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10 March 2017

Mom’s Australian Hat from her visit in 1992

the passing on                                                                                                                                  from one generation to another
an object
a beloved object
my mother gave me                                                                                                                      too many objects
I wear them
I remember her
but there are so many
Is any one special
was any her favourite
no way to know

Today’s your birthday, Mom. I wish we could celebrate together.

Love,                                                                                                                                           Pamela

1 March 2017

I remember.  The final day I had with you Mom.  1 March 2011.  I was there when you opened your eyes, looked at me and your grandson Nathan and then closed your eyes forever.  A few days earlier you had asked me if you were dying.  I said yes and that everything was taken care of, you could go in peace.  And you did.

Yesterday I got out your blue jean jacket with the patches from one of your trips to Africa.  You sewed all the patches and embroidered the outline of the African continent on the back of the jacket.

Mom's Africa Jacket

                     Mom’s Africa Jacket

I live surrounded by you.  Whenever I go out, I open up the drawers with your jewelry and choose something to wear.  Bracelets, necklaces, so many to choose from.

You are always with me and will be forever.

With love,

Pamela

 

The weight of

tradition

on my finger

between

middle and little

A golden ring

an amber stone

from my mother

 

Today wearing

her Egyptian gold necklace

her gold and jade bracelet

her gold bangles

and the heavy weight ring

 

A couple from Perth

I offer to take their photo

No selfies please

in front of the red and white

recycled, solar lit

Year of the Monkey

sculpture

at the Australian National Library.

They commented

on my jewelry

I was pleased

someone noticed

 

My mother left it to me

knowing I had none

Influencing my behavior

from beyond death

No grave

Cremated

and a wind sculpture

memorial to her

in a Kansas City park.

I wear her jewelry

in her memory

 

The Chinese woman

from Perth told me

Treasure that bracelet

Jade plus gold

Unusual

 

Back at home

I remember her words

as I remove the

gold and amber ring

from my finger

with soap

Mom Golden jewelry
                        My mom, some years ago,                                                                   wearing her amber and gold jewelry

Bette Hutchison Silver, photo taken November 2010

Bette Hutchison Silver, November, 2010

 

I wasn’t there

for her birth day

March 10 1922

How could I be?

I am her daughter

I was there

for her death day

March 1 2011

 

I was there

when she asked

am I dying?

I was there

to tell her

yes, she was dying

I was there

to tell her

not to worry

everything was

taken care of

She could go

leaving us behind

 

 

Bette Snidow Hutchison and Pamela, 1945

Bette Snidow Hutchison and Pamela, 1945

Bette Hutchison Silver (date 1996?)

           Bette Hutchison Silver (date? 1996)

A string of pelicans

against the golden clouds

bunching up

stragglers at the end

moving more quickly

than the change in colors

of the sunset

               Mazatlan, Mexico, February, 1995

Bette Maz 3  web 0529           Drawing by my mom, Bette Hutchison Silver, Bird Island, Mazatlan, Mexico

 

The poem and drawing above is from my book of poems, drawings, silence spoken, available on http://www.lulu.com.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 11.44.14

Photos of Bette Hutchison Silver at various stages of her life. Upper left is with her two daughters, Lonna on left, Pamela on right.

Photos of Bette Hutchison Silver at various stages of her life. Upper left is with her two daughters, Lonna on left, Pamela on right.

The death of my mother

Inspired me

Death inspired me?

To start a blog

Supposedly in her memory

Supposedly to somehow

keep her alive forever

What is it really about?

About me

My mortality

 

What have I created?

My son asks me

He sees the terror

of the world every day

He feels the anxiety

the people he knows

and doesn’t know

who have died

He thinks about the people

I taught in Afghanistan

who are now dead

What did literacy do for them

What did learning do for them

In the face of violence

Mass murder

Genocide

They are dead

I came in with words

And I am alive

But they are dead

Did my intervention somehow

Bring death?

Was I part of the invading army

although I thought

I was just bringing words?

Morning sun burning away fog, Tucacas, Venezuela

Morning sun burning away fog, Tucacas, Venezuela

 

Me and My mom at the Grand Canyon

 Me and my mom  Bette Hutchison Silver                                at the Grand Canyon

 

Even though you’re gone

you are still

brightening my life

Daily

What bracelets

necklaces

shall I wear today?

I never thought

about it before

until my mother

left me all her

jewelry

in a handwritten note

attached to her will.

She knew I had none

Had not really wanted any

Yet I enjoy choosing

something

from her

of her

to wear every day

 

My mom's jewelry

My mom’s jewelry

Happy Birthday Mom.

I miss you!

My mom Bette Hutchison Silver (name before her first marriage was Snidow) often told me that she grew up in an art gallery – the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri.

Her family was struggling to maintain themselves in the working class. Her stepfather was a butcher. Bette was an only child.

Every Saturday morning her mother, Irene Higginbotham, gave Bette Jo a quarter (25 cents) for the day. Bette Jo would ride the bus to the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery (5 cents each way) and would have 15 cents for lunch. Bette Jo would spend the entire day wandering around the gallery.

According to her, my mom barely made it through high school. She attended almost every high school in Kansas City Missouri because the family moved frequently. Every time the rent came due and they could not pay, they moved again. Bette Jo was born in 1922, so she was growing up during the Great Depression in the USA.

As far as I know, my mom had no formal art training yet she became an artist. She was a greeting card illustrator for Hallmark Cards

Painting by Bette Silver

Painting by Bette Silver

Pansies by Bette Silver

Pansies by Bette Silver

in the early days when cards were drawn and painted by hand. Most of the illustrators were young women.  J. C. Hall the founder of Hallmark Cards watched over the young women and often visited and chatted with them.

When my mom got married in 1944, my father Lon Hutchison insisted she stop working at Hallmark Cards. As a true patriarch, he insisted that no wife of his would be working outside the home. They were struggling to survive on my father’s earnings as a paper carrier for the Kansas City Star newspaper, but he would not allow my mom to work.

All of her life, my mom enjoyed the William Rockhill Nelson Art Gallery, attended all most every special exhibition, and often visited the collections on display. She also supported the Kansas City Art Institute. She worked tirelessly for several years on the annual Fireside Auction, which was a major fundraiser for the Kansas City Art Institute.

Memories of Bette as artist continue in our house in Canberra. We have some of her work on display on our walls. Check out the photos in this blog.

Painting of a baby by Bette Silver

Painting of a baby by Bette Silver

I miss you Mom!

Mazatlan Seascape sketches by Bette Silver

Mazatlan Seascape sketches by Bette Silver

 

Mazatlan Landscape Sketches by Bette Silver

Mazatlan Landscape Sketches by Bette Silver

 

Painted rocks by Bette Silver

Painted rocks by Bette Silver

How do we keep family

with us

through geography

through belief systems

through property

through money

Or today

through

facebook

digital photos

emails

blogs?

How many homes today

have printed photos

old family photos

family photo albums?

What will happen to family photos

in the future?

Will everything be online?

Will people look at their

family photos?

Every day I pass by

my family on shelves

next to my kitchen cupboard.

Old photos

When was the last one taken?

Over five years ago

The oldest one?

Not sure but

there is a photo of my

paternal grandfather

who was shot and killed

or so the family lore goes

by a jealous husband

somewhere in Oklahoma.

So that would have been

When?

Sometime in the 1920’s?

Then the photo of my father

With his sister Margery

and brother Jack

could be older.

My father born in 1907

He looks to be about 10 or 11

in the photo.

Family lore has it that he left

home at 13 and rode the rails

From Oklahoma

to San Francisco.

Photo of my brother Lon

with his wife Olivia and

our mother Bette Silver

in Mazatlan, Mexico.

Photo of Jim with his

older sister Erica

mother Hsiao Li

father Michael Lindsay

in Oxford England, 1947.

Photos of me as a baby, 1946

held by my mother

Bette Jo Hutchison

and my maternal grandmother

Irene Higginbotham.

Photo of my sons Nathan and

Gabriel with their cousin Lawrence

in Kansas City

Date? Maybe about 1989?

Can I name all the places

the photos were taken?

Kansas City, Joplin, Missouri

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Oxford, Lake District, England

San Francisco, Pajaro Dunes,

Yosemite, California

Beijing, China

Islamabad, Pakistan

Caracas, Venezuela.

Not all the family is present.

Not all the places are listed.

Family on the shelves in my kitchen, Canberra, Australia

Family on the shelves in my kitchen, Canberra, Australia

7 August 2014

To be in Mazatlan

and yet

not be

with my mother

who spent many winters

here

or with my brother

who established a family

renovated a house and

built another house

here.

I was with my mother

when she died.

I know she’s gone.

But I was far away

when my brother

on his bike

was hit by a bus.

Maybe if I look in

just the right place

I will find my brother.

Lon's house that he renovated in El Roble, a village near Mazatlan

Lon’s house that he renovated in El Roble, a village near Mazatlan

Lon's house that he built in Playa Sur, Mazatlan

Lon’s house that he built in Playa Sur, Mazatlan

In front of Lon's house, Fatima, me, Josefina (Lon's stepdaughter)

In front of Lon’s house, Fatima, me, Josefina (Lon’s stepdaughter)

Me with Maria del Carmen, Lon's mother-in-law

Me with Maria del Carmen, Lon’s mother-in-law

 

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