The Island Without Jill 10/29/09

I keep telling myself that one day this week I will sit down to write the “final post” for the season.  I’m not ready to do that yet, even though today was the closest I’ve come to saying, “Ok – I’m ready to go.”  And that is because today, my good friend Jill left the island. 


JIB in The Island Bookstore.

As I have said before, Jill is the communicator for Mackinac Island.  If Jill doesn’t know about something that’s going on, then it must not be going on.   She always seems to be everywhere at once, and when we were first getting to know each other, I gave her the nickname JIB (for Jill in the Box) – because she just popped up everywhere.  At first I thought she knew everything because she worked at the The Island Bookstore.  I figured there must be some secret information system that fed every little tidbit of news from every corner of the island into that tiny little store inside the Lilac Tree Hotel mall.  But then I realized, no – it’s just that Jill knows everyone on Mackinac, and everyone knows her. 

How in the world I would have ever kept this blog going without her constant stream of places to go and people to meet is beyond me.  It probably would have been dead in the water by June.  Jill was a Godsend. 

But the best part of meeting Jill was not how much she knew.  The best part was becoming her friend.  Being Jill’s friend is like taking little rays of sunshine and spreading them across your day – regardless of the weather, regardless of your mood, regardless of how you feel – Jill’s voice and her smiling face can lift you right up.  Her spirit is sweet and generous and kind, and she shares herself with everyone. 
This summer I have seen her come to the aid of an endless number of people in countless ways – housesitter, meeting someone at the ferry, seeing someone off at the ferry, helping people unpack-then helping them pack, dogsitter, delivering messages, delivering packages, catsitter, buying groceries for others, and picking up mail for a friend.  And she is usually taking care of all that before she goes to a a full-time job in the afternoon at the bookstore.  She does it all, and she never complains.  She never says she’s too busy or too tired to help someone, even though I know that sometimes she is both. 
On her breaks from the bookstore, she will walk down the sidewalk and have 20 people speak to her by name before she hits the first corner.  She is hailed from the street, from taxis, from bikes, and from stores.  She has this amazing ability to make you feel special.  That’s what she did for me, and that’s what she does for everyone lucky enough to know her. 
Jill left today on the 12:30 ferry.  Her plan is to spend a few months with her family in downstate Michigan, then spend some time with friends in Arizona, before returning to the island in the spring. 
Ted and I were there at the dock to see her off.  She wrote me a lovely note that she gave me as she was boarding the boat, making me promise not to open it until she was well out of sight.  I kept my promise. 
Watching the ferry pull away, I thought, “Now there is only one more important goodbye I have to say before we leave – and that will be to the island itself.”  

Then it will be time to go home.

Our plan is to leave on Sunday. 

Have a great winter, JIB!  Love you, my friend.










40 thoughts on “The Island Without Jill 10/29/09

  1. Another tissue please. She sounds like such a wonderful person.Safe travels to you Jill.
    I’m getting my box of tissues on my computer desk for your last blog of the season Bree.

    Oh by the way I am in Cincinnati so if you would like to stop by my door is always open!

  2. You are truly blessed to have made a friendship like you did with Jill. I hope that friendship continues for many many years to come Bre. It’s hard to believe the season has come to an end and your last post will be soon. I too am ready to cry. You have made my experiences come alive again after 25 years. Thank You Brenda, thank you!

  3. Thank you for your beautiful piece about our Jill. Can you imagine our pride in having such a wonderful daughter? I know she returns your love in full measure, and will look forward to seeing you again next spring. If you ever decide to take I-65 back to GA, would love to have you stop in Lansing on your way.

    • Good morning, Joanne! I can’t tell you in words how much Jill has come to mean to me this summer. Your daughter is truly a beautiful lady – inside and out. I am blessed by her friendship, and she makes me a better person by knowing her. I know how much you will enjoy having her with you this winter, but then please send her back to the island this spring. We all love her.

      Brenda (Bree)

  4. I had my cup of Joe ready the Puffs plus at hand (now half empty). I was sure that this was going to be your last post until GA. It was no accident that and Jill found each or that all of your readers foun you both. Joanne you are to be congratulated on raising such a remarkable woman. I truely believe that this world has more wonderful people then not but how refreshing to know one and to see Faith in Action! Brenda, we hit it lucky here in southwest Mi. It was sunny and hit 70 yesterday and may even today. Mema is charming and fun and refreshing. We will probably pass on I75 as we zig zag around the state this week=end visiting friends and family Muskegon-Detriot-Lansing-Mt. Pleasant-Muskegon-Mt. Pleasant-Detroit-St. Sames City Fl. I’ll do a running streem once we are down to one car so Burton can drive and I can Tweet. THANK YOU MY FRIENDfor your words,pictures,prayers. You manager Christannthemums

  5. What a sweet tribute to a loving friend! I don’t know what we’ll figure out to do in GA to keep the ball (I mean blog) rolling……but I’m sure we can do it! I hope you and Ted and the “kids” have a safe and wonderful trip home next week. We’ll miss y’all though for the GA_FL game this weekend.

  6. Jill is the best! I lived on the island for years and Jill was always a ray of sunshine. Everytime I come to the island she makes me feel like I have been away for about five minutes instead of 15 years. Love her!

    Marquette, MI

  7. I read somewhere once that “Friends make life Blossom”…your, and now OURS thru your blog, dear friend Jill certainly fits that quote- she must fill ALOT of lives with b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l blossoms!!

    Yet another heart touching, tear-filled read today Bree…(how do you type & wipe the tears away at the same time??!) We are preparing ourselves for that blog that bids a final farewell to the island for this season…Sigh. It may require a ‘Bree’s Blog Reader’ group hug (done mentally of course, since we are all scattered around the country)AND the big box of kleenex.

  8. When I brought up the blog thismorning Jill’s picture popped up and I RECOGNIZED her from our summer visits to the island bookstore. I can’t wait to see her next summer and call her by name! I will tell her she is now well known through your blog! I also noticed the long framed drawing of the island on the wall behind her. I HAVE THE SAME PICTURE IN MY LIVING ROOM! I bought it in Mackinac City’s Island bookstore a couple of years ago and I just LOVE it!!!!! I love to decorate and my whole house is done in the the Mackinac island theme. Every year I take pictures of my daughter on the island and blow them up and put them on the wall. I have turtles throughout the house. My Bsthroom is covered in framed photos frrom Mackinac — do you remember the popular one of the bridge being built and all of the old fashioned cars are parked in front with people looking at the bridge through the viewer?
    I guess I should say my old house was decorated this way. My daughter and I just moved in with my parents. I have came down with a fatal illness and my husband divorced me and I lost the house. I have a lung disease and I am now on a 24 hr IV pump of medication that hekps me breath. Now for sure my dream of someday living on the island has died. I have a tube that hangs out of my chest that administers the IV med. I was given 3 years to live without the medication and maybe 10 years with it. I just turned 40. I never smoked and never knew there was a deadly lung disease outside of Cancer! It is called Pulmonary Artery Hypertension if you wish to look it up.
    I am pleased to tell you that my parents know how much I love to decorate , so they let me move all my lodge like furnature and pictures of Mackinac to their home! So I still pretend in my mind and in our home – we live on the beloved Island. If I ever win the lottery I will hire a PAH Dr. and bring him to the island so I can live out my dream to live on the island. For now I will read your blog and see the beaauty of island living through your eyes sweet Bree!!! Thank you for sharing it with us!!!
    God bless you as you head south for winter! I will be looking forward to spring through your eyes in this special peaceful place!!
    Love you!
    Love Shannon

    • Dear Shannon,

      I am so honored that you have find this blog a source of pleasure as you fight your PAH. I confess to not knowing anything about the disease, but it appears you are fighting hard and are surrounded by loving family who will do anything to make your journey through this battle an easier one.

      I love that you decorated your home with the Mackinac Island theme – I have so much MI “stuff” in my home in Georgia, that all I have to do is glance at a wall to see some view from the island.

      Please know that you and your family will be in my prayers from this day forward. Keep fighting, and know that God is with you every step of the way.

      Love in Christ,

      Brenda (Bree)

  9. what a touching tribute to friendship….and how fortunate you and Jill are to have found each other, of all places in the world, on the “turtle” rock of Mackinac. those of us who know Jill have experienced her loving friendship thru the years, and KNOW what you are saying about her is true. AND, I’m thinking she feels the same way about you, Bree. Thanks for sharing your love for each other on this blog—we all need to express our love/appreciation for each other more; life is too short for anything else. and to your friend Shannon, God be with you as you face this invasion of your body, I will be praying for you, along with many others who have read this blog.

  10. “By Jill, Have a great winter, see you in the spring.”
    Now you`re going to make me cry, even tho you`re coming home. I feel like Jill and I became friends when the two of us hi-jacked your face book page. That was a lot of fun, then we finally decided you were probably sitting back laughing at us becouse you were probably reading every thing we wrote, which you were. LOL. Have a safe trip home you two.
    Love you.

    • Thanks, Helen. So good to hear from you – hope you two are avoiding the flu! Stay well, and have a wonderful winter. Hope to hear from you again.


  11. Oh, WHAT are we going to do without our daily “visits” with you???????? You have done a GREAT job with this blog and have brought Mackinac Island ALIVE to many of us who will probably never get the opportunity to visit!!!


    • Nancy, I hope you will follow me down Interstate-75 to Georgia. My home state isn’t Mackinac Island, but maybe you could still have fun learning about my “neck of the woods”. So glad you have stayed with me all summer! Stay tuned for the address to my new blog from Georgia for the winter months.

  12. During our visit with you I had the pleasure of meeting Jill but not forming the enduring friendship you two have enjoyed. After following Jill’s path through your blog entries, the bookstore will be my first commercial area to revisit next summer. I have been excited following your adventures with friends and it has been obvious that Jill was a very important part of your life on the island. Isn’t it wonderful to know that treasure will be waiting for you when you return next spring.

    God’s speed to both of you.

  13. Bree (and Jan Webster),
    Thank you for adding me to your prayer list – it blesses me so much! My silly daughter was teasing me thismorning after I was so excited that you wrote back and that you were going to include me in your prayers — she said “Mama thinks she is so special cause now she has friends ON Mackinack Island praying for her.” LOL She is 16 and still calls me Mama. Smile — I am blessed!

    • I called my mother “Mama” until she passed away at age 86.

      That’s what she was – my Mama. I think there is a bond between mothers and daughters that is so very, very special. We might let the bond loosen some in different stages of our lives, but later on it comes back stronger than ever. And yes, you are blessed.

  14. Shannon, the people in Ga. are lifting up prayers for you too, so you ARE a ‘VERY special person”. In God`s eyes we are all special. Isn`t it funny tho that through Bree`s blog people all over the United States will be praying for you, your daughter, and your parents, so you have become a very special person today. May God bless you and keep you in his loving arms.

  15. Oh my goodness Marianne–I am in awe of how awsome God is. Just to see how He can use people to touch people! Just think — someday one of you may lift me up in prayer and I could be healed or brought through a very low valley! I NEED all the prayer I can get and I do believe in healing!!!! Thank you all so much!!!! My heart is so touched by the outpouring! Lexy thinks I felt special having someone who lives ON the island praying —- ahhhh now I can tell her there are strangers all over USA commiting to pray us through this thing. We wre going to get through this arn’t we! OK God do your miracle working power through all these precious people!!!!!

  16. What a beautiful tribute to Jill and you, Bree. Girlfriends are an important part of out lives. I six girlfriends and have had them since we were all 10 years old. I know I am blessed just as the two of you are.
    Shannon you have Lexy add Indiana to that list of places in the United States that will be praying for you. I am adding you, Lexy, and your parents to my prayer list. God Bless you all.

    Bree, I can’t imagine how the tears will flow when you write that final blog of the season. I will be looking forward to learning more about (I know practically nothing) GA.

  17. Bree- You make my day every single day with your beautiful blogs and pictures. I am so happy to have found you and I have followed you from the very beginning. I appreciate seeing the island through your eyes! May GOD bless you and your family and doggies on your journie to Georgia!

  18. Isn’t it amazing how many physical and spiritual
    joys have been the result of this blog.
    God does indeed work in mysterious ways when people allow him into their lives.
    Mercy and grace sure make life better.
    ‘Nuff said.

  19. It was through Jill that I found your blog, Brenda. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. The pictures are great!
    I’m sure Jil will stay in touch, as she does with so many. She is one of a kind! She’s a dear friend to many.

  20. Wow 3what a day of great comments..I want to add that I will be adding Shannon to my prayer list too..I am from Michigan but about 300 miles south of the Island..When we were on the Island in October, I went into the bookstore on the first day of the 40% closing sale and was blessed to get some great books..I went in to look for Jill after “meeting” her here on your blog..but she wasn’t working..I had seen her other times when we had been there but felt like I knew her now…so next summer I will try again…Can’t thank you enough Brenda for this blog..just getting excited thinking about how much I can learn about Georgia!! Only been through that state so am looking forward to your blog.
    Have you seen Alyssa the last couple days?? I talked to her Tuesday and she said that Monday the 2nd is her last day and then she is packing up to leave too…
    Praying for you and Ted’s trip to your “other” home…God Bless!! And…thanks again for blessing me this summer through your blog!!

    • Thanks so much for writing, and yes I’ve seen Alyssa several times today! I think she might be one of only two taxi drivers left right now. If she is working Sunday, she might take us to the ferry dock when we leave!

      • Yes that’s what she told me..that there were only 2 taxi drivers left. I am sure she is working Sunday so say hi to her for me!! She is going to be a yooper when she leaves the Island…we all wish she was coming home but her plans are taking her to the UP!! 😦

  21. Brenda, I am still in shock seeing your blog today and all the kind responses…thank you everyone. You sure have a special way to tell a story.
    I certainly will not like reading your last post from the Island but look forward to following you & Ted to GA….& RETURNING TO THE ISLAND IN THE SPRING. Love, JIB

  22. Wow is the only way to describe all I have read today, friendships and God using this blog to touch so may lives, what a blessing to know you must be an angel in many peoples hearts. Careful coming home.

  23. Oh my goodness. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who the island has sucked in. It was my first summer on the island and I can’t wait to return. I know Jill! I visited her every week as I was in the Island Bookstore every week, usually spending my paycheck. 🙂

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