BEYOND THE VILLAGE - JIM HENDRICKBy Susan Kujawa
JIM HENDRICK – BEYOND THE VILLAGE
For new Village member Jim Hendrick, it has been a long and winding road to the Pasadena Village.
Jim was born and spent his early years in Bowling Green, Kentucky surrounded by lots of family. “We were poor. But everybody was poor so we didn’t feel poor.” Jim recalls that living in a rural area in a small community meant having the freedom to explore, spending days with friends and family.
He graduated from High School in 1968 at the height of the era of flower power and anti-war protests. Jim embraced the “hippie” experience. After one year of college, and armed with a high draft number, he took off to travel the countryside. He joined protests against the Vietnam war, and he was caught up in a campus riot at South Carolina University. He was deeply affected by the violence against students at Kent State and at Jackson State College, where students were also killed.
After a few years of traveling and involvement with the civil rights and anti-war movements, Jim went back to college. This time he attended the New College of Florida, which even today takes pride in being a place that educates “free thinkers, risk takers, and trail blazers.” After graduating with a degree in psychology, Jim realized “I had no idea what to do. My life had been centered around the peace and civil rights movements, and music, especially jazz.”
More twists and turns followed in Jim’s life, eventually leading him to Houston, Texas. There he got married and spent 10 years creating and managing his own monthly entertainment magazine focused on the arts and, especially, on jazz.
Jim also managed a jazz nightclub, where he made good friends, and reveled in his love of music and arts. “I didn’t get more conservative as I grew older. I was drawn to the energy of younger people, and those with more liberal views.”
However, a divorce, a second marriage, and the birth of two children, gave him pause: “I needed to earn a real income." And so, Jim became a special education teacher in the Houston school district, where he worked for the next 20 years.
During those years, as he dealt with a second divorce and his children moving with their mother to Illinois, Jim turned to art. He felt drawn to painting and he began using part of his house as a studio. “I am completely self-taught. I started to paint because I wanted to explore. I wanted to play. And then I discovered that I was able to get my feelings out through my paintings.”
With no formal training, Jim had to struggle to achieve what he wanted in his work. He learned that his mistakes were more fascinating than his successes. He also found that art is about managing mistakes, a realization that gave him a sense of peace. “I make art for myself. This is what I am. I have reinvented myself as an artist.”
So how did Jim get from Texas to the Pasadena Village?
At times Jim would fall into a temporary depression. But along came Covid, and Jim's bouts of depression deepened. “Then I did two things. I quit drinking. And I changed my diet.” He lost weight, got in better shape, and his depression eased. He began thinking more about his children, now adults. During his teaching career Jim had seen his children only occasionally because they lived in Illinois. After he retired, Jim moved to Illinois to be closer to them in their high school years.
His daughter went off to college and became a bio-engineer. Then she moved to Pasadena! As Covid lessened, Jim decided to move to Pasadena to be closer to his daughter. He downsized his possessions, putting nearly 100 paintings in storage, and moved west.
His daughter, knowing that her Dad needed friends his own age, turned to the internet . . . and found Pasadena Village. She told her Dad about it; he took a look at the website and was immediately drawn to the diversity displayed on the screen. He thought, “Maybe I could be included in this group.”
Jim’s life story will sound familiar to many older adults. Many Pasadena Village members have moved to the area to be near their children, leaving behind familiar surroundings and long-time friends. Many members have also have fallen into and out of relationships, careers, and causes. At Pasadena Village, there is room for all!
Jim’s art is on display at the Pasadena Village office, 236 W. Mountain Street, Suite 104, weekdays from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Stop by and get inspired!