We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, October 26. 2012
Our Marianne Has Died
The pinup girl of Maggie's Farm, Marianne Matthews, who in so many ways epitomized our ideals, educated the uncouth, and lifted our spirits has died. I and you hadn't heard from her in a month or so. I just phoned the police in the city where she lived and they checked her house. She passed about a month ago. Her dear husband (87), who had been failing, is now in a nursing home. (If anyone is in the Houston area and is able to do a bit of traveling nearby, please email me via the Comments and I'll get back to you offline.)
Here's a photo she sent me in 2011, when Marianne was 82, with a, to use Marianne's description, "surrogate daughter." Marianne never had children of her own, unless you count the thousands and thousands who have known and loved her.
Marianne was a highly trained and accomplished musician, as well as a highly educated lady (Columbia). Several years ago she sent me photos of her first guitar that her father bought her as a child. Marianne also was a noted folksinger during the 1940s and 1950s. Several years ago a friend of hers rescued some tapes of her singing in the 1950s. I chose one cut, "The Last Rose Of Summer", and uploaded it and a photo of Marianne (when she was 44, taken in 1972) to Youtube. Here it is. With love to a very lovely lady. They don't make roses like that anymore. We are all saddened and diminished by her passing.
If you care to share your memories of Marianne, please Comment.
Here's the lyric to "The Last Rose Of Summer" and a bit about the poem.
'Tis the last rose of summer,
I'll not leave thee, thou lone one!
So soon may I follow,
Posted by Bruce Kesler in Our Essays at 19:13 | Comments (43) | Trackbacks (0)
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Marianne was a special kind of woman. I'm really bummed.
Rest in peace, MM
It's been that kind of week. Five people with connections to my workplace passed away last weekend, and now Marianne. I'll miss her comments and her classy presence. May she rest in peace.
Classy is right. I looked up to her enormously. God rest you, Marianne.
I only knew Marianne through her comments on the blog of my shipmate Neptunus Lex. Greatly admired her intellect and spirit. Trust they've met up in the great blogger's conference in the sky.
My sincere condolences. It sounds like she was a very special lady and I know that she valued your friendship.
Of all the wonderful people who post on Maggie's (and I meant that), Marianne was my favorite.
Because my company tightened up their Internet security, I was not able to check on or post to Maggie's nearly as often as I would have liked for several months. I missed her posts and I feared from her age that one day (probably sooner rather than later) I would no longer be able to read her posts. I knew I would dread that day and I surely am.
She was such a lively and clear thinker. I enjoyed her posts and point of view. It is a sad day for Maggie's and all her farmers that she is no longer with us. "Rest in peace", "May she rest in peace", "God rest you, Marianne": all wonderful and heart-felt thoughts, but I choose to think of her in heaven enjoying the other wonderful souls there and looking down on us with tenderness and maybe a rye smile.
May God hold you, Marianne! And I'm sure He is!
I'm very sorry to read this. Marianne's comments here were pleasant reading, insightful and inevitably encouraging. She will be missed.
Well, this hurts a whole lot more than i would have expected, given that we'd never met in person. The last thing i recall her saying was that she hoped she lived long enough to see this country begin to restore itself. She must have already been ill, to've said something like that, in her non-figure-of-speech kind of direct writing.
I'd been wondering where she was --had the thought that her beloved (lucky man in the wife draw!) must've taken ill and she was busy with that. I wish there were some other way for the life cycle to work, something other than saving so much sadness for the end.
Marianne wrote insightful comments on a wide variety of subjects her at Maggie's Farm. I knew from her comments that she was a singer, but until today I didn't know what a good singing voice she possessed. Judging from her comments, she lived an active, full, and thoughtful life, a life we can emulate.
MM was a unique jewel, the reflective light of which we will no longer have. The world is less for her passing.
Marianne sent me a cd of her album. I made a variant of the Impossible Lasagna Pie, which I call the Impossible Aa
rdvark Pie, so called because you use ground sirloin, rather than ground beef. Our local supermarket has an exotic meat case, and when I served my pie to a friend once, I lied to her, and told her that I could not get ultra laen ground beef, so I substituted aardvark from the exotic case. Once you put the Aardvark in the oven, you press play on the cd player, and when it is done, so is the aardvark. So I shall think of Marianne everytime I bake an aardvark pie. Marianne was a fellow Badger, she being a Milwaukee one, and I shall miss her.
--the things in her mind and memory --so much, and so acutely observed and expressed --and the will and desire to express it, to demonstrate how the world was just before present company began to notice such things. Heck, that's treasure --cultural treasure of very high value.
Scott, I just learned of Marianne's passing. Such a loss for the world. She was a special lady. I too knew of Marianne thru Cap't. Lex, and will treasure even more the CD she had sent me of her 1952 Milwaukee Art Center performance.
Requiescat in pace Marianne, from one of the many who only knew you from afar.
I don't know much about her life. Grew up in Milwaukee, graduated from Columbia University and loved NYC, got into the folk singing scene in NY. I believe she married an engineer who went into the oil business in Texas, hence their home in Bellaire. No kids, as I understand it.
She had virtual kids, tho, at Maggie's and at Neptunus. A gentle and genteel voice of sanity in a crazy world.
Thanks for the sad update, Bruce. Noticing she hadn't commented in a while, I sent her a chipper little email a few weeks ago, asking if she was okay. When I didn't hear anything back, I feared the worst.
It isn't that Marianne's comments were particularly meaningful or insightful. It was more like the voice of Old America speaking, offering reasonable platitudes and common sense values in a world of hyper frivolity and political correctness. Indeed, she will be missed.
Our own little treasure.
Farewell, shining light of a bygone America.
I do feel a sense of loss at the passing of Marianne.
There will always be a hole in Maggie's farm that was Marianne's place.
From her comments, I thought she had the relationship between men and women nailed. I suspect she had a very happy life as a result.
I wish she could have seen this out pouring of affection from people she never met.
She will be missed.
I honestly don't know what to say. She was a genuine personality, witty, urbane but with that down home appeal. She obviously led a full life which was even more to her credit.
I can't say any more than what has been posted before me.
I will miss her.
This is sad news. Marianne was a wonderful commenter and part of the Maggie's Farm community. She certainly had spark, a rose indeed.
Marianne you will be missed. Always enjoyed reading her comments.
I would be remiss by not mentioning Marianne's wonderful husband, Downs Matthews. He was the love of her life and they seemed made for each other.
Downs is an accomplished and published wildlife photographer and writer with several books to his credit. I wish him the best.
That's why I asked if anyone is in the Houston area, to visit Downs. He is in a nursing home now. All the police could tell me, via a neighbor, is that he is in the BraesXXXXXXXX something or other nursing home. I looked up the directory for Houston, and phoned the first one. Seems there are several with the word Braes in it, as that is a section of Houston. So, someone there needs to try them all to find Downs.
I'm a few hours away, but I know some folks there --It's probably Braeswood --there's lots of Braeswood addys, the word denotes a section of town, a neighborhood, in the SW part of town, fed by the Southwest Freeway (HW 59). I'll get word to Mr. Matthews --any message besides this URL and ''we wanted you to see this'' -?
This guy is an old friend. Despite his being an Aggie. He'll find him and deliver the message.
A long deep quiet sigh. I never searched for a female mentor--no need, plenty of good men out there to learn from. But, MM was the woman I respected the most--a keen intellect, grace, and sharp insight accompanied by class, restraint, and a clear honest writing style. I so looked forward to her comments every day, and like others had worried about her absence recently. MM was THE example I wish every young woman in academia today was trying to emulate.
Thank you MM for reminding me of what the best could be.
My condolences to her husband - and to all of us.
Very sad news.
I loved the fact that she signed her posts with her full, real name. She was pretty, smart, kind and unpretentious.
Her favorite poem, she once mentioned.
Dover Beach --by Matthew Arnold (i should've accused her of just liking the Matthews). That last stanza was always lump in the throat; will be more and more so now.
The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Agaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Dover Beach has long been one of my favorite poems too. I'm glad that Marianne is being remembered and spoken about here.
I knew Marianne thru the wonderful Neptunus Lex. Had just emailed her about 6 weeks ago and began to think about reaching out again last week since I hadn't heard from her. Such a loss - she was the heart & soul of the Lex community. She was so many things to so many people...she will be missed.
I will raise a glass of bourbon tonite to a wonderful patriot who has entered the clearing.
And I can only imagine the conversations she's been having with our Beloved Lex...about anything and everything.
Marianne hailed from upstate New York. Her first love (they were engaged) died on the battlefield in northern Italy in 1943. She was 17, he was given the Silver Star (posthumous) for his actions that day. She told me how hard that drove home the reality that all is fleeting, that it can all pass away in a day.
Fortunately, with Lex passing our information, I was able to go to the cemetery outside of Florence where this young man was buried, to lay flowers on Marianne's behalf there because in all her life she had never been able to make that journey. I took photographs of the bright white marble cross, and of the panoramic view across the valley from that grave. She was very, very grateful that he was remembered.
I am glad I was able to ease her heart some. Through her whole life, in some way, that young man was with her and lived on through her. May they all, Marianne, her young man and Downs, find peace.
What a great lady she was. She and Lex are undoubtedly having brilliant conversation in the next chapter.
Oh, such sad news on a dreary day....
One of the first postings her, she commented back to me - I don't remember her words, but you could feel the warmth and welcome from her tone. It impressed me.
She made one comment, once, and I got an image of my grandmother - kind, guiding, and the utmost mother-bear, when needed. I miss them both, now.
Memory Eternal, Dear Lady - I am honored for the encounter, and wish you a well earned rest.
Bird Dog -
I live in the Houston area ... what do you need.
Maggie's is still a special place but it is poorer - as are we all - without Marianne's words in the comments.
Dear lady Marianne,
Learning of your passing gave me pause to think back on the many times your posts arrived elsewhere. So often you were able to give out a pointed remark without poking out someone's eye. Oftentimes your humor would highlight a point, and your candor would make one stop and think from an entirely different perspective.
You are now returned to those who love you and have missed you. While I shall not grieve your passing, as we all must go that way sometime, I, too, shall miss you.
Until we meet again.
She has inspired remarks that resemble her own way of being --graceful and serious, steady and bright.
Harry in Houston --they are trying to get the URL for this thread to Downs Matthews, who has been in a Houston nursing home since he lost his bride. The home is in the Braeswood area, evidently, as the first part of the name is ''Braes'' (see #21 above, Tom Francis comment, it's all right there). Yes, if you could find the phone number, I'm sure you could get a staffer to take the URL addy and give Mr. Matthews a hand with bringing it up, if he isn't able himself, or just pass the phone number to Tom right here. I emailed my guy in Houston but haven't heard anything yet.
I had forgotten the fiance KIA in the Italian Campaign. Her waiting for him to come home, 17 years old and deeply in love. It's such a flood, it's all so intense it's almost physical --my mom and dad come rushing back. She lost her husband KIA over France in 1944, she was a new bride 19. Dad was his friend, they'd trained together, and the two of 'em had a pact if one didn't make it the other would visit the bereaved after the war. Dad was shot down too, but relieved by the Red Army from Stalag Luft 1, mustered out after getting back to England, and journeyed over to North Louisiana to keep that condolence promise --and ended up marrying the widow and having me and a few more.
Such stories, such people. I really miss them.
--thinking about her Silver Star soldier boy, and scrolling up past Dover Beach, eye falls on the last stanza and stops --to see her reading that last stanza, with the lost boy in her mind, maybe she's at her kitchen table reading a book of poems, the sun is shining outside, the window is open, a light breeze comes in and rustles the white curtain as she reads
Thank you all for the kind words about Marianne. I am touched but not surprised by the kind and thoughtful comments. All of them spot on. She was all of that, and more, in person. Her maggies farm family was very special to her and many a time I would get a call to read a post by one of her pals.
I was with Marianne and Downs almost every day of her illness. When things were tough she would tell me that the SEALS came and took her to a place by the sea to relax so she could face the next day. She never complained, never whined, and everytime I walked into her room I got a smile. I have been with Downs making the transition from a life with his beloved in his home of 40 years to a life without her and a move to assissted living at Bayou Manor, 4141 S. Braeswood #413, Houston, TX 77025. As one can imagine he is very lonesome for her. One doesn't often get to choose one's parents. I have been gifted by their presence in my life and honored that they chose me to be their surrogate daughter.