Throw Back Tuesday – The Island Without Jill 4/25/17

Personal Note:  I’m posting this as my “throw back” today because I know Jill will be returning to the island in the next week or so, and Mackinac just wouldn’t be Mackinac without Jill being there.  I’ve loved her since our very first summer on Mackinac, and I count her as among my very best friends.  She is everything I wrote in this blog back in 2009 – and much, much more.  Her heart is huge, her spirit is sweet, and her friendship is forever.  Love you, Jillski, and don’t fuss at me about posting this!______________________________________________________________________


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 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 and gave it to me as she was boarding, 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.

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







22 thoughts on “Throw Back Tuesday – The Island Without Jill 4/25/17

  1. JIB Jill in the Box. I like that, but I think I’ll still think of her as Magic Jill and for the same reasons. Honestly, I don’t really know how Mackinac Island can function without her. Maybe it couldn’t. One thing I know for sure, Jill deserves every tribute we can give her.

  2. We made a point to stop at the bookstore (it’s where we buy our ‘souvenirs’ on any vacation) even before we met Jill, but when you talked about her in the blog we immediately knew who you were talking about! Lovely lady. You two are very fortunate to have such good friends.

  3. Jill is the best& I second all you said, Bree. What a wonderful blog about a very special lady./ Tam

    On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog wrote:

    > bree1972 posted: “Personal Note: I’m posting this as my “throw back” > today because I know Jill will be returning to the island in the next week > or so, and Mackinac just wouldn’t be Mackinac without Jill being there. > I’ve loved her since our very first summer on Mackinac,” >

  4. I’ve just discovered your blog. I live down in Lansing but spend the summers in Gaylord/Otsego Lake, about an hour from the bridge and short ferry ride to the Island. I confess, I haven’t been in a few years and I’m looking forward to changing that this summer. So I will especially enjoy following your happenings there! Safe travels. (And thanks for the intro to Jill. She sounds amazing!)

    • Welcome Jeanie! Stop by the bookstore when you get to the island and introduce yourself. Jill has lots of folks that do that every season!

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