After rallying against an illness to marry his wife, Michelle Vivian, earlier this month, Eugene Jemison is feeling better, and is back on his feet enjoying married life.
The couple married in a last-minute ceremony in the second floor foyer at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital after Jemison fell ill and was rushed to the emergency room the day before a planned celebration at a friend’s home.
Leaving the hospital two days after his nuptials, doctors advised Jemison not to travel, but he took his chances. The couple missed the first half of their honeymoon in Harlem, N.Y., but they recently returned from the second half, in Panama City, Fla., Jemison’s hometown. Being home was nostalgic for Jemison, but he said the city has changed, especially after Hurricane Michael in 2018.
“It was a lot of family and friends that were happy to see me back and to meet my wife,” he said.
Jemison came to the Island from South Florida to expand his cooking skills. Once he got here, he didn’t want to leave.
“I just fell in love with the place, the people. It’s unlike anywhere I’ve seen in the world. You feel a sense of family even with strangers sometimes,” he said. “Here, this is where I want to be.”
The Island is also special for Jemison because it’s where he met Vivian. Well, technically, it was on the ferry back to the Island.
“I was just coming from Walmart, and I just walked up and said, ‘Hey, it’s a nice day, huh.’ That was about three years ago. I said ‘it’s a nice day’ and here we are,” he said. “At 50, it’s the best move I could have made marrying this lady, Michelle.”
Jemison’s life also revolves around his son, Ethan, a student at the Tisbury School.
“That’s my little sunshine rising every morning,” Jemison said of his son. “Very bright little guy, very animated. He can tell you any place you want to go now, he can tell you how to get there and what bus to catch, and he usual pulls a map out of his back pocket to prove it.”
Having a stricter diet has been an important part of his recovery, a unique challenge for Jemison, who is a chef at Beach Road restaurant and is constantly sampling everything he makes.
“It’s all about changing my diet, my lifestyle, and not stressing so much,” Jemison said. “Things that you’re doing now are going to play out tomorrow.”
With a healthier lifestyle and a loving family, Jemison is feeling better, and focused on the road ahead.
“Married life is a good place to be when you have that partner standing there beside you,” Jemison said. “When I’m weak, she’s strong, and vice versa.”