Happy Birthday Jim, Forever 47, On What Would Have Been Your 55th Birthday…

Jim in the Adirondacks, 2001

Jim in the Adirondacks, 2001

Those of you who read my blog may remember that I wrote about my brother Jim Sachs, who died in 2002 (see September 9, 2009). Today is his birthday, which in our adult lives we used to share with childlike relish at midnight Eastern / 9pm Pacific time, as my birthday is the day after his.

Our enormous family spent as much time as possible with Jim in the months before he died. We accompanied him on one last trip to the Adirondack mountains, where we had spent every summer of our childhood, and we frolicked together at his home in California. It was an unforgettable time.

One day during that last summer, Jim and I were sitting alone by the pool at his home in Atherton, and I read a limerick I’d written for him:

You darling young brother named Jim,
Came into the world with such vim
And vigor and smarts
In all of your parts
That your four siblings welcomed you in.

You barely were two
When your family knew
That you had your own way of thinking
You’d play in the dirt
Wearing Chris or Pat’s shirt
Making toys and inventions (some stinking!)

And when you were nine
I remember the time
I thought you were rather deluded
You concocted some stuff
An object – enough
To prove to me what you’d concluded.

You explained it to me
With great patience and glee:
The widgets ’n’ stuff (on the side)
Worked together to make it
With no need to fake it
Add – multiply – subtract – and divide!

You went on to say
In the future some day
Smart people would show up to hock it.
Your further conclusion:
(I thought, a delusion)
We would each carry one in our pocket!

At twelve you were solving
The problems revolving
Thru Dartmouth’s math classes each week.
And word got around
That the kid from the town
Was the true and original geek.

Now I was much older
Clearly wiser and bolder
(The Dartmouth men were all mine)
But YOU had the gall
To break down the wall
Into Dartmouth’s mainframe! (So fine.)

Your room in our cellar
You (solo) the dweller
Had carpeted walls plus a lab
To produce your photography
Math and geography
Your Life – As You Saw It – Way Fab!

As we all got older
(Less wiser, less bolder)
You seemed to take off in a spin.
Your toys and inventions
Broke all known conventions:
Apple’s Mouse, Laser Tag, Ted Ruxpin.

And now I see YOU
With your life partner Sue
And Jessica, Betsy and Chris:
You’ve taught us to squeeze
With such joy and such ease
Each minute with its unique bliss.

And so with this ditty
Altho itty-bitty
I’m striving to thank you and say
That you’ll be in my heart
And each memory part
For the rest of my life, every day.

Neither of us could speak for a while. Then Jim, to me, oh-so-quietly: “Vigor and smarts in ALL of my parts?” (Pause) “Like that.”

We sat silently by the pool for a long time.

Sometimes there are no words.


5 Responses to “Happy Birthday Jim, Forever 47, On What Would Have Been Your 55th Birthday…”

  1. Roger says:

    Happy Birthday Ann!

    If there ever was a sweeter one than you, I never met her……

    (not a limerick)

    I love you.

  2. Happy Birthday! It seems that cyberspace always brings me to sites about siblings. I’m the baby (the special one) with three siblings, who, thank God, are still on this earth. Your moving post underscored the fact that love continues even when our loved ones pass.

    Since I am still celebrating my 51-and-how-the-heck-did-I-get-here birthday, please allow me to send you a birthday gift. My gift to you is the link to a free cover-to-cover read of my book about my amazing Spirit-led journey that began on the birthday that all of my friends forgot (one of my best birthdays yet!)

    Just sign up here: No Experts Needed dot com. No strings/spam attached, really! (I know, hard to believe these days 🙂 But it’s simply my way of giving back.

    Continue the celebration,
    Louise Lewis, author
    No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You!

  3. Wendy Hanson says:

    Happy Birthday. I could feel the love….I celebrate you and Jim on this day. May all you give come back to you in wondrous ways.
    With Regards,

  4. Greg Helton says:

    I am Jims Aunt Judies nephew and just wanted to say,when The Heltons along with Aunt Judy get together here at home [Knoxville] we stroll down memory lane and alot of those strolls include Jim,Sue and The Kids.And I just wanted to say Jim was good man and a great father and husband.And is missed by all who knew him,but he lives on in our hearts and thoughts

  5. Ann Sachs says:

    Oh, Greg, thank you so much for your comment! Of course I agree with everything you say, and Jim is with me every day.

    Please give my love to your Aunt Judy.


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