Care is Like Water
My work with care has spanned half a century. Care is essential to life on the planet. If we can begin to appreciate and be inspired by how care works in support of life, then perhaps we will listen to the wisdom of those who care for us and learn how to care for Our Mother, Earth.
Monday, June 17, 2013
My Dad: A Father's Day Reverie
My Dad: A Father's Day Reverie
My Dad, Leo Michael Jackson, and Me.
He carried me on his shoulders.While we sang God Bless America like Kate
He won thirteen turtles at the
Cathedral Chapel Church Bazaar with a special spin he put on the ping pong ball that plopped them right into the fish bowl. These were
magic turtles. They spent a year hiding in the bushes when I took them out for a walk and I found them the
My dad loved flowers especially
roses. He created a flower garden on the lot next to our house. We were poor
then but that garden was my fairyland. Belle of Portugal roses grew on the vine
that sheltered the rest of the yard from the prying eyes of cars on Rimpau
Once my dad brought home a
surprise. A kite. We both loved flying kites. But this was no ordinary kite.
This was a weather kite and it was big enough to carry me off. However in Los
Angeles we never had a wind big enough to take it airborne. He was so hurt when
I told him we couldn’t fly it. He was a very sensitive guy so I always had to
My dad had a dark somber side. He
loved the music of Wagner, Mahler, Verdi and Beethoven. He loved Verdi’s Aide,
and Wagner’s Die Fleidermaus. His music would sap my energy. It felt as though
my veins were filled with molasses instead of blood. I would beg him to turn it
off; it filled me with sadness.
My dad was generous. When I told
him that the high school needed a new organ, that cost $500. He wrote a check
and handed it to me to give to Mother Eucharia.
My dad loved Mary, God’s mother.
He always told my mother, “When you go to heaven you’ll be thanking St.
Anthony, St. Joseph, St. Jude. while I’ll just go straight to Mary’s throne and
say, ‘Thank you My Lady”.
My dad was a hard worker. He
started with Hancock Dental Supplies as a stock boy around 1930. A salesman in
the 40’s; and in 1950ish the company was renamed Hancock and Jackson and he
became a full partner.
My dad was honest. When Mister
Hancock changed his will on his death bed leaving the business to his sister
and the Mormon Church, my dad did not tear up the new will even though he was
the only one who knew about it. He went to court and got the business fair and
Sister Maria Ancilla, My mother's cousin.
When I went in the convent, My dad
wrote me a love letter. He said that his heart was filled with love for his
daughter. He always told me that when I came of age, he would go out and get
drunk because is work was done. His world revolved around his only daughter and
I entered the convent in 1959, and
my dad wept as he said good bye at the convent gate. And every visiting Sunday
he wept again. Yet, He was so proud the day I became a novice. That day he felt
as though his work on earth was finished. So he wrote a letter to Sister Maria
Ancilla, my mother’s cousin saying as much.
It was a cold day in
January I was in a music lesson with my dear mentor, Sister Mathias Martin. We
were preparing for Sunday High Mass. I was in ecstasy when there was a knock on
the music room door and a nun, white as a ghost summoned me to the Office of
the Mistress of Novices. I thought I was in big trouble…. Again. I wasn’t in
trouble, “Your father suddenly died of a heart attack.” Hit me in the face as
though I had run into a brick wall. He hadn’t dropped dead he simply squatted
down to admire the trim on the sliding door he had just installed on the back
porch, rolled over onto his side and
died of a broken heart. Earth shattering was a term my father used a lot. And,
his death shattered my world.
I slammed the door shut
for years. I didn’t sing, I could barely remember him. It was just too painful.
Fueled by my grief, I set out to change the world. The civil rights movement,
anti-war movement, I joined the Chicago Anti-Imperialist Collective, The
Chicago Latin American Movement, The Medical Committee for Human Rights, the
Anti-Nuclear Movement, The Women’s Movement. The Anti-War movement again, the
Women’s movement again, and most recently the Equal Rights Movement.
My dad always wanted me to
go to Stanford since Notre Dame didn’t take girls. So I got a BA, a BS, an MS,
and a Phd instead and became a nurse and an anthropologist.
I taught, I nursed, I
fought the Church and tried to figure out what I believed about God, Mary and
the Saints.I returned to my Celtic/Catholic heritage honoring the Divine
Feminine but not in the traditional church.
Now I’m retired. I’m
singing again, and I’ve begun to remember how much I loved my father and how
much he loved me.
My father was a caring
man. I am so grateful for the life he shared with me, and for his contribution
to my being who I am for indeed, I am my father’s daughter.