Hi, Everyone. Today is the tribute for Jeanne. I have my DVR set and ready to go. Corbin posted this around 10 am (EDT):
"Memorial week for my mom. Fitting after memorial day weekend for I suppose.
First up... A tribute show on Young and Restless today, then ending the week with her private memorial for friends and family. In between, God only knows!
This week I'd like to share a few stories about her with you, things you might not know or could have never imagined. I want all of you to be a part of this week. I think beginning next week I'm going to try and move on a bit. My wife suggested that I keep writing here but perhaps move back toward my life (which is always informed by the teachings of my mom anyway) and continue expressing myself, my thoughts and to some degree my work. I'm considering it.
But for now, this memorial week, back to mom...
This weekend I did a lot of building around the house, carpentry; a pergola and raised bed for vegetables most prominent. Worked with my hands. I've always loved working with my hands, a good way to get out of your head! Guess who taught me how to build? You got it, my mother! That's right, my mother, was an incredible carpenter! Seriously. Her love for woodworking and then masonry (yes, she could build you a brick wall, fireplace or bar with the best of them) actually began out of necessity. It's a much longer story but the short version is this; back in the late 50's my parents were a becoming a typical Hollywood "power couple." My dad was an up and coming agent and my mother was, well, Jeanne Cooper, rising star. They felt - I'm sure with the lead of my dad - that appearance was everything and thus needed to live in a place that "looked right" for an up and coming Hollywood couple. So along with me, like the Jed Clampett and family, they up and moved to Beverly Hills! But things weren't always so bright, right from the get go. Unlike the Clampetts, we didn't have an oil well back home supporting us. Word of warning to anyone considering the smallest job in the entertainment business - failure is far more common than success and the road to success is ALWAYS riddled with pot holes, steep climbs and quick decants. Bumpy to say the least. Translated; one day you got some money in your pocket, the next day you don't and start faking it real hard. That was us.
But my mom, as we all know too well, was a survivor. Even back then. So one day I came home from school and found her in our garage, tools in hand, building these Wine Chests for Christmas gifts for friends. Three holed, little stained wood boxes with a old world map on top stained with coffee to give it an antique effect. And they were incredible! To this day I'm not sure where she learned her carpentry skills but I did see her perfect them in that garage. I also began to help her in the production of the boxes. They were so well received she actually started selling them! Ahhhh Hollywood! Rising young star and son building Wine Chests in their garage to pay the mortgage! Ain't it grand! From wine chests she went on to little Keepsake boxes with various kinds of colorful art on top, each box painted a bright pink, orange or blue. My job was to put the tiny brass hinges on them. We had to give these boxes out as gifts to our friends for birthdays! That's all we could afford! Even the boys! Imagine the embarrassment. Little did I know then that they would become treasures for anyone who received one. To this day I'm still searching for either a wine chest or colorful keepsake box made by her! They would be collector's items! She began to sell the Keepsake boxes at our local stationary store in Beverly Hills - I think - to pay our bills! Again, ahhhh Hollywood!
By now she was getting very good at her craft and actually began remodeling rooms in our house! Yes, she would put up paneling, build shelves and even built our bar! Her work became very detailed and her "staining ability" was unsurpassed. People loved her work. Now remember, this is all going on while she's doing her other work - 'acting' Bonanza, Perry Mason and the rest. Weird, right? But maintaining the "image" was important - again, I think more for my dad - and expensive - so my mom worked hard to keep us up with the Jones'.
She began actually doing work for other people in their homes. She became quite an excellent brick layer, and at the time used brick was very in fashion. She built bars out of brick, fireplaces, patios, you name it, she laid more brick than... well, there's a joke in there but you can fill in the blank.
And that's how we survived in Beverly Hills. And to some degree that helped stoke the fire in my mom that helped shape who she was and became, the woman we all know and love. That simple girl from Taft California with a knack for acting who got by by building used brick bars for friends, neighbors and anyone who would pay enough so we could drive a new Lincoln.
My mother was an excellent carpenter. That's where I learned to build. So this weekend, when I put my hands to work, I could only think back to those times where my teacher, my mom, would lock us away in the garage and give me the most basic lessons on survival.
True story. Fond memory."