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Nature Reserve


The gate signing

what can and

cannot be done

Walking on

path rutted

shaped by many feet

Scraggly natives

Yellow strawflowers

Grey green shoulder

broken by embedded stone

Piercing red rosehips

Screaming noisy miner

birds signal invasion

Swinging head

back and forth

Kangaroos watching

waiting, then

fleeing from unknown

Arriving at summit

Grey clouds open

slivers of gold

above blue ridges

defining the end

     Sunset      Red Hill Nature Reserve                     Canberra Australia


Thinking of my brother Lon Hutchison.  His birthday is 22 June.  He would have been 62 years old.  He was hit by a bus and killed in Mazatlan Mexico 5 May 2014. 

Lon with wife Olivia, stepdaughter Josefina, 2000

Lon with wife Olivia, stepdaughter Josefina,            Mazatlan, 2009

I can remember

learning through facebook

in Nairobi Kenya

The death of my brother

in Mazatlan Mexico

two years ago


In Mazatlan

on the corner

standing with his bike

Waiting for

the traffic light

to change

Just waiting

while a bus

cut the corner


He had gone out

on his bicycle

to run errands

His step daughter

and her grandmother

waiting for his return


Someone came yelling

Lon’s been hurt

His stepdaughter ran

to the clinic

Too late

He was gone


We miss you Lon!


Dinner In Mazatlan, my mom Bette, Olivia, Lon, Jim, me, 2004

Dinner In Mazatlan, my mom Bette, Olivia, Lon, Jim, me, 2004

Lon Hutchison at the Celebration of our mother Bette Hutchison Silver's life, March 2011

Lon Hutchison at the Celebration of our mother Bette Hutchison Silver’s life, March 2011

My brother Lon Hutchison and me 2011

My brother Lon Hutchison and me 2011






Below are comments from people who have read my book of poems and drawings, Silence Spoken, available on

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The poems I liked best are those set in Venezuela, describing aspects of the environment and the sea and those set in Beijing capturing the impact of rapid change – for good and bad, especially “Observed:Beijing”.  It’s what I felt when in China, but succinctly and eloquently expressed.  I enjoyed the whole book, for what it expressed and also for what was left unsaid, or merely hinted at.

Mary, Canberra, Australia

Thank you very much for your awesome publication.  Sketches look lovely & will enjoy browsing too.

Khalida, Blue Mountains, Australia

There is another side of you, a contemplative one that I would not have guessed.  I am no poet and so can’t comment on the poetry but I like the sketches.

Anita, Canberra, Australia

2. Ink Tucacas Sea 3 web

I just browsed through it and your art work is powerful.  I especially like the brush painting from Pakistan. But then your “essentials only” style on Langata, Nairobi, Kenya is so spot on. I’ve read some poems too, but you know me, the art is so immediate.

Sheila, Berkeley, California, USA

Thanks so much for your book of poetry and illustrations!
It is really lovely.  Keep creativity alive!

Margot, Berkeley, California, USA

3. Pak Karkoram 772 webKarimabad, Pakistan

I have looked through it and read several random poems and David has spent much more time with it. We both are enjoying looking at these snapshots of your life.  Your drawings give life to your travels.

Linda, Baldwin, Kansas, USA

I am enjoying reading your poems and I like your sketches very much. You have experienced so much in your life. Your words are an eloquent expression of your suffering, joy, awareness and appreciation of the natural world. The book is very attractively designed and printed. Congratulations on publishing it!

Anne, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

7. Ink Nairobi Person webMan walking, Langata, Nairobi, Kenya

The poem Somewhere, snagged my eye. A knee jerk response to seeing my birthday near the bottom of the page. Reading it through I can only say, thanx for the birthday present.

The poem, Fishing at Sunset, I was timeported to Elk California doing that same such thing using carpenter’s line with old spark plugs on the end for weight. Holding the line for the twitch of the rockfish that might be dinner or dining on smaller fish if it slips the hook.

David, Baldwin, Kansas, USA



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

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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



digital photos



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


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


or with my brother

who established a family

renovated a house and

built another house


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


I just wanted to say to you and your family how sorry we are for the loss of your brother, Lon.  We heard the news on May 6  from our other close friend, Sam, who lives in Berlin Germany.  He called us saying he heard the news through facebook friends and shared the news article with us.  

  I know it must have been difficult for you being so far away, and I am glad to see that you have made your way to Mexico.  Your blog that started out for your mom, has been a comfort to Lon’s friends, to at least hear your thoughts and in some way mourn together through that. I heard a lot about you and your family from Lon over the 20 something years of our friendship, but never had the pleasure of meeting you.  My husband David meet your mom many times when she would come to NY.

My husband David, Sam (who flew into NY from Germany), and some of Lon’s ex-coworkers from NY, and myself, got together last month in NYC to have our own little memorial for Lon.  We had some good food at Keen’s steakhouse (one of Lon’s NY favorites) and some drinks at a local bar.  We talked about our many “Lon stories”, and laughed and cried, and it was good for us all. 

I just wanted you to know that Lon’s NY friends did their best to do him proud and remember him, and we will never forget him.  He was a great friend and a huge part of the person I have grown into.  I met him through my husband when I was 17 (when we started dating) and now I am almost 44.  We would spend nearly every weekend with him in NYC, listening to music, going to concerts, shopping, eating etc. He was there when David and I got married, and he was there when my kids were born. My daughter Lynn is 20, and my son Kurt is 17, and they loved Lon too.  They had a great time visiting him and his family in Mazatlán back in 2008. We are so grateful we met Olivia before she passed away about a year later. We never saw Lon happier.

 I am attaching a couple of pictures we took when in Mexico.  One is a great family photo and the other is of David and Lon.

 All best to you and your family.


Connie Freda

New Milford, CT, USA

Where to begin?

Coming back to Mazatlan, Mexico, but not, as in every other visit, to enjoy, to go to the beach, to relax.

This time to try to make sense of a senseless event – the death of my younger brother Lon Hutchison.

Lon had been living in Mazatlan for about 15 years. His wife Olivia died 5 years ago. He was very close to his stepdaughter, Josefina and to her grandmother Lupita.

One evening, 5th of May 2014, Lon got on his bicycle to run an errand. Lupita and Josefina were in the house. They waited and waited but he didn’t return. Josefina got a phone call that there had been an accident. Lon had been hit by a city bus and killed.

Even though I am here, even though I have spent the past week with Josefina and Lupita trying to do the paperwork related to Lon’s death, I still cannot believe it. I go through each day as if I were living someone else’s life. Here I am – listening to Lupita and Josefina and sharing stories about Lon. But Lon is not here.

We miss you Lon.

Informal altar to Lon, Olivia and Bette Hutchison Silver, July 2014, Mazatlan Mexico

Informal altar to Lon, Olivia and Bette Hutchison Silver, July 2014, Mazatlan Mexico

27 July 2014

I found this obituary of my mom Bette Hutchison Silver in the Pacific Pearl, the English language monthly magazine in Mazatlan Mexico

Bette Silver obit Pacific Pearl June 2011

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