Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
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,
As read at the celebration of his life 1/10/09 at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center
(and amended 1/14/09):
Abstinent in Generational Prejudice
Picture Perfect Posture
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.
--J. Julius Lopata
Monday, January 12, 2009
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."
Sunday, January 11, 2009
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
small things recoil into silence,
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
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.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
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
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.
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.
Friday, January 9, 2009
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
Thursday, January 8, 2009
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)
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
And so Jesse, we will still have the dinner, I know we will. I’ll be sitting in some café 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.
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.
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
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
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,
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
MARLBORO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Box D, Marlboro, VT 05344
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.
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.
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.
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.
-R. Aryeh Hirschfield
Spread over us
wings of peace,
Draw water in joy
from the living well,
waters of Life,
We sing this on erev Shabbat, sometimes. This beautiful song's been running through my head all day.
-- Peter Weis, NMH Archivist
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,
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
-a traditional song followed by sanskrit mantra that follows the cycle of life-
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)
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
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,
Emily Jacke, NMH '08
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)
Monday, January 5, 2009
This was at the Chat in May, 2008. Jesse had been diagnosed only a few weeks before, and spent much of the evening roaming between the tables after food to assuage his voracious, steroid induced appetite, between bouts of waltzing to the loud hip-hop and fanning ourselves on the benches provided to flesh out the "Central Park" theme. We would have taken a carriage ride, too, but my hoop skirt would not have fit through the doors. He was there and every bit the gentleman and enjoying every moment of it. It was one of the best nights of my life, not only because I had an excellent friend as a date, but because it was so clear that he was enjoying himself in a way he hadn't gotten to for a while.
Emily Jacke, Jaffrey, NH (NMH '08)