Life & Legacy of
EDWARD PARKER JENNINGS
Life & Legacy of
EDWARD PARKER JENNINGS
PARAGON ROAD Solana Beach, CA
www.paragonroad.com Copyright ÂŠ 2018 by Paragon Road All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior written permission. For information, address Paragon Road, 249 HWY 101, Ste 524, Solana Beach, CA 92075. This publication is meant to be a gift for the family of Edward Parker Jennings. Not for retail sales. First Paragon Road hardcover edition February 2018 Manufactured in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Family photography provided by the Jennings family. Other images purchased from royalty-free stock photography sites. Some images representative of cultural content (such as books or movies mentioned) are used for reference purposes only, which is protected under the Fair Use Act of US copyright law.
To my beautiful family. I love you dearly. Seeing you grow, progress and evolve has been the greatest joy of my life.
The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. - WILLIAM JAMES
Contents About This Book
In the Beginning
The Year I Was Born
Timeline 4 Childhood 6 Family 8 Turning Points
Pieces of History
Career 24 Personal Philosophy
Hope for the Future
Life Cheat Sheet
Biography Interview Transcript
Notes from Friends & Family
About This Book Hopes, Aspirations & Purpose Dear family,
I have created this book to document my life and provide a brief history of our family heritage. I know you—dear reader—are destined to do extraordinary things. How do I know this? Well, you’re related to me, aren’t you? :) All joking aside, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to realized how important it is to leave behind a meaningful legacy. My hope is that through this book, I can convey important lessons I have learned, highlight people who have impacted my life, and express my love and appreciation. To me, a great legacy comes down to one simple, yet powerful, word: love. I hope that I have lived my life in a way that has spread love and uplifted others. And regarding you, dear reader, I hope this book will provide some insight into what I’ve learned along my journey through life or (at the very least) offer some charming details about a time you never experienced. (Can you believe I grew up without the Internet!?!) Thank you for making me so proud. I know 98% of the good parenting was your mother. But I should get some credit for convincing her to marry me. With love, Edward Parker Jennings Oakland, California February 2018
In the Beginning How Life Started... Edward Parker Jennings:
Born: January 6, 1941 at 6:29 AM Weight: 6 pounds 10 ounces Place: St. Markâ€™s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah Parents: Lisa Sutherland Jennings and Ronald Jennings
I n the Beginning • 3
The Year I Was Born 1941 On January 6, 1941, the day I was born:
President Franklin Roosevelt gave his “Four Freedoms” speech while delivering the State of the Union Address. World War II had wrecked havoc throughout Europe. Roosevelt stressed the serious nature of the situation and that “at no previous time has American security been as seriously threatened from without as it is today.” Cost of Living: ●● Average Cost of new house: $4,075.00 ●● Average wages per year: $1,750.00 ●● Cost of a gallon of gas: 12 cents ●● Average Cost for house rent: $32.00 per month ●● Beautyrest mattress: $39.50 ●● Average Price for a new car: $850.00 ●● Apples, Pippin: 25 cents for 2 pounds
U.S. #1284 – There’s a Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island dedicated to the speech.
●● Bacon, sliced: 59 cents per pound Major News Stories in 1941: US joins World War II after Japanese attack Pearl Harbor; the war in Europe continues to escalate; Germany attacks the Soviet Union; Thanksgiving Day Bill Passed; Churchill launches the “V for Victory” campaign across Europe; GI-bill signed into law; first RAF aircraft equipped with radar; Siege of Leningrad begins.
There are two great days in a person’s life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. - WILLIAM BARCLAY
I was born: January 6, 1941
From the Beginning to the Present
Moved from Salt Lake City, UT to Columbus, OH: July 1951
Started 1st grade at Ridgewood Elementary: September 1947
Started work at Studied in Wendell Rosen law London for a firm in Oakland, Semester: CA: October 1966 January 1961 First semester Graduated from at Harvard Law: Oak Park High September 1963 School: Married Jane: June 1959 May 30, 1965
Started 10th grade at Oak Park High School: September 1956
Brother, Bobby, Started 7th born: grade at October 2, 1946 Belmont Junior High: Sister, Mary, September born: 1952 June 7, 1943
Started a band with three buddies (Ed, Jake, Tommy). I was the drummer: 1960
Moved to Southern California & started college at Berkley: September 1959
Graduated from Harvard Law: June 1966 Met the beautiful and talented Jane Simmons at Harvard. She was studying French literature: September 1963
Graduated from Berkley with an Bachelor’s in Finance: June 1963
Timeline • 5
Toured country speaking about legal structuring for charities: 1968-1971 Headed a large nonprofit case that settled for $3 Birth of third million (youngest baby, Hillary associate to get such Ann: impressive results): May 17, 1974 1968
Birth of first baby, Amelia Kate: July 22, 1967
Received National Philanthropic Award for Innovation: 1972
Birth of second baby, Michael Lawrence: April 19, 1969
Gave Harvard commencement address for the graduating class: 1983
Daughter, Hillary Ann, had first major art exhibition at the MOMA: 1998
Daughter, Amelia Kate, graduated from Harvard in Philosophy: June 1990
Joined Board of Directors of The American Red Cross: 1979 Started my own firm with a partner, Jennings, Jacobs LLP: 1976
Traveled to Kenya with Jane, set up the “Give Back” Charity to provide educational resources: 1988
Granddaughter, Mary Little, born: February 1, 2008 Grandson, Patrick Jennings, born: Sept. 20, 2015
Went on world tour with Jane for one year: 2004-2005
Son, Michael Lawrence, graduated from Mills College in Engineering: June 1994
I retired: December 2017
Granddaughter, Jessica Little, born: January 5, 2010
Childhood My Life as a Young Boy I started life in a little house on Green Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. I still remember the cold winters
and snuggling up in bed with my siblings to stay warm. When I was ten, we moved to Ohio because my dad got a job out there working as a manager of a refrigerator company. My mom was a homemaker who took care of the house and us kids, but she taught violin and piano to many students at our home and was very active with charity work. I always felt loved at home. My mother made life fun. She turned everything into a game. I remember one time when my brother complained about his chores and she told him she wouldn’t stop singing until he was done sweeping. After three minutes of her singing at the top of her lungs, he swept that room so fast I couldn’t believe it!
Lisa Sutherland Jennings 1914-1987
mother was one of the most-giving people I have ever met. She used to send me and my brother and sister to school with three lunches each so that we could give them to kids who didn’t have any food. She was a talented musician and traveled all over playing the violin. I have her to thank for my love of classical music, literature and fine art.
Dad tried in his own way.
Ronald Jennings 1911-1992
Times were tough financially and he worked a lot. So, I didn’t see him much, but I do remember one time when I was about seven or eight and he took me to the circus, just me and him. Usually, he watched every penny, but not this time. He bought me cotton candy and a bag of popcorn. I thought I was in heaven.
My Favorite Things as a Kid...
Toy: Electric Train Set
Candy: Cherry Mash
Song: Chickery Chick
Child hood â€˘ 7
Book: In the Time of Dinosaurs
Recipe: Momâ€™s Cherry Pie
Place cherries in medium saucepan and place over heat
for a few minutes. Cover until juice is reduced. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more cornstarch. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Divide pie dough in half. Roll out each piece large enough to fit into an 8 to 9-inch pan. Pour cooled cherry mixture into the crust. Dot with butter. Moisten edge of bottom crust. Place top crust on and flute the edge of the pie. Make a slit in the middle of the crust for steam to escape. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.
4 cups fresh or frozen tart cherries 1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 4 tablespoons cornstarch Pie dough recipe for 2 crust pie 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, to dot 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, to sprinkle
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Family Names & Dates
Family • 9
Ronald Jennings 1911-1992
Lisa Sutherland Jennings 1914-1987
Mary Jennings Smith June 7, 1943(Married to Jim Smith)
Robert Jacob Jennings October 2, 1946-
Amelia Kate Little July 22, 1967(Married to Nathan Little)
Jane Simmons Jennings Aug 2, 1942(Married May 9, 1965)
Michael Lawrence April 19, 1969(Married to Jennifer Phillips)
Hillary Ann May 17, 1974-
The family is one of nature’s masterpieces. - GEORGE SANTAYANA Mary Little Feb 1, 2008- (Parents: Amelia and Nathan Little)
Jessica Little Jan 5, 2010- (Parents: Amelia and Nathan Little)
Patrick Jennings Sept 20, 2015- (Parents: Jennifer and Michael Jennings)
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My Favorite Family Memories...
Dad’s Caricatures at the Beach Every summer, my Dad and Mom would pack the family into the car and drive to the beach. From my kid perspective, it felt like it took days to get there. But once we made it, playing in the sand and swimming in the ocean was ecstasy. One summer, my Dad got out a notepad and started drawing us with exaggerated features—huge nose, horse teeth, protruding forehead. We spent that vacation laughing and laughing at my father’s funny interpretation of our faces.
Sneaking a Peek at Presents When I was six, I woke up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. Mom and Dad were asleep, so I decided I would take a quick peek at the presents Santa had left under the tree. I knew I’d get in all kinds of trouble if I opened them... But there was one that was unwrapped: a toy train set! It was the present I had been dreaming about for months. Something overcame me and I couldn’t help myself from opening the box. Soon I was setting up the train and playing with it. When it got light outside, Mom and Dad woke up and saw me with the train. They sent me to my room without breakfast (Mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls) and made me wait a whole day to open up the rest of my presents, but it was worth it.
Family • 1 1
Final Words of My Mother My mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 1983. She courageously fought it for a couple years. One of my greatest memories of her is when I visited her in the hospital late one evening after work. It was just me and her, no family around (as was customary). She grabbed my hand and said, “Eddie, always remember family is more important than anything. Cherish every moment.” She died the next morning. Thank God I visited her rather than deciding I was too tired after a long day’s work.
Trekking Through Thailand in Matching Shirts For our fiftieth wedding anniversary, we decided to take the whole family on a vacation to Thailand. Amelia, our oldest, thought it would be a great plan to have everyone wear matching t-shirts. Bright yellow t-shirts with our family name and a giant owl on the front. Everywhere we went, people kept confusing us with a Christian singing group. By about the sixth time, Michael broke out into song and twirled his pregnant wife around in front of the patrons of a restaurant. Everyone laughed and we got a standing ovation. From then until the rest of the trip, our family proposed names of songs our “singing group” should sing. Some of my favorites: Springtime with the Jennings; Light a Flame to This Shirt; Owls in Chang Mai.
The Little Boy Without Books Amelia and Nathan went on a vacation to Mexico with their two young daughters in 2016. While there, they visited an orphanage. Mary, our oldest grandchild, shared her book with a little boy at the orphanage. It was the first book this seven-year-old boy had ever seen. When they were about to leave, she asked her mother if she could give the boy her book. Of course, her parents said yes and then they went to the nearest bookstore and purchased dozens of books for the orphanage. When they returned home, they asked neighbors and family members to donate books that they sent to the orphanage and other children’s care facilities in the area. Seeing the notes of gratitude from the caregivers and the sense of fulfillment and joy this project has given to our children and grandchildren has made Jane and me the proudest grandparents ever.
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Turning Points Life Shaping Experiences
Turning Points • 1 3
The Day I Became My Own Man When I was twelve, I went on a camping trip with my father and several others boys and their dads. We all sat around the campfire and one of the boys started telling a ghost story. When he finished, he said “Who’s next?” I enthusiastically raised my hand and began telling a gory story. The entire time, I captivated the crowd. At the end, I yelled, “Boo!” All the boys screamed. My father leaned over to me and said, “I can’t believe you had the courage to do that. I would have never done that.” It was in that moment that I realized I could be my own man. I didn’t have to be like my father. I could make my own choices and be my own person.
When She Made Me Tea I dated quite a bit in college. There were many pretty, smart girls. But one stood out - not because of her eyes (which were breathtaking), not because of her mischievous smile (which melted me), not because of her brilliant laugh (which brought instant joy), but because she made me tea. I remember Jane placing a cup of tea next to me as I studied. Oh no, I thought. I’m going to have to gulp this down and pretend like it’s great. You see, I had very strange tastes when it came to tea. I liked it strong and black with one spoon of sugar, and a dribble of orange juice. Don’t ask me where this strange preference came from. All I know is that any other tea tasted repulsive to me. My mother had tried to normalize me by adding milk to my tea instead of orange juice, but I always thought it was disgusting. I took a cautious sip of the tea Jane had given me. It was delicious - the perfect balance of orange juice and English Breakfast. “How did you know?” I asked Janey, reviewing the past in my mind to find any time I had drunk tea with her. She smiled and said, “Edward, my dear, I notice things.” That, she did. She is the only woman who noticed every little detail about me. Sometimes, it was a little scary to think that another human being could be this fascinated with me, but mostly my heart fell more and more for her with every cup of tea, every time she removed the peas from my plate (because she knew I hated them), and with every knowing look about all our inside jokes. She was the one. The only one for me.
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A July to Remember The first time I knew I’d be in trouble as a father is when Jane, pregnant with Amelia, complained about her kicking in the middle of the night. “It’s like she’s running a marathon in there,” Jane said, with dark circles under her eyes. Turns out Amelia Kate was in a race to get out into the world. On July 22, 1967, she pushed her way out three weeks before schedule! I was in a business meeting when Janey called to tell me her water broke. Like any good father at the time (remember this was the 60s, when dads worked long hours and were expected to put business before family, especially during working hours), I didn’t tell anyone at the office. Instead I made up an excuse about the case needing more research and ended my meeting in less than a minute. Then I booked it out the door and drove as fast as I could to the hospital. There was Janey, miserable and in labor. She looked at me with contempt and said, “This is your fault.” After five hours and some screaming, little Amelia came out. She was perfect and squirming, still trying to run a marathon. Holding her for the first time was the moment I realized that being a father was going to be my greatest calling. In an instant, I loved her more than I knew was possible.
Turning Points • 1 5
Bloodsucking Lawyer Early in my career, when I was still an intern, a woman came into the office and met with my boss who was the head attorney at the firm. She had a tragic case in which she was wronged by her exhusband, a man who was from a prominent family and had unlimited resources. She, on the other hand, had very little money. After she left, my boss asked me if we should take on the case. I thought for a moment and said, “No. She doesn’t have enough money to pay us to do it right.” My boss furrowed his brow and said, “But don’t you think it was horrific what happened to her?” “Yeah,” I callously replied, “but sometimes that’s just the luck of the draw.” “I’m gonna take her case,” he said. “Who needs another Porsche, right?” He smiled and patted me on the back. “Sometimes you just have to do the right thing.” That man, in that moment, became my hero. He was a pillar of the community - wealthy, wellrespected. But he had something that I needed to cultivate: he took action based on his principles. Without that moment, I may have very well become a blood sucking lawyer who only ever took on a case for money and not much more.
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Note to the Reader: You have up to 10 pages in the “Turning Points” section to write about significant events in your life. We take you through the process of discovering these important moments with our Wisdom Discovery method.
Turning Points â€¢ 1 7
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Pieces of History Heirlooms, Keepsakes, Mementos
P ieces of History • 1 9
My grandmother Marianne Sutherland’s brooch. (Gold, garnets, and diamonds.) It was given to my mother when she had me. My mother gave it to Janey when we had our first child.
Letter I wrote to Janey when I was away on a speaking tour in 1979. I missed her terribly and hating being away from the kids.
I’m a collector of antiquities, especially coins. This gold Florentine florin is something I bought for my son Michael when we went on a trip to Italy his Senior year. This started his love of old coins too.
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A painting Janey and I bought on our honeymoon in Sault France during the bloom of the lavender fields. (June 1965)
3-year-old daughter Hillary Ann’s painting of our new dog (Yippy) in 1977 (She’s a professional artist now... Could be worth something one day!)
< Our three beautiful children (left to right): Amelia Kate, Michael Lawrence, Hillary Ann
Michael teaching Hillary to play the guitar.
P ieces of History â€˘ 2 1
Great grandfather Edward Robert Jenningsâ€™s silver pocket watch from World War I. He returned home safely and claimed the watch gave him luck.
2017, Mary and Jessica Little: Granddaughters first fishing trip with grandpa!
Our family lake house. We bought it when our second child, Michael, was born in 1969. We have many wonderful summer memories here. Splurge in 1994, after a particularly great year at the firm: 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake
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Note to the Reader: These additional pages in the “Pieces of History” section are used to showcase heirlooms, photos, important documents (such as birth or graduation certificates). We suggest no more than 20 pages featuring these types of items. Here’s some suggestions: • A letter handwritten by you. (i.e. to your kids, old love letter, etc… it’s fascinating to see someone’s handwriting and we’d like to capture it.) • Hand-written letters or cards from important people in your life. (Limit these to the best example and no more than two to three total.) • Photos of importance (limit it to the best 10 to 20 photos of all time). • Mementos or heirlooms of importance (take photos or scan these). Limit to 20 items. • Your birth certificate, marriage license, certificate of graduation or any other interesting documents commemorating significant events.
P ieces of History â€¢ 2 3
Career My Professional Life After graduating from Harvard Law, I went to work for one of
the most-prestigious firms in San Francisco, Wendell Rosen, LLP. It was 18-hour days and stacks of paperwork, but I loved every minute of it! I was working on philanthropic cases, probably because they didn’t trust me with anything else. My mentor was the great Larry Learner. He taught me how to see the human side of a case. I still remember walking into his office the first time; it was a complete disaster, with stacks of papers taking up almost every square inch of the place. You could barely take a step without leaving a footprint on something. The man was brilliant, though, and I learned to love working with and fighting for the rights of nonprofits.
My Philosophy About Work My father was a hard worker and I must have gotten that from him because I love to roll up my sleeves and dig into a project. But, one thing I’ve learned is that you really have to love something to stick with it. I’ve never been one to solely focus on “passion” - I believe money is important and it sometimes takes sacrifices to support your family. I do, however, know that there are lots and lots of ways to earn a living. Make sure you choose something that lights you up. Don’t spend your time funding a life you hate.
Career • 2 5
Greatest Moment of My Career I’ve experienced many great moments in my career. It’s hard to pick just one. But if I had to select one, it would be delivering a huge check to Anita Sampson after years of fighting her case. She and her husband had started a charity to help children who needed artificial limbs. Due to some bad luck and changes in government policy, their charity became the target of a rather large corporation who shut it down through malicious interference. This corporation was never prosecuted by the government. So, we went after them. When I delivered that check - which meant the charity could re-open its doors and fund limb replacements for hundreds of children Anita started crying and gave me a giant hug. The next year, I received hundreds of thank you cards from the children and their families. It’s moments like that when you know you’re making a difference in the world.
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Personal Philosophy Values, Advice & Experiences that Have Shaped Me
Pe rsonal Philosophy â€˘ 2 7
Personal Mission: To serve God, my fellowman and my family. And, above all, to make my wife proud.
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My Values Integrity A man’s worth depends on his word. Keep your promises, honor your word, act in accordance with the values you preach. Sometimes it’s tempting to “fudge” a little, especially when no one is looking. And, even though I hate to admit it, I’ve been guilty of some fudging (like telling someone a white lie to keep the peace or make them feel good). But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the law, it’s that those little seemingly harmless - white lies erode your character. It’s those small dishonest acts that create a life of deception. In elementary school, I had two friends who seemed pretty much the same to me on the “honesty scale.” But then, in high school, things started changing. One of my friends began skipping school, lying to his parents and sneaking out at night. The other friend continued his studies and honestly represented himself to his parents (even though he wasn’t always perfect and they some-times grounded him). Over the years, the first guy kept getting more and more dishonest and I stopped speaking with him because I didn’t trust him anymore. The second guy is still my friend today. He’s one of the only people I know who I can trust to always give me an honest answer.
Fun Life should be fun. Otherwise, what’s the point? I believe more adults need to re-learn how to have fun again. Mortgages, bills, health insurance, depressing news, retirement planning... it all sucks the fun out of life. Of course, you want to be responsible, but also ask yourself pretty regularly, “Am I having fun?” Doing things just for the joy of it is a reward in itself. When I was working long hours at the law firm, my stress levels were high and I didn’t have much time for anything other than work, sleep and a quick dinner with the family. But, even then, I made sure to fit in the things that gave me joy (a golf game, photographing flowers on the weekend, reading fiction, taking the kids to the park to fly kites). If you don’t hold on to those little things, soon life loses meaning and becomes drudgery.
Pe rsonal Philosophy • 2 9
Spirituality I wasn’t always religious and I’m not the best church attender now, but I believe in something more, a higher power that lifts us above mediocrity. Living life with a connection to God and an absolute faith that I am being watched over (no matter what crazy things might happen) gives me a sense of confidence and certainty that is hard to get any other way. For me, a connection to God is greatest in nature and when I’m reading spiritual texts, such as the New Testament, books about Buddhism, and so on. I’m not particularly picky with where I get my spirituality from. I believe everyone must find their own path. Also, meditation, as of late, has made a fundamental difference in my levels of peace and contentment.
Love There’s an old proverb that says, “It’s more important to be kind than to be right.” (Imagine an attorney quoting that!) Offering a kind word or buoying up someone’s confidence is so much more important than showing dominance or trying to belittle someone for saying something stupid. I’ve learned I need to pick my battles (and that they should be very few - especially with those I love and respect) and that expressing love through words and actions is fundamental to building a strong family. You can’t be a good parent or build loyal friendships without a foundation of love.
Perseverance My father always wanted perfection. He wanted me to get perfect grades, say the perfect thing, and dress the perfect way. As a young man, this turned me into a self-loathing second-guesser who often avoided trying new things. When I first started dating Jane, I remember sheepishly telling her about an exam I had missed a few questions on. I told her what an idiot I was and that I should have remembered the answers. She grabbed me by the shoulders and said, “Stop it, now! Don’t you know that making mistakes is the only way we learn? I expect you to make a million more mistakes because I want you to be successful. Keep making mistakes! Celebrate your mistakes!” And from then on, Janey and I celebrated my mistakes, the weight of being perfect lifted, and I felt (almost) invincible.
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Advice to My 20-Year-Old Self If I could go back in a time machine, I’d tell myself:
Make More Mistakes I spent a lot of time caring about what other people thought. If I were to do it over again, I would boldly march to the beat of my own drummer and not give a damn about how silly I looked. I’d explore, experience, and try out all kinds of things. Whenever I failed at something, I’d either try again or (if I decided it wasn’t right for me) move on to the next thing without slowing or trying to get the approval of others.
Make More Friends I’d make friendship a priority over getting good grades and studies. Sure, I’d still strive for good grades, but I’d leave more time to have fun and get to know more people. When you’re young, you often don’t realize how important friendships are at that age. Those friends - the ones you made in high school and college - have the potential to become lifelong advocates and provide an authentic connection. There’s something about knowing someone when they are young and growing up together that bonds you and gives you a deeper understanding into that person’s life and background.
Explore the World When you’re young, you are not aware of your options. The world is limited by the beliefs of your friends, parents, teachers and community. The sooner you can get out and experience different ways of thinking and different cultures, the better. Your paradigm shifts when you realize the rest of the world has other ways of operating that often are just as efficient or more efficient than yours. Opening up your experience to the cultures of others helps you see in another way and ask the question, “What is my ideal life? Is it the path my parents have taken or is it something different?”
Pe rsonal Philosophy • 3 1
Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. - IMMANUEL KANT
Hope for the Future A Legacy of Love My hope for my family is that my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will continue to
thrive and prosper. A family is like a small tribe, consisting of joint beliefs, idiosyncrasies and behaviors. I hope that as you grow and progress that you will keep the good and weed out the bad. Every parent wants their children to experience the best life has to offer. Whether it’s for yourself or your children, I challenge you to always observe how your decisions are affecting your path. Is it leading where you want to go? Is it leading toward joy, empowerment, independence, compassion and love? If yes, then that’s the very best anyone can hope for. Janey and I have spent a significant amount of time working with charities and giving to the local community. Part of this was because of my work as an attorney in the nonprofit sector and part of it is because my lovely wife Jane is so incredibly giving. Whether you take on the same causes that have lit Janey and me up or decide on a cause of your own, I hope you always lead your life with a giving heart. Remember that charity work doesn’t need to be big. Simply smiling at someone on a crowded street can lift their spirits and change the course of their day. I hope that you maintain family traditions and realize how sweet those bonding moments are whether it’s a vacation, Sunday dinners or reading to the kids at bedtime. Make time for each other. Make time to laugh. Make time to play. Make time to listen. Your sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents can become your closest friends and an incredible support system. When someone in the family needs help, has a wedding, or holds a party, show up! Be there for them. Ask for help when you need it. That’s what family is for. Know that you come from a strong family. When times are bad and we’re down on our luck, we fight, we push forward and we do the right thing.
Edward Parker Jennings February 4, 2018 Age: 77
What I’m Most Grateful For Today There’s a bluebird perched outside my window and I’m about to leave the house to go on a hike. I’m grateful for my health, the song of that bluebird, and the fact that I can go on a hike. Every day is a gift. I have few regrets. My children and grandchildren are such a joy. Our Sunday family dinners with them is one of favorite things. I intend to live to 100, going on hikes, traveling the world, hanging out with friends, taking my grand kids on fishing trips and working on projects (right now I’m writing my first novel). Being engaged, happy, and having goals is what makes this stage of my life an exciting new chapter. I’m more in love with Janey than I ever have been and look forward to many more years together.
Life Cheat Sheet Quick Points to Ponder 1. Listen to the advice of those you respect, then weigh out your options and do what you know in your heart is best. No one knows exactly what you’ve been through or exactly what will make you happy. Only you can determine that based on how you feel. 2. Never give up on something you know in your heart is right, but if things don’t work out, don’t be afraid to cut your losses and try something new. 3. Learn about your ancestors. It reminds you that you came from something great. Plus, it gives you great ideas for vacations. (You could go track down your roots in Ireland.) 4. About once a year, I read Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. It inspires me and reminds me about how fortunate I am. Find a book like or many books like that and read them often. 5. When life seems bleak and depressing, change your state - go jogging, meet up with a friend, take a bath. The more active, the better. Activity clears the mind. 6. Don’t dwell on the past. All we have is here and now. Make your life great now. 7. Remember to enjoy the moments as they happen - your kids / grand kids will only be this age once. Enjoy every minute. 8. When hard times befall you, remember, “This too shall pass.” Stay strong, release control to a higher power (or the universe or whatever you believe in), have faith in the likelihood of a positive outcome, and know that you will see good times again.
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Biography Interview Transcript Date of Interview: January 6, 2018
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Could you describe to me what kind of a household you grew up in? Well, bearing in mind that of course, we lived in various houses at various times, I think generally my memories are not the clearest ... are that my childhood was dominated by my mother, and not by my father. And I stood in as a surrogate father very often, in my early years. But there are ... I can remember a poem I wrote about my mother in an old blue dress, singing. And the songs were of course, sentimental songs of the time, and I think they were one way in which she dealt with what was often a troubled and unhappy sort of situation for her, because of father’s absence, and the fact that they didn’t ... they didn’t see eye to eye that often. Why was your father absent? Well, sometimes he was looking for work, and sometimes I think he was just in a disagreeable sort of mode with, as far as mum was concerned. And again, there were all these things washed over me, because I was too young to ... too young to know, and in one sense, too young to care. But I realize, looking back on it, how much there must have been a lot of tension there, for this to happen so often. But my brother was always there, and he was the other constant sort of fixed point in my early memories, along with mum, and my ... younger sister. So where did you come in the family? I came first of three. So that was the beginning of ... that was the ... that was the beginning of the line. Even though we were born relatively close together, we didn’t have any sibling rivalry. I was grateful for that. There was something about the situation with our parents that bonded us together. We were also very close to our cousins on my mother’s side who were all about twenty plus years older than us. So they stood as, more or less, aunts and uncles to us, and kindly ones at that. [Laughs] We’d go to their houses often. They would take us to events, restaurants, the store. I always loved being around them.
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Were you a lonely kid then? I suppose I was. We lived mostly out of town, at places that are now in fact part of Ohio, but they were bush towns then... of course now they are outer suburbs of Ohio. So ... and I remember playing long ... for days at a time with stick men. You know how you make stick men. You take a branch and you leave the top part for where the neck, and presumably head would be. And I would put the vertebrae from well, whatever - ox tail soup or whatever, as heads, and then the arms would be twigs, those extended lateral twigs snapped off, and leave longer twigs later down on the branch, for the legs. And I would play wars with them. And I can remember talking to myself and going through in a kind of Caesar’s commentary of the Gallic Wars, you know, and having great fun at it. And I think my own sort of identification with military history and so on was a romantic one, I must admit, [and] comes from those many days and many hours of playing on sandy loam soil on my own, with these little stick figures. And I’d project rocks from one side to the other as my kind of artillery barrages. And they were amongst my earliest memories. So when it came to the British Boys Book of Battles, and I read about Sandalwana and Roarke’s Drift and the thin red line of British troops fighting against the Zulus, of course I was only re-enacting again, at a literate stage, what I’d already gone through as a younger child. What kind of work did your father do? He was a door-to-door salesman. He’d also be out of work quite frequently and looking for jobs. As time went on, he got an office job at a company that manufactured refrigerators. Given that I was born when times were financially tough for my parents, those years of him struggling are my memory of him... when he was finding it hardest to find work. He was always a willing worker. He wasn’t a slacker. In fact, it was sort of a tradition in our family of hard work. There were no slackers. And in fact, my feeling is that there were very few slackers around. We didn’t have the welfare state to encourage people to be slackers and of course, it was a much harder world in that sense. So he went looking for work. And later on, then my brother and I went looking for work too, and brought home what we earned ... I don’t know what my father did with the limited money he had, but my brother and I certainly didn’t spend it
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on ourselves. We brought it home to keep the family going. When you did see your father, which wasn’t that often, but what was your relationship with him like? Rather friendly as far as I know. I think he thought of me as a harmless little todger that, you know, as long as I didn’t get in the way, and I’m sure I listened with great interest to his stories of adventure and so on. I’m not sure that they weren’t embroidered, at least at the edges, in retelling. But he had some daring tales of traveling around the world and meeting interesting people. So he really was ... As I came to realize much later in my own sort of adult life, he really was a man of adventure, especially for that time when most people stayed in one place and didn’t travel much. It was that independence that made it difficult for him to buckle down and get an office job, as my mother always wanted him to do. He finally caved as times got tougher, but it wasn’t without a fight. And in the context of the family when you came along, he was really very much seen as somebody who ran when the going was difficult. Yeah, that’s right. And I think he also wanted to, like many people - I guess it’s not necessarily an exclusively male thing - wanted to make decisions, even when the decisions were the wrong ones or uncertain ones. You know, the need was to be kind of positive and assertive, and I think he often, from my guesstimate, made those decisions without really consulting other people too much. And that must have borne very hardly on my mother, who had to put up the result of those decisions, with often I think very little notice that they were about to be made. He had various enterprises too, didn’t he? Yeah, well they were kind of joint enterprises in a way. And you know, they planned at one stage to have a fox farm - breed foxes for their skins. In the end I think they got rid of the foxes anyway. But he had a fox cub which he kept as a pet. I guess perhaps a memento of another failed business enterprise.
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And he had it on the sort of chain and it used to ... there’s a photo of him, it sitting on his shoulder. And they ... they, at a later stage, had a horse they’d invested in. I think a bit of a sort of sway back nag actually, but it was called Pink Lady, and they had great hopes for it winning back ... redeeming the family fortunes. It never did. So they went through a whole series. Then later on my mother had the Pekes. And this was when I was actually at work myself. And I did find it completely inappropriate. She didn’t have the funds to set up a real Peke breeding program so that when the house burned down ... I am going to ask you about that and I want you to tell me that whole story. So when that happened, of course, the Pekes were of primary consideration for her, because they were, I suppose, another hope that this way further, you know, damaged family fortunes would be further redeemed. But that wasn’t how I saw it. And I used to, at that stage, be working with the Public Works Department, and it meant walking down a bush track in ... outside of Columbus, Ohio, which is now I think another Columbus suburb, to the station, catching the bus into town, which is roughly thirty, forty-five minutes, then another bus of about twenty minutes, out to Cleveland, and then about a half mile walk from the Bus Station to the place where I was working. So all told it would take anything up to going on for two hours each way. And I was working as a pick and shovel person there, and so I’d come home late at night, and eventually it became one of those kind of situations where I put it to her that it was either me or the Pekinese, and she was very prompt in responding that it was going to be the Pekes. And I left for Cleveland the following morning. Now, I’m going to ask you about your mother, and I’d like you to tell me the sort of story, the run through of her efforts to cope and include the Pekinese story in that. How did your mother cope with the fact that your father was away a lot, and what effect did that have on the unfolding of her life and your relationship with her? Well, I suspect that it meant that it increased her sort of sentimental dreams of what have been and therefore those kind of memories of the sentimental songs, and the sentimental ballads which she used
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to recite to me, which she’d learnt as a child at school. And she went to school ‘til she was twelve. ... Were part of her sort escape, or her sort of vicarious kind of realization of romantic dreams of various kinds, and I think they were the way in which she tried to deal with a series of sort of disappointments in her own life. And I know that’s a very familiar sort of pattern, which accounts for the popularity of Mills & Boon and other people today. So it was part of that sort of whole thing. Now as a young kid of course, I wasn’t to know just how deeply it affected her, although looking back on it, I became keenly aware how much it must have affected her. One’s regret often is, of course, that by the time you realize these things, it’s often too late to do anything about it. And I’ve often thought how I’d like to have had the knowledge - and I know this is a universal wish - and the ... at a time when I could do something with it. She tried to cover up the disappointment of her life by having fun and making everything into a game. She was a joy to be around when she got into that mood, but there were sad moods too. Sometimes so sad it was hard to take. I had to walk out of the room because I couldn’t stand the emotion of it. Usually after one of those moods, she’d try to cheer up the house by baking cookies for the neighbors or taking us kids on a fun outing. She did a lot of charity work to try to get out of her head. “Helping others is the best way to find perspective,” she’d always say. And as she got older, and you got older, how did she cope with life as time went on? Oh, not very well. I think more and more she ... The term used to be that so-and-so was wandering. And I’m sure they wander into other happier times. Or if they’re not, into times that seem even more threatening. So at times she accused me of trying to do her in, or other people trying to poison her. At other times she imagined I was being starved of food, and so there were a whole series of things like that, which I think I coped with as well as I could. But after all, I was a working person and about to be married. At that point, I was almost through law school. It’s not lost on me on how miraculous it was that I somehow convinced someone at the college to give me a scholarship and allow me to pay the rest over time... It was a different time and less financing was available for students. I was very lucky that way. Had some exceptional teachers who helped me believe in myself. Most people in my situation wouldn’t have been able to get out. Anyway, my mother was at home all day at this stage in her life. My brother
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and sister were also busy with school and work and couldn’t stay with her during the day. She was too old to work. And given her condition, it’s not likely she would have been able to work even if the work had been there ... So it must have been very, very difficult for her. I did the best I could. But again, it might have been ... it might have been better. I felt, I suppose, as the oldest, that it was falling upon me rather more than I was able to justly manage it. But nevertheless, I did the best I could with the help of my siblings. Now you were living in towns on the outskirts of Columbus, and you were travelling a long way to work. How did that work out for you, with your mother at home? Actually, at that time I was in California attending law school. Previously, in high school, I worked like that and tried to care for my mother. But it was much harder from California. I asked a neighbor to check in on her during the day while my sister was away at school and work and my sister would cook for her every night. My sister still lived at home at that time. My brother would visit on the weekends and take mum on what he called ‘Curiosity Trips’... They would go explore somewhere in town and try new food or see a new place. They were good to her. What kept mum going was this dream ... This is where she had this dream of breeding Pekes, and she had Pekes to ... Pekinese? Pekinese dogs. And they ... which in those days, I think there weren’t as many people in dog breeding. But at whatever stage dog breeding was at, you needed better facilities than she was able to accommodate, given that she didn’t have much money. So she worked at this, and my sister would come home very tired from work and have to make a meal for my mother plus clean up after the Pekes. My sister hated this ... She wanted to go away to school and live on her own. The Pekes were driving her crazy ... Keeping her up all night with their barking. And in the end she gave my mom an ultimatum, and of course one of the consequences of ultimatums is that they do tend to provoke people into, you know, ultimate responses. And the ultimatum was, it’s either me or the Pekes, and she very forthrightly declared
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for the Pekes. So my sister left the following morning to move into a tiny apartment with her friend ... It didn’t sever the family. She used to go and visit her and sometimes bring meals, but it was a different dynamic. And so it wasn’t one of those cases of a daughter lost forever. She was still around the place. She once told me she regretted having done it, but in the end, it was necessary for her to move on with her life, because from that out of town position, she would have been stuck for life, and it would have been, I think, a much more frustrating experience for her. So she was lucky that she did make the break, and I don’t think she could have done much more. Tell me the story of the house burning down. Well, my brother visited home frequently, and he was intent on breeding chickens, as the way people do, for sale, not just for keeping the family table spread. And he was ... had one of those incubators which has a sort of naked flames. It wasn’t ... As far as I know it wasn’t electric. It may have been, but I’m not sure. Anyway, it caught fire one night and burnt the house down, and of course, the chickens with it. And so the only part of the house that was still left - and I had to be woken up actually to get out in time - was the bedroom that had been mine. So ... but it was so charred and burnt that I could always see starlight through the charred timbers, and instead of a full roof, I had a sheet of galvanized iron on four posts over the bed. And that was ... that was my kind of accommodation whenever I visited home. But it was actually the second time we’d been burnt out. The first time was either when I was so young I didn’t remember. But it comes up in my father’s record of his earlier life, when they had a fish shop in Salt Lake City, Utah, and that took fires quite easy, you understand, with fish shops and all that fat. And they were burnt out there too. So it was in this case ... the real tragedy was that the fire brigade, local country fire brigade’s hoses, didn’t reach from the bottom of the paddock to the house. So there was no way the house could have been saved. So these things ... I mean people put up with it and it wasn’t ... it was very limited resources. There was no television to, you know, explain and portray your plight to the nation. You got a few blankets from some wealthier source and that was about it, to replace everything you’d lost. So I suppose that also puts pressure on ... on the family. But the family didn’t take to drink or anything like that. They did the best they could with those resources.
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What were the circumstances around your mother’s death in the end? Well, she’d been ill off and on for some time, and she came to stay with us in the Bay area for some time. And I can’t recall now, it would have been a year or two at least. And she was ... she found it very difficult and once when she was having delusions, she ... I took her to a hospital, and the doctor at the hospital suggested, asked me, in a very sort of matter of fact way, whether I’d ever thought of getting her committed. And I said, very quickly, ‘No, I never thought of that’. And whatever they gave her as a sedative or a placebo or whatever, was the temporary sort of solution to the problem. But it’s ... it’s a common kind of experience again, and I did the best I could, until such time as her illness got to the point where she had to be taken to hospital. She stayed there for some time ... Kind of fading away. So it wasn’t the way one would have liked ... one thinks about, you know, dying, as an art. But often it becomes a sort of bit of an anticlimax, a bit of a farce, I suppose. And it’s not the way I’d liked to have thought of it happening, because she deserved better, as most people do. How old were you? I’d have been about forty I suppose, then. Or forty-eight. I’m not sure. In the forties. And in fact, it wasn’t as though I was in the ... had a lot of experience of relatives, or loved ones sort of dying. So I certainly ... I certainly did feel it. And I thought also of how much of her life I had sort of ... never known. I was born when she was in her late thirties. I never knew her as an incredibly young woman. So I didn’t have a sense of her as a younger person that many people have when their parents start having kids in their twenties. Was she ambitious for you? I’m sure she was. I was the one person that had an education beyond high school. Of course, my siblings followed my path. But, my parents and extended family didn’t finish high school. My father was pulled out of school, as so many people were, at an early age, because of the necessities of family finances. I remember when my father came to me and said he was going to pull me out of school. I was
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a junior in high school. He said he needed me to help him with a new business venture. But I refused. I told him I’d help him weekends and nights ... when I wasn’t working my other job. I had a lot of sleep deprivation during the last year of high school. When I told my family I had applied for colleges, they nearly fell off their chairs. I remember my mother looking at me blankly and asking why... it was an enormous jump from people who hadn’t finished primary school. And I was always very conscious of this. School was a place I excelled. I think high school was very good for me. Good in the sense that I ... you know, it helped me. And I had a wonderful English teacher there. And that made an enormous difference. Those kind of bridges you don’t realize how far they stretch across the abyss, of sort, of time. But they’re often the ones that make all the difference. And although I worked a lot and couldn’t give school the kind of attention it deserved, this teacher always believed in me and pushed me forward. She’s the reason I applied for college and aspired for more. How did your father influence your thinking? [Laughs] Well, I must say I spent very little time trying to sort of pair up my own kind of shortcomings with dad’s. It’s as though I didn’t know my dad terribly well, but what I did know, at that time, was so negatively geared that I wasn’t likely to find it a favorable reflection on my sort of character, to look for comparisons. So I think I tended to sort of incline towards the younger sister, who was a saintly woman, and think that perhaps I had more of her in my own sort of make-up, than of dad. But later on, of course, I came to see dad in a different light and ... and realized that I’d been ... had not been generous or very fully informed about his own sort of situation. When did your thoughts start to soften about your father? I’m not sure just to how it happened. I know I was at his bedside when he was dying, or had just died, and I felt very forlorn and out of it then. Because again, I think in the very process - and this happens I’m sure a lot - of growing up, you’re not always taking account of what’s happening to everybody else. You’re so much caught up in what you see as the monumental disasters or promise of your own
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sort of future, that the rest is happening with a sort of a ... in a blurred way. And so you’re only called back to the reality of your sort of family connections, at times like this. And I think that’s a very kind of common experience. Suddenly you know, a voice from left field says, ‘Hey, this has been going on while you’ve been busy, absorbed in your own sort of problems’, and that’s why it’s almost as though I’ve been, you know, teleported in from outer space, to find myself at my father’s bedside when he was dying, or had died. And I still have a fragment of a journal entry [in] which I wrote about that occasion. But that’s what I say, there are huge gaps in time and sequence in my, sort of, life. It’s too late for me to even attempt to sort of fill them in now, because most of ... my brother’s the only immediate sort of relative around, and he’s done the best he could with some of that, but those particular things: no, I can’t really say. There is that theory of creativity, which may or may not be true. I wonder what you think of it: that creativity comes from some sort of hidden pain. Well I mean ... yeah, it’s like the Tolstoy quote from the beginning of Anna Karenina, isn’t it? That happy families are all the same, but unhappy families are all different. And I suppose it’s ... I’m not altogether sure about that. I know that there doesn’t seem to be any kind of simple explanation. People can have very unhappy lives, but they don’t necessarily impinge upon them or have creative outcomes in their own experience later on, at all. And I ... I ... As I say I’m sufficiently foggy about other things that happened around, both painful and pleasant, as to not be sure whether I’ve got the full ... the full sum of ... a reasonable sum of pleasure or pain to know just what ... whether just how true that particularly proposition is in my own life. Have you met many saints in suburbia? Ah, I think I’ve met people who have lived good lives, there, as elsewhere. I mean, I think it’s as full of saints as anywhere else. I don’t have a kind of view that you have to be in a monastery to be a saint, though it’s obviously not a bad sort of training place. The same as there are good sports people, who
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never make it to the top league teams. The other people, talented people, who have those kinds of skills and directions, who don’t actually inhabit quite that same sort of arena. But, you know, I don’t believe for example that suburbia’s just full of crummy little people, who make love to their cars on Sunday morning. I think that’s a crazy sort of view of life, and it’s a simplistic left-wing view that I never did share. And as a person who never had a car, I suppose it might be easier for me to say, but I don’t hold with those sort of derogatory sort of views of any class. I don’t have, in one sense, a view that one class or another is by definition to be excluded from the human race. I think that sort of nonsense should have been left with Karl to worry about. I mean, I can appreciate that Karl Marx was a much more idealistic and important person than some of the people who took up his doctrines and used them for their own sort of sinister purposes. You’re well known for being someone who’s been always prepared to take on authority, and yet, as a practicing Catholic, you respect the authority of the church. And you ... Could you talk a little bit about your attitude to authority. [Laughs] Well, I ... Let’s put it this way, I suppose that in many cases I respect authorities that deserve respect, and if we lived in a time when Popes were villainous, like other times, I guess they’d be in my line of sights too. But we don’t, and I’ve got a lot of time ... I mean, I think John Paul II has done a fantastic political job. And the destruction of the Iron Curtain has a lot to do with, in fact, the election of a Polish Pope, and the extent to which at that time, Polish nationalism was associated so much with Roman Catholicism. And I’m not, you know ... I’m not unaware of how different it might have been had their been a corrupt pope but we don’t have too many of those in the Twentieth Century. So you know, he’s not in my line of sights. I admire him tremendously. Other authorities in the church, in so far as I’ve ever had anything to do with them, would I think be fair game if I didn’t like them. But I again, I tend to sort of work away from too close an association with the ecclesiastical authorities. It may be weariness, but there are enough kind of birds and clay pigeons, and so on, being shot into the air for anybody. They can’t decide which ones they should sort of spend their ammunition on. It seems to me that when people take on ... just as I myself, if I were an authoritative figure, would accept the fact that
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I’d be fair game for other people’s satire and wit, and low cunning and so on. And I think other people should take the same thing. When you go public, then you must expect that not all the public will like you. They’ll accept the opportunity, if they happen to have a you know ... a cream pie in hand, or a custard apple, or a ripe tomato, then that they’ll let fly. That’s what publics do when public figures appear. And it’s the only way in which it seems to me public figures could possibly ever learn to respect publics. They at least learn to duck. In the court room, are you an authoritative figure? Oh well, you know, born with a sort of grim and forbidding sort of face, I can sort of pretend to be for a while. But Brian Matthews, who’s a ... said to me once ... told me about his experience. We first met at Oxford University and he went on to become the R.G. Menzies scholar in London and the author of Louisa and a very fine person, and a great figure. And we were reasonably good pals, and I remember he said to me when he’d gone out teaching - because he finished his teaching training, whereas I dropped out after the first year. He taught first at a country high school in Victoria, and there was an older hand at the school, at the end of his first week of teaching, [who] took him down to the local pub, and said, ‘Well, come and have a beer’, and he said, ‘I suppose your full of all that stuff they feed you up with in law school. Look, there’s only two rules in law: be a bastard ‘til you’ve made your case, and kill your own snakes’. And I think they’re absolutely critical rules of life, actually, not just in ... in relation to parenting, in relation to anything, [and that] is to establish some sort of presence first, not of the palsy-walsy kind. Al Capp once said, ‘Don’t be a pal to your son’, and I think that’s absolutely wonderful advice too, for many people. And I never ... I never tried to be a pal to clients to begin with. Friendship comes in the wake of respect. It’s rather hard to get the respect if you’re too friendly, too soon, and you never effectively get it back. So that’s, you know, flowing from the idea about authority, that’s why I’m aware of how authority flows from having some kind of ... establishing some sort of presence, and some right to your convictions and to your taking on the role you ... you have as a teacher. Are you very confident in your opinions, in the things that you believe in?
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Sometimes. I’m - you know. [Laughs] If a had a better memory I’d be less confident, because I might look back over - often - S. J. Perelman once said he was extraordinarily talented in pointing out all the things that happened that never did. So he was a wonderful sort of weather indicator for showing which way the wind wasn’t blowing, and I’m sometimes like that too. I make assertions about things and find out I’ve been dead wrong about it. I’ll give you one example. At one stage I thought that once the church caught up with the contemporary vernacular, all its problems would be solved, and all the parishioners problems as well, of course. And I even, I think, pamphleted one particular church in Melbourne, under that mistaken sort of assumption. Of course, it was a foolish notion. When you’ve got everything down to the level of the common man, then it’s too common to be believable, and it’s no longer any transcendent belief, or form of ritual worship. So yeah, I’ve had to backtrack, and I’m pleased that in fact, nobody took any notice of the pamphlets that I used to slip into Catholic Church Society pamphlets, hoping I wouldn’t be caught by a burly lay brother and belted up in the vestry. And I never was actually. [Laughs] But I did have the pleasure of going to speak at the monastery that the burly lay brothers came from sometime afterwards, thinking little do they know, that the pest who handed out those pamphlets was now speaking to them. In fact, I remember addressing them and reading the very sort of grandiose title of the talk and saying I thought after a title like that any talk would be an anticlimax. But so, no, I’m often wrong with things that - but at the time I behold them of course. I hold them as firmly as anybody else does but I’m prepared to sort of recognize that I’m very fallible. What do you think’s going to happen when you die? [Laughs] Well, I mean it’ll make no difference whatsoever to the world and I’m very relived at that. I never thought it would. [Laughs] I think I’ll ... what happens to me, I don’t know. I believe in a life after death. I haven’t the faintest idea what it’ll be like. [Laughs] It’s not something that worries me in any way at all. This life is the one I’m preoccupied in ... in surviving in. Beyond that I don’t have any kind of ... I don’t have any visions. Nobody’s come to me and told me what it’s like and whether I should pack my bags or ... and I’m not like the Heaven’s Gate cultists, who sort of pack their bags and prepare to hitch on to a you know, a mother ship, behind the Hale Bopp planet, or whatever it was: a meteor. No, I
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don’t have ... I was very moved by that, and saddened by it, but I don’t have their kind of clear but very sort of oddly Noddy-like notions about the afterlife. Between now and then, what are ... what are you doing? What are you spending your time with? Well I read. I still write about the law. And publish. And do things around the house, and pat the dog and raid the fridge. I love seeing my grandkids. And on Thursdays, for three terms of the year - these are short terms in ... I teach a class. So I use some of my university material and interests with older students, very similar to the students at university, who are often mature age students. But I’m a mature age student myself, in a way, and one way in which teachers of course go on being students is by teaching, because it means that they do have to go over texts or reinvent new ones. And I do that and enjoy it every Thursday, for three or four parts of the year. And occasionally go visiting to ... to talk somewhere, or to speak to high school students if, for example. My lovely wife, Janey, and I plan to travel around eastern Europe next year. And we’re very involved in charity work. It’s a good life. A good phase to be in. Honestly, just hanging out with my grandkids or going on a walk with my wife is enough to keep me happy until I kick the bucket [laughs]. Would you describe yourself as the complete suburban man? [Laughs] I’m not sure that any person is complete, but I’m happy in that, in the general suburban environment. It seems to suit me. I mean I can appreciate the countryside, but I always keep thinking of what P.J. O’Rourke said. He said, ‘If the out of doors was so great, how come the homeless don’t enjoy it more?’ There’s a kind of way in which you can romanticize, and O’Rourke is one of my favorite sardonic essayists, [who] continually sort of disabuses people of romantic notions about, well, Amazonian rainforests or anywhere else, which are not quite as delightful in every respect, if you’re sort of tramping through them, as it might seem from watching television wildlife documentaries.
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Notes from Friends & Family Edward’s Impact on His Loved Ones
No te s f ro m Friend s & Family • 5 1
Dear Edward, My goodness. Can you believe we made it this far? (And still as friends!) I don’t know if you know this, but I had a secret crush on you in elementary school. I used to wait by the lunch room door in hopes of running into you. Since then, a lot has happened and I’ve watched you grow into one of the most amazing men I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Family life wasn’t easy for you or your siblings, but somehow you pulled through, made something of yourself and ended up with a fantastic family of your own. I’ve often told my children your story to inspire them to stick with their educational goals. When I witness all the people’s lives you have impacted in the philanthropic world and your community, I get teary-eyed. The world is truly a better place because you are in it. One of my favorite memories of our childhood is when you built a tree house and devised a plan for us to hide from that bully kid (Jimmy) who kept pulling my hair every day in class. Remember how we threw water balloons at him when he walked by and he had no idea who did it? I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and a social justice warrior (even when we were kids). Warmly, Jessica (Levine) Libby Jessica Libby Childhood friend Austin, TX February 4, 2018
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Dear Ed, Your kind words, sincere concern and caring gestures served as a great source of strength for me and our family. Thank you for being there for us and offering your steadfast presence in our sorrowful time. And, of course, thank you for being there during the good times too! We are so fortunate to call you and Jane our friends. Always in our hearts, Jake & Lily
Jacob Thomas Neighbor & golfing pal Oakland, CA February 10, 2018
Dear Edward, When I first heard I’d be working with you as a college student, I was intimidated. The great Edward Jennings! It’s enough to make an intern run the other direction, but I’m glad I didn’t. I learned more from you in one year than I did in all my years of law school. Thank you for showing me the ropes and your courageous leadership. I knew I had joined the right firm when I first heard you in the court room. It was that case with Mrs. Hellvan. In your closing remarks, you told the jury that a decent person’s responsibility is to look beyond the letter of the law and focus on the spirit of it. I’ll never forget that. Those words gave me goose bumps at the time and are what I live my life by today. All the best, Howard J. Rocherberg, Esq.
Howard J. Rocherberg, Esq. Business associate & friend Oakland, CA February 2, 2018
No te s f ro m Friend s & Family • 5 3
Dear Brother, You were my lifeline when we were kids. No matter what happened, I knew I could count on you. Last week, I was looking through some old photos of us at that house on Green Street - you know the one with the paper-thin walls where we used to freeze every winter? It brought back so many memories of playing late-night games with the neighbor kids and eating mom’s homemade cookies. Those were good times (despite the freezing winters). Thank you for always making me feel like I mattered and for encouraging me to move forward with my life. Sometimes the simplest gestures are what stick with you forever. Remember when you once told me that I was a butterfly in a chrysalis who needed to struggle to develop beautiful strong wings? Sounds trite now, but at the time to my ten-year-old mind, it was profound wisdom and something that has stuck with me. Whenever I’m in a rough spot, I think of myself as that butterfly. I know we don’t see enough of each other now, but you are always in my heart. Thank you for being the best big brother a girl could hope for. With love, Mary
Mary Jennings Smith Younger sister Columbus, OH January 31, 2018
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Dear Dad, When I was in sixth grade and you made me study all summer to pass that math test to get into the advanced algebra class in junior high, I thought I’d never forgive you. I missed weeks of hanging out with my friends at the pool and the mall! But, now I’m so grateful for the work ethic you instilled in me. Thank you for having such high expectations of me and pushing me to be the best version of myself. I’m pretty sure without your influence, I would have ended up as a barista (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but you pushed me to be so much more. With you, it was never about the competition either. It wasn’t about beating my friends or being better than others; only about proving my own worth to myself. The times when we were kids and got to trek off to exotic lands, like Thailand and China or even go camping were some of my best memories growing up. You and mom always made it into a great adventure, going off the beaten path and discovering details I had never seen before. It was magical. Thanks for bringing that same magic into the lives of my kids. They love, love, love their grandpa! Every time you come to the visit, they stampede to the door! You’re awesome, Dad. Love you, Amelia
Amelia Kate Little Daughter San Diego, CA January 30, 2018
No te s f ro m Friend s & Family • 5 5
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jennings, Thanks to you, Michael and his sister, Janet, celebrated Michael’s 9th birthday with cake and balloons in a safe and loving place. They are no longer scared and love having their very own rooms. Your contributions to the Children’s Residential Services of Greater Boston have single-handedly improved the lives of over 250 children. Because of you, these children now have a place to live, learn, and feel safe. On a personal note, I wanted to thank you both for the impact you have had through visiting our homes and meeting with the children. Your presentation about “what makes kids special” is still being talked about. And I have had several children tell me how much they enjoyed your presentation. One child said that he now wants to be an attorney like you :) Again, thank you for all you do for our kids. You are a part of their lives too. Sincerely, Malcolm Wilson Executive Director
Malcom Wilson Executive Director Residential Services of Greater Boston February 5, 2018
Dear Edward, When I saw you at the restaurant the other day, it struck me that you are one of those people in my life whom I consider special for many reasons. You have a dramatic impact on my life; I am forever changed for the better for knowing you. Rodney Billings Warmly, Former business associate & friend Oakland, CA Rodney February 2, 2018
Final Note to the Reader: This is an example of a Book of You. To give you an idea of the design quality and content. This book is a relatively accurate representation of what you can expect, with the following exceptions: •
Typically, our books run 70 to 100 pages total. This one is a bit short simply because we didn’t add in all the notes from friends and family and other custom pages (see below for more detail). Our objective was to convey how each page is laid out so you understand the context and format.
Usually, there are many more notes from friends & family. We typically approach 40 or 50 people (sometimes more) on your behalf.
The interview transcript may go longer (the one included in this book was from an interview that lasted approximately 40 minutes). Our interviews can go up to 60 minutes.
We typically offer our clients additional pages in the “Pieces of History” section (that feature significant photos, a sample of your handwriting, images of family heirlooms, etc.), and additional stories in the “Turning Points” section.
You can also customize some of the content on some pages if needed. (e.g. if the topic of “career” isn’t something that interests you, we can use that area to write about something that does that represents your unique personality.)
The graphics and writing are customized to you.
In our 7-Week Lasting Legacy program, we take you through the whole process and you end up with a beautiful book like this one. For more about our services, email us at email@example.com or call 858.877.5985
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Example of a Paragon Road legacy book we develop as a part of our 7-week Lasting Legacy program.