In Memory of Holger (Hal Jensen) Jensen – December 26- 2013 – RIP
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remember that you are going to die is the best way I know how to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs.
I met one of the most intriguing man with a warm heart in late, April 1987 – He was a groomsman in my wedding to Mr. D.A. (My first husband) – We were wed in a small, Minnesota town – 5-2-1987 – our marriage lasted a decade.
“How the Hell did you ever meet this girl?” My ex – husband’s uncle (Holger (Hal) Jensen) asked him. “What did you do to deserve her? She’s special, I can tell. You got lucky. She’s a feisty one.”
I knew right then that I liked this gentleman. Uncle Hal always treated me with kindness and deep respect, unlike his nephew. I didn’t see in myself what he saw in me, but I felt genuine warmth that was difficult to deny. I also felt a deep sense of greatness in him and observed kindness in his heart and eyes. If I did see myself as Uncle Hal did, I would never have married his nephew. That would’ve been a shame because I never would’ve met this fascinating, inspiring soul.
This letter’s difficult to write because I am over emotional and exhausted. I’ve been working hard for numerous months, without taking the time to rest. I have a severe, ear infection that I have been battling for months with a fever and chills. My energy’s low. I am in intense, physical pain. The drastic, fluctuating weather during the spring in Minnesota can be a bitch for people with old injuries. The medication prescribed is making me so drowsy and nauseous. I don’t like it. I want to create and to write. I don’t have any Mary Jane to help ease my pain and nausea. We can’t afford it. We are once again waiting for checks to clear the banks. Big companies don’t seem to empathize with the small, business owners who are attempting to strive, and sometimes take their time to send payment. I am hungry – cupboards are bare once again. Mr. C and I live one day at a time. We only think about the now – the present moment – in order to survive. We live our lives second by second in order to continue forward on our journey upwards towards success.
This afternoon, I felt like giving up on my dreams. When I feel this low – my flames of passion spark but never ignite. I feel grief for my best friend who passed away this week – my dog, the alpha of our dog pack, Rudy Patootie – my protector. I feel sorrow for the neighbor lady who passed away two days ago. I just found out this morning. She had been a dear friend of Mr. C’s mother for a very long time. Her sons played with my husband growing up. I can see them grieve today as they take care of her home and say goodbye to their mother. My empathetic soul feels their pain and loss – especially since tomorrow’s Mother’s Day. I also feel my husband’s sadness. The neighbor lady was one of the last, great women on our block who was here long before most of our neighborhood. Mr. C’s working a long day to distract himself from his melancholy. He’s been working very hard lately – his energy’s low like mine is. We need to rest, relax, have sex and recharge our batteries.
I’m trying to work, but it’s difficult to focus. My mind’s foggy. I wanted to paint beads for my Mary Godmother (I’ll tell you more about her later) who has supplied me with most of my beautifu,l burlesque costumes throughout my burlesque career ever since I began, making me feel like Cinderella at the ball. Tomorrow’s Mother’s day. My heart aches with anguish because my children don’t appreciate their mother and never really have. They call me a bitch. My son told me I was a fucking cunt in a text message many months ago because he didn’t get his way. I punished him with silence. We have not communicated for months. He doesn’t get why I won’t let him live with me. It’s unfortunate that both of my children feel this way. I’ve always attempted to do my best at raising them. I wasn’t a perfect mother, no one is, but I never gave up trying to be.
I feel my daughter’s pain because the love of her life tragically passed away on Mother’s Day 2013. I’m going to nick name him Mr. Motor Head, because he loved cars. Unfortunately, his life was cut short, because a car tragically fell on him as he was working on it. Because my daughter and I are not talking to each other, I can’t comfort her on the worst day of her life. I would think that she would learn NOT to treat the ones she loves like crap after he passed on, because she treated him poorly when he was alive. I know that she regrets it because she told me so on numerous occasions. Near the end of his life my daughter continuously complained about him, and all that was wrong with their relationship. She acted like a horrible, spoiled brat. She’d been searching for another relationship, hoping to move on. When this very special guy passed on, it was dramatic and the end of the world for her. I’ve told her repeatedly to never treat family or loved ones poorly because they are the only ones who will have her back when she needs them the most.
Mother’s Day will never be the same for me or my family. I cannot think of this day fondly. I spent the day with my stepchildren at Como Zoo when I received a horrific phone call from my daughter about this tragedy. She and Mr. Motor Head lived seven hours away near the South Dakota border. Mr. C and I abruptly left the zoo, rushing to get to her. It was a slow, agonizing, heart wrenching, road trip.
A caterpillar named Victim inched his way through the tall, spring grass
Until a young boy scooped him up and placed him a tall jar made of glass
Victim cried out, “Woe is me – I’m so small –
If I didn’t have bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”
At the bottom of the jar the boy scattered tiny newsprint
Victim’s eyes caught one line no larger than a small piece of lint.
It read – one can change the way they think
with just a nod and just a wink
Victim thought – “Why not?
My life couldn’t get worse than life in a jar
I’ll dream of wings and fly like a monarch.”
Transformed by thought the monarch bloomed
A glorious creature born from cocoon
Victor had bloomed from Victim’s circumstance
To soar high in the sky on the winds of chance. – Mia Malone – Jennings 2001 – Whispers of Gold.
I don’t believe in the Hallmark moment bullshit. I would appreciate it if my children showed me respect, love and appreciation on every day – not just a Hallmark holiday. My daughter wants a mother who will coddle her – especially when she complains about being a victim in life and how the world has done her wrong. I’m not a Leave it to Beaver type of mother. I’m not June Cleaver and I’m never going to be. My daughter doesn’t understand that I’ve had to be the maternal and paternal figure in her life, which is difficult to do and exhausting– especially when I was dealing with working three jobs, attending college full time and enduring many surgeries when I was her age.
Her father has Peter Pan Syndrome. I don’t think that he will ever grow up and become responsible for his life or his children. I don’t wait for him to do so. I have had to do whatever it takes to do make sure that my children survived when I was raising them during the early years in their lives. They have no clue what their mother is about. It’s a shame – maybe someday. Until then, I’m living my life.
I’m grateful for my stepchildren. My stepdaughter, is one of the closest people I hold near and dear to my heart. I admire her bold strength, uniqueness and intelligence. She’s in her early 30’s and a clone of Mr. C. She graduated from a top, Minnesota college and presently works for a great publishing company in Minneapolis. Sometimes she has to be the matriarch figure in her relationship with her mother. Neither of us have the perfect mother and daughter relationship with our blood relations, making us love, cherish, respect and appreciate each other much more. Our relationship’s deeper than blood, bonded by our love, not by relation. I think that she’s amazing – a survivor and a great inspiration to me. She’s one of my heroes.
My stepson’s a lot like me – I’ve helped raise him since he was 13 years old. He’s a cancer survivor. He doesn’t have a college education like his sister does, but he works harder than anyone I know. He kicks ass. I’m so proud of him. They both demonstrate how much I mean to them all of the time through their actions and not words. They don’t wait for designated days to do so. They rock!
I get to spend Mother’s Day with them tomorrow with Mr. C and my fur babies – Mama Chi Chi – Little Frida and Diego (Daring Diggy). They are amazing chihuahua We are having a picnic at the Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis – one of my favorite destinations to have a picnic and enjoy the fresh air. In Minnesota, you learn to appreciate the warm, sunny days – never taking them for granted.
As I reflect upon my life while creating items for my upcoming boutique – during my long days and evenings, I think about people who reflect greatness inside of them, to keep me inspired. I think about Uncle Hal, recalling how excited he was about his career when I visited him in Everett, Washington. He spoke with excitement and great passion about his career as an engineer, showing me blueprints and explaining his intriguing occupation. He was influential in the Washington State Transportation System – appearing proud and passionate about it. I loved his energy and his enthusiastic spirit.
My best memory of him was when he introduced me to coffee lattes at an unfamiliar, coffee shop at the time – only heard of in Washington State – Starbucks. This is right before they were known throughout the United States. After one sip – I fell in love. Uncle Hal made me a coffee latte every morning during my stay with him. Unfortunately, my kidneys don’t like high, zipping doses of caffeine. He spoke with vivacious energy about all of his favorite places in Washington – taking me to his favorite destinations like the Victoria Islands, the Puget Sound and Friday Harbor. We dined at some of the best restaurants in Seattle. He pointed out destinations which he greatly influenced, by the work he did as a successful engineer.
The reason why I am writing you all of these letters about my life experiences and the great people I have met during my amazing journey is because I need to reflect on my life and gather inspiration from all the fabulous people that I have met directly or indirectly. I am grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know, Holger (Hal) Jensen, who is of Norwegian descent. His nephew – my ex-husband – didn’t have much inside of him to inspire me. He took a lot of my energy, devouring my soul like a vampire feeds on blood. I was exhausted a majority of my marriage to him. I was also extremely young and very rough around the edges. I didn’t become a more refined individual until I left my ex husband and turned the age of 30.
Uncle Hal didn’t live in Minnesota. He was much too smart to endure the crazy, brutally cold, Midwestern weather. He was originally born on a farm in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota and the youngest of nine siblings. From the moment I met this amazing person, I knew that his soul required more than an ordinary existence. I admired what appeared to me at this time early in my life, a high style, jet set life, whenever he would fly to Minnesota to visit and he’d speak about some of the exciting things he was doing in Washington State. He was much more refined than his relatives – his soul shone bright like a star. He was an important engineer in Washington State and Idaho. I say was, because he tragically passed away, December 26, 2013.
Near the end of Uncle Hal’s career he worked for the United States Bureau of Reclamation. He slipped on icy terrain at Pinto Dam, falling 35 ft to his death at the age of 62. I didn’t attend the funeral, my ex – husband did. I hadn’t been apart is his family for over a decade when this tragic accident occurred. It doesn’t matter because I don’t need to attend a funeral or visit a grave site to recall such a great man. He is with me in spirit whenever I think of him and how much he had to offer this world.
Hal left the Midwest to get away from icy conditions. It’s ironic how he died. I’m saddened by the way his life ended. I haven’t mourned his death until now, as I’m writing this letter. I miss him and his sister, who is living out the rest of her life in a nursing home. When I was married to Hal’s nephew, I never thought that I’d ever get to live an exciting life – so I admired him from a distance in a small, boring town in Minnesota. It wasn’t until I left my ex when I began to start living an adventurous life, never wasting a moment of my time.
Uncle Hal’s older sister – Bunny – was always good to me. She was my second mother – always thoughtful, kind and loving. She treated me like the daughter she never had. She always believed in my talent. It was her who had the patience to teach me to use a sewing machine. She told me that I could be a fashion designer if I put my heart, soul and talent into it. She spoiled my children with extreme love, possessing a warm, loving touch. It’s a shame that my children didn’t appreciate it, until she was unfortunately diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. My children lived with their grandparents, right before she began her slow descent into a horrible illness. They treated her poorly, throwing tantrums if they didn’t get their way – often physically hurting her and verbally abusing her. She was softer in the heart than I – more pliable and patient. I wouldn’t permit my children to treat me in the same way that they treated her and they think I am a bitch for that. She never gave up on them until she couldn’t recall who they were. She offered them so much and they took advantage of that.
She wasn’t as strong in spirit as I am. She lived her life in fear and regret, much of her life, relying on God and the Catholic church to save her soul. She often punished herself for having her son out of wedlock. She could be easily manipulated, which’s why my children didn’t want to live with me and their stepfather. They didn’t like structure or rules. It was easier for them to get their way with her. She spoiled them, giving them everything they asked for, and they repaid her with violent tantrums. I continuously drilled into my children about the law of karma ever since they were young. When they did something wrong and I had to punish them, I would say, “What comes after action? Consequence comes after action – especially if it’s a negative action.” I hope someday, when my children are older, they read some of my letters written to you, Henry, and they really get to know who I am. I hope by telling you this story about their great uncle Hal that they’ll recognize that greatness runs deep in their bloodlines – and that it’ll inspire them to be great individuals who follow their passion. I wonder if my children will appreciate me after I pass on and regret all the time they wasted hating me when I was alive.
I can’t recall the year Mr. C took me took a great book store in Stillwater, Minnesota . It was on Mother’s Day, well over a decade ago, to purchase a first edition book of yours, Letters to Hoki. This is where my journey with you began. I had recently watched the movie, Henry and June. I fell in love with your spirit – needing to learn more about you. My empathetic soul felt your pain when I read your letters to your fifth wife – Hoki – about how sad you felt whenever she didn’t write letters to you. After a few years, and several of your books later, especially the ones containing the letters you wrote to your lovers and friends, like Anais Nin and Lawrence Durrell, I was inspired to begin writing letters to you, telling you about my magnificent life. Thank you for the inspiration.
I didn’t have much respect for my ex husband, but I had a deep respect for some members of his family like his uncle Hal – Holger (Hal) Jensen and his older sister. As I read about him online today, I discovered more about his life and occupation which I was unaware of. His tragic death at Pinto Dam made me think about the magnificence of Hoover dam – the only dam that I’ve ever witnessed in real life. I’ve visited Hoover Dam numerous times. I’m always in awe at how something so magnificent and powerful was created during the depression. The dam inspires to me continue forward on my adventure, knowing that buried within the ashes of despair, great things can emerge and ignite. I can see that the area of Pinto Dam is gorgeous as I view images of it on Google. At least Uncle Hal departed this plane of existence at a gorgeous and powerful destination. The magnificent way that Holger (Hal) Jensen lived his life with purpose and passion inspires me to go after what I want and never stop.
“Washington is a marvelous state,” Uncle Hal said during my first visit to Washington. “Seattle’s awesome, if you ever get the opportunity, Mia, you should leave Minnesota and live here.”
Even though I love the state of Washington, I was never brave enough to make the move to another state that was located a long distance away. If I would’ve been aware of burlesque, its roots and Gypsy Rose Lee, I would’ve moved there in a heartbeat. But, if I did I would never discovered the importance of Minnesota’s burlesque legend, Lili St. Cyr. Several years ago – Mr. B – my past benefactor/lover took me to Seattle right before my granddaughter was born. I thought about how Uncle Hal had greatly influenced this city with his engineering talent as I explored it while Mr. B was attending business meetings.
I’m ending this letter, Henry. I will tell you about the first edition book of yours, Letters to Lawrence Durrell, that I put on layaway, when I purchased, Letter’s to Hoki. This book contains something very special taped to the inside cover. It took me months to purchase it because it was expensive – more than I have ever spent on a book before. The tale that goes with it is a seductive adventure and the beginning of a wonderful journey with you. It’s an erotic tale about the gentleman who entered my life briefly, shortly after I read your book, Letters to Hoki.
Good night, Mon Amour – Bisous
RIP Holger (Hal) Jensen – Your spirit remains to be a part of me. It was wonderful to get to know a man of such greatness. Thank you for the inspiration and believing in me. Xoxo
To my blog readers – these letters are in rough draft format – please be kind when you are reading them. I’d rather start somewhere, correcting mistakes later, than never starting. Follow me on Instagram- Mia Malone-Jennings – to see progress on the projects I am creating for Mia Malone’s Shabby Chique Boutique & Thrift. Thank you for your support.