Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rochelle's memorial

It was lovely, all agree she was generous, intelligent, talented, at times fierce, always tenacious, and missed. She taught writing to people affected by illness, bad luck, or bad choices, in prisons and community centers, she edited, she translated, she fought bad politics and policies, she wrote a lot of poems and novels, took photos with the same passion as she wrote, she loved her husband, city home and country house. This saying goodbye is hard stuff. Jim and I grouchy after, the sadness collecting into an itch of the spirit. I am thinking, when I am gone, throw my ashes off a cliff and get rip-roaring drunk in a bar as you roast me, toast me.

Once home, I made my weekly trip to the library, return & take, and Mondels chocolate shop, spend & savor. I am so thankful I live in this neighborhood. The college town bars and cafes and bookstores. As I popped and crunched the dark chocolate rum balls in my mouth and strolled down Broadway on this particularly clear afternoon, I nodded at the guys playing chess and slapping their timer, the vendors selling their dusty romances and sci fi books on rusty card tables, the college students in their artfully distressed sneakers, the double decker strollers with the double pairs of eyes, the pastel paintings of Hilary and Obama done by Hani now fading back into cement, and the legions of hounds on leashes splashing curb and post with their own, I was here.

If a life well lived is to be remembered as Rochelle has been, then I have some work to do. As I get older the giving back part is starting to seem a whole lot more important than it used to.

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