This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

The Challenge of 2019 was the 10th! Since this was kind of a milestone year for A to Z my theme was a retrospective of sorts, looking at my 10 years as a blogger as well as ruminations about my life as it is and as I hope it yet can be. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me for this part of my journey...

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog.

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Juggling Jackson ( #AtoZChallenge )



I'm not a Darwinist, but I do believe in evolution where it applies to society, politics, and juggling acts...




#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter J











The Jugging Jacksons @ 1966
(photo taken by studio in Alcoa Tennessee)


         Up until I was about age 10 the act known as The Juggling Jacksons consisted of two people--my father and my mother.  They performed that way from about 1953. when my mother due to a couple of pregnancies temporarily stopped doing her dancing act and worked up a team juggling act with my father, up to around 1961 when my sister joined the act.  Not to be outdone by my younger sibling, I too learned to juggle and was soon incorporated into the family juggling act. 

         We practiced a lot and worked rather sporadically with gigs that fit my father's work schedule.  School schedule was never a consideration--my parents would just take us out when a job came up for us and settle with the principal later on.  After all we were good students and being out for a spell now and then didn't affect our grades to any great extent.

          The juggling jobs provided a nice little income for me over the years.  I'd get paid $25 per job, which was money that in the sixties I could stretch out as a kid and still put some away in savings.  There were also perks like the restaurant meals my father paid for, the interesting places we'd go, and the general fun of performing and being around show people.

          As is frequently said, show business gets in your blood.  My sister essentially departed from her interest in the show biz lifestyle after she moved away from home, but I was hooked.  I continued to work in the family act throughout college (with a pay hike to $50 per show).  Then, after I dropped out of college (I'd been going for five years already) I was offered a job to tour with a magic show.  It was an offer too good to refuse.

           The night before I was to leave on the new show I played my last date with The Juggling Jacksons performing in the Emmett Kelly Jr. circus which was playing a high school gym in Cleveland Tennessee.  The next day I was on a Trailways bus leaving the Knoxville station on my way to meet up with the magic show somewhere in North Carolina.  It was a bittersweet parting, but it was also a new chapter in my life and the history of The Juggling Jacksons.


            The family juggling act that had established a good reputation as being a top notch professional passing act had gone back to its beginnings--a husband and wife juggling team. The big act had permutated into two working entities--the Juggling Jacksons and one solitary juggler known as The Juggling Jackson (singular).

The Lone Juggling Jackson in 1976
(photo taken by a studio in Spencer, Indiana)
       

          This is me--The Juggling Jackson formerly of The Juggling Jacksons.  I'm not juggling much anymore.  Sometimes I'll toss up a few on a whim, but I doubt whether I'll ever again be performing in the sole capacity as a juggler.  Now it's mostly something to entertain the grandkids and that doesn't happen often.

             Nevertheless, I'll always think of myself as The Juggling Jackson even if it should legitimately be qualified as "former".   It's unlikely that you'll ever find me busking for money from passerby in some place like Venice Beach.   And I'm quite certain that I'll never be a star attraction juggler in any show of any sort.  Maybe a juggler, but not a star juggler--I'm not that good, never was, and not ambitious enough to put enough practice in to become one.

           Who knows what the future holds at this point.  I'm considering my options and developing a plan.  I might not be in the center ring juggling all sorts of objects, but I might be doing a different sort of juggling soon.  Hopefully I can keep everything in the air without dropping anything.

           But on the advice often given to jugglers, musicians, or anyone for that matter, if you make a mistake just keep going and act like nothing happened. As long as I'm still going on with the act, no one will even noticed that I dropped a ball.  So on I will go with metaphorical juggling.

          Did you ever work in a family business?   Did your plans of younger days match up with what the real outcome of your life was?   Was there ever a time when you split off from a business association to go off on your own in the same business?












31 comments:

  1. How very cool! I grew up in a "different" way as well, but not performing. I loved that you worked and traveled so much with your family. I did too, but at a boarding school where I was a student and my parents teachers. So glad you have the photos of that time in your life! Thanks for sharing! I can't believe your grandkids don't bug you to juggle for them!

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    1. Lisa, my daughters can all juggle to and my son-in-laws as well so I guess the novelty has worn off. My grandkids could be juggling by now for all I know.

      Lee

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  2. This is so cool to read and what a unique life because not too many people can say they were in a juggling act. Your dad looks pleased as punch and seems to be a very sweet man. My parents owned a sawmill so I grew up with logs, lumber and sawdust galore. My friend and I used to play in the sawdust pile much to my mom's chagrin since the sawdust stuck everywhere! I can say that my childhood, at home, was so wonderful and my parents provided a good home. My dad had a vision that we would each build a house on the property (we had 10 1/2 acres) and we would all run the family business. My brother was groomed for this even though it was not his passion. It was not my passion either but I was more vocal. My dad, I think, was hurt that we didn't want to carry on like the kids on the Ponderosa. Unfortunately, through a series of very bad events including fire, my dad's brain cancer and death and an Uncle who sidewined his way into "helping" my mom sell the place, we lost everything. Afterward people who bought the place tried to sue my mom for a doorknob, glass shelving and a light fixture. My Uncle sided with the people but they dropped the case when my mom found pictures that showed the new doorknob was there before they even saw the place. My Uncle then went to the bank and bought the sawmill for a pittance and set up his 2 kids in there but they ran it into the ground within 5 yrs. It's sad but, without the business, I would not have the great memories I cherish to this day.

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    1. Birgit, I'm saddened when I hear stories of people who had really bad home lives growing up. We all have a unique story to tell.

      Lee

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  3. I was going to be an actress-- always reminds me of my favorite song "taxi" when I say that! Your journey has certainly been full!

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    1. Lynn, "Taxi" is one of my favorite songs too. I want a full journey as well as a long journey. Despite the hardships we might face, life is worth the effort we put into it.

      Lee

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  4. If I ever tried juggling, I'd probably kill grandkids...

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    1. CW, where there's a will, there's a way--to learn to juggle that is and not to kill grandkids. I'll bet you'd learn how faster than you think.

      Lee

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  5. Wow thats a cool act to perform. Liked it.

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  6. Gosh, you did have an interesting family and a fun life growing up!

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    1. Knitter, I did have a great time when I still lived with my parents, but life has been just as good when I was an adult if not better.

      Lee

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  7. It sounds like you had a really fun childhood and family business! I worked for a family business (not my own family's) for almost five years. It was a small newspaper founded by a man who's now deceased, and he brought his son and daughter on board when they were adults. His son is the business manager, and his daughter is the editor. At one point, his wife (now also deceased) helped with the business. I was laid off in May 2011 because of serious financial issues, caused in large part by the business manager's poor management and refusal to consider new ways of doing things. They also didn't have enough money to implement the suggestions I made to the editor, though she said they were all great suggestions.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, working in a family business tends to be more personal and allows for more flexibility. Besides the juggling act, I worked for a few family business over the years and those were my best jobs.

      Lee

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  8. Your childhood sounds interesting, but so does your adult life. ☺ My father was in the military and my mother fancied herself a socialite. The upside is, we lived in Europe and were able to travel a lot, something I still love to do.

    Metaphorical juggling is an important life skill and keeps us on our toes!

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    1. Debbie D, I've begun to see a lot of things in a metaphorical light these days.

      Lee

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  9. I have a friend and fellow author, who is also participating in the A-Z and J was juggling for her post, too. https://processprogresspublication.home.blog/2019/04/10/j-is-for-juggle-a-z-challenge/

    DB McNicol, author
    Microfiction: Jewelry

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    1. Donna, juggling is a good word with many uses.

      Lee

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  10. I can't juggle, I can throw things in the air and watch them fall to the ground.......

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    1. Jo-Anne, I've done that a lot. Then you have to recover as gracefully as possible.

      Lee

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  11. Arlee sir,
    Now Hank understands why it is , Tossing it out! It could have been tossing it up also! Hank has great admiration for those with showmanship perfected professionally. It would have involved lots of practice hours before. It registered well of determination and natural talents within you. Even in retirement you could 'still deliver'. That's fantastic Arlee!

    Hank

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    1. Hank, I forget why I used the precise wording I did 10 years ago. I can admire a talented person's abilities knowing how much practice it really does take.

      Lee

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  12. That's one cool dude and his moustache. How do any of us follow that? Beats running away to join the circus.

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    1. Roland, it's hard for me to believe that photo is from over 40 years ago.

      Lee

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  13. You've had a superfun and unique childhood, also adulthood. Juggling is another term for multi-tasking, which is a buzzword, but very few people are truly good at it.

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    1. Nilanjana, I've had a good life. I'm not a great juggler in any sense of the word, but I get by okay.

      Lee

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  14. Lee,

    Your life as an entertainer is interesting. I kept thinking man how times have changed. Can you imagine parents like yours doing the same thing today? They'd be in so much trouble and more than likely you kids yanked from the home. That's how crazy stupid our world has gotten. Your stories are fabulously retold and always make me smile. Your advice to keep going acting like nothing happen is a good approach because chances are no one will notice the slip up. This is doable in a many kinds of careers, except for the medical community where a slip up can be life altering to deadly. Thanks for sharing your memories!

    Here's my A2Z art sketch of Flotsom & JETSOM from The Little Mermaid series.

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    1. Cathy, excepting those more precise situations like you mention, mistakes are often never noticed or any big deal until we (or some other jerk) starts making a big deal out of them. Juggle on!

      Lee

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  15. I have had the pleasure to meet the juggling Jacksons.. Full of fun a family whom open their home to many i'm sure as many performers do and now is a cherished friend.. stop in anytime my friend, our home like yours is always yours to come and have good conversation

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Lee