Remembering Gladys Margarette Jackson

372_1Gladys Margarette Jackson was my step-grandmother, as she was the second wife of my grandfather, Daniel Jackson. My grandfather died of prostate cancer after falsely believing that Jim Jones had cured him. They lived in Los Angeles at the time of his death, but later she moved up to San Francisco and attended Peoples Temple there. The last time I saw Gladys, I was about 17 or 19. My mother and I had gone to visit her in her apartment. It seemed so depressing. She must have been working at the Temple and sharing the apartment with others. I remember she talked about going to Guyana.

When the mass suicide occurred, my mother called a phone number to ask about Gladys, after she had learned from a news report that Gladys was listed as dead. We never knew what happened to her body. It was not until recently I found out that there is a memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland. My husband and I visited the memorial and paid our respects after all these years.

The younger folks don’t know about this piece of history. I don’t know if it is even taught in school. My kids are in their mid-30’s and did not seem too impressed when I told them about Miss Jackson. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about all those people who died because they so desperately wanted to believe in what Jim Jones was saying.