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A Moving Tribute for Jock Whitehouse, Friend of the Library

By Karla Ortiz

On Sunday, January 28, a memorial was held in honor of Jock Whitehouse, a great friend of La Biblioteca and a contributor to Atención, better known as “Jackie.”

The tribute took place in the Library courtyard, where dozens of friends and acquaintances attended to honor the memory of their beloved friend. Some came forward to say a few words, read a poem, and even sing or play a song.

Jock was always very committed to the charity Jóvenes Adelante. He supported and mentored many young scholarship holders. And even if some were not scholarship students, he liked to support as many young people as he knew.

During the tribute, several friends recalled the good life they had spent with Jock, remembered how happy he was, and shared some anecdotes or phrases he used to say, such as when he had a mental block and would say, “I have to dance, I have to dance!” or “We are in México, and we must speak in Spanish first.”

Friends of Jock shared some melodies with everyone: Peter Ross played the flute. Arturo Castro played on his guitar “Wish You Were Here” and “Stand By Me” along with Emmanuel Beltran, who also played a couple more melodies on piano. Wayne Ford sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and “As Time Goes By.”

Some sent in poems expressing their sorrow at letting Jock go that were read at the memorial. “Don’t stand in my grave to weep,” one poem read. “I’m not there, I don’t sleep. I am a thousand winds without shadow. I am the sparkles of the diamond in the snow…I am the soft stars that shine in the night. Don’t put yourself in my grave and cry, I am not there. I didn’t die.”

“… inhale softer, then you will be able to cry in your soul as you melt the walls, but did you think you were there?” another poem said. “Breathe out all the way. Then you can be alive and be you.”

“When I’m gone, where can I go?’ another read. “I’ll be here, among the flowers, among the winds and oceans. If you have trusted me, if you have loved me, I will always be with you. You will serve me in more than a thousand and one ways. In your silent moments, you will suddenly feel my presence.”

In the end, his daughter Catherine thanked the organization for the homage and recalled that her father always told her stories about México when she was a child, although, for her, they were just stories because she didn’t know anything about this country.

“I think we’ve all had an exchange of love with Jackie, and that’s why we’re all here,” she said. “When he left, each of us gave him a piece of our being, and he died with that piece. Now I ask that when we go to our houses, let us think that we are going to spread a piece of him throughout San Miguel, the town he always loved and considered his home,” she said.

 

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