The main reason for our trip was for me to officiate at Jackie’s Memorial Service. I did. Saturday night with the tide receding. With a very short sermon that quoted the Byrds’ Turn, Turn, Turn, which quoted Ecclesiastes Chapter 3. And Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar.” And some verses from the Gospel of John. I started with some memories of my first introduction to Jackie. It was the summer of ’64. Kay was babysitting the three girls. Jackie dubbed me Lurch after the butler in The Addams Family TV show. Pam said it was because I was tall. She also told me that all three girls had a crush on me so if Kay hadn’t scooped me up, Delores might have become my mother-in-law. Hmm…
Jackie’s son Christopher had asked Jackie’s sister Pam to coordinate the event. She rented a house for all of us on Tybee Island. All of us numbering 22. Everyone wondered before arriving how we would cope with this many distant relatives, old friends, and strangers sharing a small space. Everyone coped just fine; in fact, it was fun.
We shared stories of Jackie and her parents. We found connections we didn’t know we had. I heard some stories I had not heard and shared one that others had not: when Jack and Delores eloped and went on their honeymoon, money was tight. They traveled on Jack’s motorcycle, filling the gas tank at night by draining gas pump hoses in closed gas stations.
Jackie had been cremated and her ashes were intended for the ocean. Pam had ordered a sinkable float for the journey down the estuary that the house faced. It was supposed to float for four minutes. There was not enough weight for that to happen, but it was underwater by the next morning.