Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Let Us Now Praise Gerun Moore

Gerun Moore with Chloe and a nurse on his 100th birthday.
Chloe and I are a therapy dog team. When anyone asks as to who gets the therapy in “therapy dog,” I usually explain that we visit patients in hospitals, children in special education schools, residents in nursing homes, and so forth, implying that those we visit are the ones getting the therapy. Perhaps I also describe how Chloe cheers up the nurses, receptionists, janitors, parking lot attendants, and so forth. But I suspect that if I were honest, I should say that the first recipient of the therapy Chloe dispenses is me. My life has been vastly changed by Chloe, in more ways than I can count.

A case in point is Gerun Moore, a resident in a nursing home we visited for several years in Youngtown, Arizona. The second oldest resident of the home (the oldest still lives at 107), Gerun was soon one of Chloe’s biggest fans on our visits there. He became our first stop, sitting outside the nursing station, always happy to see her but happy to see me as well. He asked me about myself, about what I did, how long I’d had Chloe, and would tell me about dogs he had owned. On March 12 we attended his 100th birthday (it was actually March 13, but that being a Saturday they moved it up a day so more people could attend).

Gerun lived life to the full, and there were children and grandchildren, and more distant generations at his birthday party. He had grown up in New Orleans, where his father was a musician and played with the likes of Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. Gerun followed in his father’s footsteps and was once a member of the Louis Prima Orchestra, living in many places in the United States during the seven decades of his career. He told me about playing at a party the night World War II ended. Gerun was part of history and I wish I'd heard more.

Gerun was not the sort of musician who let the jazz clubs turn him into a smoker or a drinker. He wrote a book, Numbers Will Tell, and found a second career in lecturing around the country on the strange findings of numerology. I once expressed doubt that I would live as long as he had. “You’ll get there,” he said, “just stop worrying.” There was wisdom in his gaze, but no guile. He looked into Chloe’s eyes with the same innocence and simplicity that she looked into his. He calmed her. He calmed me. Somehow we were always a little different after we talked to him, which is why we always began our visits by going to him.

Gerun died on April 11, 29 days past his 100th birthday. I wonder what he would have made of that number - one hundred years, 29 days. Perhaps I’d have to calculate the number of days from March 13, 1910 to April 11, 2010. If men become angels, Gerun is surely among them, tapping time and spinning riddles on the plains of heaven. “Such a good girl. Such a good girl,” with the rasp of an old crooner. Some believe that dogs have a sixth sense. Perhaps Chloe hears him still.

5 comments:

  1. Gerun used to play in Chicago. I met him sometime in the '50s when he was in one of hte big bands. Wallie B.

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  2. Gerun Moore wrote a wonderful book on numerology called "Numbers Will Tell". This is the only book I actually wore out and had to buy another one. I've had it for many years - it is extremely accurate. Gerun changed his first name because it was much better numerology-wise. Most people who study numerology do so with the Pythagorean alphabet, but he said the Chaldean alphabet was much more accurate, and I have to agree. I just decided to "google" him to see what he was doing, etc., and was shock to see that he lived to be over 100! Most people would not like to live to be 100, but I think he had all his marbles and seemed to be charismatic even at that age. Maybe it's the numerology - I wonder.

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  3. Gerun was my grandfather. I told my daughter about his book and how he was a jazz musician. She wanted to google his name. So I just found this article! My husband, my three kids and I were fortunate enough to be with Grandpa Gerun for his 100th birthday. He was always so upbeat and energetic. I'm glad that my children were able to get to know him. I grew up hearing great and interesting stories of his life. I have tried to pass those stories on to my kids. Just last week I went to New Orleans for the first time with my oldest son and I thought of all the stories Grandpa Gerun would tell me of New Orleans. Every day we miss both him and my Grandma Sherie (Mary Moore- passed NOV 2013). I am glad that other people had the opportunity to get to know my grandparents and see that they were amazing people. Faith Butler

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    1. I was very honored to know your grandfather when Chloe and I visited the nursing home where he was living. He was always our first stop and often our last, sitting in his wheelchair outside the nursing station. Sharp as a tack even at 100, he always recognized me and always knew Chloe's name and asked her directly how she was doing. I am glad you have good memories of him and Mary. I believe I met Mary once and am sorry to hear of her passing. John

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    2. John- yes, always as sharp as a tack! I'm glad he met you and Chloe. I appreciate your article, your work and your kind words. Thank you!
      Faith Butler

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