Jim Harvill 1943~2010 Corrie Leffler
Nunc Et Orci
Robin Desantis I remember giving Jimmy Dad’s Purple Heart at 6 a.m. in TI. Having Starbuck’s coffee in front of the Video Poker machine. I think it was the first time I’ve seen him speechless. Beside his “I’m with Jim” birthday!
Melissa Some of my favorite memories of Dad are the regular, day to day things we used to do. Stopping for chips and strawberry milk after school, vacuuming the carpet in perfect triangles, waking up on Saturday mornings and going outside to help Dad fix things, the way he would put his hand on my shoulder in the car, watching movies together, sitting on the deck and just talking about anything, the way he pushed me to be my best, standing next to him on the tractor, shopping, taking turns cooking dinner, doing the scramble from the newspaper on the way to school, making drinks, cutting wood, water
fights in the barn, sledding, playing harmonica for the dogs, Dragon basketball, getting stuck in the mud in the driveway, putting in fences, feeding the horses, watching Bubba follow him around like a dog, mowing the lawn, making tapes, taking care of everything and everyone. I could add more to this list every day. Thank you, Linda, for helping me focus my feelings about this day on all the things I love about Dad, instead of just how much I miss him.
Beverly My memories of Jim start as a little boy. He was such a smart little kid, and then grew into teen age, which did have some problems. Not bad ones, but soon he turned into a family guy at a young age. He did well with it. Jim enjoyed his children very much, and they were very much a part of his life. In the later years, he and I enjoyed weekly visits over the phone. We talked to each other for over an hour each week about world news, our family, and, of course, politics. He and I agreed on many of those issues. Bush was not a favorite subject. He would tell me about his week and I would get him up on what I had planned for the following week. I miss that part of my week.
Stephanie I will always think of Jim on St. Patrick's day, as that is the first time I met him. He used to call me "Cult Girl"…(I think because I worked at a comic book store part time back in the day). I loved his smile, he had a great sense of humor. We have a wonderful picture of a very detailed Gingerbread house he made for Chris and Kim, which inspired Chris to make one for the girls. One of my favorite stories is of him hiding in a closet when Chris and Kim were little and were watching Wolf Man and then he jumped out and scared the daylights out of them! 3
Mary: Memories of Jim Linda Kristi
Mollie (Washington, DC, Summer circa 1957) Linda, Carol and Mollie were hanging out on Grandma and Smitty’s front steps when Jimmy rode up on a bike. He was gorgeous—a Greek God on wheels right there in front of us. As I tried desperately to be the funniest, prettiest, wisest, kindest, wittiest—whatever it took—to get his attention, Jimmy plucked a rose off a bush, spit on it, quietly handed it to me and rode off. That was 50 years ago and to this day, the memory of
Linda Harvill A
Linda called to tell me a story about Jim when Melissa was a in school and a friend of Mo’s named Becky came over to work on making a video together for class. At some point, Becky mentioned a song that she couldn’t remember the name of…but she really liked it. She only remembered that it had the words “going fishing” in it. Jim went down to his music room, and…half an hour later came up with the song playing on the tape recorder. He had such a love for music that he actually had the song Becky was talking about: It was Taj Mahal’s Fishin’ Blues…and Becky was delighted to hear it again!
Noelle I guess I really remember all of Jim's positive energy, the good stuff you feel when you're a kid. Everyone seemed to light up around him. Of course, any event involving our DC cousins was very exciting ! Jimmy introduced me to Jim Beam on a very memorable day. I was wondering what a curious 20 yr. old should drink, and he made me a Jim Beam and coke. He said it was his favorite because as drunk as he got, he could always remember his name to order another. I was remembering him fondly as I was puking later that night :). Thanks, Jim!
Meghan My favorite memory of Jim includes my mom, of course! It is the picture she always had on her wall of the two of them as little kids at a wedding dancing. I can't remember whose wedding it was, but she had curls in her hair and they were both adorable! They recreated the picture at Noelle's wedding.
Colleen Many of my memories of Jim are stories from Mom - he was her first crush and the most handsome boy she ever knew. Their summers together brought her joy that she carried with her all her life. On the happy occasions I spent with him, I could see why. He had an infectious smile and a warm way which when you spoke with him, made you feel like the most special person in the room. I hope he's with Judy, Gary and Marie, swimming in Manion's pond and laughing.
Kristi Moving to Spokane was scary to say the least. But the promise of getting to know my Gramps was an opportunity my sister and I were most looking forward to taking advantage of. We started out small, staying the night at his house here and there. We would get up at the butt crack of dawn to feed the horses, and falling asleep by the pellet stove in his favorite chair was the best way to make up for the early rising. He highly believed in chores. Soon we realized we had a shared passion for shopping. He would stop by the house pick up Corrie and me, and off to the mall we would head. Picking out some jeans was the turning point in our relationship…he hated what I chose. Letting him pick for me worked to my advantage. He had FAR better taste. I felt like a Barbie doll. If we were near a outlet, you knew we were headed to Polo first. He started coming to sports events to support me, and at my first all city cross country meet he was surrounded by people. Worried, and confused I ran up next to him, to say hi, and see what was going on. Boy was I wrong; he started to introduce me, to all his friends! Gramps had something to talk about with everyone, and made connections through work and the St. Georges community where my Aunt Melissa attended. I got to see first hand, he really did have a smile on his face at all times, and in turn I never saw someone with a frown when he was around. That man saw someone he knew every stop we made. He was like a local celebrity. I couldn't wait to make him proud. This wasn't your typical Grandpa, hence calling him Gramps. We discussed fashion, music, movies, everything. He is the one that introduced me to South Park in 7th grade, and Eminem. Mom and Dad weren't too thrilled about that, but guess who has every season, and an iPod featuring the real Slim Shady? Dad and Mom. This was a man that was always on to something. I feared ever letting him down, and if there was something he didn't like I heard it. He pointedly told me to grow out my bangs, I did. My nickname though, was Krispy. Gramps loved Krispy Kreme, and brought it into the hotel room one day for breakfast. Why wouldn't I eat it? The observation was made while I was THE ONLY ONE shoveling in a delish donut, that Kristi sounds a lot like Krispy, and it stuck. Every phone call note or present after that, bared my new given name. He had this way of speaking that even if what came out may have been offensive you took it, laughed and moved on. When I got married to my boyfriend of four years, he simply asked if I was pregnant over our lunch, I said no, and that was enough for him. It was hilarious. I told him history doesn't always repeat itself. He wanted me to succeed, he wanted me to be happy. As I did him. Work had taken over his life. 7
Seeing him hold my babies was so precious. The time we got to see each other had grown far and few between because I was always moving, and he had a hectic schedule to boot. When he would put Aiden on the fridge like he did to me was like watching a lapse in time. The same dimples and curly hair as I had, squealing with joy. They had a very special connection. Evan carries part of his name, and only got to meet him once. But I wonder how genetics play a factor with his blue eyes, blonde hair, and feisty tude. Memories of him are fleeting. I’ll remember a smell of the ranch, the dried grass crunching under my feet sending crickets flying, my favorite yellow cup I always used for ice water, and the brush of his jean jacket on my arm. Getting to drive up and see him smiling waiting for us on the porch. Playing basketball on the makeshift driveway, or the metal swing set that would burn us from the summer sun. The smell of the barn; horses, and worn leather. But when I am asked directly about him, his face comes to mind, we are in a theater. Not a mall, or gym, or Vegas. He knew I grew up loving Phantom of the Opera. The main character Christine entranced me. Gramps asked me on a date to see it at our local opera house, and it may as well have been the prom. I was on edge and honored. I had never been alone anywhere with him. I wanted to look and act perfect. He led me to our seats on the balcony. The same ones we had watched Jonny Lang from just months before. I could see then that he wanted to take in everything. He was at peace when there was just the music. He watched every mechanism, movement, and instrument in the pit. He face lit by the flamboyant stage lights he would look over and smile, especially when the Phantom disappeared and reappeared during the masquerade scene. We were stunned, he gave me the “how did they do that face.” I miss his voice, it was gravely, and held a special unexplainable edge. He was the epitome of a man with casual confidence and elegance. Our conversations in the in-between moments would last a lifetime. And now, they have to. I see him leaning over the edge of that balcony, arms crossed over his chest, patiently waiting, while he smiles down on us.
Kimmie Coffee, creamer (evaporated milk), three sugars. Ironing creases in his 501Levi's for him. Perfect lines in the carpet when vacuuming. Santa brought our Christmas tree. 8 track tape deck under the front seat of the car. (Dad always had the first electronic anything!) Shopping trips to Springfield Mall. Dad and Duckie buying stacks of albums, bringing them home, getting pizza's, cognac and coke, and listening to music all weekend. Sahara Motel Ocean City, MD, walking the boardwalk in search of the perfect t-shirt. Bluegrass Festivals (Dad let me use his Canon camera for the first time at a festival and made me feel so special). Concerts, plays, lots of music in my life! Dad always told me the story of watching the "Wizard of Oz" for the first time in color. Mom and Dad went to Grandpa Harvill's TV repair shop: there was only one chair to sit in and they took turns sitting in the chair. The TV had a film that you put over it to make the show appear in color. Growing up, they only showed the show once a year, and it was a huge event. Everyone watched it. We would make popcorn and we would gather together to watch. Wolftrap Farm Park. Rainbow Tree, Jolly Ox, Theive’s Market. Mt. Vernon Drive-In Scary Movies. Sitting outside of Dad's bedroom door so I could listen to him play his guitar in private. Wearing my floppy jean hat, Dad always called me "Maurice" from the Steve Miller song. Las Vegas Slot Tournaments at Treasure Island. Best times EVER!!! Lots of nights at Rosecroft Racetrack. Private box named KC's PJ's. And Dad letting Chris and me bet on the races with our allowence! Listening to jam sessions with Dad, Van, Mark, and Fiji. Watching Dad and Gramma Ruth play guitars, banjos and jew's harps together. Amazing. All babies on top of the refrigerator. Water skiing together on Long Lake. Secret lunch meetings at Frankie Doodles, talking for hours on end and secrets shared. The look in his eyes when he would look at his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Dad always remembered his grandson Bryant. He remembered dates, and spoke of him freely with me. I always admired how his spirituality was always evolving, and always loved the conversations it sparked between us. Glinda the Good: Home is a place we all must find, child. It's not just a place where you eat or sleep. Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we're always home, anywhere. I miss him....every minute of every day. Kimmie (Witch Hazel) 9
Linda Kristi Jan. 20, 2006: I boxed up a dozen cupcakes...Dark, Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter with Dark Chocolate Ganache...on Tuesday to fedex to Jim, in Spokane, because I lost a bet we had on the (who can bear to remember??) the Redskins vs Seattle game on Jan. 14. I had created a new packaging idea using styrofoam, and it appears to have worked...even tho I was not happy with it.
Here's what Jim emailed back to me: "They got here in great shape, tasted like they were made today. Got rave reviews from the crew, especially the frosting! I had to save 4 for Mary and Les and I'm guarding them with my life. Terrif!"
When I told Jim that I was in love with Laura, this is what he asked me: Are you happy? I said yes. He said, that’s all that matters.
I miss him so much…especially his phone calls to me on my way home from work…oh yeah, and Las Vegas!