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Seamstress envisions future in God 's plan

Daisy Harris hasn't always lived a righteous life.

Only God knows that any better she does.

For nearly 20 years, she allowed her life to be consumed by beer, wine and liquor, while trying to raise two children alone and to keep a dirty secret. She says she was forced to turn to a lifestyle of prostitution in an attempt to house, feed and clothe her children.

Despite the pitfalls that have occurred in her life since she grew up in Thomson, Miss Harris, who is nearly 63 now, is a born-again Christian and evangelist.

Being born-again back in 1987 has given her a brand new lease on life.

"I'm a living witness to what Jesus Christ can do," said Miss Harris, now living in North Augusta, S.C., but who still comes to Thomson to visit with friends as often as she can. "I was a person whose life was out of control until Jesus Christ put me back on course."

When she was just 8 and living on Dora Street, a Thomson street named after her mother, the late Dora Harris, Miss Harris said she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by two family members.

"I couldn't say anything back then, because if I did I'd get beat," said a teary-eyed Miss Harris, who never married. "As a little girl, I just had to endure it and keep quite about it."

She never told anyone outside of her family until recently.

"I felt like I had to keep it a big secret," said Miss Harris.

For many years she did.

The secret that had followed her since childhood recently was shared with two of her former teachers while on a visit to the Wal-Mart in Thomson. The couple was Mr. and Mrs. George Drake, longtime teachers of Miss Harris when she attended R.L. Norris High School in Thomson.

"I always wanted to tell them about what had happened to me when I was a little girl, but I was too afraid," said Miss Harris. "I feel like God led me there that day. I really do. He lifted that burden off me."

Today, she firmly believes that traumatic experience may have led her to become an alcoholic.

"My mother hated it that I became an alcoholic," said Miss Harris. "I tried to keep her from knowing about my bad habit. And it worked for a long time, because I was living in Washington, D.C., at the time."

Miss Harris said it would have hurt her mother so badly, because her mother never drank alcoholic beverages and knew the importance of having a personal relationship with God.

"My mother was the epitome of a lady," said Miss Harris. "She went to church and did all the right things. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up."

The elder Mrs. Harris sewed for people in and around Thomson and became good friends with many of them.

"They thought so much of her, they named a street after her," said Miss Harris with a big smile on her face. "It still makes me feel real good inside every time I see that sign with her name on it."

Miss Harris said it was her mother who taught her how to sew when she was a girl growing up, off Washington Road in McDuffie County.

"My mama knew how to sew so well," she recalled with a big smile.

Miss Harris is convinced that is why she owns a sewing business today. The business is known as Perfect Fit Alterations and Tailoring, located in North Augusta, S.C.

"Without me allowing God to come into my life, none of this would be possible, today," said Miss Harris. "It's truly amazing what God has done for me in my life."

She said God can do the same thing for others who are living sinful lives, too.

"God is our Savior," said Miss Harris. "We must remember that he has a plan in each one of our lives. All we have to do is turn over our lives to him and trust him. I'm a living example for what he can do."

Miss Harris remembers all too well the lifestyle she once lived and vows never to return.

"I was so bound up in my own hell," she said. "I couldn't focus on anything else. I wouldn't have wished that life on anybody."

While living in Washington, Miss Harris attended beautician school, putting in 1,400 hours in the classroom. She quickly learned that such a life wasn't for her.

"I never really wanted to be a beautician," she said. "I wanted to get into the world of fashion. I wanted to be a seamstress. And I've loved it ever since."

Miss Harris was a teenager when she learned to sew.

"I was already making my own clothes," she explained. "It's something I've always enjoyed doing and will for the rest of my life."

When she's not working in her shop, Miss Harris is serving the Lord.

"I've been his child since he helped me stop drinking on Jan. 12, 1986," said Miss Harris. "I ain't had a drop of beer or liquor since Jesus took all that mess away from me."

Web posted on Thursday, September 03, 2009

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