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7 Q+A: Jenny Carpenter

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Whether she’s getting your tickets to the next great event at The Virginia Theatre or offering up a great event herself, singing with local musicians, Jenny Carpenter’s energy is contagious. So let’s get to know her a little more, shall we?


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What are you grateful for today?
So many things. My kids (Paige and Nick White, and my step-kids, Iain and Trinity Carpenter), my husband (Jeff), my family, and my job!

We are so blessed with a fantastic music scene here in C-U. Getting opportunities to sing with talented musicians in our amazing bands (insert shameless plugs here: Cody & The Gateway Drugs, Pet Roxx, and Jim Hewitt & The Three Chord Circus). Filling in with Johnny Matteson, Cliff Stoker and so many more.

Tell us about one of your friends and what you love about her.
One?? Impossible! I have my small group of my “gal pals” (Whitney, Heather, Ragen, Morgan and Beth). When I was going through my hideous divorce about 10 years ago, they were the most amazing support a girl could have. All of us got to know each other in local theatre, and they have become extended family. They know all of my secrets, so I have to be careful not to piss them off.

Describe one of the best days of your life.
Aside from having my two amazing kids? This sounds so cliché: The day I married Jeff. We had our wedding at my sister’s memorial garden at Lake of the Woods, followed by a barn dance-complete with a potluck. Jeff’s mom was mortified about that part, but it was amazing! We originally wanted to have an intimate wedding, but realized our extended family consisted of approximately 300 of our closest friends. My brother was a bit worried when he heard that we were even doing karaoke, rather than just a DJ…until he heard the amazing talent that was there. Best day ever.

What’s the best lesson you learned from your mother/grandmother?
My mother is the strongest and most amazing person I know. The single biggest lesson she taught me is perseverance. She does so much for her family and never asks for anything in return. Paula Upp (now Baker) married my dad, Tom Forshey, and they had 5 babies (all amazing, I must add). My older brother, Patrick, died when he was only 3 days old. When my dad’s health started to decline (thanks to diabetes), she became the family’s breadwinner, not to mention taking care of my dad during and after his kidney transplant. My father died in 1987 due to complications from the transplant. On the very day of dad’s funeral, we discovered that my brother, Chris had a very rare form of lymphoma.

In 2000, my sister, Mindy Harrington, started to feel ill and soon discovered that she had AML (leukemia). She lost her battle in 2001, and Chris lost his battle in 2005. My mom has lost SO much and yet, she still can keep her humor and has never lost faith in my brother, Tim and me. She’s also not afraid to call you out on your sh*t, either.

After my father died, my mother married a childhood friend, who is a perfect match for her in so many ways. In the last year or so, my stepdad has suffered a series of strokes, and she is now dealing with the difficulties of assisting him with his rehabilitation—not to mention running their own apartment complex in Florida solo. Yet thorough it all, she STILL has her sense of humor and is always there when you need her. I swear there is more than one of her!

My mom is the epitome of a BADASS!

We’re all unique. What is your special gift?
That’s a difficult one to answer. I had to get help from my hubby on this one. I am very devoted to my family. As mentioned above, I have lost many close family members in my lifetime. I try to teach everyone that each and every day is special. Appreciate each and every second of it. Tell your loved ones how you feel. It’s something no one can take away from them and it will always be in their heart.

Oh, and I’m apparently a good kisser.

What could women be doing to make their community a better place?
My daughter struggled a lot with bullying while in junior high. It sickens me that kids think they can get away with anything nowadays, mostly because our society is too afraid to do anything about it.

Learn your school’s policies and procedures and the proper way things are to be handled. Talk to your kids, tell them how to handle things. Let them know you are there and in their corner. Monitor your children while on social media—so much bullying these days are taking place online. Be aware of any unusual or odd behavior that they may be having.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Audition to be a backup singer for one of my favorite artists (aside from the one’s I’m already in!). If I could just figure out how…

I could also happily move to Kauai and live in a tent.

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