J R – Friend for Life

JR and I at a recent live music event.

How can I explain my friend JR? I have no idea really.

Guess I’ll begin at the beginning.

We met at Bowling Green Elementary School in the middle of 1st grade back in 1958. We had just moved to Stonehedge Way, across the street and 3 houses down from the Trujillos ranch home, all new suburbs full of growing families. Our school was full of kids, and JR called herself Jackie then. We both joined Bluebirds and were in Mrs. McGee’s flock. We’d happily do crafts, collect badges and chase each other around the neighborhood. Jackie and I would make butter n sugar white bread sandwiches after school and eat them on her closet floor, like a little fort.

We both had dough boy swim pools for Hot Sacramento weather and played in each others pools many sizzling afternoons. Jackie had a handsome older brother Randy and eventually a baby sister DeeDee.

Jackie was doted on by her Mother who spoiled her like an only child.

Mrs. Trujillo always made enchiladas and my Mother would literally dance a gig when she saw Mrs. Trujillo walk down the middle of Stonehedge way with a glass casserole filled with the most delicious enchiladas on the face of the Earth.

We grew up, some years thru school we were very close, other years more distant. Jackie always played the role of protector during our school age years.

We got to be very close in our Senior year and went on our own adventure around California after graduation. It was spectacular. See I knew EVERYTHING about her life and experiences!!

About 10 years after graduation we moved to Hawaii with our dear friend Steve Soto and my boyfriend at the time.

We completely enjoyed Kailua Beach where we lived and the good times continued to roll on. We shared a condo overlooking the ocean and began to enjoy the culture of the islands.

JR found the humidity fairly exhausting and returned to Sacramento reinstating with the State.

We saw each other when I visited infrequently, an ocean caused compelling distance and once Steve and her came to visit me and my family in Maui. We enjoyed a luau, a snorkel trip and a whale watch. There are photos from that excursion.

Eventually I returned to Sacto to reinstate and work on a retirement, it’s a good thing I did. I reconnected with Steve right away and it was his passing that brought JR and I back together. We literally picked up exactly where we’d left off.

Jacqueline’s passion was truly traveling and Travel we did. We must of taken 50 overnight trips in the last 4 1/2 years and I am grateful for all of them. It was not always easy to travel with JR because she was always falling down. We spent Way too much times in ERs during our vacation trips.

I’d like to mention those most memorable!

Two trips that were to San Diego were particularly misfortunate although thru it all we managed to have fun.

Last year we flew to San Diego and stayed at her timeshare near the beach that had 2 bedrooms and great accoutrements.

We had plans to dine out, visit the beach, go to La Jolla and od course go to world famous San Diego Zoo! I was so excited, a couple, 3-4 years ago I went with my husband and had a remarkable interaction with a baby gorilla named Frank.

I will recount the highlights, as I shared them with JR.

We approached the glass window looking into the gorillas, they were all right there in front of the small bank of bleachers, the silverback, his females, some young gorillas scampering about and a tiny gorilla was very active.

I walked the length of the glass and at the far right end stopped right in front right at the glass. In the blink of my eye, the tiny 18-20″ baby gorilla ran right up to me perched on a small ledge and we were literally eyeball to eyeball. I held my breathe and looked into his rich brown eyes and saw this tiny baby, and we connected. It felt like an hour but was probably 2 minutes but we held each others gaze deeply. It was a rare and wonderful moment I will carry with me forever. I was absolutely in love.

Frank heard the big silverback call and took one last look and ran off. That was really very special.

So seeing the gorillas was on the top of my list for the zoo.

We had the problem of mobility tho. JR had trouble walking even a little and I have trouble walking distances so we figured renting electric scooters was optimal. We went over how to and she said she would follow right behind me. We scooted to the totems poles and onto see the amazing collection of animals. I was happy.

We followed the path and I told her stay right near me, I collared out, we’re going up a grade and moments later I heard a scream and a giant crash, she had driven right off the ledge and rolled over the scooter landing very hard. She’d hit her head.

People came running, they re-routed the tour buses and an ambulance was called. We were on our way to Emergency. She hurt her head and bruised other places and a day later we left San Diego early. Not one of our better trips.

The following San Diego trip was this January 2018. She treated me to a cruise to what is sold as the Mexican Riviera, we flew to San Diego and had transport to the harbor and boarded a luxury line called Oosterdam, one of the Norweigen fleet of small, fancier ships. It was my first cruise, she had been on many, to Alaska, the Caribbean and Mexico, with other friends and her neighbor Karen. I did not like it when she treated but she insisted because she knew I’d be helping her a lot.

The travel to the ship was fine and we got into our stateroom, with private veranda and called for them to separate the beds as they were twins joined to be a king but we are single girls!

Our stateroom was gorgeous. I went out to look at the ocean as we were still in port. What a wonderful view we had. I said out loud, “watch that lip on the doorjam”.

She went out to see the water, she still had her boots and jacket on. And she tripped on the lip and went airborne tumbling into the coffee table and landing on her face, screaming. We had been on board 10 minutes.

I called the Emergency services then went to look closely at her, blood was coming out of the top of her hand and her hand was torn open. She took off the outer layer of the top of her hand and it was terrible. The emergency people came and took her to the ships medical facility. Once the doctor arrived they x-rayed her and determined it wasn’t fractured but she needed to keep it dry and elevated, she was very sore.

We had seven nights on board this ship, we ate all our meals together, she gambled I went to hear live music, rock, blues, classical and I danced a few times. I met and talked to people and every night we dressed up for dinner.

We had pictures….

Glam night was lots of fun. I managed to have fun but it was tense, I felt guilty having fun when she was in such misery. JR kept telling me go out and have fun so on the 3rd day I finally left during the day. My routine was to have lunch in Lido, then go out to the big pool and paint for awhile then swim, first doing laps, then rest fully lounging in the hot tubs. That was really fun.

When our cruise ended, we flew home and I asked her if we could please avoid San Diego in the future. She agreed.