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Lovingly, Alice

Today would have been my Aunt Alice’s one-hundredth birthday.  Hers was a tragic life of early widowhood and schizophrenia.  Never have I known anyone braver, harder-working, or more generous --- or more under-appreciated.  I write and paint on the land paid for by her young husband’s life insurance and by her own determination.  Vandals destroyed the house she loved, yet its empty foundation guards the mouth of my long driveway, and I find that a comfort, that the granite walls remain.  Hidden by brambles and burdocks, they remain. 

So Aunt Alice, tonight I will look at the full moon that shines on the brook that circles the oaks and the pines, and I will tell you that I have written poems of you and stories of you, so that the essence of you does in fact remain, lovingly, as you always signed your letters.  

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Aunt Alice

A beautiful tribute to a lovely lady.  I think mental illness is perhaps the most unkind illness there is.  I have written much about my beloved Uncle Oscar, who was either bi-polar or schizophrenic. (Records are sealed.)  How brave these people are who must live with this problem.  And yet.  And yet.  Look how she blessed you.  And my Uncle Oc blessed me.  Thanks for posting the photo. Have you ever drawn her?


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Dear Sue,

I do remember your Uncle Oscar, and I agree we have indeed received great kindnesses and wisdom from these brave relatives.  Aunt Alice was the inspiration for my poem "Charmeuse" which I have since lengthened to a short story.

I have never drawn nor painted any members of my family except for the merest sketches.  Too close, perhaps, the images too fragile.  The sadness of this photo alone overwhelms me each time I see it...