Become the type of person you’d admire
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my friend Juanita Frazier. Some of y’all know her, or know stories I’d tell of her. I met her when I was about ten or eleven years old, soon after we moved to Gainesville. I wanted a ceramic shop so that I could do some things during the year, even when not at my grandmother’s house, and my dad found her and Frazier’s Ceramic Shop. She was old then, but old to a ten-year-old can be, like, thirty, so let me math here… She passed away in October of 2021; she was 93 then, and I don’t remember her exact birthday (April something?) so I’m guessing she was born in 1928. That means when I met her in about 1980 or so, she was … woah. 52. Just about the age I am now.
When I met her, she was married. This was her second husband; she’d divorced the first, and then this second husband died when I was in my late teens/early twenties. She used to joke with me that she’d left one and buried the other, so no more husbands for her, she was out of options for how it ended, now. Heh. Funny, if you have a dark sense of humor (I do). And now I am in the position to use the same joke, so, thank you for that!
I guess when I was in my thirties, which would put her in her seventies, I was at her shop one day and she asked me…. do you think people, customers, would mind if she started opening later in the day? She opened at 9, then, and was thinking about pushing that back to 11. I knew she was getting up there, but didn’t want to sound like “Lady! You’re old! You could even flat out retire!” because if you knew Juanita you knew that she was never old a day in her life, and she could no more retire than she could stop breathing. If she loved it, she was doing it. ANYWAY. I searched around my head and came up with something like… Juanita, you’re your own boss. Do what you want! The people who love to shop here are going to shop here any time you’re open because they love you. The only people who would get mad at you not being open at all times are people whose money you probably don’t want anyway.
She laughed and said that was good, because… she’s gotten herself a new boyfriend and he liked to go out dancing late at night and her ass was TIRED in the morning. So she wanted to sleep a little later so she could go out and party at night.
God DAMN Juanita. You get it, girl.
I hope someone out there wants to dance with me, when I’m in my seventies.
And I hope I spend the rest of my life doing shit that I like. Having adventures. Talking people’s ears off about the things I find fascinating, which are myriad and abundant. I hope that I’m working at things that don’t feel like work, things that still set my creative heart on fire. I hope that young people like to hear my stories. I hope I still get phone calls from old friends in the middle of my work day.
I hope I cultivate my inner Juanita.
If I may quote from her obituary….
Juanita was raised in Gainesville, FL then traveled the world during her marriages, enjoying life, raising children and enhancing the lives of everyone who had the chance to know her. Juanita loved reading, gardening, and making new friends. She never met a stranger. Juanita settled back in Gainesville, FL and was a talented ceramist who ran Frazier Ceramics for almost 40 years. She loved sharing her gift of gab, zest for life and artistic expertise with everyone. Everyone who met or knew Juanita will tell you their lives are forever graced and blessed. She may be gone from this earth but will never leave our hearts.
Be like Juanita. Be like the people you admire.
4 thoughts on “0”
Good, the healing has really begun.
I had the immense pleasure of visiting Juanita with you a few times. I absolutely loved our visits with her. I remember that I was so flattered when she called me ‘an old soul’. She could just read people and know them so quickly. What a gem.
Wonderful to have such great folks in your life as examples, just when you need them, even if it’s decades later!
Just wow. You ARE like Juanita, and no surprise that someone remarkable found permanent residency in your amazing heart.