Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dear Jesse,

Just thinking of you, on this equinox; missing the chance to walk into the reading room of schauffler to find you with your head bent over a book by Voltaire, or to chase leaves with you on the way to tea... At least I can still tell you about my peppermint plant named Annie, and the headdress of yellow beech leaves I made today. I know you can't reply, but I feel somehow you are listening.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jesse's Unveiling


These from the intimate and heartfelt gathering commemorating the unveiling of Jesse's memorial stone. For those of you there and those there in spirit...


A poem of Jesse's, a stanza of which is inscribed on the back of the stone...



The Architecture


Lines around space
but in it.

I am confronted by
the simplistic organization.

Ordered picture frames of
nows and thens, heres and theres,

Is our universe
organized in this moment?
with insides and outs?

Or only the instant when
the frame opens.

And the maple leaf floats inside
resting delicately as if to say,

This frame is not broken.
The picture is just now complete.

JJL 2005


I wrote and read this for Jesse on this sad, sad day of laying one part of this journey to rest; as the rest of the journey continues. ~Lisa

The Architect

Jesse came into our lives on a crisp and blazing October day. He was radiant and comfortable in his little body: a true Vermont child. I was enchanted from the first instant I looked into his deep eyes. He would always awaken with a sweet smile, his neck arching back and to the side in a slow feline stretch; a gesture he never lost.

Of course I already knew him. At some time in the late summer I had taken to seeing him in every shooting star above. I don’t speak metaphorically here. Ed and I slept under a skylight and I literally saw shooting stars as I was carrying him into late term…settling into the dream-awakening reality of welcoming this strange new being, turning and tapping inside of me. I heard his echoing voice in the stars. I hear him now.

You all knew / know Jesse. I don’t have to say much by way of expanding your knowledge. But I have thought of how I would convey the preciousness of Jesse to some new inquiry.

“Tell me about your son”…

Well. He was not a child of this time in many ways. Or perhaps more correctly, Jesse was a person, from a very young age, who lived just a little bit outside of time. I like to say a nineteenth century man, grown up from a Renaissance child… but I’m not sure anymore of the specific histories of his imagination and bearing.

He just came in with a broader brush than most, with a wiser heart, and caring concern for the aesthetics of refinement. Jesse never wore a pair of jeans, even on his toddler legs. When he discovered button down shirts, he never donned another sweatshirt. He wore a tie even on the hottest days of summer. And he had a trunk of costumes in velvet and brocade, tunics and capes that he dressed up in as part of his play – well beyond when most kids go there. He loved the sensuality of these exotic garments against his body and the freedom of characterizations that he could explore while traipsing with his courtly, or maybe troubadour airs.

But these were the trappings really, just the surface dressings, of a mind that loved to look backward in history for the mappings of internal order and quiet composition. Jesse spent hours looking at pictures of the world that we came from. As if he were seeking a personal trail back through time. As if he knew that his life would not belong here for long.

I also would mention his compassion and inherent empathy. I don’t ever remember his personal ire rising at anyone. Well, there was that one young man who charmed away two consecutive girlfriends, and those cops in New Jersey once… But more than most, his whole life, Jesse willingly, even automatically, (but never haphazardly), stepped into the perspectives of those around him – melding and mending the world from his large heart. He let me be me completely. That seems like such a small thing, but think about it. He allowed all of us to be perfectly who we are.

And one more encapsulation… born from this, and the core compass of an irregular and spirited being. Jesse allowed Jesse to be perfectly who he was. His self-possession was astounding to me. From the first, he lived into his unfolding with one part surety, one part self-humor, very rare glimmers of self-angst, and a boatload of flair and wit. He might have been too sure of his intellect at times in his coming of age, but he was formed by humility at others, and he never needed anyone to show him how to be Jesse. That is rare.

In the end, his courage was rare as well. I don’t know how he found that courage. There was even extra for me. I know he wanted to live so very much into his independent, adult life. I know he wanted friends and a wife and children, a life of focused challenge and beauty all around him. I’m so sorry not to have seen that. But his body crumbled outside of the range of being, and he fearlessly left to encounter all the realms of consciousness that he gallivants in now. He is always expanding, always beside us, always Jesse. I can’t go on without him – without this compass bearing.

And I could not have survived this unbearable loss without him either.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

for those who grieve


"...I realized something then, which is
that you can love beyond space and time
and that when you love beyond...
you enter into a world where everything opens
onto
beauty
and
glory."

from a Feather in Your Heart
Andrew Harvey
~

something...

something about summer's ending
something about seeing Lisa at the pond
without him
something about knowing
the headstone
is coming
resurrects
the great loss
of this fair-haired boy
~

Friday, May 22, 2009

Commencement

In two days I will graduate from Northfield Mount Hermon school, after 4 years, 3 of which I attended with Jesse. My last semester here, which began with losing Jesse, is now over, and I'll no longer be a part of this place where I got to know him. Almost exactly a year ago, he walked the stage in his cap and gown, and got his diploma, just as thousands have done before him, and I and thousands more will do. I always assumed that he would be at my graduation, because one expects their dear friends and family members to be there. Jesse was a part of my NMH family, and although it isn't true, it feels like I'm severing one more tie to him. Even after an entire semester, I haven't been able to come to grips with the fact that Jesse is gone. It just seems oppressively unfortunate that he is always going to be somewhere other than me. As I say goodbye to people who I spent so long with in school, and who I may never see again, it reminds me of this- unbearably sad that we are all going to scatter and live and be in places other than NMH. I miss Jesse terribly still, and I don't expect it will ever get easier, only more and more familiar.
Best wishes to all,
Ruth Shafer

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Relay

Hello all.

Ed asked us to do things to help fund cancer research. I have joined a Relay for Life team in Middlebury and we are attempting to raise $24,00 in one day, which means we each need to raise $50 by tonight.
. . .
My Relay Web Page

{Edit:] Thank you to all who contributed. The relay went well. We raised well over $100,000 dollars for the American Cancer Society.

Many blessings,
Emily Jacke

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I wanted to write a story from my life to submit to an upcoming Chicken Soup book on miracles, and this is what came.  Lisa asked me to share it here as she returns to this site often to read all of our words...


the Sea of Miracles
for Jesse and Susannah

by Kelly Salasin

"And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles." Walt Whitman


I want to write about miracles, but I don’t know how. There must be an outstanding event from my blessed life to retell, but no single moment splashes up for attention. Has my life been without the miraculous? Indeed, no. It has been so flooded with miracles that I cannot distinguish a single one... until I take what comes, and oddly, this is it:

This past winter, a young friend of ours died of Leukemia. His name was Jesse and he was 19 years old. My family and I rode out the month of December with him in prayers and rituals and tears.

Tucked under our Christmas tree this year was a book entitled, The Way WE Work. Driven to comprehend blood and bone marrow as Jesse’s deteriorated, our bedtime reading ritual was heightened. We delved into a greater understanding of this amazing human body, and I was struck- STRUCK- by how absolutely miraculous our bodies are. In comparison, the miracle of Jesse's recovery seemed a simple request.

When we got word, just after the holiday, that "Jesse wasn’t going to make it", I wondered about prayers. So many had been sent from so far that I didn’t understand how they could be left unanswered. Were they gathered there outside the hospital doors, unable to get in? Did the Critical Care Unit refuse them? Did God or Jesse have some other unimaginable plans?

My son Aidan, age 8, couldn’t bear the news and ran up to his room sobbing. We all joined him on his bed in silence until he lifted his head from his pillow and demanded, "How can they be sure Jesse's going to die?!"

In the face of all of our bright hopes, it was heartbreaking thing to answer. "Death is like a birth," I began, tentatively. "There are signs that a baby is coming and there are signs that a body is ending. No one can be certain of the exact time, but they know when it is imminent."

Through all of our tears, I whispered again that death and birth were- both- truly miraculous; and though immeasurably painful, it was also quite beautiful that Jesse’s mother and father would be with him when he left this world as they were when they welcomed him into it.

As is the Jewish custom, friends and family sit with the body after death until the time of burial. At a hour when we would typically be heading up to bed, my family walked outside into the hushed snow and drove twenty minutes to town. We arrived at the funeral home just before 9:00 under a bright full moon and took our place beside the pine box that held Jesse’s body. We brought Rumi and lullabies and sat in sacred silence before turning over Jesse’s care to his grandmother and aunts.

It was a magical night, holy, like Christmas Eve, perched as it was on the threshold of life and death. The next bitterly cold afternoon, we stood atop a mountain and buried the beautiful box with Jesse under the earth. Shovel upon shovel upon fistful and tears. Aidan snuck a clump of dirt from the pile and brought it home with him through the deep snow. We lit the yellow candles we had burned for Jesse each night since the New Year; and this time, we let them burn out.

Emptied in our grief, we did not find the one shining miracle we had wanted; that one defining moment that could shape a story so spectacularly such as this for you. It’s the story I had imagined retelling... the one where Jesse recovers and goes off to college like he dreamed. Because of prayers. Because of a miracle.

Who knows how miracles work... when they come and when they don't! Isn't it the job of a miracle to fit our expectations?! Aren't miracles measured by specific outcomes, or is it by something else... by their effect, maybe?

If the latter is the truest account, than Jesse’s life and Jesse’s death were one and the same- miraculous.

As I type these words this morning, snow falls and falls and falls upon soft spring roads. Pondering life through my tears, I don't know where to end this unlikely tale of miracles. Until the phone rings.

It is my sister, three thousand miles away, announcing the birth of her daughter, Susannah.

Another miracle splashes into my life...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

hey* i love you.
travel well darling boy.

may you be filled with love and kindness,
may you be well,
may you be peaceful and at ease.

may you take care of all of us, who are still struggling.

* exhalation.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Helping Others

This is from Jesse's Dad.For those of you interested there are of course many ways to help medical research to find treatments and cures for leukimia.Try to find ways to help others so that the good things that Jesse would have done can be still done by those who cherish his memory. Here is one link that is maybe a way to help others:
http://cancerfriends.dartmouth.edu/index.html

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

J. Julius:

We are One. Your passing into the simplicity of everything has shown me this. We have always dwelt within each other, and so none of us are ever truly apart.


With love,
Emily Jacke
NMH '08

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

“Who is the you in YOU?”



Well it may be too soon, or not soon enough.

I feel compelled to send a short missive here to the light of my life. Jesse! How could I know you? How could I even begin to believe that you would not accompany me to the end of my days? What a sure, pure assumption that you would be there at my passing some forty years hence. My own death witnessed by your child's heart, instead of this awful reversal of the normative. That you would mark my life from a pure, real place of knowing me as your mother... simply offered for the repayment of shepherding you through. How could I see this coming?

As mother, as friend, as abiding coequal through your days and into the full realization of the “You in you”. I began to ask this question recently so you might also ask and come to some place of deep peace. While you battled.

“Who is the you in YOU?”

In a perfect world we have untold years and generous experiences to arrive here. Through youth, arrival at identity, rebellion and formed community, (though yours was always polite and intrinsically born of self-respect and therefore respect for others), structured scholasticism, inquiry, career, family, spiritual evolution, wisdom and a timely death – all the markers on the road map of life. Yet yours was truncated in your short, blazing shot at the stars! Ninety years wrapped up into twenty.

“Who is the you in YOU?”

I feel now like I was always a mystified observer and you came in knowing the answer to the question above. You are teaching me now. In the painful days culminating in your passing, I am now sure that you came in an old soul, because your prior arrangements somehow arrived at the basis that your long life would be condensed into this short, elegant, self-realized burst of flame and adamancy. YOUR LIFE. No doubt. No question. No boundaries. No negotiating truth for the long drawn breath of mendacity. You really came here to live and let THOUGHT be. You really showed up my boy!

“You are the you in YOU!”

So while I feel gypped now, and in my own spiritual emergency as to how I’ll carry you deep in my cells, forward, alight on my shoulder as guardian of my mindfulness – I am arriving at a certain peace. Slowly. This highly polished mirror of the effect of you on our shared community will fade to a feathering. Naturally so. Who will be there to witness you thirty years hence? How will I live my own truth without you by then? And yet no regrets. We did a perfect mother and child reunion. I have loved you more than life and been profoundly repaid by life. There is nothing amiss here. YOU conspired to inspire, and you are melded within me. The you in YOU is not a (?).

I was there at your passing and I can attest that you arrived.

Deepest peace Jesse. Look kindly on my travels...

Love beyond love,

Mum

A snapshot of Jesse Lopata

A snapshot of Jesse Lopata from someone who did not know him well but was always impressed by him and had wonderful conversations with him on multiple occasions over several years. ~ Richard Epstein

As read at the celebration of his life 1/10/09 at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center


(and amended 1/14/09):


Unconventional Dresser

Unconventionally Handsome

Curious

Attentive

Abstinent in Generational Prejudice

Unpretentiously Polite

Picture Perfect Posture
This is a letter Jesse wrote for me in late October on his beloved typewriter. I have transcribed it here absolute verbatim, with all of his (intentional) typos. His wit, articulation, loveliness and grace shine through, and I thought that perhaps it would be appreciated by all of us who miss our dear Jesse. It makes me smile every time I read it.

Dear Kiah, 28 October, 2008
I think you should know that usually I do not compose messages directly on my new typewriter, but rather compose first and transcribe later so as to create a more perfect document. You, however, have already reached perfection on so many planes. I began to worry that this letter might arrive by air-mail, and in doing so bore you, for then it would only be more perfection on another plane. So there may be occasional XXXXXXXX capitol X's just like these and perhapsI willmiss the occasional spacesor add them withvimmer and verve. However, I may also just write things like howererh which only adds a bit of breathyness. Do n't you think? You should also know that your letter has jumped ahead in the queue. Some would call this cheating.
Emily and I have received your card. Did I ever tell you about the waspy, blond, aristocratic boy named, of all things, Cassius Clay? He was a remotely interesting person, but mostly just for that reason: I am wondering now, why boxing no longer seems to be as important in our culture.
My mind is wandering. I suppose this in inevitable, as I have recently ingested a delicious cookie XXXXXX from, of all places, your current location, CALIFORNIA. As you may be able to expect, it was a very special cookie.
This weekend I went down to the city to visit several friends. I went to a concert inwhich one of the pieces was entitled "Dix Minutes du Cent Metronomes". This was, I assure you, a literal description of the piece as well as it's title. 100 Old Fashioned metronomes randomly ticking away in a square of light on the stage for 10 minutes. In the lingo of classical music that would be referred to as minimalism.
It snowed again here today, but nothing stuck. BY the time you get this letter Halloween will have come and gone. So I can in all fairness ask you how your Halloween was. What did you do to fete the spirits? (Ice cream break.) Yum, coffee heath bar crunch my favorite. Are there Ben and Jerry's stores out there? I always used to get a kick out of seeing them while traveling abroad.
My mother will be going out to the bay area in March, and if I can convince her to buy me a plane ticket I'll be excited to come visit you. Regardless, I'll be seeing you in person way before that. We should have a crazy Hanukristmakwanzaka dinner when you come back. Either that or New Years, if you will be home that long.
The tone of the light outside my XXX window has changed now from autumn to winter light. Bizarre that it will be November in only a few short days. I'm starting to find it easier to let my days flow without feeling guilt about a lack of accomplishment. I've concluded that if I can read even half the books on my list for this year it will be far from wasted time. I'm on to Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist..." right now. Though much of the Irish historical references are obtuse, the sensory based stream-of-consciousness descriptions of childhood are perhaps even better than Proust's. Than again, this comparisonXX may be rather unfair for I have only read the frenchman in translation.
I just noticed that the last copyright date on my new typewriter is 1923. That makes this beast rather old wouldn't you say? IN fact, I'm rather amazed she's still working as well as she is. I guess they just don't make em like they used to.
Alright, off to run errands now. Emily and I are making French Onion soup for dinner tonight. There are a few aspects of the turning of the seasons that I prefer to the excuse to eat hearty food again.
Write again soon. In my next letter I'll try to get some pix of the apartment.
Love,
--J. Julius Lopata

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Swans

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dear Jesse,

I took a walk this morning with Lilly, out along the canal. Looking out over the sparkling water between banks of snow we saw a flock of dapper ducks skimming the current, and then, rising beyond the curve of the road and the grey guardrails, the elegant, white necks of swans.
We stood and watched as they moved in and out of the places where the sunlight made the water yellow and white, arched and twisted their long necks, preened, snapped and snorted, all the while softly rustling the water.

Twenty four swans and canadian geese and green-collared mallards.

And I thought of you, floating on water, rearranging your appearance, making little sounds to tell us, "I am with you. Let us look at the world, now, in the sunlight, amidst the snow. I am in you and outside you and around and through everything, everyone, every moment. Let us look for each other in the world, in the sunlight, amidst the snow. Let us love the cold crackling noises of feet and the warmth of company and the cold fog of breath on the air. Let us live in a new world, where there are swans in January: great, paddling white birds with wings, amidst mountains of powdery snow, floating on water between the high banks where you stand."

Emily Jacke

Dear Jesse and or God,

What were you guys thinking?!

ks

Jesse at NEYT

Performing for the New England Youth Theater








Photos by Debbie Lazar and Laura Bliss

With all the love of the folks at NEYT who have been holding Jesse in spirit through his final days and are mourning his loss now along with so many others,
Laura Bliss

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"It is such a secret place, the land of tears." 
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, 
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for 
that which has been your delight."
~Kahlil Gibran

"To weep is to make less the depth of grief."  
~William Shakespeare, King Henry the Sixth

"What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul."  
~Jewish Proverb


ks

When Great Trees Fall

When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou
When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.
M.I.A.
I know that prayer works, that energy heals
but where did ours go for Jesse?
Did it stop at the hospital's automatic doors,
too confused to get in?
Was it denied entrance at the ICU?
Couldn't it push that big square button?
Or was it all those machines and tubes
which jumbled its intended action?
And if it didn't miss its mark,
if all those thousand voices,
that huge swirl of multi-continent love 
found its way to sweet Jesse,
what did he do with it?
Who decides?
I didn't.

kelly salasin, marlboro

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gratitude

Dearest J. Julius,

I'm glad we got to know each other as adults. That sounds strange - let me rephrase it. I'm glad we got to know each other at age 19, me in my octopus T-shirt, you in your 12-piece suit, sitting together in your living room on camelbone chairs and sipping precisely the moment called for, both of us happy and young and full of love. I'm so grateful that we could share time in October when we were both doing so well; I'll always have splendid memories from that trip - you blanching endive and kale while I tuned the harpsichord in your kitchen, spending the night with Wolfgang Amadeus, your 5-foot stuffed owl, meeting your families and driving through your hometown in the glory of a late October afternoon, you pointing out the people and places that you loved, that love you still.

The last time we spoke, we had been planning to spend New Year's together. I'm sorry I ran off to California on you - I guess you ran off on us, too. The whole time this terrible thing has been happening, I've been wandering through mountains, on trains, living in cabins in distant places, unable to contact and connect with the people I love, especially you - and I suppose you were in a similar place, lost up in some distant mountain range or vast ocean, trying so hard to reach out but finding only open air and no words. I hope you could feel our love, that you still do. Like Ruth said earlier, I hope more than anything that you'll find at least one envelope not foiled by tea stains, hidden somewhere in your waistcoat with stamps and paper and pen and all - and you do, in your own way. It's true that you're gone, but you'll always be speaking through my words, moving with each of my steps, bringing people together the way you always have done with magic and grace. There is so much left here on earth that will always remind me of you, from Mozart to Lady Grey tea to our French Canadian grandmothers' meat pie. The world lost so much when you left. I am so sorry, friend.

I visited you a few days after someone had been killed in a car accident right by your house, and I remember holding your hand as we crossed the street, grasping tightly for fear of losing one another on that little Brattleboro road. I've been holding your hand close to my heart ever since, and it's hard to believe that I could ever let you go. You taught me all I know about being a gentleman, and the love and friendship that you shared so freely with those you encountered will never, ever be forgotten. I love you, Julius. Be well, and until we meet again, I remain

Forever yours,

San

A letter in many phases.

Here us the letter I wrote to you, and that Naomi read to you on Monday Night. I guess that you opened your eyes for a moment that night.

 

Dear, Sweet Jesse.

You are and will always be a soft presence. Loving, loved beloved and glowing. Your place in my families' life has been that of my own siblings. If it could help I would cover you in prayer flags, sweet songs and loving gazes. And I suppose that would help for a spell, and I hear that that is finally all the help you are getting right now. Pure, genuine and affectionate help. The help that allows your family members and friends into your room, the help that allows you to just be - scheduless and impartial to lunch or to dinner. I am so thankful for your part  in my life thus far. Your time has been so valued, so fashionably antiquated in your dapper way. So festooned in hats and laughter. I guess that it is now time to give yourself to love and to all that that entails. And we too must give our selves to love as well. I love you so and endlessly. So from this beginning starts the end and visa versa. Be well dear friend. Know that you are loved and do, lend us you patience and joy, as we shall need it throughout this next bit.

love,

Mim

 

I remember you at the Brattleboro Farmer’s Market when we were kids. You were helping Francoise sell bread. Years later I came to know as the constant visitor in our house, a friend of my sister’s and mine then our parents too. You will remain in  my mind well-attired, not in your fancy suits, but in Naomi’s pajamas. A fourth sister as it were. You and us, snuggled in and nestled down. That next morning was the last time I saw you. You ate countless eggs and pancakes, laughing over your medical-induced hunger.

 

Not being able to see you at the hospital was awful. I guess that prompted those little prayer flags. It hurts me to think about your passing, and how your parents and Harry and Naomi and those other people who were endlessly at the hospital must feel too. I’m with great people here, at a place I always assumed you’d get a chance to visit with Naomi and Ruth – perhaps over a summer. I am reminded of you so frequently dear one.

 

If I was bolder I would sing this song to you tomorrow or on Saturday, but despite everything I am not. So, here are some lines from it.

 

            “But to leave here in friendship, it cannot be wrong.

            For the silence of parting is but a rest in our song.”

Be well dear friend. You are surrounded in love and remembered with joy.

Love,

Mim

 

a letter, January 5th, 2009

I wrote this after finding out that Jesse wouldn't make the rest of the week. I imagined that he was going far away, because I can't imagine him simply being gone. 

Dear Jesse-
I wonder what you're thinking about now. I imagine your death as a great adventure. I hate this waiting and not knowing. I imagine that you are going to a hot, tropical place, to Live the rest of your days in a white canvas tent, wearing khakis and white button-up shirts with the sleeves rolled up, and a straw hat, writing your observations and sometimes poetry and sometimes sketching insects or plants or the island you have stolen away to. I imagine you reading by the yellow light of a kerosene lamp, sweating from the humidity. Reading a leather bound book, maybe, or a letter. Suddenly, we are adults, and the letter is from me, telling you about the funny people I work with, and my beautiful new cousin or niece or nephew, or even a child of my own. you are something like Darwin, conducting your observations. I imagine that you can't write back because a chimp stole your stamps, or you spilled coffee on your envelopes and they all stuck together. I imagine you at the tropical island after you have seen all the places you wanted to, and I tell you in a letter about France, and you smile at all the places I went that you went to too. 
I'm going to think of you in the library at NMH, or in Brattleboro, or with your khakis rolled up around your ankles, walking on the beach of your island. I want to remember that night at your house when we went for a walk and the winter was so beautiful and clear, or at the Marlboro Fair, having High Tea, and I liked my jam more, and you liked yours more. 
I'm sorry that I hurt you so that time, and that I said it in the library before class. I went to my room and sobbed about it afterward, I felt so terrible. 
It feels like I'm just re-reading my favorite parts of a book, before the plot darkens. All these memories of you that make it so hard to believe how weak your body is. I think that it's unfair that you were matched up with such a body. I hope you come visit me sometimes. But I understand that your research is very important to you. 
You wrote to me once that I was like a bright red cardinal against the snow, standing out from what other girls wore. you were the same way- I think we both treasure the art of self-presentation. I remember how mad you were when you got the 'Most Likely to Teach at NMH' superlative, and when we walked in the cemetery, and how you move your hands. 
I wish you could see me graduate. I wish you could see my Union Suit! I'm thinking about you all the time. I know you don't mind that I also laugh with my friends, and that I can't always criy about how much I miss you. I want to thank you for being so wonderful, and for taking care of Naomi. I'm really worried about her. Try to get your stamps back- we would all love to hear about what you're doing. 
Sweet Dreams, Dearest Jesse Lopata.
I love you, and I always will. 
-Ruth Shafer

Friday, January 9, 2009

Remember the chocolate milk Jesse? We were so giggly that afternoon on your sunlit porch, hyper as only five year old's can be when they think they are getting away with something. We drank that entire half gallon of milk and almost a full bottle of Hershey's syrup that afternoon, delighted that we were technically only supposed to have one glass a piece.

You were my first friend. One of the truest I have ever had even though most children tend not to have very god long distance relationships but we managed somehow, due in large part to our mums I think. Every year I always looked forward to the letter you would send me, even if the content was just basic Happy Birthday, they were always presented in any interesting and novel way. Some were one crazy papers, or written in overly ornate cursive with gold leafed borders and slight ink smears where you hadn't quite gotten use to the quill pen yet. And my desk has yet to recover from the year we became obsessed with making paper look antiqued. You were the only friend I have ever had who has been able to keep up with me in creating alternate realities in which we could live in character for days at a time. Wonderful, beautiful worlds that were anything and everything we wanted them to be.

I cursed the rain spring of junior year. All those days of trying to figure out how to meet up at NMH, if only for a few minutes, when I was on campus with my high school's softball team. And all those days of having to cancel and reschedule only to have the next game rained out as well. The laughing conversation we had by phone about how busy it was, the craziness that is high school, and how once senior year was over we would, somehow, find a way to see each other. Now I feel like I'm rambling, or maybe just no longer forming coherent sentences, which I always seem to do when talking or write to you. I jump from one subject to the next always assuming that you will be able to follow my printed words as easaly as you follow my train of thought when we are speaking. Therefore I will stop writing for now with a simple thank you. Thank you for opening my eyes to the world and for being yourself, which sounds corny I know. Thank you for your life
Love as always
Tess

The MOON 
sat SHOMER
with Jesse
and I
for ONE
was grateful
Needing the company
of wiser souls.

kelly salasin, marlboro


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Even back then, in 8th grade, Jesse was "the perfect gentleman". Kind, respectful, poised, extremely talented, dedicated and determined... and boy-o-boy..did he have style! I feel so fortunate to have crossed paths with Jesse by being his art teacher for 2 years at MES. What an inspiration he was to watch back then (see below) and the past few years, through occasional sightings in downtown Brattleboro. He always seemed to remain that same handsome, confident, polite gentleman that he was in Junior High....only in an even taller, even straighter, more graceful man.
with great sympathy to his family and friends,
Lauren von Krusenstiern, Brattleboro, VT

(jesse is at the far end of the table...totally focused!)
(sketch for a self portrait 2004)

Opportunities to Express Joy and Sorrow

Dear Friends and Family

Please pass this far and wide.

There are many ways to think and feel about Jesse, both his life here with us, as well as his passing. We are all still close to the shock, sadness, anger and a myriad of other feelings we face when thinking of this great loss. At this time, we would like to provide a variety of opportunities for people to express their joys and sorrows.

There will be a funeral at 11 am at Ker-Westerlund and Fleming on 57 High Street on the way in to downtown Brattleboro. A municipal lot is available a few doors away on High Street. This will be followed by a burial at the King Cemetery on Fox Road in Marlboro at approximately 12:00-12:30 pm.

The funeral and burial are open to one and all!!!

Parking will be along Fox Road between Ames Hill and Stark's Road. Carpool if you can, and dress for a snowy wood. Please do not block the cemetery entrance, plowing and sanding will be done for ease of access.

On Saturday, there will be a celebration of Jesse's life at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center from 1-3 pm..

Many of us gain comfort by being with others in an informal setting to speak of Jesse while others prefer a public forum to make a community offering. Some like to write, some to speak through music or art.

We will begin with an informal gathering at 1 pm to talk with friends, family and neighbors and enjoy refreshments in this beautiful space. At 2 pm we will convene to listen to the heartfelt thoughts, songs, poems, memories, prayers and well wishes.

In the spirit of keeping a graceful flow, we ask that you speak or perform from the heart and use lean expression as we expect many will want to share. We will close at 3pm.

If you are not comfortable sharing in this format, you may visit Jesse’s “shrine” and leave your thoughts in silence or writing. These writings will be copied and shared with Lisa and Ed in a book for each of them. They will then be burned in a later ritual and the ashes placed in a handmade vessel as a tangible and sacred record.

Those unable to attend may send words for this express purpose to me over the coming week.

For directions go to www.brattleboromuseum.org

For parking we recommend the Marlboro College Graduate Center next door.

Jodi Paloni, Marlboro

I guess I still need your help jesse

As you can see, I'm as good with computers as I was back in JH with you!  I still need your help- that last posting was from me, Jennifer Wales- Mount Desert Island, Maine

Bon Appetite Jesse

My Dear Dear Jesse,  
Did you forget about our dinner?  Remember, the one I was going to take you out to when you turned 21!  It was the last week for you as an 8th grader in my classroom.  You had finished all your work and were getting ready for graduation.  I called you over and expressed that in the years that I had know you, while I certainly enjoyed exploring math, literature, and a love of excellent food with you, I had one deep disappointment.  Your face looked so serious and I remember you didn’t even push your bangs out of your eyes, which you always did back then.  My disappointment, I continued, was that I was your teacher and not your peer.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I loved all the laughs and watching you grow and challenge yourself (you certainly didn’t need any motivation from me), but what I really loved were the easy and interesting conversations we would have about anything from food to buildings to friendships.  It was those conversations that would have been wonderful to have with you eating sushi in the middle of a cow field at 3am watching the stars, not eating sushi on a sticky old three-legged couch in the middle of the junior high room.  As so I made you a promises that day.  When you turned 21, we would go to dinner and enjoy a meal as adults, as peers, not as teacher/student. 

            And so Jesse, we will still have the dinner, I know we will.  I’ll be sitting in some cafĂ© half way around the world surrounded by people who speak a different language and think a different way.  I’ll be eating the most wondrous food that I can’t pronounce and, better yet, not really even know what it is.  And then it will happen, you’ll appear with your wonderful boyish grin and while pushing your hair out of your eyes, laugh as you sit down to join me.  Oh you’ll be there, I’m sure and the conversation will flow as easy as it did on that sticky old couch. 

            Until then, I found an evaluation I wrote about you at the end of 7th grade.  In reading what others have written about you as you grew into a man, how clearly you stayed true to your self.  Bon Appetite Jesse, Bon Appetite!


Eval for Jesse L

Jesse has been a pleasure to have in the JH this year and we look forward to another year.  Jesse’s intellectual ability and role in the community was most clearly displayed in his leadership and extensive time commitment to the yearbook.  Never has there been a student who so completely devoted himself or herself to a project that ultimately was for others to enjoy.  Tim and I were so completely impressed by Jesse’s commitment to others; I know he expressed burn out at the end of the project, but I hope he soon recovers!

            Math was a place for great learning and, I believe, a greater sense of self-confidence for Jesse this year.  To say he began the year with just a bit of “math phobia” would be an understatement, and yet Jesse finished the year with top marks and an expressed confidence in his math ability.  His grades in other subjects such as writing, science, social studies, and lit do little to show the completeness that Jesse approaches all his work, putting nothing but 100% into each and every assignment. 

            Our goals for Jesse next year are to continue to challenge him and provide him structure to push himself as far as he can go academically.  We expect a high level of excellence from Jesse and will continue to do so.  Socially, Jesse has expressed apprehension about creating a social group for himself, after having so many close friends leave this year.  I have faith that Jesse will rise to the occasion, as he has demonstrated countless times this year, and fill his social needs, both in and out of school. 

            In summary, Jesse is an exemplary student and a true joy to have as a friend. 

 


2 Fires

I met Jesse over a glowing bonfire. I, the new one, knew barely a soul. The crowd thinned and I sat with Jesse for hours. So strange to find one so young…17 then, maybe…who contained so much. I remember thinking that he wasn’t even a peer but somehow an elder. A man in a boy’s suit. An elegant boy’s suit, that. We talked about how different it must have been to know people only by firelight… as people once did.

The next fire was small. Just a few of us at a cookout to celebrate Trump as the sun sank. There’d been some earlier slapstick while we made Jesse a smoothie and everyone chimed in with recipes. Advocating for probiotics –which amused him; rice milk- which didn’t. Jesse was already graduated and already diagnosed. He seemed more of a boy that day…thin but carrying something in him that I couldn’t put my finger on. Kind of itinerant. He was wearing a tweed waistcoat and a cap and looked like a young man from a James Joyce or Steinbeck novel stepping off the family stoop for the last time. Ready to make his way in the world. The fear of the known and the unknown all mixed up.

The sadness of losing this extraordinary person is close to me today. I am so sorry for the many who knew him far better than I. Lisa and Ed, especially… and all the surrogates and friends who’ve loved Jesse into being the person we’ve all been touched by. He carried so much for us. May this generous, sprawling circle of people carry him within for a long, long time.

Virginia

A belated thank you

1/8/09

Dear Jesse & Family

This is regrettably the thank you that was never expressed. Let this be a lesson to us all…
I’d like to thank you for being so kind to Evan when we first moved to Marlboro. You were always so genuine, generous and good.
Thank you for inspiring Evan to take up the violin. The gift of music is truly the gift that keeps giving. I can never truly thank you enough.
And I’m fairly certain it was you who introduced my boys to the “Red Wall” series. Those were fun days of literature and imaginary play.
Thank you for being such a nice companion to take along to pottery classes at Bonnie Stearns'. I loved your creations.
The entire community thanks you for your memorable and strong performances at the NEYT.
And, thank you for sharing your light with all of us; though not nearly long enough, most assuredly the brightest light.
Peace is yours eternal.
With much admiration, Carol Ann Johnson

Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.

...And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.


But to Sam the evening deepened into darkness as he stood at the Haven; and as he looked at the grey sea he saw only a shadow on the waters that was soon lost in the West. There he stood until far into the night, hearing only the sigh and murmur of the waves on the shores of Middle-earth, and the sound of them sank deep into his heart. Beside him stood Merry and Pippin, and they were silent.


J.R.R. Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings, Return of the King

Emily Jacke, NMH '08

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A graceful passing

My dears,

Even though we knew to some extent what would happen, I cannot say how painful it is to share of Jesse's passing, this night at 8:40 pm.

Jesse was taken off respiration earlier this afternoon after it was clear that other functions had ceased.  He continued to breathe on his own for the remainder of his time. It was his expressed wish that was honored.

Alan tearfully reported that it was a graceful passing.

Please share this news with others as Jesse's circle has broadened beyond any of our imaginations.

This web of love and support will be needed for a good while and we know that you all want to be of support. We will let you know as soon as we do what will happen next and how you can help. As of this evening, the family needs time to be in the present.

In the meantime, read and write on this blog, collect pictures and memories, talk with one another about this extraordinary soul and mostly hold each other as close as you can.

I am blessed to part of Jesse's community of friends.  Each of you have redefined the word family.

Take care of each other,

Jodi Paloni, Marlboro VT, USA

Meat Pie! J. Julius!





Another posting (below) from the NMH Library blog. This time we were publicizing a Meat Pie performance. I'm not sure who did the drawings. I loved the energy, enthusiasm, sense of fun and adventure these young musicians brought to the library! We're all thinking of you, Jesse - Pam Allan

................

Please join us in the library for Acoustic Friday with improvisational string quartet MEAT PIE!

Friday, May 25, 2007, 4-5 PM

  • Harlin , Viola
  • Sue , Cello
  • Lysander, Violin
  • Jesse , Violin



Tuesday, January 6, 2009

8th Grade Recommendation to NMH

An artifact for the archive of Jesse's life: a recommendation to NMH. Here's what one teacher had to say about this truly remarkable young man as an 8th-grader.

MARLBORO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Box D, Marlboro, VT 05344

May 13, 2004
To Northfield Mount Herman School:
A recommendation for Jesse Lopata.

A Characteristic Experience:
In ten years we have produced a hundred or more scenes and one-act plays and I’d never allowed overt violence portrayed. Until Jesse came along. Jesse wanted to explore acting on a characteristically deep level and was attracted to a scene with subtle dialog and intense emotions. It involved cruelty to animals and equally harsh vengeance. I thought Jesse could do this in a way that audiences would forgive seeing young adolescents involved with despicable acts. We were not disappointed.
After preparing with a sophisticated exploration of the script and thoughtful rehearsals, Jesse and another talented actor brought to life the complex motivations of violence and impressed everyone with the power of dramatic art. In fact, Jesse helped our class see and discuss the parallels to our current war on terrorism and question the wisdom of a violent response to violence. I’ll bet it will be a long time before another student will convince me to bring violence onto our stage. Jesse is that rare individual who we can trust to show us that part of ourselves.

Additional Comments:
When checking boxes for the qualities listed on the form, I struggled with my commitment to reserve the use of “Outstanding” for only those truly rare examples. I have recommended a good number of students to NMH and hope I always give you clear, uninflated and useful information. With Jesse I had to restrain myself to keep from checking that first box for each & every quality. Likewise, I tried unsuccessfully to find something “good.”

Jesse is a remarkably mature and composed individual who is deeply fascinated with the world, delightedly exploring a wide range of interests. His mind questions, surmises, and evaluates with an enviable fluidity and effortless persistence. It is because of this limitless academic potential that I did not rate his academic performance as outstanding—though exemplary, it could never equal this unbounded promise. His work habits are equally enviable: he is prompt, diligent, and reflective; he plans efficiently and is often inspired. The product of his work is consistently well conceived, self-edited, and meticulously presented, if not downright beautiful. The content of his efforts is creative and insightful, guided by and generating essential questions. When it comes to students, Jesse’s the real deal, and he will inspire teachers and fellow students alike. I remember thinking I should hire him to write curriculum!

Best of all, he’s a kind and considerate young man who avails himself to others in an easy-going, good-humored manner. There has never been a teacher here that has not placed Jesse on their short list of favorite students. I was glad to hear that he was interested in your school for it would seem a good match. Not only should you be excited to admit Jesse, you would do well to pay him to attend! I have no idea what resources he has or needs, but Jesse possesses a rare talent for collegial learning in academia & the arts that, while is it’s own reward, certainly warrants financial support. In short, everyone in your community will be rewarded to know and work with Jesse Lopata.

Sincerely,

Timothy Hayes

RIPPLES of LOVE and SUPPORT


It's so amazing to realize just how many ripples of prayer and care have formed around Jesse in the past weeks...  from a children's Sunday school class in Oregon, to families on the coasts of MA, NJ and Washington State, to islands half-way across the world... and that's just the ones who are connected to our family.  To date, we've received over a hundred emails around Jesse.  It's also so wonderful reading other's connections on this blog (thanks Jane):  from all those at NMH to Meetinghouse Preschool (Paul!) to Brattleboro (Emily!)   Jesse is either going to walk out of the hospital or seamlessly transition into the light each of us sees in him.   Thank you...  your ripples support my own as we encircle each other in love throughout this tender journey together.

Kelly Salasin,  along with sons Aidan & Lloyd and husband Casey Deane
Marlboro, VT

PS.  Jesse also visited my dreams last week... he was en route with a friend.  I was in a library.

Nothing But A Burning Light

I first met Jesse when he was three years old. He came to my school unformed and luminous, a blond headed boy filled with grace and wonder. I saw him easily make friends, learn to negotiate and share. Even then he was strong and compassionate. I heard him sing and laugh every day. He danced, he painted, he swaggered and sashayed. I watched him perform and star in dramatic productions of The Three Bears, The Billy Goats Gruff, Three Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed, and many avant garde improvisational dramas with Pirates, Knights, Princesses, Dragons, Queens and Witches, Heroes and Villains, Tantrums and Giggles. He built palaces, forts, and castles with large wooden blocks. He drew funny pictures of humans with colored markers.

I got to know him at that magical time of the three and four year old, in the world of the here and now, still connected to the Brahman. His light burned bright then as it has all his life. When I go outside and feel the sun on my face I’m reminded of Jesse.

As his next door neighbor, I watched him grow into a man, that same laugh deepening over time and that light still burning bright. That light that is within us all. That one ever-flickering light we all share.

Paul Redmond

Wings of Peace
-R. Aryeh Hirschfield

Ufros aleynu
sukkat shalom,
Spread over us
wings of peace,
Draw water in joy
from the living well,
Mayim chayim,
waters of Life,
Shalom.



We sing this on erev Shabbat, sometimes. This beautiful song's been running through my head all day.

-- Peter Weis, NMH Archivist

Thursdays with Jesse

In the fall semester of our senior year, Jesse and I spent a great deal of time together, because we had all of our courses together. We became a little unit: traveling back and forth between Blake, Cutler, Beveridge, and Schauffler Library, bemoaning our homework load and talking each other through the stress of early decision college applications.

Though this was a stressful time in our lives, we both took great joy in what would happen on Thursday. We would get out of Erik Cooper's AP European History Class (see picture below) at 11:00.

We would promptly sprint up to the dining hall, which had just opened moments ago, where we would walk right past the other food to get to the taco bar which was only there on Thursdays, where we would quickly slap together a taco or two each, grab a cup of coffee, and precariously balance these items in our hands as we rushed to Cutler Science Center for our Environmental Science class, laughing and leaving a little trail of spilt coffee in our wake.



Panting, we would fall into our seats beside each other and wolf down our tacos during the first several minutes of class. Because class was extended on this particular day, our teacher, Becca Leslie, always brought a delicious assortment of doughnuts, which Jesse and I would always happily sample. After class, we would head back up to the dining hall, usually too full to eat (although on occasion we would make nachos at the taco bar) and spend a while just sitting there, stomachs full, enjoying a rare moment of relaxation in that stressful period of our lives.

Also, because I can't resist: us and our final Environmental Science project, the genius of which was fueled on tacos, too much coffee, and our extensive knowledge of eutrophication.


-Lilly Richardson/ Ithaca, NY/ NMH '08

Jesse's Ship

Jesse,

Venture out to explore the far reaches of this universe. How could you resist, strong, brilliant, inspired being. You have moved through this world with grace, curiosity, humor and love, as you will move through every world you visit. Your deep knowledge of your infinite spirit has saturated your steps and will carry you with it. Your wise soul has chosen to bless us with your beauty before moving on to bless others and we thank you from the deepest place in our hearts. Your presence has changed us and has changed the world, as it will change all of the worlds you touch upon. Your presence will continue to change us as we incorporate your wisdom into every step we take. Last night you visited me in a dream. You were on a cruise ship waving goodbye to me. You smiled and rolled your eyes at the drama and absurdity of this choice of vessel for your journey, yet I knew that you were making all of the choices and that you'd chosen this ship just to show me the ever lightness of our journey. I say that I will take you with me into something I'm calling the future. As I say the word you laugh and roll your eyes again.

Until we meet again know how much I love you, how much we love you. Take that with you.

You laugh and roll your eyes at us, loving us back, knowing more than we ever can that you will never leave in the first place.

Forever with you,

Todd

The Pure Light Within You

May the longtime sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure, pure light within you
Guide your way home

Sa - the universe/totality

Ta - life/creation

Na - death/dissolution

Ma= rebirth/regeneration

-a traditional song followed by sanskrit mantra that follows the cycle of life-

Todd Bresnick

Hallowe'en

More dress up! As two tall, bespectacled, scholarly, and polite young men at NMH - who happened to spend most of their time in the library's Reading Room - Jesse and I became sort of a unit. Some called us each others doppelgangers. On Hallowe'en of 2006 we decided to take this to another level and dress up as each other:

It was a lot of fun to see people's delayed reactions; it was commonplace to see us sitting together in the Reading Room, it just took people a minute to realize which of us was which (that's Jesse on the right and me on the left!). On most days between classes we could be seen, dressed as ourselves, seated on the couch or chairs in front of the fireplace. I enjoyed these normal days even more than the Hallowe'en when we switched.

It was great to play with him in our improvisational quartet Meat Pie, our forays to Northfield for Tea Society meetings were made far better by his stately presence, and I wont soon forget this Hallowe’en switch. But what I remember most about my NMH days with Jesse is the assured feeling I got every day when I came into the library and found him already studying there, or came to orchestra rehearsal and rosined my bow next to him and talked about the happenings of the day and the enormous amount of homework we still had for the night. I'm not sure what I'd have done without him.

Harlin Glovacki, Greenfield, MA (NMH '08)

A Perfect Pot of Tea

I think of Jesse every time I make a pot of tea- which is most mornings. Jesse has made me many a pot of tea at Lisa's house in a perfect teapot which he made himself when he was like 11. I remember one time he let me take on the task of the tea making while he got out the shortbread biscuits. I made it a bit too strong under his watch - he kindly kept it to himself how bitter I had made the tea until I myself said it was a bit too strong and he gently said- "well maybe just a little." From that point onward- in the mornings as I spoon the tea in the strainer I think "is this the amount Jesse would put in?"
I think I have gotten it down by now but it is still part of the morning ritual.
Jesse is a joy to chat with and one of my favorite people to have a conversation with, especially of his age, and I have a lot of favorite people of his age- I teach high school because I love people of his age. He is both from another time and in his own way completely contemporary cool- thoughtful and sharp, unique and classic and always interesting. I have always been anxious to hear what is going on in his life, what he is pursuing, what he has seen, what is inspiring him, what is going on in his world. Inevitably he was up to interesting things.
Jesse has enviable style! What other high schooler gets an antique couch reupholstered for a gift and looks for three piece suits at the thrift store? Beyond cool. The last time I was at Lisa's, before moving to Thailand, about half the furniture in her living room was part of Jesse's collection.
Going over to dinner at Lisa's was always a special affair when Jesse was home- the table laid out perfectly and beautifully by Jesse- always elegant. I was always excited for the chance to catch up. Jesse made time to tell me what was going on in his life, join our conversations and listens to the stories of our lives. He is the kind of person who is just fun to be around because his perspective is so unique and so purely - Jesse. And what a great twinkle in his eye!
We have been reaching out to everyone we know to pray for you guys. There are many people out there holding you with a lot of light and love. When we tell your story, Daniel always leads with "Jesse is the kind of person who transforms you when you meet him" and it's true. You are part of our extended family and we love you. You have changed our lives and made them richer by knowing you. Thank you for always being a reminder about how important it is to express your unique self and shine brighter because of it! Thailand feels so very far away right now we wish we were there in body more than anything. We are there with you in spirit for sure and every morning you are with me when I make my pot of tea. You are very much loved by many.
Robin and Daniel
My family and I are praying for you.....JJ Johnson

Dearest Jesse,

I have a few things to say before you go.
First of all, and most important, is that I Love you, and I will always remember you.
Second, I want you to know that I See you. I See you between all these layers of perception and physical limitation. I was frightened of myself, frightened for you, and so I stepped away at first instinctively. But I will not step away now. I love you, and I See you, amidst the pain and the fear and the unknown. I feel I have given you too little credit for the heart, the strength, the courage I know you have, caught up in my own little world of fear and delusion. I have held myself back too often in your presence. You may never know the depth or the breadth of my care for you in any intellectual sense, but I tell you now, once again, that I Love you, that I See you, in the hopes that you will Know this somehow before you go.
Third and perhaps last, I Honor you. I Honor you, Jesse, for this incredible journey you have taken, for your heart, strength and courage throughout. As I told you before, I have been amazed at your tenacity and dignity throughout. And I consider myself Honored to be your friend, and to travel part of this journey with you. We had some splendid fun, and I treasure these memories. They are precious to me, as are you. For I Love you, and I See you, and I will always Honor you.

I bring with me the prayers of your friends. Know that they Love you, that they See you, that they Honor you.
I bring the blessings and prayers of my family: my parents, their significant others and the various and sundry other members of our households. Know that they Honor you, and they Love you because I Love you.
I bring also the prayers of many family friends and connections. Not all of them know you, or even know your name, but they have been praying for you and your family, and they Honor you.

I hope that your last days in this reality are warm, peaceful, and filled with love. Life will not be the same without you. I wish you well — Safe travels and enriching adventures on your next journey and on, into the next cycle. May you pass easily into the beyond, into the unknown and there find rest, renewal, strength, healing and perhaps new life.

Merry Meet and Merry Part and Merry Meet Again, my dear, dear friend.

With love, always,
Your friend,
Emily

Emily Jacke, NMH '08

From the librarians at NMH to our Keeper of the Clock

Jesse, you were one of our beloved regulars at the NMH Library. Everything about you stood out for us -- your sense of humor, your easy-going manner, your natty dressing, your intelligence.

I remember how happy I was the day you talked about how you hoped to be an architect someday and you shared your inspiring vision of how you would transform the NMH Library with a beautiful new addition.

Jesse, you know you had a special role for us in the library, as our Keeper of the Clock.

(An antique grandfather clock sits in the library. Jesse had noticed that the clock would often wind down and stop or the chimes would get out of sync. We were, of course, delighted to hand him the key to the clock and we never had to worry about the clock again once it was in Jesse's attentive care!)

The following is from a library blog entry about Jesse. (I'll need to post to this blog again, to talk about Jesse's performances as part of Meat Pie!) - Pam Allan
............................................................

Here we have Jesse, a senior day student and clock winder extraordinaire. We caught Jesse in between classes to sit down for a little one on one.

Jesse: So, you're interviewing me, that's weird.
Nick: Yeah, my workjob is a little weird.
J: You think YOUR workjob is weird? I wind a CLOCK!
N: You do have a point. How did you get started on this clock winding adventure of yours anyway?
J: Well, technically I work in the archives, but winding the clock is something I was asked to do initially by one of the librarians - I think it was Pam. Anyway, I love the old fashioned mechanics of a real clock. Nothing beats that.
N: So, how often do you do it?
J: The clock is supposed to be wound about once a week, but I actually wind it twice a week.
N: Now that's dedication. Do you think you'll miss the clock next year once you're off to college?
J: Definitely. Winding that clock is a comforting ritual. I will certainly miss that.
N: Any ideas of who you'll take on as a clock winding apprentice?
J: I'm looking into that, and I'm actually considering interviews.

There you have it folks, and for those interested in become the next NMH Library clock winder keep an eye out!

(This was written before Jesse graduated from NMH. The clock key was passed on to Lysander. - Pam)

http://nmhlibrary.typepad.com/blog/2008/03/the-keeper-of-t.html