How do you say farewell to our Ven. Canon Nina Pickerrell on her final Senior Community Day before she embarks on the next chapter of her pastoral journey? First, you make sure she is a guest presenter. That way, she has to come! Second, you get Jumon Bell, Cathedral Receptionist, to also be a guest presenter. Power in numbers! Third, you take a silly group photo to give as a gift because, let’s be honest, Nina is just as uncomfortable with big emotional goodbyes as much as you are. What do you get after all that? A memorable “Bon Voyage!” from Seniors with Grace.
At 11:00 a.m. Thursday, May 30th, Nina and Jumon took center stage as our guest presenters. Each shared historical photos and stories about their family histories. Nina detailed her grandfather’s role in the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, and Jumon took us through his father’s career as a San Francisco Cable Car operator. Nina brought in original photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge being built. Other photos revealed Nina’s grandfather’s fabrication shop, featuring workmen cutting and welding rebar. The delicate handwriting of Nina’s grandmother offered details on the back of each photo. Nina offered glimpses into her personal life as well, including memories of her time as a young woman in the military. Yes, Nina joined up so she could “see the world.” Hand on hip, she recounted, “And guess what? They stationed me…in the Presidio! Just a few miles away from my home.” Go figure. Eventually, she was stationed in Belgium where her dreams to see more of the world came to fruition.
Jumon’s photographs of his father spanned several decades (and versions of the SF Muni uniform). He showed pictures of his diverse family and told stories about their roots in San Francisco and Mississippi. Our seniors fell silent when Jumon shared a picture of his father’s high school graduation photo. “Look at his expression,” he pointed out. “Think of what it must have been like for a young black man in Mississippi back then. I see the heaviness in his eyes.” Jumon’s dad decided to take and chance and make the leap to California, banking that he could make a better life out here. He worked his way up the SF Muni ranks, eventually training other cable car operators. He also started a family, and thus we have Jumon!
With Nina serving for over 23 years with Grace Cathedral, and Jumon with us for 10 years and counting, many of us learned more about them in their guest presentations than we may have collectively learned in years. As for Nina, our seniors showered her in hugs and gifts. Among them, a polka dot scarf symbolizing one of Nina’s signature phrases when telling stories: “And, you know, dot dot dot.”
We did our best but, yes, some salty tears were held back while others escaped. Before our group departed in the afternoon, Nina advised, “It’s all about connections. Go deeper. Ask questions. Get to know one another.” And with that, we cut the cake (carrot, her favorite) and wished her all the best and more as she moves forward to become Archdeacon for the Diocese of California.
We welcome our seniors to return every 4th Thursday of the month to share in community with one another and all who join us for the day.
Learn more about Seniors with Grace.