sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 4, 2008

odetta, dewey, and jonny
posted by soe 11:45 am

I may decide later today to do a second Three Beautiful Things this week, but for now I offer you memories of three beautiful women who died this week:

1. When I got up in the middle of the night Wednesday and saw Kat‘s music choices, I knew that Odetta must have died. I wrote a post immediately (I know, I know. Sleep is important.), but mostly because I needed to listen to some of her music. Mum and Dad gave me a copy of her greatest hits cd last year for Christmas, so I put that on as I was hunting for some videos to share… Rudi, Eri, and I saw Odetta at the New Haven Folk Festival back in 1999, where we were blown away by the little woman withe the big voice singing out under the stars. I’m so glad we got to see her. (There is a free track available for legitimate download here. I’m having trouble with it at the moment, but I thought I’d put it out there for others to try.)

2. Monday morning, the book blogging world was shaken with the news that Dewey of The Hidden Side of a Leaf had died last week. Apparently she’d been ill and in a lot of pain, but had gritted her teeth and typed through it. Amazing. Dewey was the inventor of the Weekly Geeks (which I failed to participate in even once, although I always meant to…), the administrator of the 24-hour-readathon I did take part in back in October, and a voracious reader. The book blogging community is poorer without her, and our thoughts go out to her husband and her son.

3. Last night Rudi got the call he’d been dreading for a while now. His grandmother, Jonny, had died. His father was with her at the time, which does make it easier to bear. Jonny had suffered from Alzheimer’s and had been shifted out to Portland from Salt Lake when Rudi’s dad moved. She wasn’t happy about that move being forced upon her, but one of the blessings of Alzheimer’s is that you lose the bitterness of recent indignities as well as the good memories. In recent years Jonny had mistaken her son for her dead brother and couldn’t quite place Rudi, although she was always happy to hear from the “nice young man.” The last time we saw her, in the spring of 2004, she seemed happy, showing us her coloring books and her stuffed cat, introducing us to her friends at the nursing home she lived in, and showing us her room. We are left with the legacy of a woman who, before her illness, was a tough broad. She moved with her young family from the Netherlands to Salt Lake after WWII, learned a new language, got a job, and made a comfortable life for them. She doted on her grandson when he eventually came along, cared for her daughter-in-law through two earlier miscarriages, and generally enjoyed life with family and dear friends. She had a big smile and laughing eyes, and that’s how I shall remember her from now on. (Rudi memorializes Jonny himself here.)

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