From Eileen Ringel.
Jill was a wonderful friend, and I will miss her profoundly. One doesn’t generally speak of measuring the impact of a friendship, but it is worth reflecting on what another person has taught you when trying to understand the impact that person has had on your life. From the silly to the profound, and in no particular order, here are ten things I learned from Jill.
- Always listen.
- Jill always knew what to say but she also knew how to listen. In fact, no one could listen like Jill. Jill was a listening prodigy. A virtuoso, listening machine. A wild, wondrous listening wizard. Jill could say more while listening than most of us could say while giving congressional testimony.
- Always empathize.
- This is a corollary to #2. No one could make you feel more understood than Jill.
- Buy organic.
- Speaks for itself and tastes better.
- Ask Directions
- Jill didn’t have a great sense of direction, but then neither do I. Jill’s ability to get lost was second only to my ability to get lost, which was second only to Jill’s ability to get lost. When we were trying to make our way around London, Jill taught me the proper way to use a map. The idea was to hold the map upside-down and look sufficiently befuddled that someone would take pity on us and ask if we needed help help. Once they’d set us in the right direction, we’d walk about 100 steps and repeat the same procedure. One map and 10 strangers later, we were usually where we wanted to be.
- Throw yourself into what you love — your family, your work, your hobbies, your friends. Jill used her passion to make the world more beautiful.
- Read all the information placards at museums.
- Jill did museums with a passion. As Anny said, “My mom never met text she didn’t like.” Jill read every plate, placard, sign, caption, and explanatory note. There was nothing that didn’t capture her interest. Many websites would say, “Expect to spend 2-3 hours in this museum, unless you’re with Jill Rubinson, in which case you’d better plan on spending all day.”
- Keep moving.
- Jill was a great exercise companion. Whether it was walking in the forest, kayaking in the stream, stretching at the yoga studio, or jogging down the path, she always encouraged me to keep going. In the winter, we’d walk round and round the indoor track at Colby, the two of us getting faster and faster because we were each trying to keep up with the other. In the end, we be totally out of breath, each convinced that we’d done the other a favor by keeping up the pace.
- Always bring something.
- Jill was the most gracious person I’ve ever known. My father was a mechanic and when he got sick and came to Waterville, he had a hard time accepting his disability. When he wasn’t feeling well, she brought him flowers. When he was bored, she brought him a book. When he felt useless, she brought him a broken turntable. A broken turntable? Really? Who even has turntables these days? But Jill knew that in repairing a turntable, Dad could find a sense of accomplishment and at the same time find a piece of himself that he’d lost. Jill brought herself to everything like that.
- Don’t be afraid to kayak with alligators.
- When we were in the Everglades, we came across a stream that attracted tourists and alligators. I’m not sure whether the tourists came to look at the alligators or the alligators the tourists, but somehow, Jill got it into her head that we should rent a kayak and go boating with the alligators. Maybe there are alligator genes somewhere in the Rubinson family. I’m not sure. At any rate, Jill somehow convinced me that this was a good idea. By the time we made it to the rental stand, they’d run out of kayaks, and at the time, I was relieved. It was reassuring to know I wasn’t going to be an alligator’s lunch. Since then, however, I’ve occasionally often wondered what it would have been like if I’d been as brave as Jill and gone kayaking with the alligators.
- Love your family with everything you have.
- Jill loved her family with everything in her. She was crazy about her brother. There’s nothing she wouldn’t have done for Anny, Neil and Fen.
So there you have it. The world is a much better place for the time Jill Rubinson spent with her family, friends, and students. We all have Jill-sized holes in our hearts. We shall miss her greatly.