Jack Wilson, Frederick Street (HOME PAGE)

    •  Jill Stabenau
    •  Carmen Silva
    •  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
    •  Miscellaneous

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In Jack's Words...

Empowering Women to
Fight Poverty (PPMK)


Remembering Jack Wilson

Jan Houbolt

December 14, 2011
So many of us have loved Jack  or been inspired by him. He was a remarkable human being. His saga was one of hardship, a descent into the hell  of Vietnam, a lifetime of struggle with addiction and then finally a lesson to all of us that one can turn one's life into something wonderful. There was always a special light of caring in him for all and an ability to appreciate the miracle of life even during the worst times. His creating PPMK in Indonesia and changing the lives of poor women is an inspirational  story in itself. I feel so fortunate to have  been friends with him for a little over 50 years.

He really did it his way.

January 31, 2012
I hardly know where to begin in writing about Jack. I am overwhelmed by images, remembrances, emotions of my true soul brother from the early age of adolescence.  Riding in stolen cars, talking even then about his early pain of having parents that essentially were traumatic for him, drinking to the point of throwing up and gently  washing  the vomit from his semi-comatose face, numerous LSD trips together listening to Jefferson Airplane/Beatles and a quick vision of some sort of ineffable divinity, discussions on Sartre and Kierkegaard, participating in the anti-war movements, quiet moments of meditation where for a brief moment the mysteries of the universe appeared to open up to us leaving a residue of love for existence, several adventures in group sex and a touch of experimentation with each other in our early 20s, the heart break of his crack addiction and long conversations/pleadings with him during that time when he was looking for a way out, taking his wonderful daughter Lena under our wing for a year when family life was challenging for her and finding it to be such a blessing to have his daughter in our house and now in our life forever. Jack said that the greatest remorse in his life was being a crack addict. He retreated to Indonesia to heal during critical years of Lena’s life. The last several years Rachel and I worked with him to create a nonprofit in the USA to continue his amazing work in Indonesia, Overcoming Poverty Together (OPT).  And all of that barely begins to capture the real essence of who he was and what our relationship was.  I loved him so dearly.
Yes, he was complex and there are some stories about Jack that would not fit in any traditional remembrances where the person is simply idealized. But Jack was so clear that he was not an angel (though there was a huge angelic presence in him); and his story, including the iron fireman, needs its due recognition. His fictionalized biography makes no attempt to hide some of the demons that roiled him.
So I am not sure how to really tell my story of Jack.  I guess the above attempt is an outline of some of the stories I would tell, but I don’t know quite how to do it. I do know that as I write this at 4 AM in the morning in Baltimore, tears of loss and gratitude are streaming down my face as a vortex of images and emotions swirl through my very core.


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