Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Trying to Keep the Boogie Man Away

You don't want to be in my head right now, so let me share a few thoughts I try to keep running through it to keep me from thinking about what's really flying around in there! This one makes me smile -- a year ago today, we were in Paris!
Actually, a year ago today we were in Montmartre, with Peter Olson of Peter's Paris.
It was one of the most delightful days of our journey. Montmartre is a captivating place, steeped in history, the lore of its famous inhabitants and boasting a fabulous view of Paris.
Peter was a wonderful guide, taking us throughout this historic area, reminding us to look up and telling us stories about the area's famous and less famous residents.
What made it extra fun for both of us was that I knew I would enjoy Peter because I'd been reading his blog for a long while, but I was extra pleased that Rick and Peter hit it off, sharing a love of music, among other things.
Our lunch included champagne and was simply divine. A wonderful memory for this gloomy day here. (Oh, yes -- it rained there. But that was different. We were in Paris!)
April brings up some melancholy thoughts for me, because two people who were a big part of my life died in April. My mom died 36 years ago on April 21.
You'd think by now it would just be another day, and it becomes more normal over time. But still, her loss -- the idea that she isn't around now when I need her most, that she didn't get to know and love the things I know and love most -- sometimes takes me to a dark place.
I don't stay there as long as I used to, but it's still there.
April also marks another year since my good friend Patricia died. Patricia was a role model, confidante, one on that quest of life during the same time I was -- when our worlds were changing, we were finally growing up, women with decisions to make. Both of us mourned the loss of our mothers and we helped one another through tough times.
I love this picture of Patricia -- head high, smiling, and you can tell -- she was going to find her spot in the world and live it to the best of her ability. She remains a role model to this day. She was one of the bravest woman I've ever known, like my mom. I think of her often.

Another April moment happened during the recent Spartan Sports Journalism Classic, when I had the opportunity to finally meet former MSU basketball and NBA player Greg Kelser, who was part of the event panels.
Back in the late 1970s, MSU's basketball was at the top of its game (there was this kid named Earvin on the team -- we'd later know him as Magic). I was in grad school at the time and usually once a week my dad and I would go to the student Union for dinner. It was basically a cafeteria and apart from the brownies the food wasn't too hot, but dad loved it. He was at the time in his life where his health was beginning to fail but he was still pretty good, getting around. It was a few years after mom died and I'm not sure which of us most looked forward to those dinners.

The basketball team often came in after practice for dinner and of course you couldn't miss this group of tall guys. Often we were there before they arrived. But one time, we were in the food area at the same time. I don't know if Dad bumped into Greg Kelser or if it was the other way around, or if they just exchanged a moment. But greetings were spoken and dad was over the moon. From that moment on, Special K became our favorite player. To us, these kids were stars. We forgot they were just kids.

Well, I got to tell Greg Kelser that silly story. And he was such a nice guy. It really made my day.

So many years have passed and in that time I've had the opportunity to meet dozens of really famous people (mostly PBS types), sometimes sharing lunch or drinks with them, mostly in meet-and-greet lines or receptions. And they are very real -- they goof up, they make mistakes, they have families, there are things they are proud of and things they'd rather forget. They are real.

In my own little town, people come up to me all the time because they've seen me on TV. I'm used to it now, but it still always surprises me a little. But then I remember another Dad incident years ago at a local restaurant when he and I were having lunch. Our news anchor, Jane Aldrich, was eating there. Jane and I knew each other professionally, so it didn't surprise me when she stopped by and said hello. But Dad had never met her. And Jane was a star. Maybe bigger than Greg Kelser. (That's Jane with her husband Kip.)
That made his day, too -- and every time we watched the news together, I heard about it.
Jane and I have become genuine (not just work) friends in the years that followed. And one thing I know for sure -- she is as "real people" as real people get.

Which actually makes my day.


Barb said...

I'm reading your post at my son's house - already propped in bed after a day with the 4 children. So relaxing to meander through the years of happy memories and meet the special people in your life. Of course, I also like seeing your smile which makes me smile, too.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I cannot tell you how much this post touched me. First, the affable and famous Peter - I am so glad that you and your husband got to spend time with him in Paris, even in the rain, with Champagne... parfait!

I spent the weekend with my mom and did not know the significance of April 21 for you... So glad that you have those wonderful memories of your mom (and your dad).


Relyn Lawson said...

I love this! You know I do. And that top image? I want to steal it and make it my screen saver.

Linda said...

A year.......... it flies doesn't it!!! April is almost over.... hang in there.... you have so many good memories! What a blessed life you have! Great pics!!

Joanne Huffman said...

I love the place memories have in our minds. It's a gift from the cosmos that we can invite good memories in to fight the demons and comfort our sorrows. I hope your good memories continue to dance in your head.

Anonymous said...

I love that first pic of your mom and her pearls. Don't you love her hairstyle.

These were wonderful and warm stories. We never forget our parents. I think of my mother more now than I did years ago. Funny really. Especially this past year.

I know you enjoyed that trip. How nice to have a personal guide.

Jeanie said...

I am glad you you have such beautiful thoughts to take your mind to when thoughts of loss threaten your mind. I know some of what you mom died when I was 18 and my life-long best friend died about 10 years ago. There are so many things I miss being able to share with both of them.

~*~Patty S said...

This life is all about ups and downs isn't it Jeanie...

my heart goes out to you on the losses in your life and I totally understand that no matter how far we think we've traveled down roads of healing birthdays and anniversaries of loved ones who have passed over are harder than every other day without them here to hug ...
the only thing that the passage of time has done for me is to help teach me how to go on...

My wish for you is that you will continue to enjoy your rich and colorful life and be comforted by sweet memories of special people gone too soon...

(((sending healing hugs of comfort your way))) dear Jeanie

shoreacres said...

What a wonderful post. I'm especially fond of the photo from the cemetery, with the cat huddled away from the rain. It's a good reminder that even in the midst of sorrow, there's always someone to offer comfort - even if it's "only" Gypsy or Dixie or, now, Lizzie.

Isn't it wonderful to remember those special times in life, and the special people? It's always seemed to me that's a kind of affirmation, too. Even if we know we'll never go "there" again or have that special person with us, our past experiences and relationships still stand as a kind of promise. "You had it in the past," they say, "and it will be yours again in the future." That's what I like to think, anyhow!

Annie said...

April showers leads to May flowers. Wishing you a happier May. It's almost here.

Peter Olson said...

I thought I already commented, but...What an honour to appear on this post! Yes, there are moments in life that you remember and one of them, also for me, was meeting real people, like you and Rick!,

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow, that is crazy that you were in Paris a year ago. It doesn't seem like a year could have passed since then, but at the same time, so much has happened since then so I guess it does make sense that it's been a year. I can see why the anniversary of those losses make for a heavy heart during this month... They were such special people, it is too bad they were taken from your life prematurely.

That is cool that you have gotten to meet some famous people along the way - and it is always awesome to hear that these famous people are also wonderful people outside of the spotlight!

Jenny Woolf said...

A bittersweet post, and I do feel for you. Anniversaries don't mean much to me, I am glad to say, but I can share your pain at the loss of dear ones. Your mother looks sweet and your friend looked beautiful and fun.
I am glad you have some good memories of Paris to sustain you. I was once on the steps outside the big church looking down and the sun was shining right at me, and on the steps about half way down were a young couple gazing into each ohters' eyes, so much of a "typical Paris" scene as to be almost a cliche - and yet it was real. I hope you'll soon be travelling to some good places to lay down more good memories.

Marilyn said...

I am so glad you have "real people" to make your day in your life. I can see a bit of your mother in your face. I think March is bitter sweet for me with my birthday, but also when my mother died.

Tracy said...

Many thanks for sharing this walk down memory lane with you, Jeanie... This touches the heart in so many big ways. :O) Happy Weekend ((LOVE & HUGS))

Luna und Luzie said...

Thank you for sharing your photos and your thoughts.

Your mom was so beautiful !
I feel with you, my mom died in Sept.2011 and I still miss her....

Oh when I see the pictures of Paris I think I live in Europe and was never in Paris...why not?

♥ Have a wonderful weekend!

shooting star said...

Its always so much fun to meet bloggers behind the awesome blogs and then know that we have so much common..i have made some great friends via blogging too!!

parents are our biggest strength ..miss my dad a lot, and ur post just again brought back the memories!!

Friko said...

Shen things go wrong it helps to remember. Still, I do hope that your head will become a nicer place of residence soon.

You and your mum look very similar to each other, both attractive and kind. Hang in there, Jeanie, all things must pass.

Introverted Art said...

oh Jeanie, I hope your heart gets filled with love...

Anonymous said...

Jeanie, has it been a year already? How time flies! Yes, I'm sure your Paris visit would remain precious memories. I've enjoyed your whole post of course, some moving moments. But the one thought that you've left me with is this: We all treasure real people. Those of us who are on this side of the TV or movie screen often believe it's harder in the entertainment world. I'm sure it's true too, to some extent. But I'm sure also that there are many real people out there, more than I could ever know. Thanks for confirming this.

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

What a heartfelt and beautiful post Jeanie.. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.. We have our memories, that, no one can take away..

Thank you so much for taking time out to come over and meet little Fleur and your kind words.
I am so happy you enjoyed viewing her.

Jennifer Richardson said...

big love to you in all of your
loss and longing, Jeanie;
your mom was beautiful;
I see her in you.
I've been missing four friends
I lost way to early, too,
and feeling the holes they left behind.
It does help me remember to cherish
(wrote about that today)
but the ache remains.
sending a tender hug across the miles,

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Good morning Jeanie,
Sending you healing thoughts.

Thank you so much for visiting and leaving such kind words.. So happy you enjoyed viewing Gus, and you enjoyed the in progress photo.. I thought maybe friends would enjoy that..
Keeping you in my prayers,

Parisbreakfasts said...

Not to worry Jeanie,
I was just blathering on
What fun posts you have.
I hope you feel better soon.

Parisbreakfasts said...

PS what a wonderful kittie!

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