point Svana broke in with “. . . and I HAPPY, TOO!”

Dearest Girl, you’ve already learned by now that life isn’t always full of happiness, but we celebrate this red-letter day with immeasurable joy—September 30, 2009—because it’s the day that you, Carolyn Svana Turner, entered our lives. How deeply grateful we are to be your Oompa and Ooma.

Selected Works

"As Turner weaves her tale with a wealth of vivid detail, she avoids both sentimentality and patness."
--Deb Richardson-Moore
The Greenville (SC) News, Dec. 31, 1995
"In a lifetime of reading, a handful of books stand out—this is one of them."
–Michelle Rapkin, Editor, Doubleday/Crossings Book Club
"This thoughtful, warmly humorous novel takes a fresh look at the age-old search for peace and joy in a troubled, temporal world."
--CBA Marketplace
September 1999
That February afternoon was equal parts joy and heartache, but it began a journey Elizabeth Landis would never forget.
"Besides the fact that he was a married man, it was clear as soon as he spoke that his mission was anything but romantic. 'Do you have a toilet plunger?' he asked."
“Genuine humor and well-crafted characters make this a memorable and inspiring novel.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"I love putting little pieces together to make something beautiful. In a sense I saw the structure of this book as a mosaic." --From an interview with the author
"You can't rush through Jamie's books any more than you can rush through life itself."
--Sheila Petre
Mercersburg (PA) Journal, July 9, 2014

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