PORT ST. LUCIE PEOPLE
Giorgis eventually applied for disability. John worked for
awhile in Homestead. They rented rooms through AirBnB
for a time. They opened, then closed, a restaurant. The one
constant was church, and music.
“It’s always taken her about 10 seconds to become involved
locally,” John says.
In addition to playing at church, Giorgis helped found
the Treasure Coast Classical Guitar Society. She’s played at
renaissance fairs, Heathcote Botanical Gardens’ Festival of
Lights, art walks and other special events. Monthly, her Blue
Sky Strings group hosts a folk jam and song circle at Savannas
Preserve State Park on Walton Road.
Although not defined by her condition, Giorgis is active
with a Parkinson’s support group and religiously attends a
weekly therapeutic dance class via Zoom. She writes several
blogs, including Living with Parkinson’s where she recently
posted about how therapeutic music can be. And on her
Haiku blog, this poem says much with few words:
Walking in step/Music in my earphones/Pushes me along.
“I tell people with PD to be satisfied doing things an easier
way,” Giorgis says. “You have to stay active. If you can’t do
something as well as before, still do it in a limited way. Distract
yourself with activities.”
The majority of Parkinson’s patients are men older than 60.
Giorgis wonders if her diagnosis is tied to years of swimming
in the polluted waters of Lake Erie. Although not getting
better physically, Giorgis says that medication helps with
sleep. If she gets overtired, her tremors are more pronounced.
Cognitive changes have slowed her speech. When her legs
jump around — dyskinesia — moving purposefully with
“little dance steps” helps.
JOETTE MARIE BEBAK GIORGIS
Lives in: Crane’s Landing neighborhood in Port St. Lucie
Occupation: Semi-retired music teacher
Family: Husband, John J.; son, John D.; daughters, Marie
and Ruth; eight grandchildren
Education: State University of New York at Oswego;
master’s degree from SUNY Fredonia
Hobby: Guitar, babysitting, gardening.
Who inspires me: “God inspires me and I pray.”
Something most people don’t know about me: “I write
haiku and I’m a member of the Haiku Society of America.”
“But I’m getting worse so slowly that most people don’t
notice,” she says.
John, who does most of the shopping and cooking now,
says his wife is “Amazing. She’s still ambulatory, still driving
and communicating. It shows her commitment to her health.”
Whether babysitting her 7-year-old granddaughter, teaching
students, leading worship, pulling weeds, writing multiple
blogs or reading at the beach, Giorgis’s guitar is never
“I wonder how people can live without music in their life.”
Joette Giorgis has no plans to find out. E
Giorgis instructs student Addison Barners in her
music room. While she stays busy with other
interests, music remains therapeutic and inspiring.
Port St. Lucie Magazine 41