[saymaListserv] Joe Jenkins
Nancy M. Whitt
nmwhitt at samford.edu
Mon Nov 5 10:34:09 JEST 2001
Fred: Thanks very much for your thoughtfulness. I called
Betty Saturday morning. She has promised to send a picture
(which Jim Flege requested a while ago) of her and Joe for
our Meeting House.
Betty is doing well. She is in a Methodist retirement home
and is surrounded by good friends. Her son, Eric, lives
Joe had alzheimer's, but never lost his personality and did
not become agitated. He told her, "I love you so much it
hurts," and would ask weren't they married and, if so, why
they couldn't go home together. Everybody in the place
Their daughter, Melissa, is on an Aleutian Island, teaching
in an Athabascan/Inuit village and could not make it to the
States. They will scatter Joe's ashes in Tennessee in
June. Connie and I are hoping to be there (Betty says
Paul discovered Joe and Betty, and the three of them are
the founders of the worship group. Joe probably did more
than anyone to get us certified as a meeting. He had just
retired and had been an organization person.
Joe's was loveable--I looked on him as a father substitute,
since he and Betty had daughters our age. And, as in any
family, we could be frustrated with each other at times.
But I always loved and admired him. He had been part of
the meeting for several years before we learned that he had
taken a stand against racism at Baptist Medical Centers
long before BMC wanted African-American executives, and had
been fired and blackballed from similar jobs because of his
stance. Where we felt he should be so proud of his stance,
he was humble about it, and didn't recover easily from the
'shame' of being let go. His pain influenced a lot of his
relationships with us in the Meeting. It was hard for a man
of his generation not to be the breadwinner and to be
without a career. He had worked successfully for
Mason-Dixon Trucking for 28 years before coming to
Betty was a cracker-jack real estate sales woman (I know
this personally--she sold my unsellable Woodland Village
Condo without my taking a loss). She was a million-dollar
club saleswoman at times.
Joe was a Boy Scout, an Indian artifact collector, a
gardener, a builder, a former Furman football player and a
doting father and grandfather. He was also a good
story-teller. Vassilka loved his boyhood story about being
scared of the wildcat and asked him to tell it over and
Connie and I became card-carrying Friends in the Jenkins'
house with the Jenkins on our respective clearness
committees. We had Thanksgiving dinners with them, and
they came to my Christmas Eve gatherings. It was a sad day
for us when their daughters came to town and swooped them
Connie and I felt loved by them, and they felt loved by us.
We were amused when Betty would marvel and how we managed
our lives (often when we were least in control of
anything). Betty has always been one to love
unconditionally. Plus she has a wonderful since of humor
and sense of fun. Being in her kitchen, or in her living
room was to be at home.
Betty's address is:
Kimball Hall, Room 403
805 W. Middle Street
Chelsea, MI 48118
Please hold her in the Light.
On Sat, 3 Nov 2001 08:19:16 -0600 Fred Smith
<fsmith at sbs.sbs.uab.edu> wrote:
> I noticed in today's (Saturdays') paper, an obituary for
Joe Jenkins. > Please forward to the meeting.
Nancy M. Whitt
Professor of English
Chair, Department of English
Birmingham, AL 35229
Phone: 205-726-2458 Fax: 205-726-2112 E-mail: nmwhitt at samford.edu
"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
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