I can honestly say, until this morning, I have never actually examined the influence my grandfather, Donald Dickinson Jenne has had on my life. As I sat this morning to write a short post wishing him a happy birthday, I began to examine what I knew of him and catalog his legacy. Well, things got a little out of hand after that and now, here I am, 4 hours later, stunned and humbled by all that he was and what I am because of him.
You are Jenne. My history.
You are the Jenne of Jenne's Surety Master. In 1947 you patented a unique approach to bonds and surety. The system that fidelity and surety bonds use ti this day. You sold it company to company, door to door, across the country. The consummate salesman.
Around the age of 20 along with Harry Vincent, you purchased the 800+ feet of pristine Lac Courte Oreilles lake frontage in Northern Wisconsin, that would become the beautiful treasure that is "The Lake" to many generations of families there now. My one true childhood home.
You documented the family pictorially. Your early cameras form the base of my collection. You were the pack rat to end all pack rats and my family archive starts with your files. You took care of your family when their needs were so great. You traveled the country and enabled my mother to paint far and wide across the entire lower 48. I'm still finding the places you took them. You even experimented with infrared film.
You were a Theosophist and a Liberal Catholic (LCC) and with this broad belief in all human nature you stated on your draft registration under 'claimed exemptions' that you "most definitely do not believe in taking life of any kind." Yet still you donned the uniform to serve for love of country. As luck would have it, you were called up just a few months before the Nov. 11th armistice — trained but did not go to fight.
You sacrificed much to enable my Uncle John to attend medical school and go on to become a highly respected Pulmonary specialist and chief of VA hospitals in 3 states. You taught us all to fish, to listen to the woods and pay close attention to the songs of nature. You helped us learn how to heal naturally. You encouraged the study of all life. You had a generous, inquisitive and loving nature till the end of your days. As a life-long member of the Theosophical Society, you encouraged my mother to explore all religions and belief systems. My parents met while on a Theosophical retreat at Pumpkin Hollow Farm, NY where they were both studying during one summer.
And yet I hardly knew you in person. By the time I was born you were in a steep decline. Your mind effected by stroke and heart attacks. You scared me a bit. Our short years together were especially memorable and I did adore playing alongside you as you sat and read in your chair down in the small screen house. You put in the little sandbox so that I could be there with you in the woods, communing with nature.
I am in awe.
Happy Birthday Grandpa — thank you SO much.