Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I wonder How Jack is?
I was reminded today of this little boy I met twelve years ago. Pepper was eight when she befriended a girl whose single mom was on assistance. I was married at the time and lived a quality lifestyle, in my dream home, a large rancher on a half acre property. Candace was a very nice young woman with three kids. She had some severe psychological issues and was riddled with depression. Her daughter Cally spent almost every day after school at our home.
It was quite unconventional for me to have a child overnight during the school week, but there was a stint when I let Cally stay at my place for three weeks straight. This tiny, thin blond girl with an angelic face was no trouble at all. She just craved adult attention. Cally had so much scholastic potential, but only ever attained average marks. One evening we studied together for a test, the next day she received her first “B” ever. My wise daughter wasn’t used to sharing her mom, but felt enough empathy for Cally that she made an exception.
Candace, the tall, slim, gorgeous young mother with long wavy chestnut hair and professionally manicured nails was always searching for a knight in shining amour to scoop her up and carry her away from lifes tribulations. Unfortunately the children were victims of her sadly narcissistic behavior and mental illness. Often times the eldest child at thirteen would do all of the cooking, cleaning and tending to the younger two.
Cally often brought Jack along to jump on our trampoline. He was a talkative spunky little five year old. I loved having that adorable munchkin around and would regularly invite the kids to stay for dinner. Cally was always guarded about her home life, but not Jack. Innocently boisterous, he would blurt out details of their lack of food and supervision.
At the time I had a huge, walk in pantry situated off my family size kitchen. I remember Jacks eyes, bright as moonbeams, when he first spied all the food nestled on the shelves. A very handsome fair haired boy, he was always extremely polite and ravenous when I offered him a snack. I made sure to put out lots of fresh fruits and vegetables when Cally and Jack were around. When they were about to leave I'd scoop up a few shopping bags of food and send it home with them.
The first time Jack saw the bags he ran back, threw his arms around my large size waist, hugged me as tight as he could manage for a little guy and sincerely thanked me for the food. I will never forget how overwhelmed I felt at that moment, with a combination of elation, sadness, gratitude, worry, adoration, and love. After that, it was upper most in my mind to make sure those kids always took something home when they left my place. Whether it was home made soup or cookies or just a box of cereal or crackers, I would discreetly stuff something in their back packs every time. I also sent extra lunch with Pepper so she could share with Cally. The children were always extremely grateful.
Eventually they moved, the next time I saw Candace, I was a single mom. Candace had a real good job, a boyfriend, and looked well. My daughter saw Cally a year ago and said she seemed good too. Today all I could think of was Jack. He’s seventeen, where is he now, how’s he doing, is he graduating this year, I wonder if he remembers coming to my home? He was such a doll, with personality plus, I hope he’s well. Today I send that family love, especially Jack who tugged away at my heart all those many years ago!
I have changed all the names in this story, except Jacks, so as not to offend anyone. It’s very unlikely that any of the people mentioned here would read this… but if by a miracle Jack did read this, I would want him to know I’m thinking of him and I would love it if he would contact me.