Earliest memories for us, his mom and dad, were his creation. We were deeply involved at that time in a movement called “Marriage Encounter” within our Church, the Roman Catholic Church. It brought Barbara (his Mom) and I closer together, in our deep love for each other, and “Voila!”, Jay was created about 40+ years ago in love and by a love we had for his spirit, that will always live forever, (if you help)!
And, on February 8th Barb and I checked into the Hunt Hospital in Danvers Massachusetts to watch him being born. (Me to watch, her to do all the hard work)
Of course it was “Jay”, and as usual not only was he late, but refusing to comply with the inducements and other pleadings to get his act together and get out of the womb and join the world, ,,,,,,,finally after many hours he decided to make his appearance. From that moment on he was the Jay you all remember now and know and love.
But in case you forgot, here’s a few memories of him and his antics in those 40 years! The best way to enjoy the following paragraphs is smile, picture the situation, laugh and say to yourself, “Yup, that was Jay!!”
In his first few days we knew he was his own person. It didn’t take him long to figure he enjoyed sleeping at night. We tried to alternate who got up to feed him, change him etc, at night when he “fussed” and a week or so after he was brought home we woke up and if I remember correctly , I kissed my wife and said something like, “Thanks for letting me sleep in, and taking care of the baby last night.” She looked at me with panic, and we both broke land speed records running to his room since obviously neither one of us had gotten up last night,….and Jay was just lying there sleeping and loving life. (I swear to this day he had a “gotcha” grin on his face!, you know Jay!)
That should have warned us! But that was only the beginning!
We lived in a very family friendly neighborhood, mostly young couples, a Cul D’Sac type road so traffic was minimal and kids were everywhere. Life progressed and Jay grew, his personality began to form, (as Jay,…yep The one we all know and love.) We endured a real neighborhood life, cramming five kids and two wives into aa Volkswagen Beetle to go grocery shopping, (don’t ask, I have no idea where the groceries they bought went in the Beetle! The kids all had friends, and all was going good. We built an addition on the house and Jay moved into a room with his brother, but both he has and his brother, Shawn, have lots of memories as well, right Shawn?
When we moved to Maine we decided to take Barbara’s Mom and myMom, already entering a mid-level Alzheimer’s level. We were supposed to fly, but a “wicked snow storm” caused us to change plans and drive from Maine to Disney World. Jay knew my mom had Alzheimer’s (and she had stolen his “GI Joe’s” action figures and hid them under her mattress,…..so,… ! We entered I believe it was either North or South Carolina and were looking for a place to stop for lunch. Typical of a lot of Southern eateries they had a bottle of Hot Peppers, i.e. Jalapenos of course. Jay convinced my Mom to try one! Having Alzheimer’s, as well as having eaten a totally bland diet for the past 35 years, you could immediately see a distressed look on her face, but she told him “Those were tasty!” By then I was getting ready to leave Jay in a dumpster in the Carolina’s ! But the panic, foaming reaction was thwarted, because she either was further along than we thought with the Alzheimer’s or she was crafty enough to give Jay, a “Gotcha”. To this day I’m still not sure.
After we moved to Maine, and bought some land to build a house on, all was going well. There were lots of kids to play with, the wide open spaces of almost six acres, and a brand new house. One day “the Jayneister” was out playing with a few neighborhood kids, and they were playing Pirates!
What is a game of Pirates without a buried treasure! He apparently went in the house and “borrowed” my wife’s original engagement ring, took it out into the “yard” and they buried it!!!! When my wife found out she and the Jaymeister walked every square inch of the land with her asking, “Was it here you buried it?” And Jay saying “No”. Never ever found it! Best bet if you ever buy this property in Maine, it’s worth at least an engagement ring more than you will pay for it!!
One other quick young Jay anecdote. My wife Barbara and I used to play and sing in a “Folk Group” in the Catholic Church we were Parishioners. Being very well mannered and obedient Jay sat in a pew a few rows back from the very front every week. In the Catholic Church to receive Holy Communion, you had to be at least 7 and in the second grade. One Sunday during the distribution of communion as we were playing a hymn we looked up and here comes Jay, down the aisle to receive communion! He was only five but looking very serious and adult!! After church e had a few words with him and his answer was a typical apprentice “Jay Meister”, of “I’m sorry” , but I knew there was a “Gotcha smile” in there somewhere!
Then there was the time we enrolled him in a private school and he became a “go-to guy” by turning History and other classes into a game of “Jeopardy” in the playground amongst the students. (Dare say he taught a bunch of kids,….and superbly at that. That was Jay!)
Or the time he came home and announced he wanted to play JV hockey! He hadn’t been on ice skates but maybe eight or ten times, on a local pond. As his parents, we supported him in the efforts and dropped a “bunch” of money for pads, new skates, sticks, etc. we went to all his home games and a few away games, ……Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito didn’t have to worry,…but he committed and played his heart out in every game for a couple of years!
We opened a Country Western Dance Club and Restaurant in the early 90’s and put Jay to work in the kitchen with our chef as well as his cousin Danny. Pretty soon Jay showed talent at cooking, as did Danny and we grew. Once I noticed all the burgers coming up of the kitchen had carved “Swan” decorations made out of apples!! I went back and commented that they looked good but “knock it off”! People just wanted a burger, not a Michaelangelo!! He just smiled! It wasn’t but swans, but the principle to him!! (But damn he was good at it!)
Then he decided he wanted to play Bass Guitar! We encouraged him, got him lessons, bought a Bass guitar, and decided, “It’s music,…we should encourage it!” Six months later his instructor told us he was really good, and needed a better teacher. As I said, we owned a Counntry Western Night Club and “the Jaymeister” had begun hanging with the musicians. They humored him,as they figured ‘.,,,his Dad was the owner, and he would give them more “gigs”! Then they were really surprised he was as good as he was. His new 5 string” Bass and his love of “Django Reinhardt”, really boggled them! Look him up, I’d never heard of him either!
A few months later, the band we booked in our adjacent Irish Pub, “The Emerald Rose” ,that was supposed to play for New Years Eve, backed out!! We asked one of our other musicians to play the gig, and he told me it was more than he could handle solo. He asked me if the Jaymeister could play the gig with him, being between a rock and a hard place I said “OK’. Jay accepted the gig, and practiced with him for a couple weeks, and “Poof!” He was onstage New Years Eve, as a”professional” musician. In a lot of respects he was like me, find something you want to do, do it as best you can, and then move on and conquer something else. Hmmmm, maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Later that New Years evening,, during a “Band Break”, one of my Security guys came to me and told me he saw the musician, AND the JAYMEISTER, go to the local liquor store across the street, and come out with a case of Heineken, which they put in the front seat of Jay’s old van we gave him for transportation! Since I keep a key for every vehicle we own on my keyring and being the “DAD” of a 17 year old with a case of beer in his car,…..I went out and confiscated the illicit case of Beer, put it up on my shoulder, and waited until they began playing again, and walking in to the club, he noticed, and as I got closer to the stage I could see the quiet “Jaymeister attitude” flashing “evil rays” out of his eyes. All I could do as a “Dad” was give him a “Gotcha smile”, and keep on walking! (We never really spoke of that night, but we both knew, it was a silent “Gotcha” moment. “You screwed up!!”
The “Jaymeister” was not an angel. While at Berwick Academy, ( A renown Private schoo; that contributed 2 of their hockey players to the “Miracle on Ice ” where the USA beat the Russian National Hockey Team in the 68 Olympics. (Not bad for a small private school huh?)The schools charter on display at the school was hand signed by “John Hancock” himself in 1797) anyway he was able to find out that the Seniors were all required to have “Art Gum”erasers,…..so he went to the “Bookstore” and bought the entire inventory of art gum erasers at $.50 each, the next day he was selling them to the seniors, for $1 each!!! (We had to put up $500 at the beginning of the year as a deposit for the things each student needed then they would just go and draw against it if they needed notebooks, pencils, “art gum erasers” , etc.,…read as using “other peoples money” to fund and entrepreneurial venture!!! And Donald Trump would be proud of you Jay,….I was and couldn’t bring myself to even think about even a reprimand for the efforts!!
We used to have seasons tickets to the Portsmouth Repartory Theatre, and they had a summer program called “PAPA” the Portsmouth Academy of Performing Arts” for younger folks. We enrolled Jay, and he learned to act, sing and dance. The gentleman running the program was a songwriter for the “old” Mickey Mouse Club black and white TV show, and his wife, who taught dancing was an original Mouseketeer! That fall he went on to try out at Berwick Acadmy’s winter musical Production, and was selected for the role of “Captain Corcoran”, in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta the “Pirates of Penzance”, the following year he went on to be both the Lion and the professor in, “The Lion the Witch and the wardrobe”. And did a hell of a job at both!!
He was beginning to evolve from JAY , to “the Jaymeister”, we all knew and loved.
As I said earlier “The Jaymeister” was no angel! I know he experimented with Marijuana, beyond that I don’t want to know. He ran away when he was 18, and took all of his possessions.(including his guitar, my Dunhill cigarette lighter and who knows what else. And after he had to “hawk” all his possessions we finally found out where he was and called him,….and he agreed to come home,
By then he was nineteen, and looking desperately,but quietly for a path. I introduced him to our family policy, “UP or OUT”. At 18 or graduation, you were expected to provide us,his parents, with 1) a letter of acceptance to an accredited college or technical path, for which we would pay and support you, or 2)pay a fair rate ($350/week) for rent, laundry, food, etc) OR 3) join the Armed Services of Our Country. OR 4) move out and support yourself!!.
Jay chose the Air Force,and that was where most of you be gan to know him as the “world turned”, the sun and moon revolves,…..and life moved on!
(One final note, as I was driving him up to Portland Maine, the night before he was to be inducted and sworn into the Armed Forces, I told him he was going to have to go through a drug testing, and MUST pass or he would be released! He turns and looks at me and says, “Dad there are natural teas, and other ways, and they can completely mask the Marajuana,…trust me I know the drill!”
He was ready to fly, and for the first real time as a Dad I knew he was sharp and the world had a new “contender” to deal with,…on his terms.
I thought this would be a three part story, but his MOM, and his brothers and sister haven’t even sent a story or rememberace of “The JAYMEISTER” yet, but you, …..his friends and co-workers must have dozens of stories and rememberances of “The Jay Meister”.
I’m trying to write a complete and balanced history of James David “Jay” Corcoran,, a/k/a “The Jaymeister”. Help me out with your anecdotes or stories, send them all to “firstname.lastname@example.org” .
He was worth the memories we all have of him,…..help me put him in the “ether-layer” for eternity to access.
Love you, and miss you aLOT, Jaymeister