So, I don’t remember when, though it’s been quite some time now as working together goes back six years away to when I unintentionally left our common radio spot, but she told me her Mom called her Jilly Bean, possibly the sweetest, most genuine love felt nickname from a parent to a child that I’ve ever heard (and it’s a pun JB!)
From whenever that was, and it was way before the last six years apart, I’ve called her JB. She’s called me FB.
She always thought of me and gave me first dibs on her Mom’s cookies and pastries and whatever baked wonderousness Mom would occasionally gift our way.
“!!!!!!!! Loves me the Mom’s!!!”
I kind of recall her first days at the station, group of stations, as an intern, though I couldn’t possibly tell you any specifics. I just know she was a daily welcome given, just knew she filled a room, just knew we did gigs together and I would always feel a relief when finding out she was on that remote’s ticket. Just knowing, no matter what the gig was or how it might go, that if she were there things would be done right at her insistence and laughter would happen, a lot of laughter and I looked forward to them because of.
After my Benny passed away, my best of friend of 16 years, back in 2011, she was a one who gave me a kind word’s shoulder and hug to help me through. She knew. She also knew I had no intentions of searching out a replacement, at least not anytime soon. I mean how can ya? But a couple of months later, during one of my Pet of the Week segments on Mix 97 there came to be a kitten as that day’s star, the tiniest of things. Now some folks in the building might make their way down to the studio to meet that week’s puppy or dog, kitten or cat, sometimes rabbit or even a one time guinea pig (she gave me quite bit of laughing shit when it was discovered that I was allergic to said one time guinea pig as the right side of my face blew up like I had lost a fight, badly) but she was an always.
“Hey, we got stuff to do”
“It can wait. It’s Tuesday, FB’s got his Pet of the Week”.
She was always there first, damning whatever work needed to be done to hang with that week’s furry, even if only for a couple of moments.
I hold dear the fondest of memory of her stepping into the studio to stand in the back while I interviewed whoever it was from the Ulster County SPCA that had brought my latest guest, this tiny kitten on my chest, just underneath my microphone.
“Oh, you’re F****d”
“I know huh?”
She knew, without even thinking about my consulting my better half at the time, she knew that this tinyness on my chest was coming home with me. She knew my empty of a Benny being gone.
She smiled a “good luck” to the explaining with a wink.
Bella, that’s her name, outlasted the relationship with that better half and is still with me, 10 years later, and really, it was that exclamation of me, as JB said, being blanked, that helped me cement the notion that this little one had found a new spot in her littleness world, no matter the possible objections.
I can never think about my years with Bella without thinking of her.
I stayed on her good side, no matter what, even if there were a disagreement on something I deferred. You weren’t going to win an argument and not because there might be louder talk, and she could be an in your face when she wanted to be, but because she was always right, aaarrrggghhh, she was always right. She always had her points down and even if she didn’t there was no one better to fake it.
She mentioned to me one time, about my blog and my writings, which she would read and I was so glad that she did as there are those whose opinion you value, about how I tended to start a good number of my posts with a “So” or a “Well” or a “Now”, a kind of pause followed with a comma, a comma’s breath before diving in and how this seemed a bit of a crutch. I then found myself noting this, this using of a “So” or a “Well” or a “Now” or something similar and my things got better simply from being more self aware now and not just for that one crutch (thank you JB) or sometimes I noted the use and left it in, purposely, with a thought of her and that was well before now.
I will miss you JB, Jill, you were light and lord knows that the world can ill afford to lose such light and that makes me angry, angering at the universe and its random and its always picking lights to dim that don’t deserve to be dimmed, especially now and you being gone isn’t fair, not just to you or your family or to friends but to the world itself.
I don’t know where you’ve gone, none of us really know where you’ve gone but … well … it’s just not here JB, it’s just not freakin’ here.
“That’s kinda funny”
“That a small guinea pig has your face looking all beaten up”
“Funny? Really? That’s your take on my boxer’s face?”
“Oh sure, that’s funny lady? Very funny JB.”