Willowdown Memorial on Wordflair

I was amazed at the kindness shown by so many when I posted the request for help in finding the family of Willowdown.  It is a joy to share with you that his family has been found.  His friends in England, Wales, and in the online writing communities all worked hand in hand to accomplish that.

We have put together a memorial that I wanted to share with you. You will find it at
http://www.wordflair.net/willowdownmemorial.html

My thanks again to all.

 

 

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A Dove Has Flown

for “Bunky”

When did time begin to move so swiftly?
Surely it was only yesterday
when we played, carefree,
along the sandy shore.

Who thinks in terms of centuries?
Yet, we saw the turn
and learned with grace
to write 2000.

How can it be?
Now the harps are playing,
the angels sing.
You’ve gone ahead

to light our way.
We grieve the loss
but celebrate your freedom
with songs of praise.

As some unknown poet said
some century long ago: You hold us close
from afar. You’ve stepped inside of heaven
and left the door ajar.

 

 

 

For Helen Gurley Brown

He said,
Gruntle is a word you know
and she said
Yes, I do

then she pencilled in ‘pending’
hoping it would grow into the ‘de’
but there was the vacuuming
and meetings, so many of them.

First thing you know
the kids were graduating
and one day
while reading Cosmopolitan

she thought about gruntled again
added the ‘dis’
left her coffee unfinished
and packed an over-nighter

then another
just enough
for the journey
to herself.

Helen Gurley Brown, past editor of Cosmopolitan,
departed this earth on August 13, 2012.

Stars in her Hair for Janis Joplin

The Daily Texan ran a profile of her in the issue dated July 27, 1962 headlined “She Dares To Be Different.” The article began, “She goes barefooted when she feels like it, wears Levi’s to class because they’re more comfortable, and carries her Autoharp with her everywhere she goes so that in case she gets the urge to break into song it will be handy. Her name is Janis Joplin.”


Long curls tangled in abandon,
she raced barefoot through the fields
picking wildflowers for the table,
berries for cobblers, or just gathering
sun rays to feed the freckles
sprinkled over her nose.

She wove chains of daisies
and wore them in her hair,
but that was in the summer. Months
of sun slip by; innocence is lost
in little things.  The beautiful
blue sky

and there a hawk  and there
a sparrow. Her face tilted, worshiping
the sun. She saw the feathers falling,
and something like a chill wind
said this is living
and this is dying
.

She wove her daisy chains
until winter spent the wildflowers
with its will. She was too young
to know that spring would come
and they would bloom again,
so she caught the stars

at midnight and wore them in her hair
though no one saw them…Just her
and the moon streaming in the window.
Alone there with songs to sing
and dreams to dream, she must have thought
this is living — and this is dying.

Commemorating the Victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

 Please join in the ringing of the bells tomorrow, Friday, March 25th at 4:45 PM.

Poet and human rights advocate are among the many hats that Gene Dixon wears. Today I received an email from him asking that I share an event that is to take place tomorrow. I said yes, of course, without even a moment’s hesitation because I know him to be a person of honor who stands for honorable causes. As usual (pardon my modesty) I was right.

Below is an email of the announcement. Josephine and Michael are the parents of Anthony Giacchino. Anthony produced the movie The Camden 28. It is a story of how protest led to change that bettered the human condition. As is too often the case, the change came at great personal sacrifice by the courageous people who engaged in the protest.

That movie relates a vital moment in our history. Anthony has taken steps to commemorate another moment in our history, the Triangle Shirt Factory Fire. He addressed a letter to each of those who died in that fire. It would come as no surprise that the letters would be returned to him stamped “Deceased, Return to Sender”. To see how he turned that into a commemoration please visit the links below.

I hope you will pause tomorrow at 4:45 PM to remember those victims.

Here is the note that Mr. Dixon shared:

Dear Friends.

Since Sacred Heart people are known to be great bell ringers, would you please consider being part of a project that is very close to our son, Anthony’s heart. All you have to do is to step outside and ring a bell at 4:45 PM on Friday, March 25. It is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City.

For more information click on the links below.
There was also an article in the NY Times, Feb. 14

Love and Peace,

Josephine and Michael

http://www.citylimits.org/news/articles/4302/deceased-return-to-sender-writing-to-the-triangle-victims

http://rememberthetrianglefire.org/

Goodbye, Elizabeth

 

On Monday,  they said,  ‘Enough!’  No more torturous chemo.  No more! She went on FaceBook and posted what we now know was her goodbye.  As a staunch opponent of FaceBook,  I must rely on a quote in the newspaper as to the content of that post.  It didn’t sound like an immediate goodbye.  It sounded like an announcement of gratitude.

You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.

  And I was glad for her.  Having endured both chemo and radiation treatments,   I long ago said,  ‘Enough!’  and thankfully it worked for me.  In my case, the disease was much less dastardly than the treatment.  All too often it is the treatment that causes the heart to stop because it takes such a mighty toll on the body.  When I heard the announcement I felt an involuntary flash of anger at the doctors who had put her through so much. That was irrational.  Those awful treatments did prolong her life,  and gave her hope.  She even campaigned for her husband throughout much of the treatment process and when the election was lost she went back to what should have been a less chaotic life.  When it was exposed that her husband had  taken a mistress, Elizabeth stood beside him and defended him. I even remember that she once said,  “Cancer does not damage just the patient,  but the whole family.” When the ‘other woman’ gave birth to a baby girl, John swore to her he was not the father.  When it came to light that he lied,  she refused to divorce him,  though she did have the papers drawn up,  and pursued a legal separation. Then she wrote another book.  She wrote through the anger,  through the pain,  and she answered Oprah’s question,
“ Do you still love him?”  with an ambiguous,

“That’s a tough question.”  that made us know that she did.

Elizabeth died today,  Tuesday, December 7, 2010.  The cancer spread to her liver,  and it was one last blow she couldn’t weather. It makes me wonder,  more than with most deaths,  “Why?”  Why should any one person  have to suffer all the heartaches that Mary Elizabeth Anania Edwards endured throughout her life.

Born July 3, 1949 to a military family,  she faced the heartache of loss at an early age.  All too often,  just when she had made friends,  her father was reassigned and they had to move.  Most devastating for her was when they moved in the middle of her senior year at high school.  That did not keep her from excelling and she continued her studies at MaryWashington College,  and then to the Univ. of North Carolina where she received a law degree.

It was during her years at  Univ. of  N.C.  that she meant John Edwards who would become her husband.  They were married July 30th, 1977.  Both John and Elizabeth practiced law.  He soon became a multi-millionaire from the malpractice cases that he won.  In the early years there were two children,  Wade and  Catherine.  In 1996,  Wade, age 16 was killed in a car crash just three weeks  after being honored at the White House by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton as  a finalist in the National Endowment for the Arts essay contest.

When Wade was killed,  both Elizabeth and John quit working.  For almost three years they lived in the fog of their grief.  I am not sure exactly what turned things around for them,  but they began their rebirth by creating a Wade Edwards Scholarship Endowment.  They became regulars at fertility clinics deciding that they wanted more children.  At the age of 48 Elizabeth gave birth to Emma Claire  and two years later to a boy named Jack.

On  the  same day  the Kerry/Edwards ticket conceded defeat in the presidential election of 2004,  Elizabeth was diagnosed with breast cancer.   She faced the battle with courage and concern for others. I can not say she lost the battle,  more like she was relieved of  duty. Always in the hands of God,  for the first time in too many years to bear,  she rests free from pain. Her rest is well earned.