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Bette Hutchison Silver with her nephew Lawrence Andre

Across continents

Across time

Across consciousness

Across memory

 

Today

your birthday

in Australia

where I live

Tuesday 10 March

but not yet in

the USA

where you were born

10 March 1922

in Joplin Missouri

 

Connecting with you

Connecting with family

Opening up

Softening

Listening

Remembering

Missing you

 

Happy Birthday

Bette

Sorry friends. I have not posted anything on this blog for some time. We have been preoccupied here in Australia with bushfires and extreme climate events.  Global heating is real.  Climate emergency is here.

I wrote three short poems in the haze of bush fires.  You can read them on my other blog www.familyandfiction.com , which is about the novel I wrote (to be published soon), about my father W. Lon Hutchison, Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time. 

Here’s a poem about family.

All Together

The sting of grief

rising up

through my body

burning my eyes

crying without tears

thinking of my mother

Did I betray her?

Was I there for her?

I am not grieving

I am connecting

Dead or alive

She is here

through my blog

through the wind sculpture

dedicated to her

through everyone

who remembers her

Her family she described

as dysfunctional

is a family

well documented

by me

A blog for my mum

A blog for a novel about my father

A book of poems and sketches

Keeping us all together

Myself, my mother, my brother Lon on the beach in Mazatlan, Mexico

 

 

San Francisco Sunset, from Oakland Shoreline Park

 

What have you

noticed

observed

learned

after three weeks

in Oakland California?

 

Can you live in two places at once?

Can you accept a divided life,

bringing together past and present?

You thought you had to place your allegiance

with only one

with Australia

after struggling to accept and be accepted

You evaded and avoided

the other country because of your politics

and the comfort level you had achieved

living in Australia

 

Returning to the USA

motivated

by your mother

to distribute her ashes

on the beach at Pt. Reyes

according to her last wishes

And to help your friend Martha

in the momentous change

from an academic life

to so-called retirement

Where should she live?

Where would she accept

and be accepted?

 

You returned to Oakland, California

for three short weeks

Getting a snapshot of the lives

of past friends

and current family

After initial culture shock

living in a smaller space

with less autonomy

more people

more stress

more cars

more people

you settled in

Found a pace

and a space that suited the current you

You can be both

Just like you have two passports

You can incorporate both

the past and the present

 

Returning to Australia

on the bus ride

from the Sydney airport

back to Canberra

looking at

clouds upon clouds

that I lack words to describe

rolling hills

gum trees with grey-green leaves

I am calm and comfortable

I embrace my life here

without turning my back

on previous lives in the USA

 

Brindabellas, near Canberra, Australia

 

Seeing the mug

Bette’s Ocean View Diner

I think of

my mother

Bette Hutchison Silver

 

I am the connection

of every member

of our family

to my mother

Bette Hutchison Silver (date 1996?)

I am becoming

the connection

to my father

 

Constructing that connection

began seven years ago

after my mother’s death

 

Discovering documents

hidden in her attic

 

Researching online

to write

a book

that is and is not

the story of my father

 

So remember

through me

you are connected

and ever shall be

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)
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!

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