Today, July 27th, is another bonus double birthday blog day. My nephew, Lane, turns 19 today, and shares his birthday with my friend and former roommate, Jeanne. It is great that they share a birthday because one of my most favorite stories ever involves the two of them. Jeanne and our friend Sheila came with me to my parents house for Easter dinner one year. This would have been a few years post college, so I am guessing Lane would have been approximately 6 or so. Anyway when we got to my parents house I was introducing Jeanne and Sheila to my family, and Lane came up to us and said “Aunt Jane, you brought the ‘Sour Girls’!”. To this day we don’t really know what the “Sour Girl” reference was about, but it was just really funny. It is even funnier if you can hear Lane’s 6-year old voice because it sounded more like “Sowa Girwas”. My sister, Jan, was of course horrified that Lane called them that, but you if ever there were two people on the planet who would roll with being a Sour Girl it was Jeanne and Sheila.
Happy Birthday Lane Pfeiffer! My nephew Lane has got to be one the most special people on this planet. I have never met another person who so genuinely cares for others. And when I say others I don’t just mean his friends, family, co-workers etc. Lane cares about the clerks at Wal-Mart, the janitor at school, the ladies at church, the Illini basketball players, the waitress at the restaurant. If he has ever seen you or said hi to you, he remembers your name, and wants to make sure you are having a good day.
When Lane was little he went through a bit of potty mouth phase, and so Jan and Larry told him he needed to “trade in” some of his words that he would now refer to as “inappropriate language”. I still remember one day him telling me “Aunt Jane, I don’t say bad words like shit and shut-up no more, I traded them in, and now I say shucks and be twiet!” When Lane was really little he used to get excited about different stuff and kind of squeal with delight what sounded like “Da Pootie Pootie Pooh”. It was just the funniest little phrase it just absolutely tickled me so, and Larry commented to Lane that I just really got a kick out him saying that. Ever since then, to this day, EVERY time I have visited Lane or he has visited me at some point he will say “Hey Aunt Jane… da Pootie Pootie Pooh”. Everytime, never fail, sometimes he says it the minute I walk in the door, sometimes it is the last thing he tells me as they leave, it just randomly pops up at some point… I never ask him to say it, he just does and we both get kick out of it. It is just “our thing”. Some day when I am old and gray and Lane comes to visit me in the nursing home (he will that is just the kind of thing he does) he will probably be telling me “da pootie pootie pooh”.
Another fun Lane story was at a family birthday party several years ago. Lane was just getting tall enough that when he walked by a tallish adult sitting in their chair he could see the top of their head... he was probably 10 or so. Anyway he walked by my brother who for once wasn't wearing a hat and said very matter of factly "Ha Ha Uncle Phil's bald!" The entire table just paused for a second with the "Huh?" look on our faces then just laughed hysterically.
Happy Birthday Lane!
Happy Birthday Jeanne Genis! Jeanne was my roommate for two years in college and two years after college. Other than members of my family, Jeanne is the person I lived with the longest. I am the queen of a clutter-free existance, she was the deep cleaner… we coexisted rather peacefully. I actually met Jeanne our freshmen year at UIUC, although we didn’t live together until junior year. Jeanne lived on my floor, and I remember seeing her at a floor meeting our first day or two in the dorm. A couple of days later, my roommate, Maggie wasn’t around to eat dinner with and I hadn’t really made friends on our floor yet so I headed to dinner by myself. Once I was through the food line and saw Jeanne sitting at a table with our junior year roommate, Sonia, and recognized her from our floor meeting for some reason. She didn’t recognize me at all. So then I just decided eating by myself would be no fun so I just went up and said “Hi, I am Jane, I think you live on my floor, can I sit and eat my dinner with you?” This was completely out of character for me, I was rather shy at the time, but eating alone was scarier than approaching a stranger. Jeanne probably thought I was a little nuts, but said I could join them. The rest is history.
The picture I have posted was taken our junior year of college… wow that was 16 years ago… yikes. That day we decided I would be Jeanne and Jeanne would be me. We have completely diverging senses of style, especially then. Jeanne told me that she was anxiously looking forward to her birthday post and had thought of a great picture to post. I knew we were thinking of the same picture. It is one of the few pictures of us together, not sure why. I think we just both like this picture so much we decided we couldn’t really ever take a better one so why try. This picture is a little bittersweet for Jeanne. It is the last photographic evidence of her most favorite fish necklace aka “her soul”. I feel honored to have been able to wear Jeanne’s soul for a day.
Our junior year of college Jeanne and I live in the "treehouse" apartment, the 2nd and 3rd floor of an old house on Illinois & Busey in Urbana. It probably should have been called the "Bat Cave" as we had 3 bats in that apartment over the course of the year, one even on the night before we moved out. By bat #3 we got really good at catching them, and even fashioned our own bat trap. Amazing what a poet/landscape architect and accountant can do with a wrapping paper tube, a plastic grocery bag, a vacuum cleaner attatchment, some cardboard and a little duct tape (Kudos to Dad... for the duct tape lessons see July 16th post).
Jeanne often refers to me as “The Voice of Reason”, not really sure how that started back in the day, but it stuck. One time Jeanne had a dream where I was in the “Room of Likely Wenches”… this is Jeanne’s mind, it was fun to live with it for four years. I am amused that I wasn’t a wench, just a likely one.
One time Jeanne woke me up to take her to the emergency room for what was eventually diagnosed as an ovarian cyst. It was the funniest trip to the ER ever, okay so maybe not funny for Jeanne, she was in lot of pain, but the rest of it was hysterical. There was family checking in ahead of us. The mom was describing the daughter’s various cold symptoms etc. then said pointing to her husband, “Oh yeah, and he is having chest pains and numbness in his arms”. What, you only brought your possible heart attack having hubby to the ER because you were bringing the sore throated daughter in anyway. Crazy!
For some reason whenever we were together, especially when shopping, people/clerks would always stop us and say "Are you sisters?". Jeanne and I look nothing alike, except we both have dark hair and are "far from petite" so to say... beyond that nothing in common... brown vs. green eyes, olive vs. very fair complexion, strait vs. curly hair. Whatever, even if we were sisters would it be uncommon for us to shop to together. We attracted a strange fascination. Anyway after awhile we decided we should just say "Yes, and she gave me her kidney".
Jeanne lives in Florida with her husband, Ted and their bird, Woo. Jeanne should live closer to me, I miss her. We are good at entertaining each other without even trying. Jeanne also makes me waffles, my most favorite breakfast ever. A few days ago Jeanne sent me an email that absolutely made my day. Here is an excerpt…“A lot of the blogs I check out on a regular basis bore me at least half the time. People write about political crap or their existential thoughts or about whatever theoretical crap they were just exposed to. Blah blah blah. The best part about your blog is even though I may not know the people/stuff you're writing about and may not want to memorize every detail, each entry is a pure shot of Jano---which makes me smile."
Happy Birthday Jeanne Genis! Da Pootie Pootie Pooh, Sour Girl!