Those Cornerstone People


Those cornerstone people of your life. Do they ever really pass?

Today is a sparkling. sunny cold Saturday afternoon. Stepping inside the Women and Children First Bookstore in Chicago and the presence of my Aunt Jean, who passed this past year comes filling the room with her own smiling sounds of delight. You can hear her applauding to be back here in this room full of books and curiosity and conversation. She is having simultaneous conversations with everyone in the room. The music is Otis Redding singing “Change Is Gonna Come.” He belts out “I was born buy the river, in a little tent. And just like that river. . . “

And I remember when I did the reading of “Finding Work When There Are No Jobs” at this store.

After a day of massive publicity, including a TV appearance. And maybe 9 or 10 people showed up. But one of them was a woman who said she really liked the book, but couldn’t afford it. So Jeannie stepped in and bought it for her. That’s Jeannie. Then back to today. Jeannie back in her bookstore. The sun shining like hope. The books like a rainbow of possibility. Right this moment. Here and now with Jeanie’s presence. Talking books.

7 Responses to “Those Cornerstone People”

  1. Paul Haider Says:

    Roger. are you sure that it was Otis Redding singing “A Change Is Gonna Come” instead of its songwriter, Sam Cooke? Actually, my mom wouldn’t have known the difference between the two men’s voices. However, Mom knew books like nobody’s business and spent a lot of time/money at Women & Children First Bookstore in Andersonville. Thank you for being there and writing about it. Those cornerstone people in your life will never rally pass in spite of the fact that all things must pass. Paul

    • chicagoguy14 Says:

      Yeah, I listened hard cause you don’t hear Otis sing it that much, But he’s get that deeper gravel in his voice while Sam soars.. And nice George Harrison reference!

  2. Paul Haider Says:

    Speaking/writing of maternal greatness, I purchased of copy of the new book by Barbara Dowd Wright from Amazon yesterday. The Nixon side of the family has Irish-Protestant roots in Belfast, and I remember this fact whenever listening to songs by the Belfast Cowboy: Van Morrison.

  3. Tom Dickinson Says:

    Lucky you Roger…that you will always have Jeannie.. whenever, wherever….

    Have you picked up “Born to Run” yet? A Magnum Opus, to say the least. Incredible story, every page. Wish we could afford the Carnegie Hall solo show!

    Happy Epiphany! Feast day of The Family!

    TD

    • chicagoguy14 Says:

      Born to Run is like a message to the world that our poor bruised and battered country still holds the potential from greatness! I hope its translated into a whole lotta languages!

  4. Tom Cordle Says:

    Sorry to hear of the passing of one of your heroes, but as others have said, all things must pass. Indeed, that shadow looms over my own event horizon. Meantime, I suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune along with the rest of thinking America, but rest assured that this, too, shall pass – just as Sam said:

    “There were times I thought I couldn’t last for long
    But now I feel, I’m able to carry on
    It’s been a long … a long time coming
    But I know, a change gonna come, oh yes it will”

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