Monday, March 12, 2007

Wendi Kaiser on my Wife Carol Trott's 30 x 2 Birthday

I am singularly blessed to be married to Carol Elaine Durkin Trott. Everything is political, as someone once said, and my marriage is incredibly so for me. That is, being married to someone such as Carol has helped shape my ideas on mutuality in marriage, feminism, and love itself (which I believe radically informs -- or should inform -- any Jesus-centered political ideas). It isn't that Carol herself "preaches" Jesus feminism, egalitarianism, or politics. Her preaching is done via her actions and ultimately her very person. She embodies humanity and empowered love to me. That syrup aside (tasty!), we had a big surprise party for Carol's, uh, thirty times two birthday a few days ago. All sorts of friends and family pitched in to make it something she later said made it her best birthday ever. Below is our friend-down-the-hall Wendi Kaiser's offering for the party, which she read aloud. I've inserted a few pictures of Carol just for fun.

It Takes a Life, to Get a Life
by Wendi Kaiser for Carol Trott's Birthday

Carol has been my friend since September, 1971 when I moved into the Jesus People Prospect House in Milwaukee. We were madcap Jesus Girls together in our long skirts shouldering Bible bags, passing out Street Level newspapers on the main streets of Milwaukee or hanging out at the Jesus Christ Powerhouse for classes and coffeehouse nights. Carol practically glowed she was so spiritually bright in those days. We had to hold her strings or she would have floated away! Carol was a real inspiration to this struggling camper.

Carol street-witnessing to a skeptical Finn in the early '70s.

Carol went with the European traveling team in 1972 and became a part of the Lonesome Stone Musical outreach and was a member of the founding group for the Greenbelt Festival. She married. I married. We lost sight of each other and then through Cornerstone Festival our paths intersected again.

After years of trying valiantly to keep her troubled marriage together in Detroit, she moved into JPUSA as a single mom with her twin sons. What a blessing! Carol was everywhere with her laugh and energy. This did not go unnoticed by another lonely soul who was feeling the sorrow of his own recent divorce. Over the months, Jon and Carol became a couple and our friendship was moved to the next level as Glenn and I became their engagement mentors.

Two too many mullets; Carol and Jon on Chicago lake front in 1989,
Carol and Jon's wedding invitation photo (c) Terry Wheeler

We had many adventures together supporting Jon and Carol as they blended their families, going on vacations together, planning a wedding, etc. Carol always had the energy of at least 2 people! Just days before the wedding we faced her wedding dress disaster. Have you ever watched Sleeping Beauty where the Fairy Godmothers’ try to make a birthday dress for Beauty without using magic? I remade her wedding dress suit! I did have to talk her out of wearing 2 girdles at her wedding, though! Hmm? I threatened to tell all at the reception. I guess I have tonight!

Carol pitched right into family life and was a wonderful addition to the extended Trott family out West and East. I prayed with her through many a late night Cornerstone magazine deadline we called “the burn”. The years seemed like a whirl and before we knew it our children were graduating.

Carol protesting evictions and price-outs of our neighborhood's poor by gentrifiers.
Her then-future husband (me) made the sign.

Ah, the golden years of retirement, no?! God calls Carol to work fulltime at CCO’s Leland House Project with troubled families. She’s right there in the thick of drug addicts, needy children and struggling families. Annually, she has become the Christmas Elf Herself for the Leland House families. She tirelessly scolds, prayers with and encourages her clients.

Then we walked through the shadow of the Valley of Death as Carol faced not one but two life threatening cancers in 1 year! She showed us how to survive surgery, chemo and cancer with style and humor! Her Christmas photos with Jon sharing their baldness and wigs will go down in Swedish Covenant Hospital history. Ask her about it! I do hope she has saved the photos as they are truly a family heirloom! [Yes, we did... here are the three photos in question! - JT]

Carol wearing wig after chemo for cancer, 2000.

Carol and Jon show off their bald heads.

Jon tries it on for size.

Carol was an inspiration to her son, Chris during his long treatment for Hepatitis C. She beamed during Trevor and Hannah’s engagement and wedding. She has made every family occasion and holiday special for her daughters, Tamzen and Tabitha and her sons, Chris and Trevor. She always remembers everyone’s birthdays and she is the 2nd floor card dealer! She also keeps a handy complement of kitchen and cooking supplies. If you need it, Carol has it! Of course, she is the undisputed Apple Pie Queen.

Now, she is turning 60 and still has more energy than most 30 year olds! Whether it is sewing a quilt for Christmas, making Christmas happen for 14 + needy families, baking apple pies for the masses, doing weekly water aerobics at Arai or taming a garden at C-stone Farm. She’s ready and willing! Whew!

She has been my friend throughout the years and I am a much better person for having her in my life. Here’s looking at you, Carol!


Whisky Prajer said...

A happy occasion and a worthy life - congrats all around.

Colin A. Lamm said...

This is a truly wonderful tribute to your wife. You are blessed!! Grace and peace, to you all!

Rick Williams said...

Congrats, Carol & Jon! I just celebrated my 18 X 2, and I've lost a lot of hair too... hehe... :-)


Jon Trott said...

Thank you all, you are very kind. I am indeed an unworthy soul blessed with abundant love.

Lainie Petersen said...

Best wishes for a wonderful year! Both of you!

-B said...

I love strong women like Carol. I grew up in a foster home. My foster mother converted an old hotel with thirteen bedrooms and three bathrooms into a home for boys. Over a fifteen to twenty year period she housed over 120 boys and a few girls with me and my brothers and sister being the youngest they had. Not bad for someone in her fifties and early to mid sixties.

God Bless you Carol. People like you and my foster mother are an inspiration to us all.