Charlie Jackson’s life was nothing short of miraculous. If, of course, one believed in miracles. From the time he was born to the time he died Charlie Jackson’s life was beyond ordinary. Or at least he thought so. It is a difficult job to go back and quantify and qualify the life of a man, to say what is good and what is bad. He himself tried this several times, but not knowing the ending he couldn’t quite fit it into perspective. But as a third party viewer I can be a bit more objective, perhaps a bit more truthful. Of course it is impossible to write only truth, just as it’s impossible to write what isn’t true. It’s all in the perception. And the perception of a man’s life is what will be brought into focus here. Perhaps there’ll be a glimmer of insight, a touch of humanity, and, with luck, a man worth reading about.
The best place to start, I imagine, is at the beginning, and the beginning here precedes the beginning. Mary Beth Janson was a middle child in a family of six. Three older siblings and two younger, the middle child syndrome was in full effect. She had watched as her sisters and brother went off on their own and married and began their own families, and it would only be so long until she would be doing the same. Enter Chad Whitweck. Chad was known to the Janson family for years, living in a small rural town in North Dakota most everyone knew everyone else. In fact Chad’s mother had unintentionally scared the crap out of Mary Beth and her friends for years. A witch, they called her. Far from it, Chad’s mother watched as her son returned from duty in Europe and met the nice Mary Beth and watched the relationship spring up between them. It was a short courtship, as they often were in the day, and while it most likely should have been longer, it’s a good thing it wasn’t, else there would be no story here to tell. A long story short, they married and soon after Mary Beth was with child.
It can be said that the circumstances by which the child was conceived lends to the remarkable life of Charlie Jackson, but logic would say that thirty others should be just as remarkable. It was April and the worst of the winter was becoming just a memory. In fact there were places where there was no snow to be seen. With the spring peeking it’s head around the corner everyone’s thoughts were to the summer ahead and the crops and the harvest and the animals. Winter was a footnote in the year already. Then the blizzard struck. A freak blizzard in the tail end of April, and family’s gas tanks for heat had not been replenished what with the warm weather on the doorstep. So people had to be creative in how they created heat. The result? Nine months later a town of three thousand people had thirty newborns in the span of a week.
And so it was that Charlie Anver Whitweck came into the world. The first year was a whirlwind for the young couple and their even younger offspring. With baby showers and holidays and family and crying and pooping and laughing and enough cuteness to kill a mule it was a time the two would never forget. Nor was it a time they ever would. Shortly after the child’s first birthday the divorce papers were filed. Mary Beth Jansen and Chad Whitweck went their own ways. And Charlie Anver now had a new last name.
Life wasn’t easy for a single mother with only a high school degree. There were a lot of late nights of crying to sleep, of frustrations so great that thinking of them was becoming a self defeating addiction. But she always had Charlie to get her through it. It was a lesson learned early for Mary Beth. A life lesson that only tragedy can teach. Mary Beth had know it for years. Be grateful for the family and friends you have, they won’t always be there.
As a child Mary Beth had a best friend. The two spent many long summer days together swimming at the pool, biking to the park, talking of boys and ponies and of life after North Dakota. It so happened one day that when the two were biking down the road a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel. He didn’t see the two young girls enjoying the day and life they had. He did hear them scream as his truck left the designated lane. He didn’t see as Mary Beth was thrown from her bike and received minor injuries. He did come to know that his carelessness had taken away a girl’s best friend, a loving family’s daughter. He lived with that knowledge for the rest of his life. And Mary Beth, Mary Beth could only cry.
So it was that she learned how to treasure the time you had with a person, and it was that knowledge that kept her going. And if ever there was a chance she would forget, her friend’s favorite porcelain doll sits always near Mary Beth’s bed. A reminder of the times that would always be bright and happy and carefree. With only a moment’s glance, it seemed those bright times were not far away at all. And Charlie and Mary Beth carried on.

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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Uncategorized