|Dick 'n' Me
A Memorial To My Surrogate Father
Dick and I had a special relationship, at least for me it was. He loved me unconditionally and was an example so I could do it for others. Thanks Dick! In turn I loved him back. I was invited to every official ceremony of which he was a part. I never missed one. He never stopped calling me Jannie.
I was allowed time with him the day before he died. I could do a very sad piece about how much I will miss Dick. Instead, I want people who knew Justice Holmes to know this wonderful man the way I knew him.
We lived next door to the Holmes in Wichita . I baby sat for Bob and Dave, and I walked Bob to school. When my parents went out of town and left my brother and me with some stranger, I would run away from home all the way across the driveway to stay at their house. Gwen would put me to bed, and I was a happy camper. I don't remember Dick very well at that point in my life.
We moved away; there was not much contact between us, and then I came back to Kansas. I was ill, living alone and Gwen the second best cook in the world, my mom is a little bit better, brought me some home made (I can see it in the container) beef vegetable soup. I was in heaven. I would visit Dick and Gwen once in a while or often, I was invited for Thanksgiving dinner sometimes. And then I wanted to move to Lawrence so I could go to the University of Kansas. Dick, the ever staunch Kansas State alumnus gave me a hard time because of the school and then said "If that's what you want to do let me help you." I told him that was what I wanted to do and that I did not know how but I would pay him back somehow. He wrote a check for three hundred dollars, and I was able to move to Lawrence, where I finished my master degree. I remember thinking I am living my dream while in school. This guy had an incredible impact on my life with that one little loan, and he did get the money back.
Computers are my love. Social workers don't make a lot of money. I wanted to get onto the Internet but the computer that I had would not upgrade to the level needed to accomplish my goal. I found a real buy on a computer and asked him if he would co-sign for me. He said, "No, and let the word hang a minute during which my stomach sunk. Then he said," But I will loan you the money you have been good for all of the other loans I have given you." And he never charged interest. That is how I got on to the Internet and another major impact on my life had been made by this kind man, because this is now where I work a lot of the time.
Dick believed in me period and that was all there was to it. We did lunch often, usually at Sante Fe Annies. Once while we were visiting he told me about how he had helped some impoverished person who was now an outstanding man. I sensed that Dick liked to help people. Not everyone does.
He was so common and uncommon at the same time. I noticed that his arms had tattoos on them and asked him why he had done that to his body. His response was, "Young and dumb." I will never think that there was anything dumb about Dick. He was a humble person and very, very wise. He never said one cross word to me although I am sure I gave him the occasion.
Youth is often stupid. When I came to Kansas my car was not exactly legal. Dick exclaimed, "If you end up in the slammer don't call me!". This was before my biological dad died. Daddy and I knew exactly what Dick meant. "I am here if you need me.
His sense of humor was out standing, here are a couple of examples:
I arrived at Dick's firm one day to see one of his partners and while waiting decided I should visit the women's room. I asked for directions from the secretary and accidentally ended up in the men's room. I don't know if you have ever ended up in the wrong sex bathroom, it's happened to me twice and is totally embarrassing. Someone came in. I was so preoccupied thinking about my legal problem didn't notice until I came out that I was in the wrong room. Fortunately for me the clothes I was wearing took for ever to get back on since my level of awareness as to where I was or the sex of the person who had walked into, what I thought was the ladies room. If I had been wearing something that was easy to get in and out of I would have walked out of the stall I was in and there we would have been. I told his secretary her what happened and how I had not been caught. I saw his partner. We concluded our business and stopped by Dick's office just to say, "Hi !" on the way out. He looked at me, and said, "Jannie were those the shoes and painted toes I saw in the men's room? I couldn't think of anyone with the firm who would who wear toenail polish." We both cracked up. The secretary and I were gifted with another chance to laugh when I left because I had to tell her the truth about the incident.
I love to swear even though it is usually unneeded. Nonetheless, it helps me get rid of some of my aggression in a harmless way. I was unsure how Dick would feel about the "F" word. This incident happened while he was still an active Justice. I stopped by his office again to say, "Hi !" He, as always, stopped what he was doing to chat a minute. I said, "Do you remember that f'ing yippy dog you had in Wichita?" Later in the conversation I refered to the darn yippy dog. Dick stopped, looked at me with a sly smile on his face and said, "A minute ago it was an 'f'ing' yippy dog.". I said, "Well I didn't know how you felt about the word". His response was, "It's fine with me. I wouldn't use it around home though."
The Kansas Supreme Court defines "Justice in Kansas is depicted as the compassion and sensitivity of a woman holding the powers of unrivaled vision and swift and accurate action, as evidenced by the sculpture "Justice" in the atrium of the Judicial Center in Topeka. The gentle, kneeling posture of a woman is holding aloft a native Prairie Falcon, one of the swiftest birds known, whose vision is thought to be eight times more powerful than man's." For me this description fits Dick he was without a doubt compassionate, sensitive, swift, accurate and very insightful.
Dick did say, "No," to one of my requests, and I was very disappointed but after thinking about it for a while, I wrote him a note that said, "Dick, you wise owl." Once I understood why he said no it made so much sense to me that I was glad he said no. So to complete this short list of adjectives about Dick I would add "wise."
On the back of the memorial folder is a quote from one of the Holmes' grandchildren. The grand child wrote: "From my grandfather I learned That love is demonstrated through your actions, not merely through words; and it doesn't matter if you are able to do something, it only matters if what you do is right."
At the memorial service someone said to me, "You are going to miss the old guy aren't you?" I started crying because "Dick you wise owl you loved me in a way no one else ever has and I thank you for that." I love you too, see you when I get there.
What a blessing this man Dick was in my life.
|Graphics by Jan
Copyright © 2000 - Jan Faust
visitor # 4698 since 9/11/99
page last updated 2/17/03