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Juliet Cooper Remembers

Juliet Cooper was a young friend of Jon-Erik's, 9 years his junior, who grew up in his Tenafly neighborhood.  These are her memories of her friend, donated by JP Mullin.

When I think of Jack, one of the first things I think of is magic.  The day I turned 5 years old, I disappeared in my own back yard.  I was only gone for a few seconds when I reappeared.  Actually, I was really there the whole time, just hidden from view.  Jack made me disappear by putting me in a disappearing cabinet as part of a magic show he did for my 5th birthday.  This is one of my first memories of Jack.  As I grew up, he continued to bring magic to my life.  I could sit for hours at Tenafly swim club and watch him dive with grace and agility.  He'd be serious for a while, then goof around, then get back to work.  That was him, a hard worker who knew how to have fun.
 
There was magic in the air at every THS football game when Jack did flips on the field for half-time, and in the THS auditorium whenever Jack performed.
 
Everyone knew he would be a tremendous success at whatever he did.  And he was.  But even after he made it big, he never forgot his roots.  He wrote often (on Kermit the Frog stationery), came to the school shows whenever I asked him to, and, of course, he called often.  Five minutes before his most recent "Live at 5" interview, my phone rang.  "Collect from Jack," the operator said.  "Collect?" I thought.  "Sure, I'll accept."

Jack's deep voice on the other side said, "Sorry about that, kiddo; all my money's tied up in real estate!"
 
I think back on our times together and laugh and cry at the same time.  At this point in my life, the beginning of my college education, when encountered with the decision of whether to do school work or party, I think of Jack*.  He was such a hard worker, and it paid off.  He was a success after years of hard work and dedication.  He lived his life just as he wanted, and, I know he would want me to follow his example of hard work.  Now he lives on in other people -- the recipients of his organs, and in the memories of his friends, his family, and all of us here tonight.  Jack was everything we all must strive to be: sensitive, hard working, caring, humorous, and a real friend. 
 
Jack was a star long before he became a celebrity.  His magic touched us all in some way, and I thank G-d every day for the time we spent together and all of our antics and fun of the past 13 years that I knew him. 
 
It's time to let go now.
 
But Jack, as if in his own disappearing cabinet, will always be with us in our hearts and memories, even when he's not visible.
 
 
*I have one of his t-shirts.  It says, "I love to party", but then I remember he got it when he worked at a bar in NYC.


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