I’ve always wanted to thank my parents but for some reason, either the words came slowly or perhaps were forgotten after speaking them. So I am going to do it properly now, and have it be journaled forever. I know my Dad is watching everything and is beside me all the way and my Mom’s Cherokee blood will hear me dancing on the wind.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Did I ever tell you how lucky I was? How blessed? Firstly, my entrance to this world was one of sheer luck and serendipity and probably never would have occurred except and only by divine intervention. Who would think a Yale grad from Pittsburgh and a dancer from Saint Louis by way of New Orleans would meet, have me and go live in Europe and the Mid-East.
My childhood was spectacular first off. I swam in the Aegean Sea naked at 3 with you Dad and rangled baby mountain goats in Mykonos while on holiday. Mom had me backstage with some really famous people when we came to the States for her tour. I wore sparkled and bejeweled costumes far too large for me but made my first on stage appearance in Washington, DC and stopped the show. They put a baby blue spot on me. You have both simultaneously introduced me to the wonders of the Universe and the sparkle and glitter of show business. Dad, I loved when you read to me Homer’s Odyssey, MacBeth, Robinson Crusoe etc., and Mom I loved when you taught me the time step, worked on my turn-out and helped me get more height with my grande jete’.
Thank you for the ballet lessons beginning at 4 and violin from 5 to 16. I still dance all the time and my finely tuned ear and metronome timing is spot on. But Dad, you always knew I loved drumming. I think it was so far out in left field as a girl and I’m sorry I never made first row violinist or went to Bryn Mar. But, I can play a set of Ludwigs or Yamaha’s pretty darn well. Reading charts escapes me for some reason though. I play by ear.
Dad, thanks so much for my intellect. It overwhelms me at times because you taught me to be such a deep thinker and to question everything. I do both daily. I guess because of that, I love to learn and absorb like a sponge. I loved studying marine biology and still regret not taking that position at Woods Hole Oceanographic. I think it is my only regret. But it worked out fine. I’ve got great sea-legs, am fearless offshore and can fish like a pro with the guys and know almost all the species; flora and fauna in Latin. Thanks for the Latin lessons too Dad. You were right, it pays off. It is the root language of all things.
Mom, I really never thanked you properly. My sense of humor I know comes from you. My cooking, from French to Low Country, Soul Food to Cuban, Mediteranean and everything in between come from you too. Also my smile and my tender love of all animals and plants. Because of you I am an organic gardener and an environmentalist, but not a tree-hugging liberal. I also got that from you. For a performer you sure did have a great sense for politics and all of our conversations eventually got me to major in Poli Sci as well. The years and years of ballet training is one of the greatest gifts of all you gave me. I think I will dance for the rest of my life Mom. Remember me watching the movie, “The Red Shoes” over and over and over? Dancing is my soul and I also have a peculiar fondness for red shoes.
What you both have given me I have given to my children, Gregory and Erica. Gregory is a brilliant writer, producer, director and editor. Erica is a willowy, elegant and beautiful photographer who loves horses and rides as if it were a ballet. I could not have asked for anything more in this life. And now Sophia, who is just like me. She dances and sings and paints and reads and absorbs everything. She calls lizards here in Florida “wizards” and catches them in a big pink net. Though I’m not correcting her diction. I think maybe they are little wizards.
Your legacy lives on through us and we will always be grateful. We all miss you so badly Dad. I feel you near me now and then and know you’ve come to my side most recently to open doors and windows of knowledge and clarification where none existed before.
All of my love….
Your daughter Jacqueline