Marin Arts & Culture MAC_JUNE_upload - Page 23

How We Met A Happy Story Jacqueline Janssen & Mike Morrissey JJ: I didn’t have a sad story, but a happy one that got happier. Business was good, friends were fun and my son was doing well. I had good health and a purpose, and I’d traveled and been on my own for decades. Okay, I’ll admit that sometimes I could get the blues along with friends over a glass of wine. There was also just a nagging thought when I was with my happily married friends.  I thought it would be nice to have a date at some of these nonprofit galas where I was usually the only single woman, but I still felt that I was fine. I think they call all that, “kicking and screaming.”  I got a dating coach and learned about OurTime, where men look for women their own age!  Okay. I could do that. I meant to put it up on New Year’s Day but procrastinated and it went up on January 2, 2014. Mike: It’s a longer story than what I will write here, but I put my profile on OurTime on New Year’s Day, 2014. The next day I connected with a woman whose profile said she was “One Worthy Woman,” looking for a man of character—and I just decided to go for it.  I was working on a project on homeless people with mental illness for the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI), so I guessed that would qualify. JJ: Mike had a website with his photos and I learned that he had co-founded Refugees International. He also had traveled a lot according to his photos.  Mike: I was just coming back from Thailand and I gave her eight times to meet. Finally she said, “I can’t do it any of those times, but I have one night I’m going to a meeting on homelessness and I could cancel.” I told her, “I’ll meet you there.” JJ: Over coffee after the meeting I knew I wanted to see more of this man. He made me laugh and I wanted to start a friendship.  I loved his dimples, his many stories, his fearless life and his deep respect for his past.    Mike: We were very comfortable together—there was a familiarity. Our lives had crossed many times: we graduated from high school the same year, across the country from each other, and also, though at different times, from UC Berkeley. We had lived in many of the same places, and had even raised our kids (the same age) in Santa Cruz at the same time.  JJ: He was a traveler, and was retired (or as he likes to say, “doing what I want to do, not what I have to do”), but busy with projects.  I would learn later that we worked together well as a team, and that our mutual commitment to our clients would make our business a success. Fast forward to 2017: JJ: We are writing this from Paris, and we’ve been to almost all the continents. Mike is very romantic, and since I am from Hollywood, I love fairy tales. While on a bareboat sailing trip around the Greek islands, he proposed to me on the moonlit cay in Fiscardo, on the island of Kefalonia, on the fall equinox.  We married in Ireland in 2015, in a place called Three Castle Head, by a true druid priestess. Mike: Yesterday we walked the streets of Paris, which were closed for the Paris Marathon. I videoed Jacqueline meeting women in pink who were rooting for the runners and raising money for cancer research through Courir Pour Elles (Run for HER). JJ: We now produce a weekly TV series on nonprofit founders, and Mike has turned his work on homelessness into a series on how people became homeless, how they got out of it and who helped them. We both had a purpose and we turned that into our mutual life’s work.  Mike: We have found balance in the recognition of important work by others and raising awareness of the disenfranchised while enjoying our life together. MAC MARIN ARTS & CULTURE 23