Tuesday, December 05, 2017

As Southern California burns, remembering a friend

These apocalyptic scenes from the fire near Ventura last night put me in mind of my friend Hattie who succumbed to metastasizing cancer last month.

Optimism was not her thing.

We are obviously a species that has outsmarted itself.

Hattie was well read, well educated, well traveled, kind, and thoughtful. She made her art, raised orchids, struggled with the League of Women Voters newsletter, and loved her friends, family and her husband.

She raged at the damage that people she unhesitatingly labelled "foolish" and "greedy" were doing to her country.

Sure people are terrified, I understand that, but thinking that not protecting others will save them is foolish. The worst consequences of capitulating are to the soul as even I, an atheist, understand.

OK. I guess I have to out myself as a person who knows a lot about stuff.  I studied the history of the rise of the Third Reich during the Weimar period, and I studied the history of the Third Reich and the aftermath of WW II in Germany.  My Masters' thesis was about the way young Germans experienced the period.  ...

A few day later in November 2016:

I am giving a lot of credit to myself and all the people of goodwill who are the backbone of this country, the real people of substance. We can be proud. And we will prevail, ultimately, as we have already done in our personal lives. People like me have fought against fascist tendencies all our lives, including within our families, in schools, at work. We are not done yet. We have a lot of strategies and most of the brainpower in the country and most of material assets,too. We are not going to flee, since there is nowhere to go;  we will stay here and save our country. So, although we do have to mourn, this is not a time to despair.
In fact, when I think about my fortunate life, I am filled with gratitude today. I can feel, I can reason. I don't believe stupid things.

Living on a knife edge between between hope and despair is hard. Hattie chose to balance there.

We only met twice, but we stayed aware of each other through our blogs for many years. I miss her and can only imagine what her absence means to her family and friends for whom she a vibrant presence.


Mage said...

She was special. I who has a tendency toward sloth, was energized by her thinking, by her presence. Thanks for this.

Rain Trueax said...

Hattie's was a sad loss.

Very worrisome on the fire. I have friends in LA area but unsure if any are at risk from it. These fires are unbelievable even to me who grew up in fire country in the PNW

Brandon said...

I'm working on my own remembrance of Marianna, aka Hattie. More to come.

janinsanfran said...

Brandon: I'm particularly looking forward to your remembrance. You had the opportunity to engage with her so directly ...

Celia said...

Marianna was the kind of person we need more of: loving, witty, thoughtful and well-informed. So sad.