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Wednesday, 29 May 2013


By Marcy Belson


I broke down and cried this morning, for Jimmy. No, I cried for me, for us, because Jimmy is gone and he doesn't need anything including tears from me.

Gordon's friendship with him began in high school. They were in the band Gordon formed - Jimmy playing trombone. He played in bands throughout his life. I remember going to a tea dance he was playing when we lived in San Diego.

In 1958, he and Gordon were roommates. Jim was a city policeman and Gordon had returned from Korea to his job as a deejay at the local radio station.

I met Jim when we double dated with some girl whose name I have forgotten but there is a black and white photo of us in their apartment having a drink.

They had a tiny place with twin beds in one bedroom but the pool was great and a lot of young unmarried people were living there as well as the seasonal produce people. We would walk across the street to a liquor store and buy Thunderbird, $1.99 wine. Only young stomachs could tolerate that stuff.

Later, they rented a neighborhood house with three bedrooms and two baths, added another Jimmy as the third roommate and lived there for another year or so until Gordon and I married in June 1960.

The two Jims were ushers at our wedding. They opened and served the champagne at the reception and Jimmy was our photographer using Gordon's fancy camera from Japan. It had so many bells and whistles, no one could figure it out and all our wedding photos are slightly out of focus.

After they moved into that house, I remember Gordon telling me that Jim came home and put his fist through his closet door. He had been the first person to arrive at a suicide by gun.

I don't remember how long he stayed with the police force but he did leave and became an insurance adjuster for major disasters across the U.S. for many years.

He had three marriages, the first when he and his wife were college students. Later, he married a woman and had one child, a girl. I don't know what happened with that marriage but he has a great daughter whom he loved dearly. He finally met and married Jan who was working in the San Diego office.

They came to Salem to visit her son and family and as they were taking the children to the carousel, we were sitting in our car after a picnic at the park. What a surprise to look over and see him, after being out of touch for a few years. Our friendship blossomed in our old age and we had a good visit every time they were in town.

We talked on the phone six days before he died. We were planning a trip to southern California and I assured him we would go wherever they might be living by the time we got there. His daughter was making arrangements for them to move into an assisted living facility near her. He didn't make the move.

He was one of those special people in our lives. So many talents, such a great hearty laugh that is what I will remember when I think of him.

R.I.P. Jimmy.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I always enjoy your stories. Your writing conveys the strength of your feelings and relationships in your life. The description, in its simplicity, allows me to identify with you and the person you want us to know.
Michigan Grandma

Thank you, Barbara, for the kind
remarks. My stories are not "deep", they are just my life.

It's always amazing to lose a friend, classmate, or ex-lover. It seems like a part of me goes with them. Thank you for sharing this gentleman with us.

If Jimmy is somewhere watching, then I am sure that he had a big smile on his face while reading it or seeing you writing it. What is better than a good friend! I read somewhere a quote saying: "Friends are a family we choose".
And I agree with Barbara that the way you write, the simple words you use and the number of details make the whole story so plastic and so "feel-able" and so present to the reader. Thank you for sharing your and Gordon's wonderful friendship with Jimmy with us.

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