Saturday, August 27, 2016

JOAN (1922-2016)

Joan you were my big sister, 7 years older than me. When you were still in grade school you had a bad fall when skiing on Mount Royal in Montreal. Your back suffered multiple fractures and you ended up consigned to your bed in a full body cast. The doctors worried that you might not walk again. Up until then, I remember you as a carefree and popular young woman. The war was on and you and Margaret, joined the Officer's Club to socially mix with the young officers before they were sent overseas. Now in a body cast, our home became an open house with teachers, students and my mother helping you with your assignments and preparing for your tests. It turned you into a scholar and you never looked back. When the cast came off I thought at the time it should hae been plastered onto the wall because it was covered with signatures and mostly funny statements and drawings by your friends.
As your much younger brother I was proud of you, not because of your academic accomplishments,- I was too young to think about that-, but because you attracted so many men, mostly in uniform, and some academics including professors. You were a magnet. They were mostly nice guys and some gave me a penny or two to leave the room. I can say now that you combined a shapely beauty with with a happy intelligence that seemed to make all your male acquantances take you seriously, and many certainly smitten and developing a crush. Our mother was rooting for Bernie, a young man whose father was a General. Much to her dismay Stanley Jackson, from our high school, and now a navigator in the Canadaian Airforce, arrived from overseas.You knew he was the one. Mother was finally won over.

Later as I pursued my profession as an economist and management consultant I had occasions to visit with you and Stan in New Haven on several occasions and you arranged for me to attend lectures in Yale. I even had the rare privilege of meeting and listening to a lecture by the Nobel Prize-winning economist, James Tobin, just shortly before he died. When Stan died you invited me to share the pulpit in Yale's august halls to say our goodbyes. The hall was packed and in the line-up I learned of the deep affection employees and academics had for 'Joan and Stan', and the minister commented that in Yale you were always thought of as a team.

Joan many years have passed. We have talked daily and our affection for each other has grown. I will miss you terribly, but now it is time to say goodbye.