Sunday, September 29, 2019

First Kiss, Last Goodbye

September 29, 2019
   Although many a Kingman boy vied for the honor, I was the one who gave her the proverbial first kiss. At least that is how she always told the story. It was after a dance at Kingman Junior High School and on the walk to her house, two blocks away, I abruptly leaned in and awkwardly kissed her. Sometimes when she told the story, there was a chipped tooth in the telling but I think that is an exaggeration. I have looked through her dental records and I can find no injury to match my clumsy, but well-intentioned lunging. Plus, I have the photographic evidence to prove this blatant falsehood.

Jan Prefontaine, clearly no chipped tooth

   We had our ups and downs. One time she left this message on my answering machine: "We waited for you, Robert. Where were you? Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!"

   We also could be competitive with each other. She self-published books on angels which I thought were ridiculous and I self-published books on gunfighters that she thought were ridiculous.

   In spite of all my efforts she had two wonderful children with another man, Scott Jones, and it was yesterday that Xandi and Dan did their mother proud with a memorial near the foot of Cathedral Rock in Sedona, a place Jan loved.

Cathedral Rock, Sedona

After a hike, we all met in a sprawling ranch house in Red Rock Park and as the extended families enjoyed a brunch, a few of the MCUHS crowd gathered around to tell stories about the girl we all loved. In our rapidly dwindling circle stood Rusty Petry (class of '63), Sherrine Davis Petry (class of '63), Dan Harshberger (class of '65) Karen Johnson Collins (class of '65) and Bruce Porter (class of '65). After a couple stories, Sherrine looked concerned and she said to me, "Jan was worried about you. She said she upset you?" So, I told the answering machine story and as I told it, I happened to look over at the photo of Jan on the table (above) and I got the strangest vibe, like she was trying to say something, so, I asked Sherrine what she thought Jan was saying to me in that photo and without a pause Sherrine said she knew exactly what Jan was saying.

"Really, Robert?"
—Jan Prefontaine

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