Jack Wilson, Frederick Street (HOME PAGE)

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    •  Jill Stabenau
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    •  Jan Houbolt
    •  Mark Freeman
    •  Elizabeth Martin
    •  Suzanne Ecker
    •  Evan Kaltschmidt
    •  Andre Rorsch
    •  Jo-Anne Rosen
    •  Dennis Strong
    •  Lastri Trimiharjo
    •  Rachel Wohl
    •  Amanda Zinn
    •  December 17, 2011
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In Jack's Words...

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Remembering Jack Wilson

Evan Kaltschmidt

To a man who is known by many names.

In my writing today, I will call him Poppa Jack. I call him this because I have always considered him one of my three dads. I did not have an ordinary childhood, on my way to becoming a man. My parents divorced when I was two, and I have had many parental figures along the way — only a few of whom I truly considered a mother or a father. From each one, I learned to take what I felt was a positive trait and leave the negative behind. We all have negative traits and Poppa Jack was no exception, But from my view point, he had many positive traits, and passing those on is what life is all about.

I was very young when he became a part of my life, so young I don’t even know how old I was. From the moment he was on the scene, he started calling me by a different name, Boo-Boo. There are many moments I will never forget. I rode with him in beat-up muscle cars, while he taught me about Sweetie Pie Babes as I looked out the window. He taught me how dangerous guns are and that I should always respect their power. And no matter what, he always seemed to have a smile whenever he was around.

I will never forget going to the gun range on weekends, where my sister Kira and I ate foot long hot dogs in the back of the hatchback, all the while staring out the window watching Mom and Jack Blow discs away, with one of his many guns. Or the many memories of the little town of Port Costa, where I sometimes witnessed over a hundred bikers roll in like a tremendous thunder storm. I remember the time we had to evacuate the town, as 20 foot flames burned on both sides of the only exiting road. It never seemed to be a dull moment when he was around.

There was one time where he took me to a video shoot that he was directing, filming, editing, etc. (truly a one man band). It was a film about some author and how he was the best in the world or something like that. The one job Jack needed me to help him with was rotating scripted cue cards. When the author saw that Jack had brought a kid along to help, he took him to a separate room to cuss him out and call him a loon. I heard every word mumbled through the door and feared that I could not help Jack do his job and that I would let him down. But, once they both came from the room, Jack showed me what to do with a reassuring, “you can do it Boo-Boo”. After a couple hours and a “Jack-in the box” lunch break (no pun intended), filming was done. Till this day, I remember the author coming over to me and shaking my hand, apologizing and expressing his amazement, at how well I handled myself for such a young kid. After that day, I loved Jack that much more because he saw something in me that others didn’t.

Of the many memories I have with Jack, the one I remember most is how he made me feel that kids came first. He might have pushed the limits of parental boundaries (fireworks, guns, motorcycles etc.), but I never felt scared or ashamed of my mistakes.

He truly tried to make the best out of any situation. He never had a full wallet to take us to amusement parks or buy us material things. What he offered was his time with us, and having two children of my own, I now know this is not an easy thing to do. Being raised in California, I was in constant awareness of societies desire to be viewed on a higher status plateau. Jack taught me, that as long as you have the basic necessities of life, and a caring household, you don’t need to keep buying nicer things or constantly upgrading.

As I remember Jack, I know he made an impression on my life. I find it coming out in subtle fathering ways, like giving my own son the nickname, “Boyo” or lightly rubbing my daughters back at bedtime. Doing those things brings back memories of Jack and how he made me feel…. Loved.

The last time I felt like I was able to talk with him was ironically through Facebook. We both had traveled far away from California (Jack a little farther) and continued on with our lives. I knew he was getting older from the conversations I had with my sister Lena. Writing on his Facebook wall seemed like the only way I could make sure he knew I still and always would love him. Of course he never wrote back, but I knew he had to have read what I wrote. It wasn’t until Lena got back from a visit and told me he printed out what I wrote and shared it with his closest friends that I knew how proud he was of his son.

That made my heart feel a little more complete and I hope he felt the same. I am proud to be the father of a daughter and a son, but there is a special bond between fathers and sons. Even though he was not my father by blood, I felt that he treated me like a son. Hopefully, he knew that I respected and loved him as a father.

So, as I said in the beginning, life is about making an impact on others. It can be negative or positive. I was very fortunate to know Jack and learn the positive traits he taught me at a very young age. I know he will live on through everyone’s memories, but he will live on through me in the way I am raising my children — always remembering to have fun, show love and take risks, because life is short.

So here is to you Poppa Jack, and the impact we ALL will never forget!

   

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