MISSOULA — For years his witty weekly column entertained Missoulian readers. Now, five years after his death, fans of the late Jamie Kelly can re-read some of his clever observations on life and love in a new book that celebrates his legacy.
“If the street sweepers haven’t gotten him yet, check out his flattened carcass on Higgins... ha ha ha ha!” Helen Kelly said. The story Jamie Kelly once wrote about a squirrel that got hit by a Pontiac on a Missoula street is uniquely him.
For eight years, he wrote a weekly humor column called Fatuous Twaddle—tackling everything from baseball to his theory on the of origins Missoula. He wrote about God -- and called him Fred. You never knew what you were going to get each week.
Now, five years after his suicide, his mother is sharing a collection of his columns in a new book.
“I started thinking about doing this book within a year after he died. And it took me a long time to really get to an emotional place where I was able to go back through his columns and read them,” Helen said.
She selected 50 of her favorite articles and found a local publisher to help her and now, bookstores in Missoula are selling this collection. It was a labor of love -- and it’s a tribute to her son.
“I wanted to preserve his memory. His humor and his talent and his great heart. And I wanted that to be his legacy. Not the way he died,” Helen said.
Jamie struggled with depression as many do. But it can’t overshadow his talents—as a writer or as a jazz pianist. His mom appreciates that more people are talking about depression these days
“I know people don’t want to believe that it can happen to someone they love, that they know and love. But it can. And so, I want to just re mind people that if there’s someone in your life that suffers from depression reach out to them and give them something to hold on to,” Helen told MTN News.
And do doubt that’s something Jamie’s Fred would want. You can find the book Twaddle at Shakespeare and Company, Fact and Fiction, The Book Exchange, the UM Bookstore and on Amazon.
September marks National Suicide Awareness Month.