The Guardians of Knowledge: Jane Zeok – instructor, counselor, a present from God | way of life
Some people only have one way to naturally strengthen others. The nice thing about it is that it doesn’t affect your own strength. Jane Zeok is one of those people. Jane is a strong woman who always gets the best out of everyone she meets and yet is great in her own authenticity.
She was born on a farm in Kansas. When Jane was 13, her father found the opportunity to hug the yen, which he always had to “go north”. He heard of an irrigation project in Washington state that was recruiting farmers and decided to relocate the family.
She met her first husband, Ed, in high school, but it wasn’t love at first sight.
After high school, she attended Eastern Washington University and switched her major from psychology to sociology, which led her to become interested in the more specific field of criminology. Her psycho club adopted the criminally insane ward at a local mental hospital and visited her often.
“These were some of the most fascinating people I had ever met,” she recalls. “Most of them were absolutely brilliant and very, very cagey. They had a way of figuring out exactly which story you were most likely to believe in, and then they were able to tell you some real stories!”
When Ed moved to EMU, she introduced him to her circle of artistic friends.
“In those days, the ‘beat generation’ was all the rage. We had our own downtown cafe and I would stop there in my black tights, miniskirt, and beret to hear my friends read poetry while someone was walking played the bongos. I felt pretty urban and avant-garde, “she laughs.
Since she and Ed were from the same small town, he asked her if she would like to go home with him once or twice a month, and they became good friends. Eventually that moved on to the next logical step – marriage.
“Of course, our parents felt we would never finish college then, but I never had any doubts. When our son was born on our first wedding anniversary, the coat of motherhood fell over my shoulders, making me realize that I had to be mine Really taking the future seriously. After changing my majors several times, I had to take more classes in a certain area to embark on a certain career path. Ed wanted to be a teacher, and I saw that it would take me another year finishing elementary school classes. It made the best possible sense of a viable career path. And since I had been studying French every year, just another easy step was to just major in I have a BA in Education and a Major in French. ”
Ed and Jane’s marriage ended after 22 years. “I have often said that we should have just remained good friends,” she says.
Jane’s philosophy was that every day has a gift for each of us and that everyone has something special in them that they can nourish and bring to life.
“We learn everything in life in our relationships with others,” she says, “and I felt that one of the most important things about the children’s school experience was teaching them to get along cooperatively and to respect individual differences.”
Jane, a woman of deep spirituality, has always felt that people need the freedom to find out who they are in order to live their best lives. Jane said, “Some of my students have told me I helped them see their own special, individual gifts. That was my goal. I wanted to strengthen them. “
Always a free spirit, Jane loved to dance and one evening in May when she was out with friends, she met a “dark and mysterious stranger”, fell in love and they were married on New Year’s Eve later that year. Shortly after their marriage, they moved from the Lancaster-Palmdale area to a house five acres west of Rosamond.
“My husband was a city boy from Pittsburgh and wasn’t at all sure if he could handle life in the ‘desert wilderness’ as he called it. For me it was a return to my roots in the country and after long work Day, how peaceful it was to drive the Palmdale freeway, letting the worries of the day fly away with every mile until I got to my sanctuary. ”
They were together for 13 years when he died of cancer. After his death, Jane began to travel more. “It took me a while to realize that I could do what I wanted,” she said.
After retiring, it took Jane a while to learn to relax and slow down her frenzied pace. Her spiritual practices, particularly meditation and journaling, helped, as did her T’ai Chi classes. She spent 10 days in Oaxaca, Mexico with a friend who introduced her to artists, potters and weavers there, a very enriching experience.
In 2014 she went on another insightful tour, this time for you weeks in India. She later traveled (again) to Ireland, Wales, England and France. Jane’s older granddaughter Nicci lives in England with her Air Force husband and three children, and Jane is extremely proud of her. Despite many moves and the birth of her three lovely children, Nicci managed to graduate from college and get her MA in counseling. Jane’s two younger grandchildren are equally successful.
“My three grandchildren and my three great-grandchildren are just amazing. They are all so lively, full of personality, charm and brilliance. It’s so much fun watching them grow and develop and shine. And of course no other grandmother has ever said that about their own grandfathers and great-grandfathers, “she adds with a wink.
Jane advises the younger generation to just keep going. “I’ve always done the next thing in front of me. It seems so incredible now, in retrospect, how I seemed to be taking the next step quite innocently. I think we’re all naturally led along the way. We all come to those places in life where we hit a wall. But then the guidance comes, a path opens, we find out how to overcome every apparent obstacle. And we learn with every step. ”
Judith Campanaro is a powerful art advisor / educator and author of The Wisdom Keepers: Tehachapi Women of Substance, sold by Tehachapi Treasure Trove.