I knew Jeanne mostly as my “editor”. After parting with the little creation manifested by my wife, Jacquie and me, Jeanne wanted me to continue to contribute. My essays, rants, scribbles, and mumbles found a follower. I had at first thought this as a passing wish, one of those almost obligatory statements that usually have no definite time or purpose like, “sure, we should get together”; and it never materializes. But Jeanne reiterated her wish. She was serious. Serious, in fact, that she wanted to pay me a few coins for my troubles. Yes, she was resolved, but also - stepping back a bit - about contributing to our community.
Over the course of her tenure as owner of the Edge, she would never harp on an overdue article, or the contents of any submission. She trusted my meanderings which covered religion, politics, the arts, and the humanities. But when I was able to submit I was sure that it would soon appear. Our ‘relationship’ was for the most part, mostly that. But what I can observe, other than the immediate dealings we had, was something that is never spoken. For it was only by example that it becomes clearer. For, amidst the rapid pace of life, she cared considerably for the community.
I must first take a step further back in time, when we came to the heartbreaking decision to sell the Edge, for there was one discussion that is relevant now. We had wondered whether if a potential buyer would be a notable, long time resident; or, one of the more recent “Eastenders” – a person who fell in love with the community not only for what it is, where it is, but of its potential. A potential seen on a larger canvas than most are agreeable to. And when Jeanne bought the Edge, we found that it was the latter of the two. Someone who uprooted themselves and re-created a home, here.
Jeanne was committed to the diversity of the Arts and Culture that Eastend and area provide, regardless of whether it was home-grown, or from someone who was transplanted. In addition, with her own observations writ large and small in the pages of the Edge, she had a vision that was strong, sympathetic, and caring. She understood the community and said it was grand. But she also knew that it could also be better, for one of the greater unwritten sins is complacence. No one should accept that this is as good as it gets. For in these hills, in these ancient voices that echoes through the valley, in these hands that have toiled in the soils for seed, or wrestled herds of undisputed beasts, there is always hope for something better. For these were the demands set upon all our fore parents, and their parents before them, for they too, uprooted themselves, to come, and settle here.
I think now of Jeanne as my own personal pioneer, though I am certain it would be something she would rebuke. For her path was true and original. I wish, upon hindsight, that I would have learned more about her, from her. This is the sin of all of us, for we often take advantage of the living, believing that tomorrow another chance will come. We learn the most difficult truth that this is not always true.
Jeanne liked words; and so did I. For example, hagiography is a term used to describe saints. In broader parlance, it’s a form of writing that is filled with too much endearing emotion, rather than a view moderated by time, and space – a view less biased. Too close, too soon often provides a skewed view of a person.
I didn’t know her like I should, and this will be something I will always regret. But I will wrap myself in my hagiographic vision, and find comfort that she touched many of us here in Eastend and area. She found something here worth more than gold itself. In Eastend, amongst these people, amongst these hills, amongst these stories, she found friends, she found love, she found a home.