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Friday, October 06, 2006

Death Walks Nearby

It's been a hard week for me and I have been weighing in on how to write about this. 2 people close to me die last week. One, Ann Bell, an old friend whom I have not had much contact with the past 8 years due to a stupid rift that came between us (in the form of my husband) that did get repiared a bit after she got sick.

The other is a much more devastating death. Fran, my mother-in law, died suddenly this past Saturday, September 30th while walking her dog, she was 80 years old.

Fran was a special person. A peace activist, mother and wife (though Sig her husband had died before I was inducted into the Goodman Family). I really liked her as well as loved her. I was lucky to get such a mother in law.

We shared a similar political outlook (way to the left) and went to see Dennis Kucinich together a couple of years ago when he was running for President. She was far more politicly active in her heyday. She went to Sri Lanka to be a human shield against the Tamil Tigers in her late 60's and she spent more than one night in jail protesting various injustices of our Federal government in washington DC. Apparently she and my uncle Jim (aka Scott Rutherford) were at a couple of protests together in the Whitehouse Rotunda and never knew it until they met at our wedding 10 years ago.

She and Eugene shared a deep connection. They were very similar people which could be infuriating to the rest of us as they would go off into their own world together looking at something or talking their own language (it sounded like english)

I did not know Fran as a young or middle aged woman or as a wife. I knew her in her declining years as a widow, activist, Quaker and all around delightful person.

Okay, the other memorial here (I probably should break this into two entries and maybe I will come back and edit this later and do just that) Ann Bell. I have known Ann pretty for at least 20 years, maybe longer. I knew her Mother Irma Sandage since I was a pup because she and my Mom worked as social workers together in Butler County back in the 1970's and Ann's Brother Dennis was a political legend around my family at the same time.

Ann was a drinking/partying buddy of mine. We met at the Circle Bar 9a notorious Townie bar in Oxford Oh that was run by J Harris, a notorious drunk and small businessman at the time) in the early 1980's and became tight. She taught me how to create things on an Apple II Classic computer and turned me into a Macintosh aficionado (my brother tells me my biggest mistake is using Macs and not PeeCee's. I think is is wrong) Ann was a very talented artist and was a pioneer in desk top publishing. When she started teaching me how to use a computer I remember she had drawers full of Fonts she had paid thousands of dollars for the rights to use them in her profession. The computer I am using right now had twice as many fonts loaded into it as she had in her drawers (they could not be stored on her computer as it had 1mb of RAM). When I bough my first Mac, a IIci, it had 5mb of memory and she asked what was I going to do with ALL that memory. Ah the good old days.

Ann and I hung out a lot talking about philosophy, gossip, weather, computers, sexuality, feminism, how to save the world, etc.. There was very little we did not talk about over the years. I once took up to our cottage in Michigan where my father gave her greek plays to read. She especially loved the play Lisistrata. Where the women of I believe Troy quit putting out for their men until the men agree to quit engaging in perpetual war.

I will miss Ann but she went through a long and painful illness and now is out of pain. I'd say she's in a better place but, Frankly, the woman did not live the purest of lives and if she believed in heaven and hell (that I am not sure about, she did have a Christian burial but was not exactly christian) I think she will end up in hell over heaven (as will most christians). For one thing she was a semi practicing witch and another she identified with gay people better than straight folks.

She leaves a son, Georges and a lot of friends behind.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

I'm sorry to hear of your losses. Your mother-in-law sounds like she was an interesting person and I have a broken friendship with an old friend that sounds a lot like Ann. It's good that you connected again, even if it was in a small way.