Monday, November 26, 2007

Did we ever tell you this one?

I recently renewed contact with Linda Peacock, who was in the art school when Ian was still small. As I was reading her message, I was reminded of a little event that epitomizes Dad's sense of humor, and I didn't know if you guys had heard it:

When I was working full-time at Saxon Glass, during Mom's last couple years with us, Linda used to watch Ian for us. She would sometimes stay with him at 33 S. Main and would often take him to The Collegiate Restaurant and other places, and I think she helped look after Mom, too. Anyway, we were at 33, and Linda was either coming or going, and she told us how the rumor around town was that Ian was her baby and our family was looking after him for her. Dad overheard this from the other room, and said " . . . and we're happy to do it for you, Linda!"

It still makes me laugh.

For Our Mother

I always loved my mother at the deepest levels, although I know I did not always feel that way at the surface of things. I may have even told someone (I’m not sure the words ever left my lips but I fear they may have) that I hated her, when I was a teenager. I know I responded very negatively to some of the things she did, but I know now that she had limited control over some of them, and that some of them were side-effects of medicines she needed to take. But this is not one of those stories from someone who’s trying to make peace with a deceased loved one, after the fact. I spent hours with Mom, even before cancer began to steal her energies, wrestling with things that had come between us. On several occasions, we ended up crying and hugging, understanding each other much better, and forgiving each other for hurts and misunderstandings.

I am the last of five children and I’m afraid our father has never fully grasped the depth of reconciliation that Mom and I found in the last ten years or so of her life. He seemed to think that I hurt Mom’s feelings, but I believe we truly were able to work our way through most of the things we had done in the past that caused each other pain, and I know I only think fondly of her now.

Over the years, a few acquaintances, and even a few members of our extended family, treated our mother with a lack of respect, and even with scorn. I always suspected this was in response to her emotional idiosyncrasies. She was very emotional and obsessive/compulsive and all, but little did other people know – at least until recently – that Mother’s foibles have specific, medical labels. They unfortunately also bear stigma, even if less so than in the past. We, her children, have always felt set apart, apparently because of our close association with Mom, and perhaps because we resemble her. It is not that people haven’t been generally cordial, but many have let us know they regarded us differently. I think in some cases they couldn’t even have acknowledged that they felt that way, to say nothing of knowing that they were sending such signals. Perceptions are such elusive things……..

Anyway, it was a lovely surprise, last Friday, when a family friend joined me in walking up the street, and made a point of saying that they missed my mother, even though she’d died seven years before. In the course of conversation, I remarked that some folks thought Mom was a “strange bird” and this friend reminded me that my mother’s love was never in doubt, and that it always flowed freely from her. This friend said “we go back a long way, don’t we?” It was my pleasure to concur.

Even in this time of Muslim-bashing and Christian fundamentalism gone amok – it would be no surprise to Mom that this Muslim (ZR) friend would have recognized her love for people, for all living things, and for beautiful things like sunsets…….she was that sort of woman.

G. Douglas Clarke March 20, 2005

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How does doing something active give a person energy?

What a difference some dancing with one's spouse and friends, getting some work done, and some sunshine can make! But somehow I know that even those things aren't all that's behind my feeling better about things. It's not magic, but it's not entirely in my control, I'm certain. On a day-to-day basis, I can often will myself to not dwell as much on my difficulties, get busy and do what I know needs to be done, and move along. But a couple of weeks ago, none of that worked. Then I was about as enervated as I have ever been, but still was not confined to my bed. Today, I feel rejuvenated and as eager to get things done, as I ever have. Inexplicable, since my situation has not changed a lot. But Jeanette and Ian and I took Ly and Walter and Rein to Geneseo for a dance last night, and I woke up this morning feeling as energetic as I have in months. Such things are fickle, though. I wish I knew (and I'm certain I'm not the first to wish so) from whence such things arise. It could be gone by this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rainy days

Dear brothers and sisters, biological and adopted,
I wrote a poem for Election Day:

"Rain patters down
Steady, hum-m-m, drum
Make patterns up
All day long"

I just read Doug's posting from Sunday. The Alfred Magazine came yesterday and reinforced the 'orphan feeling' as I read the class notes for 1941. I do miss both Mom and Dad, especially in the autumn and around Thanksgiving. Speaking of Thanksgiving, I'm trying to think ahead and hope that Doug, Jeanette, and Ian will be in the City with Sherm and that we can meet!
The need to journal and evaluate and get control of that 'fight or flight' feeling all resonate with me. Now I have to do it!
Much love to all,

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Rock and Rolling

Hello again siblings and other kin,
I wrote in my notes to the last posting, how I was feeling better after getting through a meeting I had been dreading. That was last week, and today we have to get through the next one I've been dreading, but my stomach isn't off the way it had been. Last week it was the church trustees meeting, and today our church meets to discuss financial challenges, etc.
At least I'm back to feeling just normally overwhelmed, but not in "Panic/Hide!" mode. At least the rock is rolling again. I have lots to do, and plenty to worry about, but at least I haven't had the constant, queasy feeling. And at least I haven't had the migraines and such that Bert reported in her last letter. I hope you have no more of them (same to Cathy, and anyone else who has migraines)!!
But I think all five (and more) of us recognize the "orphan feeling" that Eric Van Horn asked me about, when I called to tell him of Dad's death. Both his parents have been dead for a number of years, and he used that term to describe how he's felt since his mother died, Gene having died several years before, and his brother Roger later on. Bert referred to "the dark, cold gloomies and scaries with no Dad or Mom to go to". How Dad must have felt each time someone important to him, died?! We'll just have to take it from here (and I don't say that glibly, but grimly, with as much resolve as I can muster). I'm no PollyAnna, but I'll keep on trying.
Over the last 20 years, I gave so much of my time and energy to the Alfred S.D.B. church and Allegheny Association and the denomination (driving to West Virginia for Christian Social Action Committee meetings, going to General Conference), our Fire Department, Alfred Historical Society, Allegany County Historical Association, to Citizens for a Clean Environment (a local group of which I was president for a couple years), lots of other organizations, and quite a few individuals who needed help or wanted favors, that I wish I could have some of that time back. It's especially hitting me, now that my 50th birthday is approaching. That's been behind some of my "hide!" feeling, and I've been pleased to at least be showing some visible progress around our house, although not nearly enough, yet.
I still haven't been called to interview for the Facilities Manager at the Equestrian Center, but it's soon, yet. I have also put in applications at North Main Lumber, where Sean Phelan is now working. After so many years of working independently and struggling, at least now he has a salary and some benefits, and I hope he will do well. He gave so much of his life to keep nuclear waste out of Allegany County, that all residents should bow in his presence, but he gets much less respect than he deserves. He keeps much of it secret, because he's that way, and because, as he says, we might have to fight that same struggle all over again, and it would be foolish to give away any secrets. But I know enough to know that his keen thinking and determination accomplished things that would not have been done without him. On top of that, he cares deeply about the environment and our future, and is a good friend.
As soon as I get done with laying concrete block under the west porch, and do some more painting of trim and the roof, and insulate around the entryway, and set up the wood stove, and tune and sharpen the chainsaw and get some firewood cut and split, then I hope to settle in to organizing and re-organizing and remodeling the interior of our house. Then we have to figure out how to pay for repairing Jeanette's Subaru (>$2000.00) and replace the Blazer and augment Jeanette's salary. I see some light at the end of the tunnel, but hope it's not a train.
Michael and Audra spent a few days with us, for which we are grateful. Our busy schedules and a house-fire prevented our spending more time together, but they watched Ian while we went to our meeting, one evening, and they got some painting done that we hadn't, and we enjoyed several meals together. Michael and I went on a hike or two and a bike ride in "our" woods (the NY trails adjacent to our place), and it was all good.
I'll write more later, but better get busy. Lots to do, today!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rock in a hard place

Hello dear brother and sisters,

A few weeks ago, someone -- I think it was Sherm -- copied me a message to a friend in which they referred to me as the rock of the family through Dad's death and all of that. I had appreciated that, as I had tried very hard to just make things work for everyone. I have certainly had plenty of times to feel grief and loss very deeply during all of that, but I have not taken time to process it very much. I've spoken more recently of needing time to process those feelings but of the conflicting need to finish dealing with practical things. Somehow, until quite recently, I felt capable of doing what needed to be done and that my persistence would get me through.

Somewhere about the time that Ian and I went to get Nicky from Canaseraga, I began to have a nearly constant sense of dread and inability to feel that I could get through what needed doing. I don't recall feeling like this for any sustained period (more than a couple days or so) since I was in my twenties. In that period, I had stomach aches almost constantly, could not eat much, and although I never had it diagnosed, I was certain I was getting ulcers. I don't believe I've ever been genuinely suicidal, and I am not so now, but I am having a very hard time dealing with how I feel. I feel like retreating from all my responsibilities, I dread having to go to meetings that I used to at least want to participate in, and I have felt what must be something like panic attacks several times. Things that usually give a sense of satisfaction, don't. My stomach rumbles and I don't feel like eating. I can't seem to set aside a sense of panic and focus on what needs doing. And, as Ian said to me recently, "my hug-o-meter is really depleted". I think this all sounds very much like the classical description of depression. Mike and Audra had come on Sunday and we had enjoyed spending some time together. We planned to do some work on our house Monday and Tuesday.

I had really been feeling badly about Doris Simpson, as I wrote in my last entry here, in part, I think, because it all ties in with losing Dad and our whole situation. It may have had something to do with this sense of being unable to cope as I normally do. Our mortality and limitation just seems to invade my every thought. Then yesterday happened.

Shortly after I had taken Ian to the bus-stop yesterday, my pager went off for a fire, and the address listed was "next to 14 High Street". I dressed quickly, dreading the possibility that it might be Doris Simpson's house. Arriving at the Fire Hall, I drove one of our engine's to the scene and saw a huge pillar of white-gray smoke coming from Doris' house. Suffice it to say that I helped put out the fire, including running nozzles from our ladder truck, and assisted the fire investigators. All the while, though, I was thinking about the fact that cousin Floy's things would be in among the rubble that would just be hauled away, and of how such a loss to Doris, who is in a nursing home, would hit her. Several people at the fire said to me "well, at least she wasn't in the house when it caught fire". I said to at least one of them, "but she may wish she was in the house".

So I didn't catch up with Michael and Audra yesterday, until almost 2:00 in the afternoon. They did come to our house and do some painting that I've not been able to get done, and we all had dinner together and enjoyed talking for a while. But I'm up and at it again today, with a rumbling stomach, a racing mind, and a nagging feeling of being overwhelmed.

I'm thinking of all of you, and take comfort in knowing that you care for me. I will keep on keeping on.

Sunday, October 28, 2007



8-10 PM


T: 323.935.4411 | F: 323.202.1082



Lauren Bon exhibits her first body of new work since her 2005 "Not a Cornfield" public land art installation in downtown Los Angeles, adjacent to Chinatown, where she transformed a stricken 32-acre abandoned railway yard-turned-brownfield into a sculpture of one million corn stalks for one agricultural cycle. In "Bees and Meat," Bon manifests the impact of "Not a Cornfield" through an incorporation of the viewer's five senses, recreating the physical experience of this "metabolic sculpture" where she initially became interested in bees.

Amongst others, the "Bees and Meat" sculptures involve the following items:

- 90 miles of irrigation stripping
- 33,000 pounds of dried "Not a Cornfield" corn kernels
- Two working wild hives and over 10,000 live bees
- A 10' x 3' aquarium of honey
- A dried lamb carcass fountain
- 21 cornstalk bales standing 9' tall
- A gallery of honey jar chandeliers
- A library of honey
- 1200 totems bundled in wood, cotton, and twine
- Beeswax sculptures
- A working study covered in tar
- A corn maiden sculpture
- Two bronze tanks oxidized on a sea voyage from Shanghai to Los Angeles
- 1000 whispered fears
- Over 6,480 hours of "Not a Cornfield" audio and visual surveillance
- 24-hour, streaming audio of living bees in the gallery
- Transplanted earth

These artworks display the outcome of Bon's "Not a Cornfield" undertaking, cumulatively revealing her post-installation insights, such as her interest in honeybees. Many of the rooms are filled from floor to ceiling with her artworks, occasionally spilling into the hallways, and dramatically alter the viewer's auditory and olfactory senses; sound is absorbed, smell is overpowered. Streaming, unedited video and audio of the growing corn supplement her installations, and fully transplant the viewer to Bon's 32-acre tract of fertile, pre-metropolitan Los Angeles land.

The bees' essential role in the aerobic manipulation of "Not a Cornfield" inspired Bon to research bees in ancient and world cultures, and her findings fueled much of her "Bees and Meat" artworks that ubiquitously employ honey, honeycomb, and beeswax. It is interesting to note that the fruit of the bees' labor is the only organic material that does not decompose.

Lauren Bon was born in 1962 and lives and works in Los Angeles and London. She received a BA from Princeton, a Master's degree in architecture from MIT, and spent over a year at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.

© 2007 ACE GALLERY All Rights Reserved.
Dear sibs et al--
Had to share this notice on a show. For the bee bit, but also Cornfield. Haven't thought of Carol Cornfield in a long time!!

mom, memory, music

This afternoon, I went to Carnegie Hall for a concert by the Orchestra of St Luke's with Joshua Bell (violinist) as soloist. The first piece was called "In memory" by Joan Tower (Ms Tower was in the hall). The piece was lovely, with instruments joining in on top of others in a rich way. Tower started writing it in 2000 or early 2001 about a friend who had died recently and then it was still underway on 9/11 and shifted with the attacks. So, a combination of personal and social. The orchestra and Joshua Bell next played Barber's Violin Concerto, a piece I'm quite familiar with. It was starting out lovely when below me a ways, a man walked out silently with a young girl. I was swept by a wave of Mom and her love of music and how much she might have loved going to Carnegie Hall. Or not maybe. Anyway, when I see a child in a cultural setting here in NYC, I am often struck by the glory of it and wonder how I developed a strong taste for classical music even though it wasn't really in our upbringing. And once when Mom and Dad visited us in Cleveland and we went to the museum, Mom asked if that was a real Rembrandt. So clued into things and still so not.

And all those thoughts of music so soon after Cathy said she needed a buck up and Doug suggested music. Music does, as they say, soothe the stressed spirit or soul. At the moment, I have Beethoven's Diabelli Variations in the CD, with Piotr Anderszewski at the keyboard.

Doug, Jeanette, Ian, good luck with the dog. And please introduce us to Mr Allen. I was dreaming something rather furiously this morning but can't remember anything about it. Usually can't, unless I write it down or at least re-think and re-imagine it repeatedly.

On to Dawn Upshaw's "Voices of light."

Your description of Doris's story of folks laughing at Cousin Floy's diaries is certainly bittersweet. I've kept a journal of sorts since moving to NYC, often just events and not reactions to them, occasionally general thoughts or concerns. My friend Christie whose mother died a couple weeks before Dad wants to start a group to look at getting your stuff in order. It might be just Christie, Janet and me. Janet, alas, was diagnosed with a longstanding case of MS just a couple weeks ago. C & J don't have wills. At least, I've got that and a living will. The group would have focused discussions every few weeks with one person responsible for homework before the discussion. That is, if it was living wills, the focuser would provide some links or photocopies or book titles for the others. And we'd all encourage each other to keep going. While I trust I might be able to do it with any of you guys, there is something about it being "local" and something about the neutrality, if you will, of friends rather than family. I hope that doesn't seem mercenary because it certainly isn't meant to be and I don't think any of you would be bloodthirsty in these matters. When Christie first talked about this, I started relevant clippings in a folder called "Letzte Dinge" (last things). I'm not sure exactly why it came to me in German. I just looked for a relevant book title that might have taken me there and it is probably some remnant of having studied medieval art.

And thinking of odd birds, Carol once said she wanted to be the eccentric old lady of Alfred. This was before she was up in Branchport. And I sometimes think any number of us could end up being the eccentric old ladies of Alfred. But Cathy, Carol and I have a good distance to go before we catch up to a couple people I've seen recently. There was a woman in front of a coffee shop nearby recently putting on pinkish purple cheek coloring so heavily that she looked bruised. Or maybe she was bruised and was stroking the bruises. And there was the guy in a dress the other day. I don't really have a problem with it but it was peculiar. A couple weeks later, I saw a guy who is the same one I think and, this time, he was in a sort of netty tanktop that didn't meet his short shorts, and a bit of jewelry. It wasn't very pretty. Rather scary .... perhaps any of us could turn into makeup-wearing becostumed eccentrics without so much effort. There but for the grace of whatever go I.

Segue segue. Did you read about the chemistry professor that retracted an article from the mid-1950s that is now being cited by creationists as evidence of intelligent design? The professor also found it flawed from the distance of 50 years.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Update of the update

I had started a blog entry on Sabbath (it's the one called "All Kinds of Changes Happening"), and stopped to help Ian make pancakes, but didn't get back to it until now. I had gone to take our new dog, Nicky, out for a walk and she slipped past me at the door and would not come back to me (we'd only had her overnight). I went to the Eisenhardts' and found her there but she still wouldn't come to me. Ian and I walked and drove all over but didn't see her again, so I e-mailed and phoned people and we went on to church, hoping that she would come back later. Half-way through church, my cellphone vibrated, so I ducked out and answered it. It was Nicci Graves, telling me she had found her a couple miles down VanderMark Road and had put her in our house. Of course she let Nicci walk right up to her, at that point.
Since then, we've kept her on a leash or in the house and we're hoping she'll settle in with us. She's quite sweet, but LOVES to run, and doesn't seem to be afraid of any other animal -- only of humans (she started out at a farm, and the third owner says she was afraid of anyone with a hat at first). After the farm, she stayed in Angelica with the mother of the guy we got her from. He lives in Canaseraga. She's only five, but has already had quite a life, we gather. We all took a hike on Sunday on the trails, and she was ready to mix it up with the dog three times her size, that came by with its owners, and would have charged the four horseback riders we encountered, too, if I hadn't held her back. There are pictures of us with her at the Shutterfly link I sent to all of you, in the "Clarkes Latter 2007" album. Right now, she's curled up at my feet . . .
Last week I was trying to battle a cold (and it got the better of me for several days), but I worked some on preparing to make a foundation so we can close in under our west porch. Have any of you heard "An un-medicated cold lasts a week; a medicated one only seven days"? I'm trying to finish that up this week, along with hanging sheetrock in our "new" bathroom downstairs, and get wood stoves ready for the season. I've still got to get the chainsaw ready so I can start cutting and splitting wood for the stoves. And make meals and do some cleaning and try to generate some income . . .
Thursday morning of last week I woke up having been dreaming that Woody Allen was in Alfred and had bought a place. We were both at the Old West Food Company bar, talking, and I offered to check on the place for him while he was elsewhere, and he said something like "lets look at these insurance policies" and turned to do something on his i-Book. Then there were lots of young folks doing some some sort of drinking game, and I woke up . . . so I'm rubbing elbows with famous people in my sleep, at least. I'm working on a poem that was partially formed another morning when I awoke, about the old homestead at 33 S. Main.
On Sunday evening just past, we were invited over to Donna and Keith Rogers' house, as we often are when her mother is in town. When we got there, I talked with Frances about Dad and she said she was sad to have missed him several times when she's visited, because of him being in SC, etc. We talked about how it was John who called us the "Walking Clocks" and Mel picked on him for it. She reminded me about Bert and Don running together for a while, and we talked about Mary Wells and her Dad, and about Mary's brother who died. Did any of you know him? Would he have been Paul Hummel, Jr.? Anyway, she said Mary had to be the boy of the family, as a result. She recollected that Dad and Paul went hunting and I reminded her of Dad riding up to take salt to the cattle at glacier elevation. I need to write Mary a long letter, and Bucky, too. Frances said Mary was the only one left who remembered the Boulder folks taking down the rock and windows and everything, from the first S.D.B. Church that was on Broadway, and moving it all to Arapahoe and Ninth by the wagonload, and setting it back up. It was good to get to reminisce with her and Donna. There are pictures I took of her and the others, at the Shutterfly site.
Today our ambulance was toned to Doris Simpson's house, as the Meals On Wheels deliverer had found her on her porch, having fallen. He helped her up and apparently reported it to someone else, who called 911. Once we have been toned, we are required by law to find her, evaluate her, and either transport her to a hospital or get her to sign off. Doris was in Dad's class or the one after his, in school.
Her house is really full of stuff and it's a wonder she gets around. The last time our ambulance was toned, she got embarrassed and angry and the police tried to get Social Services involved. She was embarrassed again today, but relented to being carried out (there was no way we could get a gurney or anything in there) by me, after her heart was checked and her doctor called.
I shudder to think of what's in store. Her nearest relative is a brother in Colorado, and there are things in her house that were our Cousin Floy's (Doris has told many times how when Floy died there was someone skimming her diaries and tossing them into a burning barrel and laughing). Floy was an "odd bird" who had lots of animals and lots of rumors spoken of her, but she was Mary Veola Kenyon's niece, Forrest Babcock's daughter, and I have a few of her things, including pictures of her. Floy's house on Reynolds Street was originally willed to Gram, but a later will left it to someone else, and it's now one of the ones the Simpsons own and operate as student housing. So I'm going to write to her brother and see what can be done and what arrangements have been made, as her health is quite uncertain right now. I can too easily see someone hired to clean out her house, laughing and tossing Doris' things into a barrel. And today is her birthday.

More soon.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

All kinds of changes happening

Hello Family,
I have lots of changes to tell you about and/or to respond to:
First, Bert says she wants a new computer now, so I'm talking with her about getting a laptop and helping her set it up. I'm hoping to help her not feel helpless or incapable or whatever else she is feeling. And I'm hoping our communications will be more regular and "fruitful" as a result.
Second, I have been posting lots of pictures at Shutterfly and will be sending a link to everyone.
Third, I have applied for several jobs recently, including one that I had interviewed for not that long ago and is open again: Alfred U. Equestrian Center Facilities Manager. I don't know if I have even a snowball's chance this time, but I'm applying. I sincerely think I've been black-balled at A.U., and have been thinking more and more that I should just sell books on-line, write articles and try to get them published (or work with my friend and self-publish), sell photographs, and start a sustainability and biodiversity center, here on our land. But for some reason, I'm still applying for jobs working for other people. Inexplicable. Or maybe inscrutable. Just like I root for the Denver Broncos and Boston Red Sox, even though I think it's mostly a waste of time and all the hoopla insults me. I have often said I do such things in spite of my own better judgement.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The latest from Would Knot and the 33 homestead

It has been at least a month since I've posted anything at this blog, so I thought I should update things a bit. Here are some highlights:

Jeanette's mother came for a visit August 21 to 26, and I had my Endoveinous Laser Treatment of a varicose vein, on the 22nd. We celebrated Ian's birthday on the weekend when Dot was here, when several of his friends stayed overnight. It rained, so they ended up sleeping inside instead of out in tents -- a prudent choice, I think, since there was quite a bit of lightning.

On August 28th, I discovered the van's radiator was leaking. The repairs on that cost over $600.00 and put the kaibosh on going to Mike and Sue's for their fundraiser. It was especially unnerving when I found that it was leaking again after the repairs were effected -- that was the next day, when I went and filed the Small Estates Procedure Act affidavit, making myself Voluntary Administrator of Dad's estate.

On September 3rd, I drove Ian and his friend Rein to Allegany State Park, where we took quite a hike over a hill and back, and then toured several bear caves. They are cavities between very large boulders left by glacial effects. The guys (and some other tourists we "hooked up" with for a while) had some hesitation about getting into the really small spaces, but I had a blast, all the way. One of them is a room-sized cavity with high ceiling, and entry only by stooping down and crawling in on hands and knees. Another is a narrow "hall" only a foot or two wide but mostly standing height, with right-angle turns every 10 or 15 feet. In a couple places, you actually have to turn sideways to get through. I might have had more fun than the "young" guys, but you can ask Ian about that. I'll post those pictures and give you a link to them.

I officially applied for MedicAid for Dad, beginning on September 6th. I later had to fax 13 more pages of information to them, after letting them copy as many as that when I was first there, in person.

I took Ian to Foster Lake for one of Betsy Brooks' bird-banding demonstrations on September 8th, and Ian was thrilled to hold and release an American Redstart and a Catbird. I'll be posting the pictures and video give you links.

Tim Clarke came for a couple days (Sept. 15-16). He and I went to Keuka Lake and saw Dick Sands and his daughter, but he had put his boats away for the season, so we sailed on my little 11-foot Whisper boat. We spent a little time with Carol and Barb and had a nice dinner before he went on to see his brother Steve and head back home.

We've made a little progress on preparing to close in under our west porch, and on setting up our living room and bedroom downstairs.

We had left the RV at 31 South Main for a while and got one serious nibble from Ben Palmer on buying it, but he is not ready to do anything about it yet. I saw Kate Foshee (Kathy Frechette) on Jude's porch Sept. 30 and stopped to talk, and she offered to let us put the RV on her eBay site and try to sell it, but I haven't gotten that done yet.

On September 26th, I drove to Ithaca, met Dorothy Scorelle, and was treated to dinner at "Ling Ling". Then we went to Cornell to hear Bill McKibben speak on "building a movement to combat global warming". I'll be posting a blog entry on that, at my "What's really on my mind" blog, if you're interested.

Carol spent some time sorting and removing her things from 33, at the end of September. She came down for a couple days when she needed to feel near Dad for a while. We had dinner at Cafe Za in honor of her birthday, a couple days before the actual day. Cathy came for her Alpha Kappa Omicron reunion just after that, and we got a little time to talk. That was when Jeanette discovered a painful place above her dental bridge. The following Monday, she had to have a hole drilled through the bridge and tooth so an abcess could drain. She's scheduled to have a root canal tomorrow, so we'll be spending Columbus Day with her in Rochester, getting that done and having her car checked for a noise that could be a problem in the front differential.

On October 1, I received notification from MedicAid that they had determined Dad had "excess assets" and was ineligible for their assistance. The case worker was very nice, but we were unable to find any way to make the numbers come out to our advantage. Barb has offered to help with appealing that. I'm going to see if I can apply for "charity assistance" next. I think I'll be able to do so at St. James Hospital and maybe Jones Hospital, but Packer Hospital is the one that said we couldn't file for that, posthumously. Our lawyer didn't know that we could file for MedicAid posthumously. Our CPA spoke with a lawyer-friend of his, and he feels we should create a Limited Liability Corporation, using the house (33) and stocks, with each sibling being a shareholder (with Bert probably bowing out). That's as far as I've gotten on that. I will be negotiating with each hospital, and doing so a little more optimistically after hearing on the news the other day that haggling is quite effective, since hospitals would rather get something than nothing. That was the case with Dad's surgery at Roswell Park Hospital.

A few days ago, I played just enough of the video of Dad's memorial service to know that I should be able to take what I typed up and edit it to reflect the extemporaneous editing I did on that day. Several people have asked for copies, and I'll post the "final" copy on the blog, too. When I was working on it, I changed it and re-posted it so many times that you would have had to check almost every day for a week or two, to track the changes.

Mike and Sue and all 27 of their "kids", and Carol and Barb, came on the afternoon of October 3rd. We had wanted to give them a send-off, but since they were only going to be here overnight, we didn't plan a big deal. They thanked us for that, saying they had had lots of send-offs recently, and just needed to get some rest before they drove all the way from here to the other side of Chicago. They needed to get to Sue's uncles without getting stuck in traffic, with 27 hot dogs, so we spent some time with them and the dogs, had a nice picnic meal, talked a bit, and they went to bed.
I was back up at 2:30 to make coffee for them, and they were back on the road. I hope the next leg of their trip was ok. At least they have an i-Book and I was able to show Sue how to connect to our wireless InterNet, as they plan to answer e-mail and update the website from Whitehorse, Yukon (they're staying in friend's cabin while they train for the race, and hear that there's wi-fi in town).

Ian just LOVED the dogs, and so did the neighbor kids who came up (and all us "grown-ups". LOTS of people told me they would have loved to see the dogs, too, but I've had to explain that it would have been too much to ask them to go through all those introductions and questions. Mike and Sue wouldn't have gotten any sleep, but I sure hope they can stop here for a week when they come back through!!!

If you didn't see my article (about Mike and Sue, among other things) in the Alfred Sun, I'll send you a copy.

We talked a bit with Carol and Cathy about grave markers at Alfred Rural Cemetery: I am going to have the year of Dad's death put on his and Mom's marker (they bring a stencil and sand-blaster to the cemetery, to do that). Jeanette and I and Carol (and Cathy, too, I think) are talking about getting plots paid for and markers placed, soon. I know Sherm is figuring on a space next to Great Aunt Grace and Dora and George's infant and Mary Kenyon Maxson Babcock's sister, Augusta. We might realize some discount if we do them all at once, so please let me know what you'd like to do. I believe the cost of a plot is about $300.00 (and it can be shared by two people), and the cost of markers varies with material and complexity of design. Dad and Mom's cost a couple hundred, I think.

More soon,

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday night's dream.

I had the strangest dream last night: In the dream, I must have been at a S.D.B. General Conference, because I was moving around from building to building, at one point running before dawn to a stone building, running up stone steps and going inside to get in a sauna and get a shower; at another point I was sitting in a dining area or bar having a conversation and suddenly realized I was talking with Dad -- there he was, sitting erect and carrying on an engaging and intelligent conversation with me -- and I turned to him (thinking to myself "he looks very real but I know I'm dreaming") and said "But Dad, you died July 11th". I can't remember if I kept dreaming after that or not. Not at all frightening, but very strange. That's what I woke up to.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Love to see you at the Tsuga fundraiser

Dear family,
I have been working on the memory book and thinking about Dad. I am glad to know that I am not the only sibling in this family that has and is having strong feelings in the wake of our father dying. Not that it changes how I feel but it is comforting to know that I am not alone. It was really nice to have Doug, Jeanette and Ian surprise us with a visit last Sunday. I got to play with Ian working with clay and "Sculpey". All of us went out to eat at a lakefront restaurant in Penn Yan. It was a relaxed time and so nice to be with family. I hope that we will see many of you in New Hampshire over Labor Day weekend. Barb and I plan to be at the fund raiser for Tsuga. See you there?!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What to tackle next?

Hello Siblings and Nephews and Nieces,

It was wonderful to see almost all of you, and I only wish I'd had more time with each of you. I hope we can do a better job of getting together in the future, and that it won't be just for sad reasons when we do.

Jeanette and I got things pretty well taken care of after everyone left. Sherm helped with some of that, and we also took care of a bunch of business during the week he was here. For Jeanette's birthday, we (including Sherm) went out to lunch and dinner, so Sherm finally got to go to Cafe Za. Sherm seemed to find plenty to talk about with several of our friends, and we sure enjoyed having him around. He came with us to Wellsville, to check out the book-store we're interested in taking over. We'll see if we can work a reasonable deal . . .

Since then, Jeanette went through all the cards and wrote thank-yous for all the memorials that were sent. Ian has had a chance to spend time with some of his friends and is going to a birthday party today. I got to go hiking one day (I was going to go for three days, but I had gone for a ride on my bicycle the day before, and cut my heel, so I let it heal for a day before I went hiking). I have been trying to get bank accounts, stock, life insurance and Dad's estate details worked out. It's hard to know which to do first, but we're working on it. I'll be posting more stuff to the blog soon, and will hand off a bunch of cards and letters to Carol sometime soon, for the memory book. We'll be checking out the video from Dad's memorial this weekend.

With some sense of return to "normalcy" we have had more time to think about what has happened, and it has been difficult not to be overcome with sadness, sometimes at the oddest provocations.

This week, I had my first teeth cleaning since 1999 and Jeanette had to go to work for a day. Jeanette's mother is coming Tuesday, the day after I have my varicose vein removed by laser. Shortly after that, it's back to school for Jeanette and Ian.

We hope you are all well.


Monday, August 13, 2007


The postcard from Amanda was so right on. Dad didn't have a mean bone in his body. He was actually pretty savvy.
I think I am coming out of the shock stage and on to really missing him. I looked at a calendar to establish a date for a customer's reply to me, and without thinking put the date at August 4. Then it hit me, what August 4th has come to mean. I think we put our hearts into the memorial and celebration for Dad. How did the recording come out, Doug? Have you had a chance to listen to all or any part?
Yesterday, I finally finished unpacking from all the traveling during July. I did laundry and dishes, filled out orders for honey and a Memory Book for the Jewish New Year and actually wrote 2 thank yous to friends for condolences, called friends in Shirley I haven't seen for ages, took out the garbage. A normal Sunday.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

where is home?

You can't know (you can guess) how good the week in Alfred was for me. Doug, Jeanette, Ian and I did stuff together and separately until I left yesterday morning. The bus ride home went fine.

Usually when I visit Alfred, I'm not there long enough for us to settle into any reality, or even faux reality. That is, I don't have stuff to do myself and Doug and Jeanette feel they should spend time with me, so we circle around each other, flailing a bit. I stayed the whole week up on the hill though we spent some time at 33. The settling-in convinced me, along with nice chats with Lee and Walter and Elizabeth, that I could find a place for me in Alfred. I hope that Doug and Jeanette also felt that last week was somewhat real, and dreamy too.

I've been meandering the streets of NYC in a bit of a daze, not quite connecting. Since they did the reimaging of our computers in the office last week, I don't have the magic formula to get onto my office machine. The computers in the reference area are already signed on so I can go to an internet site such as gmail/blogger.

As we were waiting for the bus, we chatted with a black guy, also named Douglas, who was also waiting for the bus. He and his family have tried to figure out some of their family history (West Indies and U.K.) so naturally history buffs perked up their ears. Doug, the other Douglas doesn't have email but his street address:
Douglas Logwood
3423 Carpenter Rd., Lot 64
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
I gave him your street address which I hope is ok. Fair trade, and all that.

Friday, August 10, 2007

postcard from amanda snyder

Hi Clarke family--
Back in the 1970s when Dave was Exec. of the Bd. of Christian Ed., I wondered how a Christian could believe people who I knew were "con" people. Dave said: "Just because you are a Christian doesn't mean you have to be naive."
With Christ's love,
Amanda Snyder

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Program for memorial service

Dear family,
I am beginning work now on the program for the memorial. I plan to use 8.5 x 11 bifold format and put a photo of Dad on the front with DOB and DOD with words like "In Memorial". The interior panels will hold order of service. I am hoping to compose a photo collage for the back cover or maybe a poem or tribute. I will be looking for a suitable card stock to print it on and use my computer printer at home. Please let me know about program details that I can list. Thanks.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I've re-arranged it and cut some bits.

The story of our father’s childhood has an idyllic ring to it, in spite of a number of tragic events that are part of that story:
Dad told us of making boats with his brother and sailing them in the cistern in the basement and on Keuka Lake, of trips to visit kinfolk in Rhode Island, and of working with his brother to make maple syrup and horseradish to sell. He told us of the private telephone line between the Scholes’ home and their own, of gashing his knee on the night his grandfather died, and of the bridge across the creek which allowed family members to go between the houses in which his extended family stayed. He told us of being ejected from a high school championship basketball game, of his sister who he loved so dearly, and many more things that I would love to share with you. I want very much to write a family history, because the list I’ve just given you barely scratches the surface. I’m glad I paid attention when he told stories, but wish I’d done so even more.
Dad’s father died of influenza, after already being weakened by Tuberculosis, when Dad was only five months old. This was especially tragic because his father, Ford Clarke, had been very active as a scoutmaster and Professor of Sociology, and lived a renaissance life for only 32 years. Ford had nearly died in a bobsled accident on Waterwells Road, and had told a friend to tell his future wife that he loved her, if he died. When he did die, the Alfred University class of 1921 erected a fountain on the village green in his memory.
Ford’s father, our great-grandfather, was also removed from Dad’s life by tragic circumstances, so most of Dad’s childhood influences came from his mother’s kin. Much of Dad’s fatherly influence came from his grandfather, A.B. Kenyon. A.B. had grown up in Rhode Island and was training to be a carpenter, but his parents had sent him to Alfred for college, and he ended up becoming a teacher and University administrator. He lived in Alfred for the rest of his life. Dad told us of all the many things A.B. built, from the house at 33 South Main Street to the garage at 150 North Main Street, and from the pipe “intercom” between the upstairs and downstairs apartments, to a desk with a secret compartment. Dad’s mother and brother and sister, and his grandparents all lived in the same house for much of his childhood – that house which A.B. and A.B.’s father-in-law had built in the 1870s. Grandmother and the three kids also lived in apartments in houses on Park Street and Terrace Street as circumstances changed, but they always returned to the old homestead on South Main Street.
Other men exercised fatherly influence on Dad, especially his step-father, Ahva John Clarence Bond, who was also an educator and administrator, but this came later in his childhood. Dad’s decision to enter ministry may have been prompted by his landlord when he was a student at Kansas State, but it was shaped by his step-father, who advocated ecumenism (the dictionary definition of which is “a movement promoting worldwide unity among religions through greater cooperation and improved understanding”). “Father Bond” as Dad called him, also introduced camping as a way of connecting people to each other, their Creator, and their environment. He also wrote splendid poetry.
A cousin and family friend, Lloyd Watson, took enough interest in Dad to buy him a flute. He taught Dad to play it, and helped him build a wooden box to protect it. You see the flute resting in one box here, but there is a second box beside it. You might wonder why. The reason is that our father was human. He made some sort of error in cutting out the dovetail joints in the first box, so there are small gaps in the joints. Dr. Watson was the man who had been the first in the world to inseminate a queen honey bee with instruments after being told he should take on some other achievable doctoral project. He had to figure out how to draw glass capillary tubes to finer diameters than had previously been done, in order to accomplish it, but he had done so in spite of “safe” advice, so we know he was an exacting and persistent man. He insisted that Dad start over and fabricate all the dovetail joints perfectly. The second box is really beautiful, but Dad evidently kept the first one to remind himself of something. Dr. Watson’s persistence was – in some measure – transmitted to our father. In his high school years, Dad worked in Dr. Watson’s apiary, and set out for Kansas State to study entomology before coming back to Alfred and entering the ministry.
Dad was raised mostly by his mother, and to her he gave much credit. She deserves it. She was a kind, generous, thrifty, hard-working, unpretentious, lovely woman who outlived two husbands and most of her friends and relations, and never knew an enemy. She had a wonderful sense of humor that was never expended for anyone else’s detriment, but Dad did inherit her Victorian stoicism. Dad endured the pain of a broken foot that was never set correctly, for fifty-five years, taking nothing more than the occasional aspirin to alleviate it.
Dad’s sister picked up in Sociology where their father left off, and was a rising star in her profession when she died of surgical complications. She was an especially unique woman, and we might not have known of her largest struggle had not our grandmother finally spoken of it, fifty years after the fact. Dad’s “big sis” was the one who mortified her brothers by stripping to her underwear – which I’m sure, in the 1930s, covered her from ankles to chin – and joining them and Alex Landis and her boys in the creek one hot summer day, down at “The Ledges” on McHenry Valley Creek.
Dad was valedictorian of his high school class and graduated cum laude and with departmental honors, from college. He was a good calligrapher and was very capable at designing and drawing things. Dad could make things from wood, starting with sailboats that were blown across the surface of the cistern in the basement of the family home, and ending with his help in building our house out at Five Corners. He bought a camping trailer in Colorado in the 1950s and adapted it to our family’s needs, several times. He called the trailer Jonah, and I own it now.
Dad did not assume that his religious beliefs granted him any favor with the Almighty. His beliefs were things that were continually scrutinized and re-evaluated for weakness. His faith was a contract which obliged him to a lifetime of diligent labor, and he fulfilled his contract, just as he did his marriage vows. He spent days and nights in anguish, wrestling wisdom from the events and choices he confronted, and he pushed his lean, long-boned body and his perspicacious mind far beyond the endurance of other mere mortals. I know he got at least some of this drive from his father, because Dad’s uncle Clarence wrote a letter saying “Last summer I thot [sic] many times that he [Ford] was trying to do many times more than I could try to do without wearing out.” Dad was a man who, once seated, could nap almost anywhere, anytime, but he was – until only perhaps six months ago – the last person to go to bed and the first one to arise in the morning.
Dad believed in God, but ascribed both male and female attributes to God. He accepted scientific understanding of evolution and other natural processes. I think he came to believe that natural processes are not just evidence of God’s presence in a Universe larger than our imagination, but that they are the very workings of the mind of God. He would not limit God to any less than all that the Universe embodies. He did not believe in Satan, because he felt such a belief let humans off the hook for their own weaknesses and hampered people from responding creatively to their shortcomings. He understood that people are not perfect and he made allowance for all kinds of faults, but he also believed that people must always be perfecting themselves with God’s assistance and in company with other humans. He understood that philosophy and theology are methods of increasing our collective understanding of the Universe and our role in it, much like the scientific method. The book that Dad was trying to write was all about trying to understand more broadly how individuals are responsible FOR themselves and TO each other, and how to use their “moral energy” to improve relationships. I hope I can do him justice in editing and publishing his manuscript.
Dad’s faith was not something he put on, just on week-ends. It was integral to his being. It was not anything he paraded in public or used as a weapon against others, nor was it something that placed him above anyone else.
Dad claimed “scotch” heritage, but, from all I’ve been able to learn, it may have been more due to growing up as the child of an extraordinary single parent during the Great Depression than to biological legacy. Certainly all of his ancestors were a thrifty sort, and Dad could take something that someone else would throw away, and make something useful of it, from a plastic jug that ended up as a lamp shade, to rubber innertubes that he cut up and used like bungee cords
Dad epitomized what is best about the word liberal – that is to say, generous. He worked tirelessly for all kinds of people; he gave his scarce money to causes that seemed important, from workers’ rights to wind power; he gave his time to helping others, from visiting people in nursing homes and jails, to building houses. He worked many hours at the Harvest Center in Prattsburgh which provided resources for migrant workers. He delivered Christmas turkeys and gifts and clothes and food to those workers for many years, and he managed the Alfred Food Pantry for a long time. He took care of his mother and aunt, and his cousin, “Mike” Kenyon and Annamay Langworthy and Bob Place and our mother and Ethel and plenty more that I don’t dare take time to list. His efforts ranged from international peace initiatives to helping Alfred neighbors get along.
Dad was a creative thinker who often went over people’s heads in the ways he could associate concepts and layers of meaning. He could write and read a eulogy for even someone that everyone in the audience might know was “kind of a stinker” but do so honestly, without sugar-coating or ignoring the person’s weaknesses, but in a way which honored their goodness and integrity in whatever measure it could be found.
He was often called upon to remove bees from homes, and saw it as an act of reconciliation to take the bees and set them up in a hive in a place where they were welcome. My siblings may not know this, but if the Low-level Radioactive Waste Disposal Siting Commission had taken a different route on that cold day in April, 1990, Dad would have been one of the ones chained to a bridge, preventing radioactive waste from being dumped in this county. He was perhaps happier to let his good friends Clarence and Warren and Bill and Alex get their names in the paper, but he was ready to do his part.
We, his family, have perhaps sometimes felt that we came second to neighbors and strangers, but Dad was only living up to the commitments he made. We knew he loved us and we know it still. We know that he struggled with his choices like we do, and that he filled his life with living for all kinds of people.
I believe Dad gave a sermon from this very pulpit many years ago that used Matthew 23:11-12 as the text, which says: ”But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted”. Dad spoke of water as a way of understanding this teaching. He said that water, under the influence of gravity, is like the good and righteous woman or man under the influence of God’s will for humanity: it seeks the lowest place for itself. He understood how useful humans can be if they, like water, will wash away dirt and contaminants, and transport nutrients as they seek the lowest place. That was how he lived.
Dad was an optimist, but he was much more than that. Dad knew that the air in the “empty” part of the glass contains water in the gaseous state. Our father was not just an optimist who believed in people upon whom everyone else had long-since given up. He was an anti-cynic. When an organization called “Another Mother For Peace” produced posters that said “War is not healthy for children and other living things” he felt this was too much a negative statement, so he made posters that said “Home-grown peace showers its fruit on every Neighbor” and gave them away.
Dad was a sometimes paradoxical man: he was a pacifist who sometimes used a rifle and bow and arrows; he was raised a teetotaler, but learned to like wine in his fifties because his friend – probably the first black man in the nation to do so – opened a winery. Dad was a man with some conservative values but was also a man with willingness to think broadly and reconcile many paradoxes without losing his integrity. He was trained in evangelism, but resisted efforts to evangelize that placed more emphasis on results than on relationships. He was a man who continued to adapt his thinking to new information and new ways of understanding the world, continually adding to and deepening his wisdom. He could usually see all sides of an issue, to the extent that choices were sometimes extremely difficult for him to make.
By the end of his life, I believe Dad was virtually unable to express his deepest feelings, because he was so practiced at adjusting himself to others’ needs and desires. He could express frustration, but he almost always aimed it at himself, sometimes taking blame for things that no human can rightly assume. But that was because he refused to stop trying to find the good in people.
Dad loved to swim and sail and walk, and even walked with his grandson and me on a short stretch of the Finger Lakes Trail, last September, but the foot he broke in 1952 that never healed properly kept slowing him down, over the years. He had been known in earlier years, to ride a horse without getting saddle-sore, much to the consternation of a family friend who wanted to tease him about it.
Dad and Mom had talked about buying passage on a freighter and traveling around the world, but never got around to it. After Mom died and he married Ethel, they traveled around to see friends and family for as long as they could.
I think Dad’s chief pleasures, after doing something for someone else, were talking with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, admiring the good fortune of a friend or family member, eating a meal at a restaurant (his treat), ice cream, and naps.
Dad spent his life worrying more about the people around him than about himself. He loved his life, but he didn’t cling to it. He took advice ascribed to Jesus: “Greater love hath no man than that he give his life for his friends”. Dad counted every person he encountered among his friends, and he spent every day giving his life for them.
We, his children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and friends, know Dad earned some relaxation, but he kept pushing himself until he could do no more. When he could do no more for someone else, taking care of his own needs gave him little to do, but he insisted on doing it. When he began to have difficulty taking care of all his own needs, he just wasn’t interested in going on. We wanted him to live as long as he could, but he didn’t know how to live unless he was useful to someone else.
Dad, especially in the last few years, sometimes mused upon how the world might be different had he continued studying and working in entomology and carrying on Dr. Watson’s work of “Building a Better Bee”, but I hope he was well pleased, at the end.
Dad had a fierce independence, even though he yielded his own desires to others’ needs and desires most of the time. When he lay for a week and a half with a broken femur and then after a partial hip replacement, last month, he would not ask for morphine. We had to ask for it for him. We wished he would stay on longer with us, but I think he chose death over dependence. He chose the manner of his dying, in spite of us.
When we were quite certain Dad was in his last hours, he had a faraway look in his eyes. I told him I hoped that what he was seeing was a sunny day with a good sailing breeze and worker bees busily harvesting pollen and nectar from buckwheat blossoms (buckwheat honey was one of his favorites). I told him I hoped that he saw autumn leaves in sunset colors and that they were pressed into books and cherished, as our mother used to do. I told him that perhaps now he could go and be in the company of our mother and his sister and mother and brother, and all the others he out-lived here. I told him I hoped he could go meet the father he had never known. I told him his was a much-deserved rest.
I hope that our father, who art in heaven, is in a place like that, for if it was ever appropriate to be said, it should be said of him: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”.

Friday, July 27, 2007

My latest message to the famn damily

Hi Everyone,

We have 50 Stearns chicken dinners scheduled to be picked up before 5:00 on Sabbath, for (mostly) family to consume at the Parish House.

We need to know what to expect as far as lodging for folks.

We figured the Baums could go to 33, or perhaps to the Prophets if no-one else needs their house. What will your arrivals and departures be?

Carol and Barb will bring their RV and park at our place, right? Also bringing David and Star and maybe Jim Crumb. They may return the same day, but C&B stay?

The Tim Clarkes will stay at Oglesbees, arriving Friday and returning Sunday.

Steve and Bobbe will be here only for the service and perhaps the reception.

Likewise the Edwardses, Bob and Lois.

Gwynneth (elder) will come with Jim and Rima, and maybe Ruby, staying at Oglesbees.

Gwyn (younger) will come with Max and 2 children, not sure where they'll stay yet.

Sherm will come to the hill until after the service, then he'll stay at 33 for the next week.

Bert, you and Mike and Sue will probably come together, but don't know when nor for how long. Mike and Sue, how about the pop-up camper, at our place? Bert in a sit-up seat in the RV, or our recliner? Sherm in the RV with Bert.

Kim and Brian will probably drive their own car -- how long will you stay?
Would you like to stay in the RV with Bert and Sherm, or at Donna's, or the Prophets' house?



Thursday, July 26, 2007


Since I didn't chime in on this sooner, just thought I'd mention that I'm in favor of the the idea of the Fire Dept. folks ushering in uniform.


Memorial Program and Sleeping Arrangements

Hello Everyone,

I think the obituaries look excellent.  You did a great job of editing both versions, Doug.

Staying at 33 sounds good to the Baumgartens.

As far as the program, Mom and I were planning on doing two songs together, Eili Eili and Ki Heim Chayeinu.  I'm going to check on optimal transliterations;  are we planning to put translations in the program?  I plan to speak and I believe she does as well.

For the original piece I'm working on, it will just be me and my guitar (or backup CD, depending upon how it works out;  Doug, I will contact you about technicalities).  Bert, I appreciate your offer to play piano, and I will talk to you about other pieces for Vespers, etc.;  I definitely want to do something that incorporates flute for later.

I have expressed concerns to Mom about fitting everything in, and I'd like to get everyone's feedback as far as both the order and whether we should try to fit everything into the service or save some of it.

I propose that we sing Ki Heim Chayeinu after Judy Frechette, and then Eili Eili during the "Other music or tribute" section.  I'm not sure I want to do my song right after I speak (and I may well not be in a condition to right then), so maybe we can put it near the end, perhaps in the reminiscence section before Pastor Pat.  If we're doing the New Orleans-type progression to the more joyous material, it will fit better toward the end.

When do we need to complete the program order and text by?

Love to All,

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

short obit. ($362.50 was too much)

This is the version I'm sending to the Hornell Tribune. The long version would have cost $362.50 to run in that paper. The long one should run in the Alfred Sun this week, and in the September Sabbath Recorder. Now I'm going to bed.

Reverend David Stillman Clarke died in Sayre, PA., on July 11, 2007. David was born to Agnes Kenyon Clarke and Ford Stillman Clarke on March 3, 1919 in Hornell, N.Y. David’s father died from Influenza later that year, so David and his two older siblings were raised by their mother and their grandparents, Alpheus B. and M. Veola Kenyon.
After graduating as class valedictorian from Alfred Union High School in 1937, David attended Kansas State University and studied entomology for one year. In 1938, David transferred to Alfred University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts from Alfred University in 1941. In Alfred, David met Frances Catherine Polan. He married her on May 31, 1942.
David spent one semester at the Graduate Theological School at Oberlin College before returning to Alfred, earning a Bachelor of Divinity from the Graduate Theological School at Alfred University in 1944. He was Missionary Pastor to the Seventh Day Baptist Church at Jackson Center, OH for the next year and a half. David was ordained a Minister of the Gospel on June 7, 1944, just six months before the Clarkes’ first child was born.
In 1945, David took a position as Assistant Missionary Secretary of the Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society, necessitating a move to Westerly, R.I. The Clarkes’ first son was born in there in 1946, then a daughter in 1949, and another in 1950. David was promoted to Executive Secretary of the Missionary Society in 1951.
From 1951 to 1955, David served as pastor of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in New Auburn, WI. He was also active in an effort to start a church in the Twin Cities. In 1955 David was called to the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Boulder, CO., where the Clarkes’ second son was born. David was active in programming for a camp operated by the church. David next served as pastor, from 1961 to 1963, of the Seventh Day Baptist Church at North Loup, NE., and was involved in the camping program there. In 1963, David was called to serve the Seventh Day Baptist Church in his hometown, Alfred, N.Y., where his eldest daughter was at college. He continued in this capacity until 1970.
David was Executive Secretary of the Seventh Day Baptist Board of Christian Education from 1970 to 1976. In this capacity, he worked to create and promote resources for Christian camping and church school programs. He edited the denomination’s Bible Study guide, The Helping Hand, in 1974.
From then on, David and Frances cared for his elderly mother and great-aunt, then an aging cousin and several family friends. With all their children grown, the Clarkes took in student boarders from China and Tunisia. David served as caretaker and trustee of Camp Harley Sutton, and continued to be active in church and community affairs. He did volunteer work with the Allegany County Office for the Aging, managed a Food Pantry and helped his youngest son build his house. Cancer ended Fran’s life in 1998, after fifty-six years of marriage.
David married Ethel Davis Dickinson two years later, and had moved to her home in Fort Mill, SC., but returned to Alfred when she moved into assisted living, in 2006. David worked on the manuscripts of two books for several months until his own health began to fail, leaving editing and publication to his children.
David was pre-deceased by his father Ford Clarke, who died on August 23, 1919, his step-father Ahva John Clarence Bond, who died July 26, 1958, and his mother, Agnes Bond, who died on October 7, 1985. He was also pre-deceased by his sister Mary Roberta Clarke who died September 16, 1939, and his brother, Ford Kenyon Clarke, who died April 12, 1999. His wife, Frances died on April 19, 1998 but his second wife, Ethel, survives him. He is survived by all five of his children, Roberta Ellis of Queensbury, N.Y., D. Sherman Clarke of New York, N.Y., Cathy (Bruce) Baumgarten of Syosset, N.Y., Carol (Barbara Crumb) Clarke of Branchport, N.Y., and G. Douglas (Jeanette) Clarke of Alfred Station, N.Y. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Kim (Brian) McKay of Cambridge, N.Y., Michael (Sue) Ellis of Rumney, N.H., Michael Baumgarten and Ilana Baumgarten, both of Syosset, N.Y., and Ian Clarke of Alfred Station, N.Y., and three great-grandchildren, John, Kate, and Lucy McKay of Cambridge, N.Y.
A service of remembrance and celebration will be held at 1:00 on August 4th, 2007, at the 1st Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred, N.Y. A reception will follow in the adjoining Parish House. Interment will be at Alfred Rural Cemetery, at a later time. Condolences and other communications may be sent to the family at 33 South Main Street, Alfred, NY 14802 or In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the 1st Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred, New York, the Seventh Day Baptist Board of Christian Education, or the Alfred Rural Cemetery Association.

Copy of e-mail I just sent

Hi Bert and everybody else,

I'm answering these points with what we'd come up with here, not as fixed choices.

I would love to have Alec play something else, but haven't gotten any specific suggestions otherwise and haven't had the time to find something else. Got an idea?

For a hymn, I had thought of This Is My Father's World, but we could do Dear Lord and Father . . . and Pam Bucher will accompany sung hymn(s) on the piano.

As a prelude, I've asked Diane to play a series of hymns that we won't sing to, and she's good for that -- she seems to have the most trouble when people are trying to sing along.

Larry Philbrick will play another piece on the organ during the service, as a reflective moment.

I had thought we might use one of Dad's prayers, but I haven't found one that works, yet. I may have seen the paraphrase of James yesterday.

I'm working on a tribute that I will read.

Yep, I will be fine for a while and then I'll get all choked up, and then be ok again.

Arrangements for lunch between church and the service are pretty well set (subs and stuff in the Parish House kitchen). Same for the reception refreshments (cookies, mints, etc.), and we'll hire someone to do the supper (Cafe Za, or Stearns chicken?).

At the reception, I thought we'd have pictures of Dad, the laptop with a projector showing a slide-show of pictures, his flute and the boxes he made for it (I'll tell that story), and some other items for people to see.

We'll greet people in the second parlor, and the food will be set up in the far corner of the dining room, so that people will be drawn into the rooms and not get backed up in the church or outside the Parish House, etc.

If there's room in it, I thought we'd use the guest book from 33, for people to sign.

If the weather is nice, I thought we'd touch off a bonfire and hang out in our yard, after supper. People can camp out here or head to the Prophets' or Rogers' houses.

The order of service we've sketched out so far looks like this:

Organ prelude (medley of hymns) by Diane Straight
Bell tolled by GDC or Ian
Greetings by Pastor Pat
Unison reading of the 23rd Psalm
Tim Bancroft's tribute
Reading of Dad's life story
Jude Frechette singing a song, or Cathy and Michael
GDC's tribute
Singing of This Is My Father's World
Other musicx or tribute?
Organ music by Larry Philbrick
Time for other reminescences
Closing thoughts by Pastor Pat
Mizpah Benediction (May the Lord watch between Me and Thee, while we are absent, one from the other"
Bagpipes (Amazing Grace?)

Let me know what you think . . .

Jeanette and Cathy worked on putting all the cards that have come in, into chronological order, and we'll make a card for each of us so we can work our respective ways through them without losing someone else's place. Cathy brought the ones that had come to her. There are lots of them between hers and what came here, and some are very nice.

When everyone comes, we thought the Baums could all stay at 33, or at the Prophets' house if preferred, Sherm can stay in our RV, Carol and Barb are bringing their RV to our place (right?), and Bert can sleep in a recliner at 33 or our place or Prophets', Mike and Sue can camp if they wish or stay in our RV, and Kim and Brian et al can stay with the Rogers. Tim and Diane will stay at Oglesbees' house in Wellsville, as will any of Steve and Bobbe's kids. Steve and Bobbe will drive home the same day. Gwynneth and anyone who comes with her will stay at Oglesbees'.

We will ask family to park at 33 or the empty lot next door. Others will park at the Montessori School or Community Bank parking lots.

Ian is better, after having a rash from sun exposure while taking amoxicillin. Jeanette is ok. The Subaru is supposed to be done tomorrow, then the Blazer goes in for repairs and the van for an oil change. I've been approved for varicose vein removal.

Sherm, I need you to go to Steuben Trust Bank and add me as a signer for the House account (some of the money from Steve Clarke and some from Cathy was deposited today).

I've also been working on notifying people who need to know. Sherm, you'll need to call the utilities (there are 800 numbers) at some point -- I was thinking we'd put the utilities in your name and convert one of Dad's checking accounts so you and I are co-owners. The "house account" is a savings account. Anyway, we'll work all that out. . .

What am I forgetting?


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This is the one that went to the Alfred Sun

Reverend David Stillman Clarke died in Sayre, Pennsylvania, at 3:25 pm on July 11, 2007. He had successfully undergone a partial hip replacement surgery after a fall, but succumbed to pneumonia.
David was born to Agnes Kenyon Clarke and Ford Stillman Clarke on March 3, 1919 in Hornell, New York, although the family resided in Alfred. David’s father died from the combined effects of Tuberculosis and Influenza later that same year, so David and his two older siblings were raised by their mother and their grandparents, Alpheus B. and M. Veola Kenyon. Kenyon was trained in carpentry in his youth, but had become an Instructor, Registrar, Dean, and (twice) Acting President of Alfred University.
Although he had never known his father, David nevertheless followed his pattern of being very active in church and civic affairs. Dr. Lloyd Watson, an Alfred University chemistry professor who was the first in the world to successfully inseminate a honey bee queen using instruments, was a father figure for David, encouraging him to do things well. David’s step-father Ahva J.C. Bond, was also a strong influence on him. Bond was Dean of the Theological School at Alfred University, was a promoter of ecumenism, and introduced outdoor camping as a form of Christian Education to the Seventh Day Baptist denomination in the 1930s. These themes continued throughout David’s life.
David worked in Dr. Watson’s apiary with Watson’s son, Huber, during his high school years. After graduating from Alfred Union High School in 1937 as class valedictorian, David hitch-hiked to Kansas State University and began studies in entomology. After one year there, David became convinced that he should enter the Christian ministry, so he hitch-hiked back to Alfred, where he met Frances Catherine Polan, whom he married on May 31, 1942. David earned his Bachelor of Arts from Alfred University in 1941 and Frances graduated the following year. She was a minister’s daughter and enthusiastically supported him in his career, as well as in numerous charitable endeavors.
David spent one semester at the Graduate Theological School at Oberlin College before returning to Alfred, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the Graduate Theological School at Alfred University in 1944. He was Missionary Pastor to the Seventh Day Baptist Church at Jackson Center, Ohio for the next year and a half. David was ordained a Minister of the Gospel on June 7, 1944, just six months before the Clarkes’ first child was born.
David next took a position as Assistant Missionary Secretary of the Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society, necessitating a move to Westerly, Rhode Island. This resulted in David, traveling alone in what must have been a blizzard, more than once getting stuck in deep snow. The Clarkes’ first son was born in Westerly in 1946, followed by a daughter in 1949 and another in 1950. David was later promoted to Executive Secretary of the Missionary Society.
From 1951 to 1955, David served as pastor of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in New Auburn, Wisconsin, where he drove a school bus, kept bee hives, and did farm work and carpentry to supplement the family income. He was also active in an effort to start a church in the Twin Cities.
In 1955 David was called to the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where the Clarkes’ second son was born. There, David helped a rancher friend, Paul Hummel, take salt to cattle grazing in the Rocky Mountains, spending a few days in the saddle and camping out. The rancher’s daughter was disappointed that David was not saddle-sore upon their return. David was active in programming for a camp operated by the church, on land donated by Hummel.
While in Boulder, the Clarke family took in a student refugee from the Hungarian Revolution who had narrowly escaped execution in his home country. They helped him learn to speak English and adapt to life in the United States. He is a successful inventor, engineer and business owner.
David next served as pastor, from 1961 to 1963, of the Seventh Day Baptist Church at North Loup, Nebraska, and was involved in the camping program there.
David was called to serve the Seventh Day Baptist Church in his hometown, Alfred, New York in 1963. His eldest daughter had already attended one year at Alfred University, living with her grandmother in the home where David had spent most of his childhood.
David weathered the tumultuous 1960s as pastor in Alfred, allowing the youth of the church to use guitars and participate in worship. David worked actively with college students, challenging them to think for themselves but respect others’ opinions in open dialogue. He directed camp sessions for all ages at Camp Harley Sutton, and was lifeguard for several camping seasons. The summer garden at the parsonage was turned into an ice-skating rink in the winter, and young people often came to visit the Clarkes.
David was President of the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference for its 1968 session, choosing the theme “Yoked by Christ In Missions” for the proceedings held at Kearney, Nebraska.
David’s father had been the first Boy Scout Master of the Alfred troop, and David was a Scout Master while living in Wisconsin, joining the Order of the Arrow. David and Frances were both active in local efforts to assist migrant workers in Steuben and Allegany counties, working with people of other faiths in this and other work. David helped found the Alfred Lions Club chapter and was an early President.
David was Executive Secretary of the Seventh Day Baptist Board of Christian Education from 1970 to 1976. In this capacity, he worked to create and promote resources for Christian camping and church school programs, as a way of connecting people of all ages with their environment, each other, and their Creator. He edited the denomination’s Bible Study guide, The Helping Hand, in 1974.
During these years, David and Frances and their youngest child moved into the house David’s great-grandfather and grandfather had built in the 1870s. This enabled them to care for his mother and aunt as each of them neared or surpassed their hundredth birthday. Then they cared for an aging cousin and several family friends.
With all their children grown, the Clarkes took in student boarders from China and Tunisia, enjoying the contact with other cultures and people. During this time David served as caretaker and trustee of Camp Harley Sutton, and continued to be active in church and community affairs. David did volunteer work with the Allegany County Office for the Aging and managed a Food Pantry.
When their youngest child returned to Alfred and began building a home, the Clarkes helped with construction, gardening, and caring for their youngest grandchild. David enjoyed teaching his younger son and grandchildren about bees and how to manage their hives.
Cancer ended Fran’s life in 1998, after fifty-six years of marriage, five children, five grandchildren, many friendships, and many years of service to all kinds of people.
David married a widowed friend, Ethel Davis Dickinson, two years later. She had served as denominational secretary, and her first husband, Harmon Dickinson, had been in theological school with David. Both men had served as pastors of Seventh Day Baptist churches, and the two families had sometimes lived in the same region at the same time.
At first, David and Ethel spent half of each year in each other’s homes, but when her health declined, they stayed at her home in Fort Mill, South Carolina year-round. David looked after Ethel until she moved into assisted living near her daughter in August of 2006. Since he was still fairly healthy, he moved back to his home in Alfred. David worked on the manuscripts of two books for several months until his own health began to fail, leaving editing and publication to his children.
David was pre-deceased by his father Ford Stillman Clarke, who died on August 23, 1919 and his mother, Agnes Kenyon Clarke, who died on October 7, 1985. He was also pre-deceased by his sister Mary Roberta Clarke who died September 16, 1939, and his brother, Ford Kenyon Clarke, who died April 12, 1999. His wife, Frances died on April 19, 1998 but his second wife, Ethel, survives him. He is survived by all five of his children, Roberta Ellis of Queensbury, New York, D. Sherman Clarke of New York, New York, Cathy (Bruce) Baumgarten of Syosset, New York, Carol (Barbara Crumb) Clarke of Branchport, New York, and G. Douglas (Jeanette) Clarke of Alfred Station, New York. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Kim (Brian) McKay of Cambridge, New York, Michael (Sue) Ellis of Rumney, New Hampshire, Michael Baumgarten and Ilana Baumgarten, both of Syosset, New York, and Ian Clarke of Alfred Station, New York, and three great-grandchildren, John, Kate, and Lucy McKay of Cambridge, New York.
A service of remembrance and celebration will be held at 1:00 on August 4th, 2007, at the 1st Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred, New York. A reception will follow in the adjoining Parish House. Interment will be at Alfred Rural Cemetery, at a later time.
Condolences and other communications may be sent to the family at 33 South Main Street, Alfred, NY 14802 or In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the 1st Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred, New York, the Seventh Day Baptist Board of Christian Education, or the Alfred Rural Cemetery Association.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

bawling and numb

Carol, I feel like I'm the obverse of your bawling. I walk around as if I could move but feel numb and despondent, trying not to take it out on my office mates. As I described to Doug, office behavior here is like the dysfunctional family with several kids at the grocery store: cans flying, shouts, sullen obstruction of progress, carts full of candy. I started reading your blog entry just a few minutes before I was supposed to do a session on series entries for the copy catalogers. I almost had to tell Susan I just couldn't. It seems to matter so little, in the grand scheme of things.

I too think the planning so far on the memorial service seems to be going right with a mix of stuff that makes sense because Dad would like it and things that are more for us (bagpipes, "Saints"). The schedule sounds tight but ok.

Cathy called yesterday morning just about the same time I was reading Carol's and other blog entries, at the same time I was thinking about the series session. Part of me wanted to pack up my stuff and rush to the airport and sit on her lap. Being Gemini or parallel polar, or melancholic, I excuse myself these two paths. Doug, I am so glad you are finding Lincoln's melancholy interesting.

I came over to the office to work on my ALA report. So far, the only part that's done is the part I did on Carol's computer in Sayre. The attachment in RTF did open fine on my PC at the office. If you want to delete the file on your computer, Carol, that's fine. With any luck, it will be an old version anyway.

As I look at my calendar right now, I think I'll come up on the 3rd and stay at least a week. There's something late in the day on the 2nd (not incredibly urgent but I've said I could be there: "interview" with a new dual degree library science/art history student to determine appropriate mentor who will probably be the fine arts librarian, I'm not the chair or responsible for the meeting) so I won't come up until morning of the 3rd.

Love to you all and wishing I could be in Alfred right now, in the bosom of the family.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

update on planning


I responded to Carol's entry at the blog, too.

I think Alec MacCrea will be able to play bagpipes, but am not sure yet. What do we want him to play? Bagpipes tend to be best out of doors, but he could be on the porch and be heard very well, I think. Maybe the church is big enough for indoor pipes.

I'll want to ring the steeple bell.

How about the fire department doing ushering (in uniform)?

Church at Alfred is 11:00. Not sure if it's 10:30 or 11:00 at Alfred Station.

I haven't looked into organists yet, but Amanda Snyder is booked for the wedding. Don't know about Laurel Buckwalter, and I don't favor our current organist, as she isn't terribly smooth. Ok, perhaps (?) for church but not for this. If nothing else, perhaps Pam Bucher on piano -- she's wonderful.

I'll see what can be arranged for The Saints . . . there is a CD player and cassette player connected to the church sound system.

After all my hurrying to get the obituary to Dave Snyder, he didn't get it into this week's paper. But that was ok in the end: We got all in a panic yesterday when Jeanette was asked about when Dad's memorial was to be, and Amanda Snyder said she was playing in a wedding in our church on August 4th. Pat B. didn't have it on her calendar, but had a contract from months ago for the wedding to be held there then. She apologized profusely and we puzzled about whether to change the day, do it in the evening or earlier than 2:00, and so on. We worried about parking, and worried about how the wedding family would respond. I finally spoke with them this morning and came up with the following:

They don't have many decorations for the wedding, they will be dressing elsewhere, and they will be doing most of the photographs beforehand at the grandmother's house, so it won't be as complicated a switch as we feared. The wedding is at 4:00, so we can start the memorial at 1:00 (we'll arrange for lunches for family and church folks at the Parish House as soon as church is over at 12:00) and move to the Parish House by 3:00 -- we can just make an announcement and start herding people that way -- and I think things will be fine. We will arrange for parking at the Montessori School and bank and the old bowling alley parking lots. I suppose quite a few people will just come for church and then for the memorial, so I think we should just put on a quick meal.

Does all that sound ok?

I did some calling and learned that Dad still had two life insurance policies in place, not just one, so I'm waiting for instructions to come in the mail.

I've heard from Becky Prophet: they will be out of town but will send something by e-mail, and she offered their house for people to stay up to a week. I need to get her message and some others posted at the blog.

I also heard from Uncle Bill Turck. He sent a letter I'll share with you later, and a check. He said he wanted to give money to us for caring for Dad, rather than a memorial.


Dad's quiet spirit

Family all,
Carol writes of missing Dad. I sat shiva for him, in my own way. I wore the same clothes for the week, at least not freshly laundried ones. On Tuesday, July 17, at 3:25pm I got out of bed, better understanding how Dad's body must have rebelled against the inactivity for the week he was in traction. I miss his physical presence, but know that the body was worn out. His gentle, peaceful spirit is still here. The world is a better place because of him. I still cry for the pain of the loss I feel as a daughter. I shall say Kaddish for him for the year.
Some of my friends at work collected money and wanted to know where I'd like to have it sent. I wasn't sure what to say. Would it be all right to send it to a peaceful cause? Any ideas?
I was reading Doug's poem for Sherm. How true, how true. I definitely admire Sherm's adventurous spirit and courage to travel the world and the City.
Ilana was talking yesterday about life, independence, relations between stubborn personalities like hers and her father's. She said our phychiatrist believes that Bruce could survive in any circumstance, because he has a PhD and scrapiness. Not so, me. I'd need help. Michael and Ilana, thank God, could make it too, because they have some of that scrapiness.
What will we do about the wedding at the church at 4pm on Sabbath, August 4? Will it interfere with the Memorial being held at 2something and being done before people would need to be in the church? I hope that it won't be a problem.
More later,
The middle Daughter

Death of "Pop" hitting me hard

Am I the only one who is being hit hard with Dad's death? I am balling my eyes out right now. For three days I could not get out of bed, though I did for short periods. Was it strep throat or my grief? Is it just because I am an unmedicated manic depressive or what? I feel so lost and so alone though I am not. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled. There does not seem to be anything that can distract me from the pain. I try to be busy, do things but it all seems so hollow. The weather echoes my mood with long quiet rains and occasional thunder and lightning. It hurts so much.

Monday, July 16, 2007

city boy, country boy

For my brother, Sherman

Motion into poetry,
we walk together, my brother and I --
frequently turning: this
corner, past that alley;
dodging the others making their
own, individual ways;
walking ferociously,
unwinding the maze.

I'm trying to find the me that fits the city --
am I suited for the streets?
I'm here in the midst of a hectic vacation
from the moss-covered,
forested desperation,
which those of us hide so well,
who live "in the sticks."

Today I am unleashed upon the city
but it needn't fear my intrusion.
I'm too much the fish upon dry earth
to walk these streets with abandon
as he does,
so I just come to visit.

I'll observe and just pretend to know my way;
I've come to dip my toes in the pool,
but don't care to swim.

... and, so, my brother
can come to the country
to taste water from a spring;
but he'll leave it to me
to plant the garden and cut the wood.

He can count on me to try and keep the water clean.

G. Douglas Clarke
29 August 1995
[posted here by the hereinmentioned city-dwelling brother]

home again

Bert and I got to the train station with plenty of time for a cup of coffee before the train took off. My train was originating in Albany so it was on time (6:15). The next earlier train from somewhere North was about an hour late (leaving AFTER us rather than most of an hour before) so I'm glad it was sold out. By the time I got on my train, they said it was sold out too. Most of those upstate weekenders must make their reservations at the last minute or maybe it sold out as the word of the earlier train's delay got around.

I didn't go for a walk in the woods this morning but I've got some good memories of a walk in the woods and lots of other moments of celebration of Dad's life and the family he leaves behind.

Friday, July 13, 2007

My thoughts

I showed Carol this entry into my journal yesterday (Thursday), and she thought it was worth sharing with family, so here it is.
"Carol's Dad, and the man I called Dad as well, passed into the world of Spirit yesterday at 3:25 PM. On this day I lit a candle in his honor, and called on the elemental spirits and the Lady and the Lord to welcome him to the land of Spirit. He was one of the gentlest, if not the gentlest, person I have ever had the honor to know. I sat here this morning mourning his passage perhaps more than my own parents. My mourning for them was marked, at least in part, by duty, but my mourning for David Stillman Clarke seems to represent pure love. I honor the man. I honor his life. I honor all whose lives were touched by his gentle love. Let this light from a single white candle be a call to all of us that his spirit remains with us."

Memory Book

Dear family,
I am working on a memory book about Dad. I would like contributions from each family member that wishes to participate. You could write up a story about Dad, Gramps, GGramps. You may have a drawing, poem, pressed fall leaves, favorite photo, or anything flat that you would like to add. The book (or it may have to go to part 2) will also contain cards, notes of sympathy and such. And I thought we would let people write in it at the memorial service too.
Thank you.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

deb kruse's comment

These words from my friend Deb Kruse who now lives in Iowa but who was the slide curator at RISD when I was there. I had a 50th birthday cake in her back yard on the way to Cape Cod with Bill. Last summer (when I turned 60), I stopped in Providence to see her, see the new RISD library space, and have a little birthday cake. When I was there, I took her on a tour of the ritual pictures from Memorial Day 2006; she was intrigued by the pictures as images as well as by the story.

And I quote:

You may be on your way to Alfred by now and not doing email so thanks for letting me know, Sherman - I am thinking of you anyway. It was only last summer that you celebrated birthday(s) w/ your dad on that slanted lawn in Alfred + we looked at the pix online - have thought of those strong images since.

It was good that you had last week - each trip to Davenport I think that one day we won't do that anymore either. [Her folks live in Davenport, a relatively short distance from Iowa City where Deb lives with her sister.] In the meantime, we do. I also happened to send you a note yesterday w/ New Yorker article from last summer that informed/tickled me re W Benjamin. Send me a note when you get back re memorial - will be here if you need me (whacking forsythia among other things)...

Love + sympathy from Deb.

David S. Clarke

Our S's weren't the same but there's lots of Dad in me. Little movements are evocations of Dad. I took a walk over to the Hudson last night after leaving the office. As I was walking home, I swung my arm in an exaggerated way and, somehow, it reminded me of Dad's motion. This may be partly because of being around Dad so much last week. It's weird but that was probably the most time I'd spent in Dad's immediate vicinity for years. I get similar evocations of Mom though less frequently now than the first year or so after she died. As Doug said the other day, putting together a list of thankyous was rather Mom-like.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

not melting inside

When I first read the email about Dad coming "home" to the Southern Tier, I was feeling pretty good. I then finished up the NYU day and came up to MoMA for my moonlighting. It's now about time to leave MoMA so I thought I'd check the blog. The last few entries were a mix of encouraging and discouraging: mostly encouraging about financial matters but discouraging about Dad. The lack of interest in food doesn't surprise me a whole lot (though omnivorous, eating has never really mattered to Dad). Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised about the lack of acceptance of assistance, especially from known persons. Still, the temper tantrums seem weird though I certainly saw him clench his fist several times last week.

When I put on the subject line "not melting inside," I was mostly referring to the fact that it's actually pretty chilly here inside the MoMA offices and it was pretty chilly at NYU too. It feels good to go outside and get warm. That delight in the warmth doesn't last a whole long time. I don't have air conditioning at home which is fine. My upstairs neighbor has a poorly draining a.c. unit which drips into my window ledge unless I keep the window pretty closed. That's annoying.

Of course one could also take the "not melting inside" as metaphorical or allegorical. Inside me, it feels more like a meltdown than melting ice cream. I dream of sitting on Doug and Jeanette's hill and watching the sun go down. Jeanette, I was so sorry to hear about your deer collision.

Mundane and Melting

Dear family all,
Barb and I just returned from Hornell where I had an eye appointment today. We saw Jeanette's Subaru at Friendly's as we pulled into the parking lot after trying to get my eyeglass prescription filled. So we found Jeanette and Ian inside and shared the table though our meals were out of sync, ie "J" was eating ice cream before my dinner came. The heat and humidity were overwhelming even the AC in Dr. Greenberg's waiting room and in the restaurant. It is pretty hot when the air conditioned restaurant melts your ice cream faster than you can eat it! It was nice to have a routine meal and do mundane things.
I hope all of you are well. I am looking forward to having Dad closer to home.
Much love and hugs,

Some memorable names

I know I sound like our mother, and I don't mind, but I hope those of you who were here can help me with this list of people for whom I'm grateful. I'll add names and edit as you respond to this "starter" list. As much as I did not like this trip, I find that I will miss some of the good people here, and I'd like to be sure we send a message after Dad is home.

Here's the starter list:

All my family members, near and far.
The ambulance crew from Alfred
Folks at Jones Hospital
Folks at St. James Hospital (I can't remember a single nurse's name, now, but may with some refreshing of memory)
Dr. Sheik at St. James
Rachel at St. James, who found Dad's ring and called me.

Brianna Marie, and her parents and grandparents
Dr. Cohen, surgeon
Dr. Priya Joseph, MD
Dr. Steven Goldberg (every time I run into him here at Sayre, he asks how Dad's doing), cardiologist
Chelsey Gilbert, RN "dream"
Mary RN
Sheila RN
Ron, sitter and person with "presence"
Beverly Jackson, Social Worker