Bandwidth to Succeed
There is a song by Jack Johnson with a line “One goes out, one comes in.” This lyric literally became our life recently as our eldest daughter announced that she is pregnant with our second grandchild. Late the next day Karen’s father passed away.
Our joy was quickly usurped by the sad passing of a man who deserves to be remembered. John Joseph ‘Jack’ Cheap lived a full and interesting life. His unusual name gives no clue to the richness of his life and his legacy.
As the youngest boy of 12 kids, little Jackie would become the father of seven pretty amazing children. As his son Tom (Tommy, ‘Tom the Bomb’) said over dinner the other night, “Dad gave us all the bandwidth to become the people we are today.”
That is a high compliment. As a parent I can attest to the difficulties of raising kids in this crazy world. It is a fine line that must be walked between protecting our kids and keeping them in line. None of us has a guide book, and even if we did, each generation brings new rules to the game.
Regardless, none of those ‘Guides’ would have mentioned ‘bandwidth’ as a child-rearing strategy.
Jack navigated the child-rearing waters for nearly 40 years. In case you are doing the math, the eldest son was 20 when the youngest daughter was born. They all graduated from high school, and nearly all earned college degrees in field as diverse as Law, Art, Healthcare and Education.
A good parent is always engaged in this job no matter how old their children have become, and Jack was a good parent throughout. He was always more interested in how all were doing than in his own struggles.
Jack was too young to join the WWII effort, so he watched his brothers came home, no longer kids. The Korean War brought Jack to manhood as a forward scout for the Army. His Korean War experience left him with a lifelong disdain for camping.
Jack experienced multiple booms and depressions, always finding a way to support his growing family until finding his calling as a sound editor. Watching a movie with a sound editor is not recommended. “Tires don’t screech like that on a dirt road.” he would say, “There is no way a closing door sounds like that.”
Jack grew up in an era when the operator would place your call for you, Lily Tomlin style. He was stymied by the current, ever-present use of cell phones. “Can’t people just talk to each other anymore?”
Jack’s life was filled with fame and the famous. He worked on the TV shows we all grew up with and had literally ‘endless’ stories about the real people behind shows like “Kung Fu”, “the Million Dollar Man”, “Get Smart’ and even the secrets of “Lancelot Link; Secret Chimp” of the 70’s.
Dodger Blue ran through Jacks veins. His Tommy Lasorda costume from our “Pinch Me I Must Be Dreaming” themed Halloween Party will never be matched.
My passion for fishing opened a Dodger Blue door for Jack. I took a number of Dodger players and then manager Davey Johnson on a very successful Catalina fishing trip. In exchange, Jack and I got to visit the clubhouse and sit in the Dodger dugout before a game. Jack was beaming.
His family donated their house on Adams to USC, where Jack literally grew up, making the campus his back yard and making Jack a lifelong Trojan. On his birthday (January 3rd) recently the Trojans staged an amazing Bowl comeback win prompting Jack and his younger sister, 84 year-old Aunt Dorothy, to sing the full USC fight song!
Jack was a highly ethical and principled man. It used to bother him to no end when I would find a short cut to evade the traffic getting out of Dodger Stadium. Jack always felt like we should follow the rules, even when doing so might cost us in some way.
When I first showed up in Jack’s life as the long-haired ‘boyfriend’ of his eldest daughter, he did not judge. I am sure he had faith that his daughter would make the right decision and dump me soon enough, but it never happened and he never flinched in his support.
Jack could consort with kings and paupers without changing. He was equally enthusiastic about greeting the guard at the gate or the star in one of the shows he worked on. The man had bandwidth.
We held the wake overtown and served over 260 Dodger dogs to friends of Jack. The celebration of Jack’s life lasted 3 days giving all who knew him a chance to share memories of a man who lived a good life and left us all better for knowing him.
By Capt. John King
Afishinados Charters and Catallac Tours – firstname.lastname@example.org – 888-613-7770