(DOUG JESSOP’S JESSOP’S JOURNALABC4 NEWS, SALT LAKE CITY, UT) Lights, Camera, Action! Entertainment is a big part of our cultural experience. The people in this week’s episode of Jessop’s Journal remind us that we need to remember to take time to laugh and enjoy life.

Jessop’s Journal is a 30-minute collection of Powerful, Positive and Inspirational Stories that airs Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. on ABC4 TV and streams worldwide at JessopsJournal.com

In this episode I sit down with Dolly Parton and Lucille Ball…well, someone that does a POWERFUL job playing them on stage.

I also visit with a POSITIVE lady, 103-year-old Romaine Wahlin Zito.

In between, you’re going to get entertained with some INSPIRATIONAL music from Mac & The Messenger.

But First, Mr. Jason CoZMo…

Jason CozMo is a female impersonator. How good is he? Let’s just say that a picture of him and Dolly Parton (yes – the real one) on the “red carpet” for a movie premiere went viral.

Jason told me; “I got cast is a film called Dumplin on Netflix.  I was handpicked by the screenwriter. There’s a scene wear there all these Dolly drag queens. She says we need one that is a true Dolly impersonator . It was absolutely fabulous.”

Jason told me the backstory to the now famous picture; “Oh my gosh. I didn’t get a picture. And my mom was like, don’t worry. There’re all those photographers. I’m they’re not going to post any pictures of me. I’m a nobody. All these stars are out here. I just thought, that’s that. I’m not going to get any picture. And the next morning we left to come back to Salt Lake, and it was viral. Like all over the world. It’s pretty cool. So, I had to forgive my mom because the picture did get out there.”

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Everyone has a story. Sometimes these stories are told through music. It’s time for the Jessop’s Jukebox portion of the show (yes – it makes more sense to be watching and listening to the video by now…)

I went to a NAACP Martin Luther King luncheon and met two incredible musicians. Funny thing is, they didn’t know each other. I put singer “Mac” together with percussionist “The Messenger” and asked them to perform together.

The power of music is incredible. I especially like how Gospel music stirs the soul. There’s a song that started as a post-civil war song that turned into an anthem for the civil rights movement. Mac & The Messenger did a beautiful job with “Oh Freedom.”

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I never met either of my grandmothers. My next guest was a pretty good stand in that reminded me to “have fun and remember to laugh.:

On a personal note, when I was twelve years old, I got a cassette recorder for Christmas. I would interview anyone and everyone that would let me. My Gramps was very patient and would let me interview him. Interviewing Romaine was kind of like interviewing my grandmother.  She had a sparkle in her eye and a laugh in her soul.

I was taught that you don’t ask a woman her age, so instead I asked her when she was born.  She exclaimed; “July 17, 1917. seven, seventeen, seventeen.” She went on to explain; “there are seventeen letters in my name. so seven isn’t a lucky number for me. DOUG seventeen is. Time to go to Wendover and put it on the roulette wheel. ROMAINE – that’s right.”

Romaine had fond memories of her parents. She told about getting in trouble and have the age old “wait until your father hears about this moment.” You’ll need to watch the interview to get the complete story, but her father, Walter Wahlin, seemed to have a special spot in his heart for his daughter.

Do you remember the first car that you drove? Chances are it wasn’t a 1917 Ford Coupe But that’s the sweet ride that Romaine had…and she started driving at the age of twelve. After going in the ditch her father had her practice shifting in the garage. At the age of 103 she demonstrated that she still has the shift pattern down!

Sports activities have been a big part of Romaine’s life. Everything from neighborhood baseball when she was a girl to winning a bowling tournament when she was a young woman. She showed me a newspaper clipping of getting some kind of cooking appliance as a prize. Romaine told me that she and her husband felt like millionaires when she won.

I got the distinct impression that golf is the sport she liked the best. There was a picture of her, President Gerald Ford, Johnny Miller and Bob Hope at a golf tournament.

You’ll have to watch the glint in Romaine’s eyes when I ask her about getting a hole-in-one. She put up two fingers and proudly said “two. Two hole-in-ones.”

I asked Romaine what advice she had for me? She replied sweetly; “Enjoy life and like I do laugh a lot, which you do. And enjoy the friends the friends that you have. “

 IN LOVING MEMORY OF

ROMAINE WAHLIN ZITO

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I was raised with the phrase “remember where you came from.” To me, if stories aren’t passed down to the next generation, it’s as though those people that came before us didn’t exist. It’s my honor to provide this tribute to my “Gramps.”

George Youngquist was the son of emigrant parents, Frederick, and Ida. When he was a little boy, he lived in a suburb of Chicago called Oak Park.  

His mother died when he was eight years old of a burst appendix. When George was twelve, his father’s visa expired, and he had to go back to Sweden. 

George was put on a train by himself to travel from Chicago to Pasadena, California.  He was raised by his mother’s sister, an older single lady with no children – “Auntie Augusta”.

He met and married a beautiful nursing student, Florence and they had two lovely daughters. The oldest of which is my mother.  Sadly, Florence died of breast cancer at the age of forty-three. My mother was fourteen years old. I was born six years later.

Gramps was the kindest, most gentle man I ever knew. We used to rub noses – he called them “eskimo kisses”. He’d also rub his five o’clock shadow beard on my cheek. I knew I was loved.

He would come over to our house when I was a kid. I would give him a tour of our rose garden. I still grow roses to this day and think of him.

Gramps was a sharp dresser. I inherited some of his cufflinks when he died. I incorporated them into a special hat I call “The George.”

So Gramps – when you say “please remember me” … I’ve got you covered.

Everyone has a story. Objects with stories are Treasures Remembered.

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Everyone has a story. I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”

You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.

Please consider following me at www.DougJessop.com, LinkedIn, YouTube and at “@dougjessopnews” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life. A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. Your feedback is always welcome at DJessop@abc4.com

It’s my honor to be able to share, Jessop’s Journal, a 30-minute collection of Powerful, Positive and Inspirational Stories every Sunday morning at 10 a.m. on ABC4 to all of Utah along with parts of Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Arizona. Jessop’s Journal is also available worldwide at JessopsJournal.com.

With another entry into Jessop’s Journal, I’m Doug Jessop.

Doug Jessop
For Doug Jessop, it all started with a cassette recorder he got for Christmas when he was 12 years old growing up in Southern California. Doug interviewed relatives, friends and anyone else that might have a good story. You can follow Doug at www.DougJessop.com, on YouTube.com/DougJessop, and @DougJessopNews on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Jessop’s Journal is a copyrighted production of Fedora Incorporated and made possible by the generous support of XLEAR, Tatt2Away, Millcreek Gardens and LIFE Never Boring.