Thursday, May 29, 2008

Guest Blogging

My Mother, Elizabeth (Betty)

My latest blog is over at The Wild Hunt. Jason honored me by asking me to be among his guest bloggers while he took a vacation. Other guest bloggers this week are Cat Chapin-Bishop, Anne Hill, T. Thorn Coyle, Chas S. Clifton, and Deborah Oak Cooper. Such awesome company!

I've posted today more about dying and death, inspired by the recent passing of my mother, pictured above. Come back later because I know this won't be the last of it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

More about Our Mother

Elizabeth Van Tine O'Brien
January 19, 1911, Lansdowne, PA - May 23, 2008, Lodi, CA

The announcement that went in the local papers, because it's a published obituary with space limitations, can only tell you very little. No doubt I'll have more to say as the process of losing one's mother, after 65 years of having one, unfolds.

Thanks to all who've expressed condolences.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Love & Death

My mother, Elizabeth V. O'Brien, crossed over at the age of 97 in the early morning of May 23, 2008. Her daughters and granddaughters were with her most of her last weeks.

During the entire process of her dying, I have felt cradled in love and light coming from far and near, from many directions . This love has helped me to undergo this rite of sitting vigil, letting go, and mourning (just begun) as well as possible. For this I am deeply grateful.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hippy Days Reunion

Peggy & Aline, April 2008
(We asked a waiter to snap this, told him just head
and shoulders. Twice he got shots like this, then
another waiter did a head-and-shoulders shot
that wasn't as nice. Now when I learn to crop
photos, this will probably be fine.)

Like most of us, I have a busy life. I have at lots of draft blog entries going back to last October. I'll spare you the list of activities and reasons and cut to the chase: I had dinner about two weeks ago with a friend from our Haight-Ashbury days.

Peggy and I lived at 516 Ashbury, one door from the corner of Ashbury and Page, with Haight at other end of our block. This was in the late '60s. I remember that when we lived in that house was when I learned of RFK's assassination, after I'd returned from seeing Battle of Algiers. We had lots of parties in that flat. The back room where the parties were was lit with Christmas lights. We also bought a little 12" B&W TV to watch the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on Sunday nights. We thought it was the coolest thing going -- and it was revolutionary. My favorite regular was "Share a Little Tea with Goldie" with Leigh French as Goldie O'Keefe.

Peggy left for graduate school in Illinois in 1970, and that's the last time we saw each other, 38 years ago. We both have grown children and published books. We found each other on the Web, natch.

As we chatted it up at Chow in the Castro, it was as though there had been no intervening 38 years. After dinner, we drove around and reoriented ourselves, especially Peggy, who hadn't been in San Francisco in all that time. Peggy's a retired college professor and writer of mystery novels. I'm eager to read her latest, Sweet Man Is Gone.