Happy Birthday Jeannie Dear! 90 years for Lake Forest Park's vibrant poet laureate

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Jean Monce Bryant
Photo by Donna Hawkey
By Donna Hawkey

Love poured out of the windows at the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center during a special birthday celebration.

Lake Forest Park resident and beloved poet laureate, Jean Monce Bryant, received exactly 90 “Yes” RSVP responses from family members and friends who were honored to celebrate her 90th birthday!

And what a bash it turned out to be for Jean. Her son, Eric Strandberg, said his mother had a much bigger list of invitees than what they had room for in their home, so they had to find another solution.

Jean, who has lived in Lake Forest Park for 58 years, has quite a community following and seven grandchildren and one great-grandson, too!

So the family found a solution. They rented the reasonably priced party room at the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center with the attached commercial kitchen.

Friends prepared and sang a birthday song
Happy Birthday Jeannie Dear!
Photo by Gary Hawkey

The atmosphere was uplifting and fun with home-made decorations from long-time neighbors, who also wrote and performed a delightful and personal birthday song for Jean.

Here’s a stanza from Happy Birthday Jeannie Dear!

She’s the one we all adore; she’s the one who’s at our core. 
Who’s the one who loves our trees. 
Writing poems to save their leaves. 

Making pies go all around. 
Best pies in all our town. 
Happy birthday Jeannie dear!


Jean with granddaughter
Photo Christopher's Lamp
Jean is a devoted wife and mother; an advocate for justice and peace; and she speaks for all of Nature and humanity through her poetry.

Her volunteer time in Shoreline Schools is considered priceless because of how many children she has touched throughout the years.

Son Eric summed it up; “My mother has always been a person with a special spirit that allows her to bond easily with all human beings, and with nature.   
And I still see that spirit in her even at the age of 90. I can tell by your presence here tonight, that you feel her spirit, too.”

Jean has been writing poetry since early childhood and especially for children. Jean shows her young readers how interacting with wildlife, and the intricacies can provide more gratitude, grace, love, and humor in life. Her dream is to publish these poems so that more children can learn to appreciate the many awe-inspiring aspects of nature, and of what it means to be human.

When Jean spoke to her guests, there was such silence in the room to hear what she would say. Jean shared the 90- year-old wisdom she has gleaned from her many life experiences when she read her poem, “The Final Equation.”

Jean also told us that “We need more love wherever we can have love. Let’s all do that. Today, I am so touched by all your love.”

THE FINAL EQUATION 

When it comes to the final equation 
When all of our deeds then are known 
It’s true what we’ve lived will be tallied 
For LOVE is the One on the throne 

If what we have lived has been lovely 
If caring for others our goal 
Then we will be blessed at the closing 
For we will have lived from our Soul 

For we are not meant for Self-seeking 
But outreach to others in need 
To send out our love like a blessing 
And God’s Plan will grow from that seed 

For selfish pursuit is not worthy 
It only is empty and vain 
The happiness we give to others 
A Blessing from that will remain 

And though it is not what we’re seeking 
When all of our stories are done 
The kindness we’ve given to others 
Will return to us-Happiness Won 

--Jean Monce Bryant 


Jean's children and a couple of grandchildren
with food from the Black Pearl Chinese Restaurant
Photo by Amy Strandberg

All four of Jean's children and two grandchildren (Katie and Evan) pitched in to help.  In order from left to right: Karen, Eric, Katie, Evan, Linda and Gayle - all currently use the last name of Strandberg.

Family members came from all over the United States.

Diedre and Alan (family friends from Missoula, Montana), Julien (grandson) in foreground with the big smile (he is Gayle’s son - in from Pittsburgh), daughter Karen's husband Mike Scalzo (in back - from CA), Bob Strandberg ( older gentleman - extended family - from Whidbey Island), Karen's daughter Sarah and her son, Cooper - Jean’s great grandson - (from Bend). 

In 2014, Jean was honored by the City of Lake Forest Park with a proclamation that recognized her as an “Outstanding Citizen Poet.”

And now she is recognized by an entire community for her 90th Birthday in 2019!

~~~

The Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center not only supports seniors, it brings joy to a whole community of family, friends and neighbors!

Please note that there is currently a capital campaign fund to help keep this senior activity center in full operation.



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