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Watch out


Reading poetry

makes you write

without stopping

even to sleep

And it’s past

your bedtime

Put your computer to sleep

If only you could do the same

to your mind

Good night

Sleep tight

Don’t let the bedbugs bite


Celebrating! My mother is floating somewhere in the Pacific Ocean where she wanted to be. She wrote her wishes down and we followed them.

My mother Bette Jo Hutchison Silver died 1 March 2011 in her bed, in her home at 623 Greenway Terrace, Brookside, Kansas City, Missouri. I was there. She had asked me the day before if she were dying. I said yes, and reassured her that all was well.

            Bette Jo Hutchison Silver (date 1996?)

Just before she died she opened her eyes, looked at me. I smiled and told her I loved her, gave her a kiss and she was gone. My son, Nathan Collett, was with us. Her grandson, Lawrence Andre, and his son Henry had said good-bye earlier that day.

My mom left written instructions that she was to be cremated and her ashes spread at Pt. Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco, California.   When I lived in the San Francisco Bay area, my mom and I frequently visited Pt. Reyes. One time, we backpacked up a steep hillside to Sky Camp and camped out together in a small tent.

When my nephew Lawrence found out about her wishes, he asked me to wait to distribute her ashes until he could come to California. So I brought her ashes to Oakland, California and set up a small altar to her.


Me in Oakland California with altar to Bette Hutchison Silver

Lawrence lives in Mission, Kansas, just outside Kansas City, Missouri. When my mother died, I was living in Nairobi, Kenya. I moved to Canberra, Australia in 2014. My mother’s ashes waited patiently for us in Oakland, California.

Finally, eight years after her death, we did it. In March 2019, I came from Canberra, Australia. Lawrence with his son Henry came from Kansas City. We met in Oakland, California. On Saturday 13 March 2019, we drove to Pt. Reyes National Seashore.


Bette Hutchison Silver altar at Limantur Beach Pt. Reyes National Seashore


Lawrence Andre and me at Limantur Beach with Bette’s ashes

A blue sky day, warm and windy at Limantur Beach. I read poems and tributes to my mom from family and friends. Then we opened up the box, took out the bag with her ashes and waded into the sea. We took turns throwing handfuls of her ashes into the Pacific Ocean. I threw one handful for my friend Martha. The wind carried the ashes up in an arc, then they dropped down into the ocean.

Opening the box with Bette’s ashes, me, Henry and Lawrence Andre


Me, Henry, and Lawrence wading into the ocean at Limantur Beach

Lawrence suggested that we fill the box that had held her ashes with sand and objects on the beach, including a sand dollar, part of a crab shell, and some small rocks. Now the altar honoring Bette Jo Hutchison Silver is back on the shelf in Oakland, California. Inside the box are memories from our day at Limantur Beach.


We remember you Bette.

We miss you!


24 Oct 2012

revised 11 July 2018


Sorting books

moving between


Why do I choose

to keep poetry books?

Profound emotion


in a few words

Like Chinese landscape

brush paintings


intense connection

with a few strokes

Sketch of Beach at  Tucacas, Venezuela



Silence Spoken

Poems and drawings by Pamela Collett

Available with a discount on or

on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

with no discount.

Thank you for your interest.

A new blog coming soon about my novel

                                          Life Expectancy. 

Thank you for your generosity to let me read your poems and take delight in your photos and sketches.


You have the sensitivity and ability to catch the moment, in sparse words and sparse strokes.


I understand it is a joy to have  these gifts, like having a secret drawer in your desk.







Silence Spoken is available at a discount on

or full price on Amazon.

Thank you Eva and all the people who have given me feedback.

Much appreciated

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)


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


What bracelets


shall I wear today?

I never thought

about it before

until my mother

left me all her


in a handwritten note

attached to her will.

She knew I had none

Had not really wanted any

Yet I enjoy choosing


from her

of her

to wear every day


My mom's jewelry

My mom’s jewelry

Happy Birthday Mom.

I miss you!

Third in a series of Memories of Lon Hutchison from his facebook page.

My brother, Lon Hutchison was hit by a bus and killed on 5 May 2014 while riding his bike in Mazatlan Mexico, where he had lived for several years.

Reposted with permission from the author

by Pamela Hutchison Collett


Heidi Kelso posted to facebook

May 9 2014 near New York, NY ·

I just heard the news. I worked with Lon in the 90’s in New York City at The Academy Theater and because of facebook we were able to reconnect. I have so many memories of him making jokes, smiling and always being a positive person to be around.

In the last year or two since we reconnected I started a side business and he would like all my photos from my travels. Although it sounds like a small thing it showed that he was still the same kind and supportive person I remember.

This is so horribly tragic and I am sending thoughts and prayers to Lon’s family and loved ones. RIP Lon.

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  Kansas City, Missouri, USA


15 Sept 2013

Tucacas, Venezuela

on the Caribbean Sea

Red Sunrise Tucacas, Venezuela

Red Sunrise Tucacas, Venezuela


I’d better write about it

Before I forget

Before I take it

for granted

Before I think life is

always like this.


Pelicans Tucacas Venezuela

Pelicans Tucacas Venezuela

How do I wake up?

My bedroom

A wall of

wide open windows


over the Caribbean

light creeping under

my sleeping mask


long and flat

towering and grey


Frantic swallows

Gliding frigate birds

Scurrying beach birds


orange, red, gold

Fishing boats


Throwing out

their nets.


Sunrise with birds Tucacas Venezuela

Sunrise with birds Tucacas Venezuela

Terrace breakfast




Frigate birds



Resident pigeons


Mist over the hills

Mugs of coffee:

Strong not bitter






and strawberries

with home made yogurt.


Breeze so gentle:

body temperature

the softest caress



Alone in the ocean

Sometimes  calm as a lake

Sometimes rolling swells

Sometimes small white-capped waves

Scanning the sky

the clouds

Swallows swooping

Frigate birds hovering

Pelicans diving

With a splash.


Alone in the Caribbean sea

Unbounded space

Water meets sky

Almost imperceptible

the separation

Expansion  of self

Rather contraction

No self

Floating in a grey green sea

Staring up at bright blue sky.

Sunset reflected 136

Late afternoon

on the roof



Palm trees




Fishing boats


Always birds

Long lines of pelicans

Streams of swallows


trying to capture

the essence

the most basic

with brushes

and black ink

from China.

Sketch Tucacas 139

Terrace dinner


Staring at clouds

Looking for


without rain


that light up the sky.


Red Sunset, hills beyond Tucacas Venezuela

Red Sunset, hills beyond Tucacas Venezuela


Foot notes:

Thank you Mom (Bette Hutchison Silver), for insisting that we get the three bedroom apartment on the top floor at Emerald Suites, Tucacas, Venezuela so that you could have a bedroom.

Thank you Mom for helping me build the kitchen, decorate and buy the furniture for the Tucacas apartment.

Thank you Paulo wherever you are, for doing all the paper work and bank transfers in the days before internet, when everything was done by fax.

Sunrise Tucacas Venezuela

Sunrise Tucacas Venezuela

9 October 2012, Tucacas, Venezuela

First Sorting, Culling

How can I?

Sitting at a large

wooden rustic table

made in Mexico

Purchased by my mother

in the year 2000

half price

at a shop in Valencia Venezuela

specializing in Mexican and Thai

furniture and decorations

Shipped to Tucacas.

I would like to take

the table to Australia

but that is not possible.

And is it possible

to take all these fat files

With me?

Should I carry the past onward?

To what purpose?

How can I?

Sitting at a large wooden table

in the sea breeze

Listening to the triumph

of the Revolucion Bolivariana

on the television

and wading through

20 years of my life

files upon files

The fat heavy thick ones

are about women

in Afghanistan.

The ones I easily discard

are about gender training

which somehow never worked

seems useless now.

Yet women are far from equal

anywhere in the world

as if the world stopped.

Did I give up?

Did I decide to go with the flow?



Let others decide.

Don’t push so hard.

Reigned in by



in a Nairobi slum

with young people

mostly male.

Far removed from

working with

mature Afghan women

mostly professional,

with Somali radio team

full of contradictions

and  betrayal.

I tried to overlook

while I concentrated on

well-paid international

do-nothing officials

as the main enemy.

But others were lurking

to ensure the work

or at least myself

was undermined.

Is that why I am tired?


but not bored.

Jumping up to

eat dark chocolate

for renewed energy

to face the past

And sort it out .


Tucacas Beach at Sunset

Tucacas Beach at Sunset

8 Sept 2013 Tucacas, Venezuela 

Papers sorted

with a scanner

In one week

Reliving 20 years










Dual citizenship

Friends since lost

or found again

Packing stuff







to send to Australia

Narrabundah house

Walls covered

With paintings, photos.

Floors covered

with rugs.

Walking through rooms

walking through my life

Making room for everything

and everyone.


Portrait of Bette Hutchison Silver  at what age? not sure

Portrait of Bette Hutchison Silver at what age?   not sure

Her house is no more.  The house still stands in Kansas City, Missouri,  623 Greenway Terrace, but sold and transformed by paint, redecorating, bearing no traces of Bette Hutchison Silver, the wild and wonderful woman who entertained so many people on her screened-in front porch.

Now I am in my mother’s house. Not in Kansas City, Missouri, USA but in Narrabundah, Canberra, Australia.  My mother is everywhere in this house.

21 Carnegie Crescent, Narrabundah, Canberra, Australia

21 Carnegie Crescent, Narrabundah, Canberra, Australia

Over the front door, a metal parrot swings in the wind.  Open the door, a punched tin pie cupboard my mom picked up at a farm sale somewhere.  On top, her Australian hat, with the badges from her trip here in 1992. Next to the hat, the cigar box collage by friend and Kansas City artist Maria Vasquez Boyd.

By the large front windows, a small wooden step stool, a wooden cocktail table, pillows, including a toucan pillow, from my mom.  Nearby a cabinet of treasures from Mexico and Venezuela.

Moving on, small boxes, an antique globe, another footstool with needlepoint mushrooms.  Above my desk scenes of the Kansas prairie, Missouri farm houses in watercolor a long thin horizontal view of a new England town.  To the right of the desk a sisal fibre giraffe from Kenya.

Pie Cupboard near front door. Bette's Aussie hat with badges

Pie Cupboard near front door. Bette’s Aussie hat with badges

Over Jim’s desk, a Missouri landscape by Wilbur Neiwald. Jim’s desk is my mom’s kitchen table, where her grandsons  Lawrence and JJ and then great grandson  Henry decorated Christmas sugar cookies every year.

In the front bedroom, three shelves full of dolls from all over the world, the bed covered by an early American Crazy Quilt.  A wall with her sketches of Mazatlan, Mexico.

In the middle bedroom, an antique humped back trunk, full of memorabilia, family photos, my grade school, high school and university yearbooks.

In the kitchen four hand decorated brown ceramic plates that hung in my mom’s kitchen. I bought them for her in 1968 at Taylor & Ng in San Francisco.

Bette's kitchen table, now a desk

Bette’s kitchen table, now a desk

On the far wall, Mexican ceramic tiles showing a boy with his donkey.  Next to the tiles, a woven hanging of birds in a geometric design.  In the corner cabinet,  family photos of my mom, dad, aunt, grandparents.

In my bedroom closet,  some clothes my mom wore, her shoes (we are the same size),  and clothes she and I picked out together for me on our annual shopping trips to Macy’s in Prairie Village, Kansas.

So this IS my mother’s house.  More than anywhere else in the world, she is still present through all the love and care expressed in the objects she collected and shared with everyone.

Bette's Doll Collection

Bette’s Doll Collection

What’s missing?  No screened-in front porch.

We miss you Bette.



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