Day 84: Joanie

29 Jun


If you’ve lived in Ashland a while, you probably knew Joanie. When I came to Ashland in the fall of 1986, I began hearing about her from her friends and co-workers at a restaurant called Geppetto’s. Joanie had painted a mural and her artwork was on the menu and the awning. It was easy to sense her presence even though she was not around. And it was hard not to be impressed and a bit in awe of her.

Joanie and I didn’t share a lot of history – I arrived in Ashland after she had moved away and was amazed at the wake that she had left behind. When I finally did meet Joanie, I was a little bit intimidated, but I loved how she was not afraid to speak her mind. That is not something I was encouraged to do.

The biggest bond Joanie and I shared was my daughter, Alexandra. They shared a kindred spirit and a fearlessness that I cannot fathom. When we attended Joanie’s wedding in Seattle, my daughter (who was 2 1/2 at the time) was restless in the pew and fought to be set down. I gave in and put her down and turned my back for a moment and when I looked again, she was gone from my sight. I didn’t know what to do or where to look for her and then I heard laughter. My daughter had left me and gone up to the alter where Joanie and Tucker were, and she was picking up rose petals, oblivious to the audience that was there.

Today is Joanie’s birthday and this morning I brought an apple crumb crust pie to the Jefferson Public Radio studio at Southern Oregon University to honor her memory. May she forever live on in our hearts.

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