A jigger of kindness and the bells of St. Mary’s

It seemed just about right when our friend John Jorgensen texted a few nights ago to note with amusement that he and my mom, Grandma Peggy, were both pictured in the current edition of the Compass, the Green Bay Diocese Newspaper.

My mom and John have been sharing spaces for well over three decades. She taught him English back in 1985 when friends called him Jigger, owing to his last name and affable personality. John had a lot of fun in high school and developed a wide circle of friends, including my sister Kathy. They made quite a trio back then, with John as class president, my mom as class moderator and my sister as vice president. They won the Homecoming Float competition with a “We’re gonna Winnie and that’s no Pooh” theme. UPDATE: My sister Kathy informs me that I was mistaken about the theme of their winning Homecoming Float. Their actual winning theme was “We’ll Have a Whale of a Victory “and, according to Kathy, “it shot water out of its blowhole.”

John has also always been the kind of guy you could count on during more challenging times. Kathy had her first brain surgery when she was a senior in high school and John came to visit her in the hospital as she recovered. He tells a funny story about how he poked his head into the wrong room, set off an alarm and hustled out of there in horror before swiftly making his way down the hall to my sister’s room. I think it says a lot about the kind of guy John is that he came alone to a hospital when he was just a kid to visit his seriously ill friend.

Kathy and John have been genuine friends ever since.

He and my mom have enjoyed an equally admirable friendship. They began playing tennis on Tuesday nights almost 30 years ago and keep in touch both on and off the court.

Last month, John and his daughter Megan showed up at Father Carr’s Place to Be to help deliver free Thanksgiving meals. Compass photographer Michael Cooney caught them in the act.

Meanwhile, my mom took up a new hobby and has been practicing with the Bell Choir at St. Mary’s Parish in Appleton. She has always wanted to play in a bell choir and decided at 83 that this was the year to give it a go. We are all excited to go hear her play the “G” bell on Christmas Eve. The St. Mary’s Bell Choir is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and that how Grandma Peggy landed in the December issue of the Compass.

Another fellow named Jorge Mario Bergoglio joins my mom and John on the pages of the current issue of the Compass. You might know him by his more formal name, Pope Francis.

That seems about right too.

John texted us this picture of my mom playing the bells with the St. Mary’s Bell Choir. She said it’s a lot harder than it looks. We’re looking forward to hearing her play on Christmas Eve.
The current issue of the Compass also includes this cute picture of John and his daughter Megan delivering free Thanksgiving meals.
John and my mom have been sharing spaces for more than three decades. He was in her class when she was a very strict high school English teacher and, years later, they began playing tennis together in this group that includes former Xavier tennis coach Frank Mousley and Mark Tyczkowski.

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