The Power of Words: Jeanie Moore publishes memoirs during quarantine
By Susan Shinn Turner
During the great pandemic of 2020, Jeanie Moore realized she needed to do something both for her mental health and her spiritual health.
So she wrote a book.
“When I was recovering from knee surgery in mid-February, I realized I wasn’t going to get out,” Jeanie says, “and I decided to keep burning my Christmas lights. The lights change colors, so I’d do a Facebook post on different days to commemorate local groups.”
Blue for law enforcement, red for firefighters, pink for nurses, and so on.
“It evolved into my stories and memories, and people liked it,” says Jeanie, 68. “It resonated with people. It just opened the doors for connections in ways that made me feel good.”
She decided to publish a book for her children and grandchildren. I had the honor of serving as her editor — nudging her along when necessary — so that she could have the project, which she entitled “Quarantine Diaries — My memories and musings,” completed by Christmas 2020, her original goal.
“I’m glad I did it,” she says. “I have a foundation of stories for my family.”
But the posts haven’t stopped.
“I’m already writing again,” Jeanie says. “I can’t help it!”
When random thoughts popped into her head, she wrote them down.
“It was being driven by a force greater than me,” she says. “It just flowed. Because of the way the stories evolved, I felt like I was directed by a higher power. I felt like I was connected to God and being led by him in the path he wanted to take me.”
Not every post went smoothly, however.
“There were about four times when I went to post something and it completely disappeared and I had to start over,” Jeanie says. “But actually, it ended up better.”
She adds, “The emotional connection was really important to my mental health and my spiritual health. It showed me how you could be connected without physically being together.”
That’s helped her in her new position as interim vice president for student services at Mitchell Community College, a six-month term she started Jan. 1.
Cheering her on from the start has been her husband, Jack, also 68. Retired from Southern Bell, Jack is the owner of Blowin’ Smoke. He sells barbecue sauce, dry rubs and other products. Jeanie retired as vice president for advancement and continuing education after 36 years with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
“I’m physically present on campus, but most of my interaction are by phone or Zoom,” she says. “But it works. I couldn’t have seen it working without my writing project.”
Jack and Jeanie’s sons, Sandy and Daniel, have also been supportive of their mom’s project. Sandy and his wife, Kyndall, live in Charlotte and are the parents of Blair, who turns 4 this month. Daniel and his wife, Sara, live in Raleigh, and have three children, Reeves, 9, Tyler, 7, and Grey, 4.
Daniel’s older daughter is already a solid reader.
“What I’ve seen is really good,” Reeves says. “I found all the pictures of me. I liked them all. They’re all my favorites. It was really cool to find out what Jack and Gigi had been when they were younger. I didn’t know any of it.”
Sandy read the book cover-to-cover when he and his family were at the beach with Jack and Jeanie at Thanksgiving. Daniel has flipped through it whenever he’s had time in between working at home and caring for three children, two of whom are doing remote learning.
Sandy hopes that Blair will someday appreciate her grandmother’s efforts.
“If I had something to that detail from my grandparents, it would be something I would treasure,” he says.
So far, Jeanie has sold about 40 copies, and given another 20 as gifts to family and close friends. She’s learned that the book has been a nice diversion from the pandemic, and has brought up memories of better days.
While they were at the beach, Sandy and Jeanie were talking about a title for a possible sequel. Jeanie said, “What about More Moore Stories?”
“I like that,” he said. “That’s good.”
Jeanie says she can’t wait to get back to church.
“I want to listen more intently to the sermons because I now understand better the power of words,” she says.
Along with being available on Jack’s website, “Quarantine Diaries” can be purchased at the Meals on Wheels office, 1307 Salisbury Ave., Spencer; Fuller’s Market, 112 S. Main St., Salisbury; and directly from Jeanie. Jack’s website is www.blowinsmokebbqsauce.com. Find Jeanie’s book under the “all products” tab. Price is $16, with an additional $4 if you need it shipped.