Today it was with great sadness and pain that I opened my genealogy program to make a new entry: the death date of my beloved sister-in-law Ginger Marie. At 55, Ginger was much too young to go. Her life was filled with beauty and greatness and her family and friends are going to miss her more than mere words can ever express.
Ginger lived in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles County, California at her death on March 10, 2011. She had moved back to Woodland Hills only a few months ago, previously living in San Jose, California with Phil Jarone, her cousin and great friend.
Ginger was born to Kilbourne Eugene Fisher and Millicent Lenore Jarone on February 18, 1956 in San Jose, California. She was the eldest of four, with Melody, Candy and Marc coming later. She always took her job as “big sister” extremely seriously. Although in her early big-sister years she sometimes tested evil tendencies (“Melody, pick up that bee and see what happens,”), her later big sister years were filled with the amazing outpouring of love and patience and even more love for both of her sisters and her brother (and me!). There isn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind that her siblings meant the world to her.
She also had a great deal of love for her first cousin, once removed, Phil Jarone. Phil was more than a first cousin, once removed to Ginger (and to all of the family). Phil is a friend, stand-in grandfather, uncle and wonder. Ginger loved Phil immensely and one of the most fun things she ever talked about was their trip to Catalina Island together. Her friend, Jason Barnett, is also someone who cannot be left unmentioned as important in Ginger’s life. Jason has been a part of our family due to his closeness with Ginger for many years and I know that many of Ginger’s happiest of times were when she was with Jason.
Ginger also adored her nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. Her sister Candy’s children, April, Autumn and Carl, are older and have stories of their own to tell of Aunt Gin, but I do know that she spent a lot of time bragging and admiring those three beautiful children/now-adults. As to her “newer” niece and nephew, my children, all I can say is that their Aunt Gin is leaving a great gynormous whole in their little hearts. Their Aunt Gin was a very big part of their lives and they spent a lot of time with her. I think they secretly loved her so very much because she had so much in common with their dad. From monsters to movies to super heroes, Aunt Gin knew all the cool stuff just like Daddy. What they haven’t figured out yet is that Daddy knew it and loved it because his big sister, Ginger, taught him.
I have heard stories about how she used to watch Creature Features with Marc on Friday nights (a tradition which Marc has continued with our daughter). The difference is that Marc doesn’t: a) have Signa brush his hair through it; and, b) Marc doesn’t make Signa sleep on the floor in our room after watching a scary movie like the Exorcist. But the fact remains that in many ways, Marc has tailored his parenting to house some of the “parenting” that his big sister did for him. Ginger was always protective of Marc and showed him so many fun things in life, from music to movies to art. Marc does the same for our children.
For my own memories of Ginger, one of my favorite things was her ability to tell a story. She would get so caught up in the meaning and the ending that she would just make up words that were too troublesome to remember. One of the best occasions of this has lived on for decades and I’m sure will for decades to come. She was telling a story about Macaulay Culkin, the child from the movie Home Alone. She didn’t even try to get his name right and just said, “Corn McCracken.” We all had a good laugh, but in fact we knew exactly what she meant. Just as we always did.
Ginger was the first of Marc’s family that I met 26 years ago. Marc brought me to her house for Thanksgiving and I remember thinking that she was one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen. She was striking with her beautiful hair and make-up and she was an awesome hostess. I remember her beautiful smile throughout the day as she served up platters of food. Later, as I grew to know her better, I found that there was a difference in Ginger Smiles. When I first met her, she had that classic Ginger fake smile. It was beautiful on her, but if you were really, really lucky, you would get to see her flash a REAL genuine smile. And that would absolutely blow you away.
When Marc and I lived with Ginger, she and I used to watch taped episodes of All My Children together in the mornings while eating breakfast and putting on our makeup on the floor of the living room. I decided that one thing she will miss the most is her AMC, since I know she still watched it religiously. So I set it to tape on the DVR and from now on, I’ll watch it for her. Maybe she can peek over my shoulder as the TV is on and get caught up.
I don’t think there was ever a moment when I was in Ginger’s presence that she didn’t have me smiling. She made me laugh and cry, but most of all, she made me smile. It’s rare for me, but she somehow through the years, without trying, earned a sacred place in my heart where I house those who I unconditionally love. Somehow, no matter what, Ginger had my full love. Always did and always will.
Ginger is survived by her mother, Millie Mascot of Copperopolis, CA, her beloved cousin Phil Jarone of San Jose, CA, her brother, Marc Mascot of Livermore, CA, her sister, Melody Kinnard of Granite Bay, CA, and her sister, Candy Lann of Sacramento, CA, and close friend, Jason Barnett of Burbank, CA. She also has two nephews and three nieces, and eight great nieces and nephews. And a host of other friends and relatives that will miss her.
Ginger is preceded in death by her grandparents and her beloved Kitty Juan Jesus Valdez. Kitty Juan, as he was known, was fed shrimp all his life (called, “Shrimpies!” with the exclamation point) and was a beautiful, wonderful jerk of a cat who lived to be close to 30. He meant the world to Ginger and if there is any good in the afterlife, she is petting Kitty Juan right now and feeding him giant shrimpies in the sky.
As I looked for a quote or poem to end this writing, I couldn’t decide what to exactly look for, so I just browsed. I came across this, “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight,” by Kahlil Gibran. This seemed to fit perfectly, as it’s true; I am crying for the delight that was Ginger. I think she’d like that.
But maybe not as much as she’d like this one to excuse her absence from our lives:
“You will, I trust, excuse that I do not join you but I have dined already and I never drink…wine.” –Dracula