Sunday, April 18, 2010


Thinking about old friends, and places of so long ago. So many of you did not survive the storm we lived in...many of my old friends are dead and gone. A tribute here to a particular one....

I always think of rubber duckies when I think of Jenny. She had two of them tattooed onto her chest. I loved those tattoos. They were in the old sailor style, where the colors were so bright and vibrant. Two little rubber duckies, facing each other on her chest.
Jenny had one eye that did not close all the way. You hardly noticed that about her because her eyes such a different color, falling somewhere between green and brown. If you watched her sleep, though, you would notice the one eye did not close. It is kind of creepy to watch someone sleep with one eye she was watching you.
I can credit Jenny with introducing me to Shay, who was my loyal dope dealer for years to come. Unlike so many junkies I knew back then, Jenny was not greedy. She was not trying to make a buck off me every time I needed to score, so she just introduced me to Shay. I am sure there were a few people out there who would have been outraged, especially since I had quite a habit at the time.
Jenny had a son that she did not have custody of. I believe her mother had custody of him, and there was some kind of heartache involved there. Jenny was strung out when I knew her, so I now know why she did not have her son. It was better for him. But, it often broke Jenny's heart that she could not be a mother to him.
I see this scenario all too often, especially in mothers who have their kids fairly young. I am thankful that I went through the ringer before I had my son. Now, I know where it leads me...and I know to stay away from that shit. Sometimes, you are taken by surprise when the addiction gets its grips into you.
Jenny and I used to work together at Big Daddy's. Those were the fucking days! Heroin reigned supreme, and we had a tight little crew of users on the day shift. In to work by noon, and out by seven or eight...leaving plenty of time to party and get high.
I always think of her when I hear the Gorillaz, "Clint Eastwood" because she played that a lot on stage. We used to share a particular dress that actually belonged to crazy Jen. We called it the pin up girl dress because it had pin up girls on the black A-framed dress. It looked good on almost everybody. I can still picture Jenny wearing it, with the rubber duckie tattoo peeking over the top.
We had a lot of good times, back in the day...just before things got really hairy for us all. We had some insane shit go down with Jenny's best friend whom we called Crazy Jen. (She was nuts!) We had some good times with Reese, and Johnny, and also Jessica. We were all a tight crew for a while. Reese will always mourn the loss of his dear sweet Jenny.
The addictions in our little group began to mount, and as always with addiction...things got out of control. Jenny decided she had to move away. I cannot remember all the details of where she was going and with whom...but I do remember seeing her just before she left New Orleans.
I had stopped by Reese's apartment in the Treme to tell her good-bye. Chances are I was also bringing her some dope, but again I do not remember many of those details. I remember how much I loved that apartment. It had those archways, and all hardwood floors. Reese's bed looked expensive and comfortable. Reese always did seem to have some really nice things.
When I hugged Jenny good-bye, I had no idea it would be the last time I would ever see her. In those days, I did not think much about consequences, the future, or reality. I knew Jenny would come back to New Orleans, just as soon as she could handle it. I can still see her feet, with her toe nails painted, and wearing a black pair of heels. Jenny had tiny little perfect feet.
I think she was in California when she died. Again, I am not sure of all the details. My life was such a blur then...
The strange thing about it all was that there has been a rumor several years earlier that Jenny had died, maybe from an OD. That is how it goes with junkies, especially in New Orleans...there is always some rumor about a fallen comrade. I know that many people thought I was dead once because Candace for some reason had decided to start that rumor. When Jenny showed back up in New Orleans just before we started working together at Big Daddy's, many people felt like they were seeing a ghost. There was much rejoice that Jenny was alive and well! (As well as an addict can be, that is.)
After she left New Orleans the last time, she got clean. She left to get her life back together, probably in hopes of getting custody of her son back. She got clean, and she was taking medicine for depression and anxiety. That is how it happened.
There was debate if her death was accidental or not. I am not sure even now what to think about it. I would like to think that as a mother, she would not take her own life. But then, I would also like to think that as a mother, one could overcome addiction for their child...such was not the case with Jenny.
She had a few drinks one night, and she supposedly took her medication just as prescribed. But, for some reason, she did not wake up in the morning. I am fairly certain that she at least took more medication than she was supposed to. She may have done something else. She may have just been ready to give up.
I remember talking to Reese one morning in a bar on Conti street, as the sun was coming up about Jenny. Reese had gotten the same rubber duckie tattooed on his hand, in her memory. Tears welled up in his eyes as we talked about her passing. Reese just kept hoping that like before, it was all just a rumor. He said he half expected her to just walk through the door any minute. But, we both knew it would not happen.
Reese had spoken to Jenny's mother, and she was dead. She had passed away in her sleep. And all the strange circumstances that go with someone who is not yet 30 passing away mysteriously swirled around. I am not sure what happened, or where she was in her head at the time...what I do know is that I miss her.
I like to think that if she had survived, we would still be in touch today...if only through the computer. I like to think we would laugh about the old days, while we relish together in our sobriety. I would like to think she had regained custody of her son, and that she had finally become the mother she was deep inside. I would like to think we could now trade sober stories of motherhood now.
But, we cannot. A life was cut way too short. A story is unfinished. So many things yet to do, and she was just taken away. Poor Jenny...I loved her very much.

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