Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck #Memoir – A True Story From my Past #Funeral Home by Chuck Jackson


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the first post for author Chuck Jackson and I have selected a post from last year that I enjoyed very much at the time..

 A True Story From my Past by Chuck Jackson

During my adult life, I actually had three careers. First was the four years I served in the military. When I left the military, I went to mortuary school, served a two-year apprenticeship, and then became a licensed funeral director and embalmer. I worked for funeral homes for twelve years. I started out in East Texas and most of my years were in San Antonio working for a prestigious funeral home.

They were rewarding years and I am proud of my career in the business. I left when I had a death in my immediate family and I could no longer work emotionally detached. I have many memories from the years I worked in the funeral business. Some are emotionally challenging, some involved historical individuals, and some in hindsight are comical. When you worked in view of the public, your demeanor was always dignified. When handling the remains of family members we served, we gave the same dignified and respectful care. However, I have to admit, behind the scenes were a lighter atmosphere between staff members. I have many stories of my experiences that will either pull at your heartstrings or enlighten you to the lighter side of funerals. I am going to share one of my experiences, which became notorious. I’ll let you decide if you think it was humorous.

Out of respect to the family that still owns and operates the funeral home, I am changing the name and the name of the owner. However, if your curiosity is such, you can find the story on the Internet by querying the name of the deceased that I have not changed. It will verify most of the details of my story.

In was March 11, 1977 and I was busy working several funeral services. Weisman Funeral Home is the largest (by volume of families served) and the most prestigious in San Antonio. While I worked there, we conducted approximately 100 funeral services per month. We often would conduct five or six services in one day. As I recall, this was one of those days. What made it unusual, the owner, John Weisman, notified all staff, working and on day off, he was conducting a mandatory meeting. The years I worked for the funeral home, this was the first and the last mandatory meeting we ever had.

We all met at 6 PM in our small chapel. When I walked in, I noticed Mr. Weisman’s demeanor was of heightened anxiety. When he began the meeting, he cautioned us that anything discussed in this meeting was strictly confidential. Under no circumstances were we to repeat the details.

Mr. Weisman told us he had received a telephone call from the attorney of Sol West III. Mr. West was a millionaire oil tycoon and socialite in South Texas. Mr. West’s attorney was notifying the funeral home of Mr. West’s sister-in-law and wife of his deceased brother Ike West. Ike West’s wife Sandra West had died in the Los Angeles California area and she was at the time worth more than four million dollars.

Sandra West – Photo – San Antonio Express-News

Mr. Weisman continued by providing the details of his discussion with Mr. West’s attorney. Sandra West had left a Will that requested she was to be buried next to her husband, by Weisman Funeral Home, dressed in a particular gown, and sitting behind the wheel of her blue Ferrari. In her Will, it stated if the details were not carried out, her fortune would be awarded to a named individual other than Sol West. Mr. West was the only surviving second-generation West family member. Mr. West was insistent that the money would stay within the West family.

The tension escalated when Mr. West attorney announced if the detail of Sandra West burial instructions leaked to the media, Mr. West would file suite against John Weisman and Weisman Funeral Home. Now we knew why Mr. Weisman was holding the meeting. We left the meeting that evening bound in our confidentiality and wondering what more bizarre details, the family would reveal later.

We didn’t have to wait long. That night on the Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, in his monologue, Johnny talked about the unusual burial request of some eccentric millionaires. He went on to state there was a Texas oil tycoon’s wife who had died and she requested burial in her Ferrari. Twenty-four hours later, the San Antonio Express ran an article naming Sandra West’s burial request. It named Weisman Funeral Home as the selected funeral home to carry out her wishes.

Mr. Weisman contacted the West’s attorney. He knew that when Johnny Carson taped his show, the family had not notified the funeral home. We found out later that someone from California leaked the information. Now we waited for the West family to contact us to plan the logistics of the burial.

Two days later, Sol West and his attorney came to the funeral home to meet with Mr. Weisman. A funeral home in California had completed the embalming, placed Mrs. West in a casket, and they would ship her to our funeral home. Mr. West also notified us that he had filed a petition in the California courts to protest the Will. We would arrange to have Mrs. West casket temporarily entombed in a local mausoleum until the legal issues were resolved.

Several weeks later, the attorney for the West family notified the funeral home that the judge in California ruled that the Will was valid. Sol West was responsible to follow his sister-in-law’s wishes or the court would award the estate to the other person named in the Will. Mr. West requested that we prepare the logistics of the burial as detailed in Sandra West’s Will. He asked, if possible to keep the details confidential.

Mr. Weisman include me with five other funeral directors to initiate the plans. We contacted a concrete company to build a box with one end open that was large enough to roll the car inside and then seal the end. We contacted a company to transport Mrs. West’s car from California. We also contacted a crane company to lift the concrete box with its contents into the grave.

Mr. Weisman asked me if I would come in the following day wearing something other than a suit. I was to go to Alamo Masonic Cemetery where the family had their plots. I was to measure to see if the box would fit in the area next to the grave of Ike West. He also wanted me to be discreet hoping someone from the media would not spot me. The San Antonio Express had already reported the intended grave site.

The next day I went out to the cemetery to measure. I had parked my car a block away and walked in hoping to not be spotted. As I returned to my car, a man came over to me and asked if I was from Weisman Funeral Home. I denied it and left the area. It never crossed my mind that I might be followed. When I pulled into the funeral home parking lot and got out of my car, the same man pulled his car behind mine.

I went in and immediately met with Mr. Weisman. I told him about the guy catching me. He laughed and said; “I didn’t think we could pull it off without the media finding out. At least they don’t know when it will happen. When we start digging the grave, they will be all over it.” He then changed the subject and asked, “What did you find at the cemetery?”

He motioned me to sit down and as I did, I told him, “On the left side of Ike West’s grave there is a curbing, which outlines the family’s grave sites. There is room enough between for a regular grave, but not the size we need. We could remove the curbing and then replace it afterwards. I know you told me her Will states she is to be buried next to her husband. There is more than enough room to put the box at the foot of his grave. If we did that, would it still meet the guidelines of the Will?”

Mr. Weisman took a moment to think, he said, “Good point. It is not our decision to determine whether it is or not. I’ll call Mr. West attorney and let him know of the options and let them decide. Thank you Chuck, you did a good job.” I smiled and left his office.

By the first week in May, we had received the car from California. They had completed the concrete box large enough to house the Ferrari. The crane company was ready to put the crane in place. The construction company that would be digging the grave and filling it with concrete was ready. In addition, we had rented a warehouse in a secret location to house the car, the concrete box, and eventually used to place Sandra West behind the wheel of her car. Mr. Weisman notified the family we were ready to proceed. The location of the grave was to be at the foot of Ike West’s grave. The judge in California ruled that the location met the detail of the Will.

There are discussions on the Internet about the Ferrari, in which we buried her. The argument is the year and model of the Ferrari and whether it was the Ferrari, she drove in California. I cannot verify or do I remember the specifics of the car. I do recall, the Ferrari was blue and they told us it was not the original, but one she had purchased for parts. The full interior was intact and we reclined the driver’s seat before placing Sandra West’s remains behind the wheel.

Lowering the concrete box – Photo – San Antonio Express-News

On May 19, 1977, with all preparations completed, a flatbed truck with the concrete box containing the Ferrari and Mrs. West pulled up to the gravesite. Without any ceremony, the crane lifted the box and placed it into the grave. Immediately, the construction company began pouring concrete partially filling the grave. They placed earth on top of the concrete completing the grave.

Filling grave with concrete – Photo – San Antonio Express-News

Texas State Law requires a licensed Funeral Director to be present for the burial of human remains. Weisman Funeral Home sent one man to follow the law. Otherwise, no other members of the funeral home staff were present at the cemetery. To my knowledge, none of the West family or their friends attended. However, the San Antonio Express wrote that there were three hundred spectators and members of the media present.

Sandra West had her final wishes fulfilled. Sol West received the remainder of Ike West’s estate. Mr. Weisman instructed his staff to keep the details of this burial confidential. Confidentiality was the tradition then, and as it is now of Weisman Funeral Home. I have only shared with my readers those details that I recall and you can verify on the Internet. Consequently, I feel comfortable that I have not broken the confidentiality entrusted to me.

Photo – findgrave.com

©Chuck Jackson 2018

She was awfully young but clearly attached to her Ferrari… if you have some stories about funerals or funeral directors please tell us in the comments.

About Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.

Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake-Up. In July 2017 he released: What Did I Do?. May 2018 he released: Guilt — My Companion. All three books are available as an e-book or paperback.

Books by Chuck Jackson

One of the recent reviews for One Month 20 Days and A Wake Up.

Bill hodges 5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent February 11, 2019

A great book about a very small group of people in the Air Force whose track record is stratospherically impressive if people knew about it . As an Air Force retiree myself , I have visited the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base a few times . The last time I was there it was with my great-nephew who I had custody of due to family issues . He was nine years old and really loved seeing all the exhibits . There was a gentleman who came to give a lecture /demonstration he had the Air Force ABU uniform , and the distinctive PJ beret. When I explained to Anthony James ( AJ) just what the significance that very simple piece of headgear represent to all of us in the Air Force. Needless to say he was impressed .

There is a section of the museum devoted to the Air Force para rescue force . We did spend a lot of time there , and maybe I have generated a new recruit in a few years . I also explained to him that the selection process is extremely discriminating and they take only the best of the best of the very best . (oh yeah school is important) . That’s sort of put him off a little bit , but time will tell. As far as Vietnam is concerned , I joined in 73 , even had base elections in Southeast Asia , but things had shut down by the time I finished basic training . It is hard to believe that that conflict is so far in the past now , but if nothing else illustrates just how much faith we in the military have in a system that squandered so much priceless wealth as our very best and brightest were fed into that mess . For all of you served in Vietnam you have my highest respect and admiration and a heartfelt thank you and God bless you all for holding the line .

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

Read more reviews and follow Chuck on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18190755.Chuck_Jackson

 

Connect to Chuck Jackson

Website Blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chuck_cljjlk
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cljjlk/?ref=bookmarks
Flipboard –  https://flipboard.com/@ChuckJackso2017

My thanks to Chuck for inviting me to share some posts from his archives. I hope you will head over and explore more yourself.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with Chuck Jackson


It is my pleasure to welcome author Chuck Jackson to Getting to Know You. Chuck is the author of three memoirs including his latest Guilt: My Companion. On his blog you will find posts on writing, book marketing and also mental health and social issues such as this recent article: https://chuckjacksonknowme.com/2018/06/13/did-someones-suicide-influence-you/

Before we find out more about Chuck and the questions he has chosen to respond to, here is his official biography.

Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.

He is a two-time cancer survivor and draws his strength from his faith and church activity. He is his church’s Treasurer and serves on it’s Vestry.

Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first e-book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake Up. In July 2017 he released his second book: What Did I Do? that is available as an e-book and paperback. He continues to work on his memoir manuscript, in anticipation of releasing a third book in 2018.

Chuck is an avid golfer and a member of a local golf club. He is married to Anthony, his partner of 33-plus years. He has a daughter and a new grandson.

Now time to find out which questions Chuck has selected to share with us.

Welcome to Getting to Know you Chuck and can you tell us what was the funniest moment of your life?

I have had so many, but I’ll tell you one that happened a few years ago. When Florida delayed legislation to legalize marriage between same sex couples. My now husband and I traveled to Connecticut to get married. We arranged a Justice of the Piece in Stanford to conduct the ceremony. We stayed with our good friend Casey in Stanford. He was the only one in attendance and acted as our witness. The Justice of the Peace owned a flower shop and when we arrived she escorted to a side room she set with a gazebo where she conducted the ceremonies.

She was short, wearing a robe with a lace collar, and with reading glasses on the end of her nose. She instantly reminded me of Judge Judy. She brought a thick book with her and stood behind a small lectern. She opened the book and began reading some beautiful quotes and poems about love and marriage. We waited patiently but wondered where this was going and when would she get to the actual legal vows.

After five minutes of her reading from the book and we were no closer to what we were here for, Casey said, “Excuse me.” She stopped reading and looked up at him over her glasses. “Are you planning on reading that whole book?”

Puzzled she replied, “Well yes.”

Casey continued, “Have you looked at these two? They are old. They will be dead before you finish.”

Her face flushed, “OH—OH yeah.” She quickly thumbed through the book to the back on began our vows.

I was laughing so hard, I don’t remember anything said after that, but she signed the license and we got our certificate.

What is your favorite TV show and why?

From back in the 70’s I have always enjoyed MASH. I was infatuated by Alan Alda and I thought he was great looking and his character was so witty. Yet, each of the characters added to the humor and sometimes seriousness of the show. Radar with being so naïve and Klinger with his cross dressing kept me laughing. McLean Stevenson as Col Henry Blake stole the show. Each of the characters added to the success.

Sally here: MASH was one of our favourites too, and here is a snippet with most of the stars in action

Even though the show took place during the Korean War, it was a parody of the Vietnam War. Since I was a pararescue medic in Vietnam, the humor and the serious side made the show more personal to me. I don’t ever recall seeing or hearing of a MASH unit in Vietnam. We used medivac helicopters to bring the wounded into area hospitals. Yet, these hospitals weren’t much different from the tent hospital portrayed in the TV series.

What was also similar was the non-stop wounded and KIAs (killed in action).

For me, MASH was able to take the seriousness of war and poke fun of its reality. They did it without losing the dignity of those that actually experienced it. The things portrayed in humor most likely never could happen.

What is your favorite childhood song and why?

In 1954, my dad, a sergeant in the Air Force, was sent to Okinawa. After a year, we joined him. That year we were separated, my mother, sister and I lived with my grandparents in Ft. Worth, Texas. At age eight, my grandfather was the most important person in my world. When he returned from work, I went everywhere with him. He didn’t drive a car and we walked most places. As we walked he would talk to me, tease me and always hold my hand.

One of our favorite TV shows to watch was Francis the Talking Mule. Granddad would imitate Francis and it would send me into hysterical laughter. Even when Granddad would tease me about it, he would sing along with me to my favorite song, “Teddy Bear Picnic”. I don’t think or hear the words without thinking of Granddad and the love he gave to me.

Sally here: I have found one of the original recordings of Teddy Bears Picnic by Henry Hall and his orchestra for you Chuck.

Do you prefer the big city or country life?

Growing up, I had the opportunity to live both places. From 1956 to 1960 we lived in a rural community in Iowa. My dad was stationed at the Air Force base that was ten miles away. Every summer beginning when I was twelve, I worked on a farm. Rural life was simpler, yet everyone worked hard to provide the essentials.

In 1970 after leaving the military, I moved to Dallas Texas and later years to San Antonio.

My years in the career as a mortician were in those cities. I also attended and graduated for the University of Texas at San Antonio. I have many memories of the long hours of working and going to school to accomplish my goals.

In the 80’s I moved to South East Florida, where I spent the remainder of my working years as an accountant. Our area would be considered suburban with the majority of the population retired. I’m retired myself and this area is conducive to my current lifestyle. We have great restaurants, recreation (golf, tennis, theater, etc.) and medical facilities. I doubt I’ll live anywhere else.

If I could choose to go back and live in one of the three types of communities, I would choose the urban city life. No one likes the traffic, but the life style is so vibrant, and the opportunities are endless if you are willing to challenge yourself. If I had the money to afford it, I would live in downtown Chicago or New York. These cities literally have a pulse and are alive twenty-four/seven.

Have you ever played a musical instrument or sang in public?

Starting in fourth grade, I think I was eleven, I began playing the trumpet. To this day, I have no idea why I had a natural talent for the trumpet. We were living in the rural area of Iowa and I played first chair trumpet in the band. When my dad was transferred to other Air Force bases and we moved to other areas of the country, I continued playing in school bands.

I had one music teacher that gave me the opportunity to learn other brass instruments. I learned to play the tuba, French horn, coronet, and trombone. In high school I also played in a dance band. We mainly played for high school dances, but we occasionally played at the NCO and Officer’s Clubs on base. I’m not sure we were that good, but we did have fun and made a few bucks.

In 1970, when I left the military and went to mortuary school, I put my trumpet in the closet and quit playing. I thought at the time I was too busy going to school and then later working to practice and keep my talent fresh. I would occasionally bring it out, but with each absent period, my talent and desire dwindled.

This is one of the things in my life I regret. I loved playing music and the self-satisfaction I received. I had a gift for playing and I allowed other things to take precedence over my passion.

I still have my trumpet. A few years ago, my husband had it restored hoping I would start playing again. I have lost all ability to play and I don’t have the desire it would take to relearn how to play. My trumpet sits beautifully on display, but silent.

Sally here: I am sure you were an amazing musician Chuck, and whilst your creativity now moves in another direction.. here is Satchmo with When the Saints Come Marching In to celebrate your trumpet years..

Chuck Jackson’s latest book was released in AprilGuilt – My Companion – A Journey of Healing.

About Guilt – My Companion

Guilt—My Companion is a story based on the author’s strength and recovery from a dysfunctional family. It begins in the ‘60s during a period filled with social and personal injustice. It tells the struggle of his conscience against societies’ ignorance and prejudice. It follows his journey to recoup from personal tragedy and grief. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Live is a journey, not a destination.”.

But for this story, the journey is the destinations he took. It wasn’t where he intended, and he had little control of the paths he took. Along those paths were heartaches and defeat. He found deception, prejudice, and hate. Lay in waiting was his companion, guilt; the robber of personal pleasure. Follow his story and discover when he conquered guilt, there was nothing inhibiting his self-growth and happiness.

One of the early reviews for the book

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars The epilogue best describes the outcome June 20, 2018

The book stayed true to the title. I found it gripping and, in many cases, difficult to comprehend the cruelty imposed upon the author. The epilogue best describes the outcome: (1) Healing involved a desire to change the habit of carrying baggage, and (2) professional help. The author, Denis Waitley, wrote that “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” I believe that the author’s journey possessed all of these.

Without grace, he would not have made the remarkable life he has lived. Without love, he couldn’t fight against the emotional abuse of hate. Without gratitude, he couldn’t have written his books.

This book is for all of us; for the times we’ve allowed ourselves to wallow in the darkness of resentment and anger, guilt, and subsequent depression. By sharing this journey, the author opened up his heart with love, grace, and gratitude and gave us this book.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Guilt-My-Companion-Journey-Healing/dp/1717393012

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Guilt-My-Companion-Journey-Healing-ebook/dp/B07CPZJ4BQ

Also by Chuck Jackson

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

Connect to Chuck Jackson

Website Blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chuck_cljjlk
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cljjlk/?ref=bookmarks
Google Plus:   https://plus.google.com/105624026158453424361
Flipboard –  https://flipboard.com/@ChuckJackso2017

Thank you very much for dropping in today and Chuck would love to read your comments and answer any questions. thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Guilt – My Companion by Chuck Jackson


Delighted to share the news of Chuck Jackson’s latest book that was released in April – Guilt – My Companion – A Journey of Healing.

About Guilt – My Companion

Guilt—My Companion is a story based on the author’s strength and recovery from a dysfunctional family. It begins in the ‘60s during a period filled with social and personal injustice. It tells the struggle of his conscience against societies’ ignorance and prejudice. It follows his journey to recoup from personal tragedy and grief. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Live is a journey, not a destination.”.

But for this story, the journey is the destinations he took. It wasn’t where he intended, and he had little control of the paths he took. Along those paths were heartaches and defeat. He found deception, prejudice, and hate. Lay in waiting was his companion, guilt; the robber of personal pleasure. Follow his story and discover when he conquered guilt, there was nothing inhibiting his self-growth and happiness.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Guilt-My-Companion-Journey-Healing/dp/1717393012

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Guilt-My-Companion-Journey-Healing-ebook/dp/B07CPZJ4BQ

Also by Chuck Jackson

One of the recent reviews for What Did I Do?

This is a very touching and beautiful story. I broke into tears during some of the chapters because I felt so sorry for this kid growing up in such an unloving and unsupportive home.

If you plant a seed in asphalt, it will not grow. Not because something is wrong with the seed, but because the environment around it does not allow for it to grow. We need healthy supportive people around us. A healthy community of people who encourage us and show us love and compassion.
I am very thankful that the author took the time to write this book and share it with us.

For people recovering from TRAUMA, childhood neglect, anxiety or PTSD I recommend 2 books that have helped me profoundly –  The body keeps score – The boy who was raised as a dog

I hope the Author has settled into a life of more joy with a healthy and supportive community surrounding him.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

About Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.

He is a two-time cancer survivor and draws his strength from his faith and church activity. He is his church’s Treasurer and serves on it’s Vestry.

Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first e-book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake Up. In July 2017 he released his second book: What Did I Do? that is available as an e-book and paperback. He continues to work on his memoir manuscript, in anticipation of releasing a third book in 2018.

Chuck is an avid golfer and a member of a local golf club. He is married to Anthony, his partner of 33-plus years. He has a daughter and a new grandson.

Connect to Chuck Jackson

Website Blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chuck_cljjlk
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cljjlk/?ref=bookmarks
Google Plus:   https://plus.google.com/105624026158453424361
Flipboard –  https://flipboard.com/@ChuckJackso2017

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the news of Chuck’s new book.. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Christmas posts from Your Archives – The Significance of Christmas by Chuck Jackson


Delighted to welcome Chuck Jackson with his Christmas post from 2016. He shares his experience of Christmas through his childhood, parenthood and to the present time.

The Significance of Christmas by Chuck Jackson

I am not sure when we age if the Christmas holidays become more or less significant. As a child, I couldn’t wait for December 25th. It seemed after Thanksgiving, it would never get here. The excitement was waking up Christmas morning to experience what Santa Claus had brought. Even when I knew about Santa, my family continued to celebrate his arrival. We exchanged gifts within the family, but Santa still took center stage.

When I became a parent,Christmas excitement returned. I was just as excited as when I was a child to give my daughter that magical time of Santa Claus’s arrival. Sitting next to the tree until late hours, assembling those toys, bicycles, etc. was never a chore; it was fun. I always made sure I consumed the milk and cookies she set out for Santa. I always left one cookie with a bite taken out as evidence of Santa’s arrival. To watch the excitement on her face when she saw what Santa had brought created memories never forgotten.

When my daughter left home, my Christmases changed and we created new traditions. Mid-night Mass took precedence over anything else. A Christmas without going to church seemed empty and incomplete. Waking up Christmas morning without Santa’s visit also left a void. Not every year did she come home for Christmas, yet when she did those seemed extra special.

Next, were the years when my daughter became an adult and she lived in the area. Christmas tradition changed again. Church services on Christmas Eve remained foremost. Nevertheless, we always shared Christmas dinner with her. When she became busy with her friends, she often cooked the dinner and she invited us. If she had a special person in her life, Christmas dinner was at our house and we invited him.

A few years ago, my daughter married and she now lives a distance that makes it difficult for her to return home. To visit her is equally problematic. Christmas tradition has changed once again. What hasn’t changed is going to Mid-night Mass. We still feel it isn’t Christmas without attending church. Christmas Day finds us having dinner at a friend’s or our home, and sometimes we go out. The exchanging of gifts is now absent.

The money we would spend, we use to buy something special we both want.
This year, my daughter and her husband have a new son. It will be interesting to see what traditions she chooses. Will she carry those traditions I experienced as a child and carried forward to her childhood? Will she create her own? When my grandson gets a little older, that excitement of Christmas morning will return and maybe I might get to experience it with him.

For the last 33 years, what has been significant is the person I share Christmas with. My life partner and now husband has been that solidarity in my life that was missing. Beginning with our first Christmas, what contributed to making them special was sharing them with him. He adapted to the changing traditions as I did and we made each Christmas that special time of the year. Spending a Christmas without him is a tradition I hope I don’t experience for a long time.

Now I ask again, does the Christmas holidays become less significant as we age? For me the answer is no. Our traditions have change, but the significance never wavers. Santa through the years took on an important role. However, celebrating the coming of Christ each year by attending Mid-night Mass will always be a significance and a tradition that will never change.

May the Blessing of Christmas be with you and your family. God Bless.

©Chuck Jackson 2016

Chuck Jackson shares his story of child abuse at the hands of his parents and also the damning statistics that identify that little has changed in the last fifty years. What Did I Do was published on July 4th and is a memoir that lifts the veil of secrecy about not just the American family but the Universal family.

About What Did I Do?

The veil of secrecy over the American family prevails and the covertness of child abuse continues. According to the National Children’s Alliance, approximately 700,000 (683,000 in 2015) children are abused each year. Child Protective Service (CPS) reports they investigate 3.4 million children and place them under the care of the CPS. These are frightening statistics attesting that child abuse is not in decline, but rather the opposite.

Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, or psychological mistreatment or neglect of a child or children. Have you ever suspected or even witnessed child abuse in public or in a home? If you did and did nothing, you are condoning the act and its effect on the child. Child advocacy groups are begging for the public involvement. Yet, little is being done.

What Did I Do? is Chuck Jackson’s true recollection of the abuse he received from both his parents. It is a story where he spent years struggling to please them without succeeding. It is a story where they told him he was irredeemable and unworthy of being their son. When he saw love and happiness in other families, he wondered why not his.

Chuck came out of the darkness to expound on the stigma attached to child abuse. He admitted to the affects of shame, anger, guilt, and depression that he and so many experience. He tells the story of survival where he felt invisible. Follow him where he sought a warm touch and a kind word of praise. Follow his desperation for love from anyone. Follow Chuck’s story and help answer his question, what did I do?

Two of the recent reviews.

This story is a remarkably sensitive account of how a young man who travels on his own personal journey of acceptance while dealing with his own parents’ prejudices and bigotry. Any person coming out of the closet and any parent dealing with a child who is different need to read this book.

Knowing the author and then reading his story is incredibly enriching. That anyone could go through what Chuck Jackson went through is a miracle in itself. It is a powerful and fascinating story that parents AND children of age should read. Abuse seems to seep from generation to generation and it destroys lives in the process. It has to stop. Books like “What Did I Do?” help immensely. I feel enriched that I have heard his story.

 

Read the reviews and buy the memoir: https://www.amazon.com/What-Did-I-Do-Memoir-ebook/dp/B073R2B3RK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Did-Do-Chuck-Jackson/dp/1548327166

Also by Chuck Jackson

Read all the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

And Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG
 

About Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.

He is a two-time cancer survivor and draws his strength from his faith and church activity. He is his church’s Treasurer and serves on it’s Vestry.

Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first e-book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake Up. In July 2017 he released his second book: What Did I Do? that is available as an e-book and paperback. He continues to work on his memoir manuscript, in anticipation of releasing a third book in 2018.

Chuck is an avid golfer and a member of a local golf club. He is married to Anthony, his partner of 33-plus years. He has a daughter and a new grandson.

Connect to Chuck Jackson

Website Blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chuck_cljjlk
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cljjlk/?ref=bookmarks
Google Plus:   https://plus.google.com/105624026158453424361
Flipboard –  https://flipboard.com/@ChuckJackso2017

Thank you for dropping in today and we would love to get your feedback.. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – #Memoir – What Did I Do? by Chuck Jackson


Welcome to another author who is joining the bookstore. Chuck Jackson shares his story of child abuse at the hands of his parents and also the damning statistics that identify that little has changed in the last fifty years. What Did I Do was published on July 4th and is a memoir that lifts the veil of secrecy about not just the American family but the Universal family.

About What Did I Do?

The veil of secrecy over the American family prevails and the covertness of child abuse continues. According to the National Children’s Alliance, approximately 700,000 (683,000 in 2015) children are abused each year. Child Protective Service (CPS) reports they investigate 3.4 million children and place them under the care of the CPS. These are frightening statistics attesting that child abuse is not in decline, but rather the opposite.

Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, or psychological mistreatment or neglect of a child or children. Have you ever suspected or even witnessed child abuse in public or in a home? If you did and did nothing, you are condoning the act and its effect on the child. Child advocacy groups are begging for the public involvement. Yet, little is being done.

What Did I Do? is Chuck Jackson’s true recollection of the abuse he received from both his parents. It is a story where he spent years struggling to please them without succeeding. It is a story where they told him he was irredeemable and unworthy of being their son. When he saw love and happiness in other families, he wondered why not his.

Chuck came out of the darkness to expound on the stigma attached to child abuse. He admitted to the affects of shame, anger, guilt, and depression that he and so many experience. He tells the story of survival where he felt invisible. Follow him where he sought a warm touch and a kind word of praise. Follow his desperation for love from anyone. Follow Chuck’s story and help answer his question, what did I do?

Two of the early reviews

A wonderfully written true story of the cruelty, physically and emotionally, that a parent can inflict on a child. Everyone with children, or thinking of having children, should read and realize that everyone of your actions has consequences. Every child living in an abusive relationship should read, if for no other reason, then to know that are people that love you and are willing to help you once you allow yourself to break your vow of silence. A true story of survival and the strength of the human spirit at the hand of treachery. I highly recommend to one and all.

I had just finished watching the movie My Old Lady, starring Maggie Smith, Kirsten Scott Thomas and Kevin Kline. It is a poignant story about reconciling one’s childhood; a mixture of neglect and child abuse. The mail had delivered Chuck’s memoir that same day. The movie was emotional, so I was in the frame of mind to read What Did I Do? This is actually a story about a hero. As I read the content, all I could think about was how enduring a person is Chuck Jackson. He could have made his life the story of a victim. Instead, this is one of strength and character in spite of history. This manuscript is a testament to one’s ability to make the choices that provide the most positive outcomes, no matter the struggle. Thank you for sharing this powerful story.

Read the reviews and buy the memoir: https://www.amazon.com/What-Did-I-Do-Memoir-ebook/dp/B073R2B3RK

Also by Chuck Jackson

One of the reviews for One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake-Up

USAF Pararescue Jumper  on February 5, 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed Chuck Jackson’s new story, “One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake-up – One man’s story of what it meant to be a PJ”. The Navy has their Seals, Army, Green Beret’s, and the Air Force,, Pararescue Jumpers (PJ). One thing to note is that they are all the best of the best and good at what they do.

In this story, readers follow the protagonist and his best friend as they go through basic training and then into Special Forces training to become PJ’s. The training is extremely difficult and those who graduate have a special skill – one that was greatly in need in the Vietnam War.
The friend is first to leave the country and later followed by the protagonist. Once there, he finds that the two of them will be separated during their tours.

The author’s recounting of the training and many rescue operations shared in the book makes readers thankful that people exist who are not daunted by the task at hand. In most instances, the PJ leaves the helicopter alone to seek out the missing pilots or crews of the downed aircraft. One story in particular left me breathless, where the jumper and missing pilot are left on the ground after enemy fire causes their transportation to vacate the area. To avoid spoiling the story, I will leave it there.

Other missions tell the story of rescues where those on the ground did not survive and the mission became one of recovery instead. Initially, I thought this book was about the author writing about his own experiences. He did let me know that the story is a work of fiction and the accounts are those based on the recounting from a close friend. Either way, I’ve a great respect for these men and their special skills. As a result, I feel comfortable knowing that soldiers like those portrayed in this story are keeping me safe.

Highly recommended for those wanting to learn more about what these special people have to go through to earn the burgundy beret and flash…and then, marvel at what it takes to stand between us citizens and those who want to harm us. Great job Mr. Jackson!

John Podlaski, author
“Cherries – A Vietnam War Novel” and “When Can I Stop Running?”

Read all the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG
 

About Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.

He is a two-time cancer survivor and draws his strength from his faith and church activity. He is his church’s Treasurer and serves on it’s Vestry.

Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first e-book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake Up. In July 2017 he released his second book: What Did I Do? that is available as an e-book and paperback. He continues to work on his memoir manuscript, in anticipation of releasing a third book in 2018.

Chuck is an avid golfer and a member of a local golf club. He is married to Anthony, his partner of 33-plus years. He has a daughter and a new grandson.

Connect to Chuck Jackson

Website Blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chuck_cljjlk
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cljjlk/?ref=bookmarks
Google Plus:   https://plus.google.com/105624026158453424361
Flipboard –  https://flipboard.com/@ChuckJackso2017

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could share the news about Chuck’s new memoir. Thanks Sally

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