Jun 16, 2009


Jaimie "James" Nickell. She enters with style. ;)

We here at Saipan SDA School owe a great debt to Judith Edwards--beyond the generous gift of herself--she gave us the woman we've come to know simply as "James."

Jaimie Nickell heard Judith share her heart last summer when Jude was fresh back from her year in Saipan. Something clicked, and Jaimie decided to follow Judith's path--one that led to this tiny little dot in the Pacific. It was a tiny little dot that grew and grew and grew some more until it became James' whole world. She left a little more than a week ago a changed woman. Saipan won't be the same either.

James and I shared a lot of good times. Many mornings we ran together. We were co-secondary sponsors of the 8th grade class and we both went to Guam with the eighth graders on their class trip. We had a lot of laughs on that trip--she rode shotgun in my rental car a lot of the time, and together we suffered the dirth of decent music on the radio. She joined up with REAL halfway through the season and served as our set, light, sound, and props tech. I got the sense she was often out of her comfort zone in this world, but she toiled on gamely, and in the end did her job well. She traveled with REAL to Australia, and while I didn't see her as much on this trip, we still found opportunities to trade a wisecrack or two. She made me smile. She's good at that. It seemed like we were always joking around--never serious, but in the end, she turned out to be seriously good friend.

James is known for her quick wit, ironic commentary, and scathing sarcasm. But as I've come to know James, I've found that this tough "whatever" exterior is a vital cover for a tender, loving heart--a big heart that loves easily and with true feeling. Such a heart bruises easy, and James did her best to keep it safe. Still, one can only do so much when surrounded by precious pre-schoolers, precocious tutoring kids, great pals among the older students, cool colleagues, and a roommate that knows your soul.

Her People:

Roommates for a year; Friends for life: Rhonda and Jaimie

"James" with one of her beloved kids at the preschool.

James with her boys, "K" and "M".

You see, with James it was all about the people. The people she taught, tutored, worked with, lived with--the people she loved and who loved her. Love is what defined Jaimie Nickell's year in Saipan--love is what she'll take with her and what she has left behind. I can think of no better legacy than that.

"James" and Rhonda with two REAL team members, "Miss Em" and "Little Sister" at the going-away party, Saturday night, June 6, 2009.

James rules the pudding drop game at her going away party at the church, Saturday night, June 6, 2009. In this game, where the object is to have your partners drop chocolate pudding into your mouth, James ruled, emerging spotless.

She's good people, that James. Good people.

Jaimie's Long Walk will appear at the end of Rhonda's blog which is up next. It was only fitting that these two who walked (and ran) together all year long would take the Longest walk of all together too.

You can read Jaimie's own account of the places and people she came to love here in Saipan at her blog, Hey Jude.

The first three photos on this blog were taken from Jaimie's blog. James was always real particular about proper acknowledgement of photo credits! :D


Jai said...


Thank you. I don't know much else to say above that.

Jai said...

Hey, can you email me the pictures of Mich and Kei and I at the airport? Thank you! Hope you're doing alright. Let me know when you have a cell phone so I can call you or text you or keep in touch in some way.