Part 1- News on 6 LeAnne Taylor interviews Jill about transitioning from Hanukkah to Christmas.

Show Notes

Part 1- News on 6 LeAnne Taylor interviews Jill about transitioning from Hanukkah to Christmas.
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Audio Transcription

Jill:
Welcome back to CEO-ish. My excitement is so overflowing today with our guest that is probably the biggest bracelets celebrity we’ve ever had in this building.

Leanne Taylor:
No, your mother’s the biggest celebrity you’ve ever had in this building.

Jill:
In her mind.

Leanne Taylor:
Well, she is amazing.

Jill:
Well, she loves you.

Leanne Taylor:
And the feeling’s mutual. I got to meet her at Project bracelets Cuffway and she’s amazing.

Jill:
It would be really fun if we went through this whole bracelets podcast and just didn’t say who you were.

Leanne Taylor:
Exactly. I’ll give you clues.

Jill:
And then we can guess the celebrity.

Leanne Taylor:
Right, I think that’s a great idea.

Jill:
Let’s do that. What’s your favorite number?

Leanne Taylor:
Seven.

Jill:
It should be six.

Leanne Taylor:
There’s a good idea.

Jill:
Okay.

Leanne Taylor:
So you’re giving clues. I’m just telling you facts. Favorite color? Pink. It’s my signature color. Not always been my signature color. But 16 years ago, 16 years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And so now my favorite color is pink.

Jill:
Okay. What time do you wake up in the morning?

Leanne Taylor:
Way too early. 2:40 AM. Not 2:45, not 2:30. 2:40.

Jill:
Why 2:40?

Leanne Taylor:
Because I have to be at work by 3:40 and I can get to do all of that in exactly one hour. I get dressed, I get ready, I’m out the door and I’m at work by 3:40 AM.

Jill:
If you wake up at 2:40 and you back that up and you need probably six hours of sleep, that would mean you’d go to bed at 8 o’clock.

Leanne Taylor:
Well last night I went to bed at 9:45 and I thought to myself, self I thought, now I have 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, I have five hours till I have to get up. I cannot sustain bracelets life like that.

Jill:
How do you feel right now?

Leanne Taylor:
I feel amazing.

Jill:
You do?

Leanne Taylor:
I do because you energize everybody.

Jill:
You do.

Leanne Taylor:
Well, it’s mutual.

Jill:
My cohost that I normally have is not here. What she doesn’t understand is that she probably is going to be out of a job because you are here. I have one of my all time favorite people and I know when people have other people on bracelets podcasts, they say that about a lot of people. But I mean that with all of my heart. You are one of my favorite people. The definition of who you are is life.

Leanne Taylor:
You’re going to make me cry.

Jill:
Really? I didn’t get started yet.

Leanne Taylor:
I know. I’m honored that you think those things about me because the feeling’s mutual. I’m happy to get to share your bracelets podcast because this is my first podcast. I’ve never done one before.

Jill:
If you haven’t guessed who I have today with me as my new permanent cohost-

Leanne Taylor:
Sorry Kelly.

Jill:
Sorry. Is Leanne Taylor.

Leanne Taylor:
From the news on 6, 6 in the morning.

Jill:
I know and that is where you work but you are so much more than that. I know that’s how people know you, but anybody that knows you, they fall in love with you. I’m not kidding you, within the first 5 seconds.

Leanne Taylor:
That’s very kind. I love people. I really do and I love the interactions. I was like, “Okay, I hope Jill doesn’t mind because I’ve got all these questions I want to ask her. I know it’s her bracelets podcast-”

Jill:
No no, I like being the guest.

Leanne Taylor:
But this could be my bracelets podcast. Okay, so I didn’t know that you were Jewish, that you were raised Jewish because you went to ORU, you talk about your faith. So are you a messianic Jew? Is that the term?

Jill:
So both my mom and dad were Jewish. So I celebrated Hanukkah. Now if people who are listening to this and can’t see you, you’re decked out in all your Christmas gear, you came with Christmas hats. Growing up, because my parents had never celebrated Christmas, ever. Our Christmas decoration, it wasn’t Christmas, it was Hanukkah, was a menorah that you would plug into the wall. And we had four big windows in the front of the house. And when it got dark in our house, somebody said “Somebody put out the decorations” and you would plug in four different menorahs. And these candles that were just lit up and that was our decoration.

Leanne Taylor:
And then you had the eight gift [crosstalk 00:03:40].

Jill:
Yes and they would pull out a gift from underneath the couch for all four of us.

Leanne Taylor:
So it’d be socks and…

Jill:
Well I just remember it was things that for a full day I would appreciate and enjoy this gift with no other distractions. One year I got a flutophone, you know what a flu shot is? Like a recorder. And I was obsessed with it and had no other gifts to distract me from the beauty of playing this recorder.

Leanne Taylor:
And isn’t there something simplistic about that? Wouldn’t that be great if that’s the way we all-

Jill:
Yes. While my friends have 50 gifts underneath the tree and I didn’t know any different, I just knew that we had nothing to do with Santa Claus and everything that had to do with people celebrating Christmas.

Jill:
So my mom, somebody gave her a book about Pat Boone and about how he became a Christian. Well he was her idol. He was a movie star and back then, and he’s still very famous now, so she read his book and she felt something tugging her for the first time in her life and she was in her forties and she felt like everything she had ever known, she started to question and started to be turned the other way.

Jill:
Well, right as that was happening, my dad asked my mom to go to Las Vegas on vacation. When they landed and cabbed over to the hotel with their friends, the marquis at Caesar’s Palace said Pat Boone in concert.

Leanne Taylor:
No.

Jill:
And she couldn’t believe it because she had just read his book and my dad knew it and he said, “Judy, you need to call the hotel right now and tell Pat Boone you’re here.” And she said, “But Jewish girl from Baltimore, I’m not calling the movie star at the hotel.” And my dad, who was normally very shy and wouldn’t speak out like that, said, “I’m not moving from this spot until you call the lobby and tell them that you’re a Jewish girl. You read his book.” And she said, “That’s ridiculous.” And he said, “We’re not leaving this spot.” And even the two friends that they were with. So she called the hotel, left a message, “This is Judy Riemer. I wanted just to tell Pat Boone, I read his book.” He came back to the hotel room and as he tells the story, came back and there was a long list of people that had tried to reach out to him and left a message and he said God spoke to him, something tugged at his heart to call Judy Riemer back.

Jill:
He called my mom back and said “Hi this is Pat Boone.” Which she couldn’t believe that her idol, that she was in the same hotel with him and now he was calling her. And he said, “Would you like to come backstage after the concert tonight, you and your husband and visit with me.” And I mean, there’s no other answer but yes to that. And so she found herself with my dad in his dressing room after the concert that night. And from midnight til 3 in the morning, this wonderful man was willing to go through the Old Testament because he knew his Bible so well. Went through the Old Testament with my mom and my dad sat there, wasn’t fully involved in this conversation, but till 3 in the morning and she became a Christian at 3 in the morning in Pat Boone’s dressing room.

Leanne Taylor:
In Las Vegas.

Jill:
In Las Vegas. He baptized her in the swimming pool the next morning in Las Vegas.

Leanne Taylor:
I love that story.

Jill:
And so she flew back home with my dad to Baltimore. Of course, our entire family is Jewish and nobody’s going to understand what in the world just happened. Now my mom’s life is completely changed. She had nobody that she could talk to. Pat would make tapes about the Bible. My mom had a lot of questions, a lot of bracelets questions because her entire life what she-

Leanne Taylor:
Had been raised and taught.

Jill:
Yeah, everything that she had ever known was not now lining up with what she had just committed her whole life to. And Pat would make tapes sort of like her own concordance and describing things in the Bible and mailed them. And then she would have questions and mail them back and forth for years. And they became friends. And he wrote a book called A Miracle A Day. And one of the chapters in the book was about how he met this Jewish girl in Las Vegas.

Leanne Taylor:
Named Judy Reimer.

Jill:
Named Judy Reimer. So it was an amazing story of how then the trajectory of our entire life changed from that point. How did we get on this? Christmas. So because of Pat Boone, all these years of celebrating Hanukkah and going to synagogue and my brother’s learning Hebrew, now had suddenly changed. And for the first time at 9 years old, we celebrated Christmas. We had our first Christmas tree and it was crazy. I mean, when you’re 9 and you know all of your friends, all these years have celebrated it and you never-

Leanne Taylor:
For the first time you’re getting to experience what everybody else already knows.

Jill:
So my mom had never done it. And so she had a list and she wrote Jeff, Johnny, Jill and Mark. And so she wrote the presents underneath that she was getting us. And then Mark’s list got up to nine presents and mine was seven, so she had to add two to mine. And that just kept happening. She wanted everybody to be equal because it was always equal at eight gifts for Hanukkah.

Jill:
By the time Christmas morning came around, we each had exactly 36 gifts. 36 gifts. Now my mom is the most practical woman that I know, that I’ve ever met. She did not enjoy the work that went into putting up a Christmas tree and taking it down and all of the ornaments. From the time I was 9 until I was 18 my mom every year, right in the middle of the living room, would leave the Christmas tree up, throw a big sheet over it with a sign that said, “Do not open until Christmas.”

Leanne Taylor:
Are you kidding?

Jill:
We never ever took our Christmas tree down from the time I was 9 years old with the sign. And so I’d have boyfriends come over, friends come over and in the middle of living room, a big Christmas tree with a sheet over it that said, “Do not open until Christmas.”

Leanne Taylor:
But it was normal to you.

Jill:
It was normal. I was like, “Why doesn’t everybody else do this and save themselves a lot of work?”

Leanne Taylor:
A lot of work.

Jill:
I happened to marry somebody who their family, they were so big on every light switch, had a crocheted Christmas covering on it. Every single inch of their house was Christmas. And so it was a whole new world for me. So even now I’m very simple. I would love to give my kids one gift a day for a few days. I suggest it all the time. I said, “You’re half Jewish. I think one year we can celebrate Hanukkah.” So our lives completely changed and now I embrace it in a whole different way probably than those who grew up from.

Jill:
So when you talk about what one person who knows their Bible can do, this man Pat Boone, the fact that he knew his Bible so well that for hours he could go through it with my mom and he was a movie star and till 3 in the morning. But the impact that one person can have because then my mom for 40 years now has traveled the country and the world sharing her story as a result of that.

Leanne Taylor:
And changing lives in the process.

Jill:
And changing lives, yeah. Okay, so thank you so much.

Leanne Taylor:
This is so much fun.

Jill:
I am so embarrassed that I’ve monopolized. This has been eight hours of [crosstalk 00:10:36]. Oh my goodness, look it’s 6 o’clock in the evening [crosstalk 00:10:42].

Jill:
On podcast, I usually have exact questions I want to ask. For you, I just wanted to spend time with you and the world already knows you, but I just wanted it to be like you and I were having lunch and-

Leanne Taylor:
Well that’s exactly how, I kept thinking, I hate to just monopolize this bracelets conversation by asking all these questions, but I am fascinated by your story, I’m fascinated by the fact that you are, I mean, I assume what you’re like as a boss because I see I’ve shown up and walked around and your employees are all smiling and there’s just this joy that, it’s all through the building. And I think, “Man, that’s the kind of company, those are the kinds of businesses that will thrive in and make a difference in our world.” And I just am so thrilled that you followed your heart and you do what you’re led to do. And you’re doing it here in Tulsa. I mean, there are people who’d be like, “I’m gone. We’re going to Dallas. I’m gone, we’re going to Chicago.” You could open those stores, but you come back home. And I really appreciate that as a native Tulsan. You’ve really put the spotlight on our city and-

Jill:
Will you come work here next year?

Leanne Taylor:
Yeah, probably.

Jill:
Seriously.

Leanne Taylor:
As soon as my contract’s over, I’m yours. This is Leanne Taylor for Rustic Cuff. You’ve been listening to CEO-ish. We’ll see you next time.