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Joanna Cherry

This is a true story about two unusual people and their love.

“Hello, is this Iris Jackson? This is Joanna Cherry.”

“Joanna Cherry! I’ve been wanting to meet you! That article you wrote in Halo Magazine, I speak exactly the same words about ascension!”

Thus began a twenty-year friendship, which is still between us, though I am on one plane and she now on another. I first knew this was going to be something good when soon after we met, I was oohing and aahing over a luxurious chocolate dessert and she said to me, “You love decadence? I like that in a girl!”

How to paint this friend? What colors do her justice? As she is very much alive in her lighter realm, I’ll say her heart is huge. It’s hard to fathom how generous she is, like the goddess Lakshmi overflowing goodness to everyone. She’d walk up to a sophisticated woman behind a makeup counter in Nordstrom’s, and with heartfelt sincerity lean forward and cry, “You’re so beautiful!” Or to a fellow shopper at Safeway, “What a gorgeous outfit!” When I mentioned on a couple of visits how pretty was the lamp in her guest room, she said, “Take it. It’s yours.” I never dreamed she (or anyone!) would do that. She needed an assistant every week just to keep up with all her wrapping and sending of gifts.

Her love of flowers is legendary—roses, paper whites, hydrangeas, lilies, azaleas, tuberose, orchids, chrysanthemums—and jasmine. Jasmine climbed all up her fences and arbors. Growing flowers, purchased flowers, flowers picked and overflowing with heady fragrance all over the house. Flowers, the first order of shopping. When we went out she made exquisite little bouquets in small jars, tied with a luminescent ribbon, to give to the bank teller, the Safeway checker, the Blockbuster clerk, the waitress. Her greatest desire was to be of service, and she was loved everywhere we went.

She adores animals, especially cats, and often had eight or so at a time. Peeper Marie, Bears, Haney Hoffer, Venusian, so many over the years, each unique and loved for itself. “Cat Med,” she called her home. Many of them “reincarnicatted” to be again with her and her husband Jerry, who loved them as much as she did. Plus the odd exception, like Notorious the rabbit. Recently she got three rabbits and built them a ten-by-ten foot enclosure around the big holly oak in the back yard, with a little house for safety and warmth. She took pictures of this and posted them where rabbits were sold, as an example of kindness to inspire others.

Hours every day she spoke decrees and violet flame clearing for the planet. She declared with such passion and intensity and knowing that she expected her words to work immediately; she felt dismayed and disappointed that there were still flaws in earthly life. As we laughingly acknowledged, patience is not her middle name!

A passionate and dedicated way of serving was through her television and radio shows. She called them “Miracles Happen, Dreams Do Come True”, which was her motto in life, and the first words on her answering machine. Her TV shows, for local cable, were shot mostly at home, with Jerry manning the camera. Her radio programs were most recently on (I believe they are still archived there and can be heard), and earlier were on a San Francisco station. With the exception of BBS, she had to pay $250 per show, and I felt it a strange world that she would have to pay to give such beautiful service; but even with BBS, she voluntarily sent the same amount.

Her shows were full of encouragement, uplifting stories, spiritual wisdom, and joy. She interviewed many of us spiritually oriented teachers, and also did many shows on her own. Her voice glowed with life and feeling and love, and her radiant presence shone through both media. Over the years she developed a loyal following.

One story I'd forgotten, recalled to me by a friend after she read this, who used to live downstairs from me. Iris and Jerry had arrived at their usual time to visit, about three in the morning. They tried to be quiet, but lugging bags and greeting each other joyously are not the quietest of activities. Finally, my friend could stand it no longer--she burst in and asked for more quiet. Iris rushed up to her and enfolded her in her arms, saying "I'm SO sorry, my darling! Please forgive me!" and my friend was bathed in love. She never forgot it.

Iris’ memorial “party,” as she wanted it to be called, took place on her birthday, March 16th. She asked her family to wrap many presents—inspiring books, potted flowers and more—to give to all who came. Something I learned from her sons in the time of sharing: Iris used to dress up as a fairy godmother, complete with crown and wand, and go down with the boys to the Alamo Safeway and other stores. There she would grant the wishes of all who enjoyed her play. Another time, for weeks on end, all she wore was a Superwoman costume. Not a shy little thing!

During the presidential campaign of 2008, Iris was visiting and got it into her head that it would be great fun to to take down all the McCain/Palin signs. A couple of Obama signs had been lifted from my yard, which I didn't appreciate, so I was a bit shocked. Finally I told her "I won't help take them down, but I'll drive the getaway car." So that night we'd sneak up on a place, turn off the lights, and Iris would go and nab the sign. We wheeled away with shrieks of laughter! Maybe not the thing I'm proudest of, but still fun--I hope the ones who took my signs had as much fun!

Iris was quite a manifestor; in fact, Lisa de Longchamps who led Wingsong in the Bay Area for a long time, said to her that Iris lived what Lisa taught. Manifesting a beautiful home with no money was one of her specialties; rings were another. After she began to tithe, Jerry’s income went through the roof. A particular story she loved to tell is that they had built up a $31,000 dollar charge on American Express for one month. With 38 cents in their bank account they vacationed in Hawaii for a week, came home to rain rain rain so that Jerry couldn’t do his swimming pool business; and when the day came to pay the bill, all the money was there. She has no idea how this happened.

She loved being a woman, and had a truly rare essence of femininity, innocent and joyous, expressed in abundant beauty, a sparkling feminine walk, and her wondrous voice. She often showed the cleavage of her generous bosom, but was totally unconscious of the effect this had on men. She wore one exquisite perfume. She always dressed in clothes she loved, no jeans, and didn’t mind if she seemed over- or underdressed for a particular place. She seldom wore practical shoes, always gorgeous skimpy little low-heeled sandals. Her one warm pair for winter was purple felt boots with scalloped tops and tassels. Jewels, not for vanity but for the love of them; skin creams and face masks, she loved to slather and tried to teach me how. In fact if she had a middle name, it was probably Abundance--of receiving and giving. These things acknowledged, the only essential thing about her femininity is that is was one with her love.


Iris wouldn’t have been this Iris without Jerry.

Iris’s beloved pet rabbit had run off somewhere. Iris walked around to every home, to a mile away, to ask if he’d been seen, offering to pay for any damage he may have done, leaving her phone number. At one home a young man answered the door. Inside, another young man was on the phone, and saw Iris through the screen door.

The unseen man called Iris and asked if she had found her rabbit, and said “Would you like to go out?” Iris asked who he was, and a web of magic began to spin itself around them. They stayed on the phone for seven hours, until three in the morning. Iris said to him at the end, “I’ve been waiting for you all my life, I love you and I am going to marry you.”

Jerry, for that was his name, drove over the next morning to take her to high school. They fell into each other’s arms. Iris and Jerry met when she was seventeen and he was twenty-five. The unfathomable love between them, twin flames and together for many lifetimes, was the foundation upon which both their lives were built. Much of the spiritual work Iris and I did together was to clear the many difficult experiences they had known in other lives, often because of the jealousy of others. This time, their love was easier.

Jerry is as masculine as Iris is feminine. He loved sports, loved to race cars and boats. When he was in his thirties he took up motorcycle racing, and he became legend. His sons say that each time he raced, they would come home either with a broken bike or a trophy. Once his bike broke with a mile to go to the finish line, and he ran it that last mile and still won! He only raced a few years; on the shelf in their garage were dozens of trophies.

Jerry built a soaring home for her and their two boys, triangular windows everywhere, cobwebs high in unreachable corners. After years of holding back, they finally painted it lavender outside and in, with lavender carpet. Outside, Jerry designed and built for her an opalescent pool and, earth dolphin that she was, every day she swam. We loved to sing in her pool: “I’m looking over a four-leaf clover,” “I’d like to build the world a home,” “I feel good,” all at the top of our voice. “What will the neighbors think” just went down the drain! If we were in the hot tub when he got home, he would make a pitcher of margaritas and join us.

Iris and Jerry’s love inspired me and opened my heart. Each day when he came home, she cried “Zerald!” and rushed up to give him a huge hug and kiss and his face lit up, the tiredness of his day falling away. She always called him her prince. He was always on the lookout for things he knew she wanted, like a particular rosebush or flower, or a vase he thought she'd love. At night they cuddled up on a double-size lounge to watch a movie. In any activity of the moment, you could feel the palpable love between them.

Once Iris, who never bothered to look at the gas gauge, depending on Jerry and the boys to keep the car fueled up—and on this car the gauge was stuck anyway—ran out of gas on the freeway. She got out and began to walk, praying for a prince, expecting a police officer to come along and do a John Wayne (“Can I help ya, little lady?”). And there was Jerry in his white knight truck, pulling over.

They did fight here and there. Once after a huge fight, Iris declared she was leaving. She stomped out and got into the car to drive away. Jerry came out, all remorse, and pulled every dollar he had out of his wallet, saying to her tenderly, “Here, sweetheart, you’ll need this.” She melted, and it was over.

Though Iris was the most outwardly spiritual of the two, Jerry kept pace with her; he was equally as evolved a spirit. Once when she was giving a Saturday seminar at their home and Jerry came back from golfing, somebody asked him why he hadn’t come. “Listen,” he said laughingly, “I’m in a seminar all the time with Iris, and I don’t even get a bathroom break!”

One last little telling incident about them. Iris never could quite believe she deserved Jerry’s love (he felt the same about hers). One summer a few years back when she and Jerry were visiting me in Mt. Shasta, we went kayaking on Lake Siskiyou. Iris loves the water, and it was a peaceful, sunny day. She paddled with Jerry for a while, but then lay back, utterly relaxed, and let him do the paddling. In itself that was a wonder because she was usually doing all she could, every moment. A man in another boat shouted over, “Hey, man! She’s making you do all the work! She must be beautiful. She must be worth it!” Jerry answered simply, “She is.”

Iris wasn’t Saint Iris, she had flaws and weaknesses as all of us, but these are not of interest here and will not be remembered. With her I learned what a true friend was, and how to be one myself. We had two or three large fights, but they always deepened and strengthened our friendship. The last one, fierce in her grief and rage at Jerry’s passing, almost did us in; but we got past that too. Next to my spirit, she was the touchstone of joy in my life—our almost-daily phone calls, her raucous laughter, the paradise of a home where I was welcomed, her colors, her love.

Iris and Jerry were together forty-two years. He passed first, and she, from an unquenchable desire that they be together again, left not three years after. I was blessed with the joy of being with them for some of these years, the greatest friendship blessing of my life. I wish such friendship for every one of us.

Two days before she left, doped up on pain medication, Iris saw Jerry sitting beside her bed. She left her body straight into Jerry’s arms. They are ecstatic to be together again. They are now a magnificent team, working together for the world.

Blessings to you upon your path!

©2010, Joanna Cherry. You are welcome to copy and distribute this article, as long as you acknowledge its source and give the website. Thank you.

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©2002, Joanna Cherry. Please do copy and distribute this vision of Joanna’s, acknowledging its source. Thank you.