Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jacki ~ 1929 - 2010

On May 1st...on the very cusp of the season of flowers that she so loved, Jackie, my foster mother and surrogate mother to too many teens to mention died. I recall in the 70's trying to tell her one time at a county fair - with two toddlers in tow of my own - how much her rescue meant to me. As I recall, I wasn't as articulate as I wanted to be, weighted as I was in the awareness that I did little but lie, cheat, steal things and bring grief to her and her family in my tenure as her charge. She took more of it than anyone else could or would and I'll never forget that about her; her strength. My own children, born to me when I was still a child myself, survived at times simply on what I could remember to do by Jackie's example as I witnessed her nurturing her youngest, Jon. I like to think she warmed to me a bit that day at the fair. Possibly not but that does nothing to dilute how I feel about her attempts at helping me and my respect for the largess of her heart.

These are the things that I remember about Jackie. I recall that she loved the song "Scarlett Ribbons" and loathed the word "precious"; she called her hair "horse feathers" and laughed like a sailor...I remember her leaning into the radio in the car while the Mamas and the Papas crooned "California Dreamin'" instructing me to "Listen to that! Listen to that! Do you hear that? That is a BAD, BAD recording! They flattened the sound!" At which point she would stare out into a space somewhere beyond the wind shield listening; her head swaying in disappointment over the travesty of poor production values. Maybe hearing it like it was supposed to be heard. I yearned to be able to hear the music the way she heard it; understanding all the nuances of harmonics and tone.

And then there is the stuff of local legend: that all of her children were intellectually and musically gifted, hip and talented...she was (one of, or perhaps) the first woman to become a Barbershop quartet leader with the Barbershop Harmony Society by letting the male dominant organization assume "Jacki" was a man's name so she didn't have to be relegated to the Sweet Adeline's, which she was NOT interested in at the time, thank you very much. And, of course, one can ever forget all of that spaghetti she fed us, if you lived to be one hundred, you could never forget that much spaghetti...

I went to see Krista Detor tonight and when I was listening to the videos on her website prior to seeing her, I found the following. It so galvanized those years as I remember Jackie and the events of that time that I feel compelled to share it. They were the best of times and they were the worst of times because there was to much life to be seized; so much lift in our hearts.

Thank you, Jackie, for the rescue, of course...and making it a musical.


sedonamoonshadow said...

Very Beautiful...There is no words needed. I like to think she is riding on the wings of an Angel with her sons.

saveus said...

Good god I hope she didn't find out about that movie "Precious". And now she can have a talk with the recording crew for the Mamas and Papazzz. Isn't it great that of all the people you (or your angels) found her? Wonderful. Maggie

Tstull said...

Hey Cile,
Thanks so much for putting your feelings about mom into words. If you don't mind I will include some of it with my own at her service. Thanks for conforming something that for these 23 years my wife has not believed: that the only real crime in our house was singing flat! That would get you banned from the dinner table and ridiculed every time. Lots of love,


cile said...

Use anything you want, Tim. I 'd be honored. Love to you.