SayWhatClub Online Voices September 2015

Remembering Jazzy

Kate Johnston
Copyright 2015

Welcome to the SWC Online Voices! This online newsletter has lain dormant for a few years, while the SWC revamped the webpages. While the webpages will always be a work in progress, it's time to revive the newsletter. It's fitting to devote this re-opening edition to the memory of Emily "Jazzy" Wingert.

I joined the SWC in 1996. and when the announcement was made of a "convention" of sorts for the SWC in Monterey, California, I told my husband, "We're going!" I didn't know what to expect, but meeting people I'd gotten to know online and in Monterey sounded so exciting!

Monterey was only about an hour away from where we lived in those days. Besides a smashing aquarium, Monterey boasts a marvelous children's playground called the Dennis the Menace playground. One of the features of this playground is an actual decommissioned locomotive for children (and parents!) to climb and play on. So it wasn't a hard decision to decide to go.

I remember standing with Bob Elkins when a woman drove up from the airport. We'd met online; this was our first meeting in person. This was Jazzy, the person who came the farthest for our little get-together. Years later, I heard her tell the story about how horrified her children were that she would fly across the country to meet people she only knew online. She always said this with a smile; usually the story was told for the benefit of SWC newbies who were scared at the prospect of attrending one of our conventions.

The mini-con was mostly socializing, though Bob Elkins had arranged for one workshop for all of us -- a session with a psychologist. Quite different from our current conventions!

Jazzy knew all too well the isolation and loneliness that one with hearing loss can experience. She saw immediately the potential of the SWC and annual get-togethers to ease the lot of HOH people. She cared intensely that people join the SWC, and come to the SWC Cons, and that they take advantage of what they could to hear and make their lives better.

Jazzy and I met many times again over the years, often at the conventions, but sometimes other places too. One of Jazzy's sons lived in Santa Cruz, and one afternoon I drove over the "hill" to visit with Jazzy and her daughter-in-law, spending a lovely relaxed couple of hours. All too soon I had to leave to be back home in time to get my son off the school bus. I'd left early enough I thought, but the road was jammed, totally stopped. But I had to get home, so I took early exits and tried getting back onto the highway farther down, a strategy which didn't work that day. I finally took a different, longer highway. Luckily I remembered the number of the school transportation office and stopped at a public phone (remember those?) to let them know I was stuck on Highway 17, but was on my way.

The next day, I read that a man had held up traffic with shootings. When I think of that day, I always remember the lovely time I had visiting Jazzy and her daughter-in-law.

If Jazzy had been asked, she probably would have voted down this memorial issue of the SWC Online Voices. Jazzy didn't like being the center of attention and she especially didn't like people to take pictures of her. That said, memorials are for the living, and I think a lot of us would be comforted by the many stories of meeting Jazzy and how she affected not only the SWC but our lives.

One of the first things people often ask after meeting her online or hearing about her is, "How did she get her nickname, Jazzy?" For the answer, read on ...

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