Joy Black was probably born with a stubby pencil in her hand, scribbling about her birthing experience as she came into this world. Black, of Charlotte, has a passion for writing, and always has. She started writing imaginatively when she was ten, she said.
You’ve probably seen her articles in most of the local newspapers over the years, including The County Journal, and formerly for the old Charlotte Republican Tribune. Her pen never sleeps, it seems. She often includes her love for history by writing stories about Eaton County’s past.
Black is a member of the Royston family. Her great-great-great grandfather was Eli Royston (1806-1870); her great-great-grandfather was Cornelius (1846-1914), her great-grandfather was Samuel Royston (1871-1956); and her grandfather was Claude Royston (1892-1991). Eli Royston was the one who came from New York in 1847 and bought the farm at 335 N. Royston Road from Orin Lucas. Claude was the one who lived there with his wife, Johanna, when it was officially declared a Centennial Farm in 1963 by the Michigan Historical Commission. However, the farm is no longer in the Royston family.
“I grew up on Royston Road. The whole family lived on Royston Road,” Black explained. They all attended the Royston School, a one-room schoolhouse for kindergarten through eighth grade. She has four brothers, and they still remain close.
Black graduated from Charlotte High School in 1963 and attended Michigan State University where she studied to be an English and social studies teacher but did not finish her degree.
She went to high school with a nice young man named Raymond but didn’t really know him. Years later, while working at Don’s Truck Stop, they got to know each other and married in 1968. They were the first couple to be married in the new First Baptist Church. Raymond was a Deputy Sheriff at the time. They raised their two children, a son and a daughter, in Charlotte. They now are the grandparents of five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
At age 40, Black decided to go back to college to finish her degree. She loved working with little kids, she explained, and really wanted to be a teacher. She attended Olivet College and completed her teaching degree. She loved her classes at Olivet, although initially she was concerned about reading her own poetry in class in front of these young students. Would they laugh at her? They didn’t, she said. “Olivet was thrilled to have me!”
She received her teaching certificate and did substitute teaching for 30 years. She also taught adult education for eight years. While she was attending college, she discovered she had breast cancer.
“At that point, I decided whatever I wanted to do–I was going to do,” Black said.
She is currently working on a book. It’s the coming-of-age story of a girl in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which some say sounds a lot like her. She also knits and does various crafts. Being an avid reader, she has found a way to get paid to read–she reads books for Guidepost Books and writes reviews and reactions to the books.
Black serves on the Eaton County Historical Commission, the Charlotte Friends of the Library, and has belonged to the Friends Church for 50 years.
Black offers advice for a young couple about to get married: “Make sure you love this person enough to be with them, and only them, for a whole year. Being in quarantine together is a real test of a marriage. We have a big house—and we’re still married!” Black said.