Jeff Jewett joined us in our 4th Class Year at Nobles as John Jewett. His childhood nickname was Jeff (per family practice), but he confessed to liking being called John and just left it that way. Fast forward to Dartmouth, where his roommate, who had known him as a child, began calling him Jeff, and it went from there.
To get a full sense of Jeff’s intelligence and sense of humor, please read the poem he wrote, originally commissioned by Sidney Eaton as an assignment for Advanced Placement English our senior year. It appears at the bottom of this tribute. Our task was to write a Shakespearean sonnet, but Jeff slyly renamed his an ode. Ode to a Tube of Stripe. You may have seen it before; it was reproduced in our Classbook. That, coupled with his senior speech which passionately advocated the return of the Stanley Steam Engine should give an idea of how smart and funny he was. He is also rumored to have been in on the successfull conspiracy to cut the power on one of C. Paul Longland’s Fine Arts classes (fuse removed). It’s no surprise that throughout his life his whimsical, gentle presence earned him many friends.
Which is not to say that he did not know how to hang on to an opinion. He could do that quite fiercely and one classmate distinctly remembers being pinned to the ground looking up at the March sky outside the gym after making a comment that Jeff chose not agree with. This feat he accomplished by applying the wrestling skills that earned him a letter in his final year.
In early 1968, during his final year at Dartmouth, Jeff and a college classmate worked in an outreach program in Compton (Los Angeles) at the time of extreme racial strife. That experience led him to apply and be accepted at the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago where he tested the waters of the clerical life. While this did not turn out to be his life’s calling, he maintained a lifelong interest in spiritual matters, and was in later years an enthusiastic student of the Book of Miracles.
Before moving to southern Vermont, where he lived for most of his adult life, Jeff spent time living the lifestyle of the 60s. While in Cambridge, he worked for Widener Library in the Archives Department (early 70s), served as a driver’s education instructor for Garber’s, and taught French at a small private school in Maine. Together with his (first) wife Susan Good, he laid down roots in the wilds of southern Vermont, eventually relocating to village life in Saxtons River. Son Ivan, followed by daughter Phoebe, and finally son Alexander were born and grew up there while Jeff worked at the Bellows Falls Post Office, did carpentry work, and served on the village water supply commission. He also found time to nurture a pair of mid-60s Volvos back to health.
Following the dissolution of his marriage in the early 90s, Jeff moved to Putney. It was there that he met and later married Norene Ennis (see picture above). That picture speaks for itself. The couple moved to California in 2010, where, in 2013 Jeff had the cycling accident that led to his premature death. Many classmates remember meeting and spending time with the couple during the 1999 35th N64 reunion. And sharing the happiness and joie de vivre that Jeff brought with him.
Ode to a Tube of Stripe
O writhing serpent red and white
Who from thy dark lair ooze each night,
Imbued with hexacloraphene
To give my teeth a glossy sheen,
How dost thou murder with such ease
The germs that cause my cavities
To end the great experiment
With only twenty-one percent?
And now the reek with one great clout
From summer honey’s breaths dost rout?
(For oft with toothpaste painted are
The lips that are Love’s avatar).
As long as men have eyes to see,
Or teeth to brush, so long live thee.
- The N64 Web Team