Thursday, December 17, 2015

Pure Joy

'Tis the season of Joy, readers. And by that, I mean for this last season, my staff at the Redding studios of Jefferson Public Radio has doubled to a grand total of two (if you include me). Because of that, I've had a burst of Joy in my life. JoyAnna Hatcher, that is. 

Every once in awhile I find myself blessed with an intern hungry to learn, willing to listen to all my crazy stories, and young enough to mop the floor and take out the trash without complaining. This Fall, JoyAnna has accompanied me backstage to a show (Jim Belushi asked me if she was my daughter), learned that its just as difficult to get anyone to speak on the record about Redding's exploding crime rate as it is to land an interview about the potential closure of the Schreder Planetarium. She even traveled to Ashland to see how a public radio fund drive is accomplished, and even got thrown in front of a microphone for a couple of minutes. 

Sadly, just as I'm finally introducing you all to JoyAnna, it's also time to say goodbye, because as you read this, she's already back on the road, heading back to film school, her time in Redding already over. But during her last week at JPR, I gave JoyAnna one last assignment, which was to walk in my footsteps one more time, as today's guest columnist. Not only did she come through masterfully (and just like me, at the very last minute), she put together a playlist of music that is nothing short of amazing and wonderful, a playlist that completely nails my affection for a particular kind of music that I can't even find words to describe. Electro Groove Lounge Chill? Maybe one of you can come up with a phrase to describe it. Maybe I should just call it Pure Joy.

So loyal readers, meet JoyAnna. JoyAnna, meet your readers!

JoyAnna Hatcher
For the past 4 months, I’ve been the 21st Century equivalent of a squire to Valerie. That is, I’ve been her beloved intern.  I like to think of myself more like her sidekick, though, following her around and slowly learning the ins and outs of Public Radio. Whenever we meet people, Val usually gets one of two questions: “Is that Sophia, your daughter?” or “Who is that person?” While I’m always very flattered that I might be mistaken for someone so witty and beautiful, those questions always queue me to go into an explanation of who I am and where I came from.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m an L.A. native on hiatus from being a film student at USC. Some of the people Val and I encountered probably could have guessed this because of my slight L.A. accent or the fact that winter here in Redding has got me bundled up like an Eskimo.  My brief description where I’m from is simple and easy to digest, “I’m a student from L.A. staying with my Aunt and Uncle.” But, the real story of how I got here goes way back.

It all started in 1979 at the U.S. Center for World Missions in Pasadena, California. At the time, my mom, an artist from Redding, was working at the Center and my dad had just gotten a job in the mailroom. This is where they became friends. . . and remained friends for the next eight years.
Its kind of funny how when my mom tells this story she always says that she “never in a million years” thought she would end up with my dad. I’m inclined to believe that what she says is true since during my parents’ 8 year platonic friendship, my mom got on a plane to Japan where she was an ESL teacher, missionary, and girlfriend to not-my-dad-loser-Greg for 4 years. I don’t actually know anything about Greg. In fact, he was probably a nice and decent person but for obvious reasons, he and my mom were not meant to be.

All the while, my dad really liked my mom but he thought they were going in different directions. He wanted to go to the Middle East. Even though he was on the sidelines, he still went a little above and beyond for her. He sent her 5 bucks a month to help her out in Japan. To me, that sounds like nothing, but apparently it was a good amount considering how much they made.

Fast forward to Memorial Day weekend 1988. My mom was teaching ESL at Shasta College, her alma mater, to mostly Mien, Hmong, and Cambodian refugees. That was the turning point for my parents’ relationship and 27 years, 2 kids, and half a dozen pets later they are still together. The fact that my future dad was so caring stood out to her. Guess what, world? Sometimes nice guys do win! And yes, it was definitely a win because my mom is one of the most caring, talented, and vivacious people I know.

In many aspects of my life, I am my mother’s daughter. Time and again, I find myself walking in her footsteps. When I started college in Pasadena, I rented a room in the same dorms my mom lived in so many years before at the U.S. Center for World Mission. I got to stand in the same places and look at the same buildings that were a part of her everyday experience. A few years later I had an amazing opportunity to go to Barcelona, Spain to get certified to teach English as a Second Language. I gained a whole new appreciation for what she did in Japan and at Shasta College.  In my time here in Redding, I’ve taken classes in the same rooms my mom learned in and taught in. I’ve soaked in Mt. Shasta’s glory in the same way she did.

You may be wondering why I’ve chosen to follow in my mother’s footsteps in so many ways. Well, in some ways I find myself to be a sentimental person. There’s something about having added meaning and history to the new adventures I go on.  Something I’m just realizing now is that I jump at opportunities to follow in my mother’s footsteps in times when I feel unsure about who I am and who I want to be. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with my own doubts and insecurities and the only thing I know for certain is that when I grow up I want to be the kind of person my mom is. When I came to Redding, I was unsure if I wanted to continue on the same career path I was on. Being here I’ve learned a lot of things about news journalism and public radio, but more importantly I’ve learned that in the end it doesn’t really that much what I do as long as I love what I’m doing and the people I’m doing it with.

Readers, please enjoy today's playlist, put together by the Intern of the Mistress of the Mix. I loved it, my daughter loved it, and I think you'll love it too! Click on the play arrow at the top of the box below to enjoy it. My former intern and future award winning documentary film director calls this playlist "Daisies." But I call it Pure Joy.

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