This is to honor a life; seen through the lens of a friendship established in 1963, 33 years out of 44 -- practically all her life.
I began this by writing:
"No need to recite biography here, but suffice to say I was at her wedding, and she at mine. The sister I never had." But there is a need, if you will indulge a happy man made
sad this month.
She was a fixture in a great little circle of somewhat cerebral friends into which I was allowed in junior high school. It was social, intellectual, political, athletic. It couldn't have been
healthier, I can now say, as a parent of three.
She worked for my tiny entrepreneurial company one summer between college years, typing horrible data without complaint. (Well, only wry, JoAnnian complaints.)
We mourned the accidental loss of best-friend Steve Carpenter when we were all 20.
How many homemade ice cream parties did she attend at my place in her three years at Stanford?
We actively explored
romantic escalation of our splendid friendship -- and fortunately, mutually, let it pass, days before she was to meet Billy.
And after that inspired match was made, how much sensible love-life advice she (and
Billy) gently proffered when I was on the brink of bold and stupid entanglements.
Their dangerous, famously early marriage was a free peek into what that institution was about, at a peer level. I know it happily
affected my outlook on marriage and my receptivity to it when it might have otherwise been un-cool. So my wife and I are indebted.
She and Billy were receptive to the idea of starting a small house painting
business to pay for school: "Scholars and Cents" was born, and I guess I was Godfather. How many summers the paint, and cash, flowed.
She shot the best photo anyone ever took of me. The shot now becomes
a fascinating sort of obverse memento of the sensitive, unseen photographer and friend.
She and Bill named their cat "Gordon". Later, our pair were named "JoAnn & Billy". But of course.
What a kick, to explain those names to visitors, indirectly introducing our great Palo Alto pals.
On many visits since college I never had any sense of sibling competition with Old Friend JoAnn -- just a gentle
and general comparison of notes, often from two different religious perspectives.
I don't think she was ever angry with me! Nor I with her, for sure.
What a listener she was. And a laugher -- LOUD and ecstatic!
She was honest, moral, shrewd, a noble Mom and catalytic partner to Bill. She believes in Life eternal. So do I