Memorials

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Yesterday was the day we brought Cynthia’s ashes to the Nye-Seavey plot at Fairview cemetery in Westford, Mass. Kate and I drove there with her ashes in the beautiful blue and white vase we know she loved and which Kate had given her once. Everything was ready when we arrived about 2pm. Kate placed the vase in the spot designated on a large green rug in front of the Nye-Seavey stone. She placed a small flower from Cynthia’s wisteria plant on top of the vase. The day was cloudy but warm and muggy. The ten of us gathered around and Richard gave an introduction and a reading. Then I read two poems. The End by Mark Strand was one of Cynthia’s favorites, and On Pilgrimage by Czeslaw Milosz she read at her Palm Sunday service in 2006. Others of us made various comments and Richard closed the service with a beautiful poem that was so appropriate for Cynthia and that I know she would have loved. He’ll send me a copy of this [see below]. As we left I took my final look at the beautiful blue and white vase, knowing of course that it will soon be underground and next to Mabel and Eddie forever. Most of us met afterwards at the British Beer Pub in Westford for refreshments, reminiscing and chatting.


If I should die (and die I must),
please let it be in spring,
when I, and life up-budding shall be one,
and green and lovely things shall blend with all I was
and all I hope to be.
The chemistry of miracle,
within the heart of love
and life abundant,
shall be mine.
And I shall pluck the star-dust,
and shall know the mystery within the blade,
and sing the wind’s song in the softness of the flowered glade.

(from In Spring, George C. Whitney)

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We had a great Mem Day service in church today. That’s our UU church in Norway, Maine, pretty small as churches go, but we’ve picked up great enthusiasm in the last few weeks. Not sure why. But there you are. But getting back to the service today: Richard (that’s our minister) was in great form and had some wonderful thoughts. The thing about him is that he’s a regular person, not at all remote as some ministers, with their egos, tend to be. I get along with him great. He’s got a self-effacing sense of humor, just like me. But getting back to his thoughts, he emphasized memories, memorials, throughout the service. We were all asked to speak out and mention names of loved ones who have passed away. Many people spoke out. We must have had a good 25, maybe 30 people in attendance today. Our music went well too. Heather, our music director, led us in an enchanting and mesmerizing anthem about the Goddess, our returning, etc. Right now as I write this I can’t remember the details. So much happened today, I just can’t reproduce specifics. But we did pick up a new church member today, a very nice person named Trudi, didn’t get her last name. Our Growth Group met after church and Trudi became a new member of that. “An Inconvenient Truth” was shown at 1pm for those who hadn’t seen it. And now people are chatting and laughing upstairs while Clarissa and Eryn prepare supper so that Cynthia doesn’t have to do it.

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Goin’ Home

We, Heather Pierson and I, will be singing this hauntingly beautiful song set to music from Dvorak’s 9th Symphony. We’re doing it at David Bradley’s Memorial Service next Saturday afternoon in Norway, Maine, at our First Universalist Church. Dave was a totally remarkable man who died last week, January 7, at the age of 92. Even though he could hardly walk and had trouble sometimes concentrating, he continued to sing in our choir, until finally he couldn’t make it anymore just a few weeks ago. One of his favorite songs was this Goin’ Home set to the music of the Largo of the New World Symphony of Antonin Dvorak. Dave always wanted me to sing it but some parts of it are a bit high for me, so Heather will sing it with me and cover the high parts.

Below is the obituary for Dave from the Lewiston Sun Journal. And below that is the wonderful rendition of Goin’ Home sung by the great Paul Robeson. It was pitched lower for his beautiful bass voice.

David J. Bradley

Sunday, January 13, 2008

NORWAY – David J. Bradley, 92, of Norway, died Jan. 7.

Born on Feb. 22, 1915, he grew up in Madison, Wis., and attended Dartmouth College.

In 1938, he was National Ski Champion in Nordic Combined and a member of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team in 1940, cancelled due to the war.

He later entered the Army and Harvard Medical School, completing a surgical residency. In 1941, he married and had six children.

He was a medical officer at atomic bomb tests in the Bikini Islands in 1946, and wrote a bestseller, “No Place to Hide,” about this experience. Other books include “Expert Skiing,” “Lion Among Roses,” and “Robert Frost: A Tribute to the Source.”

He taught at Dartmouth College.

In 1985, he was inducted into the Ski Hall of Fame.

Following a divorce, he married Sally Tucker Smart in 1998 and settled in Norway.

He is survived by his wife Sally of Norway; six children, including Kim Emmons of Norway; stepson, Kevin Smart of Norway; 11 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews, including Ben Tucker III of Norway.

Here’s Paul Robeson, live at Carnegie Hall in 1958, singing Goin’ Home. Thanks to Indigo1045 for posting the music on YouTube.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBrEQYRcizk&feature=related[/youtube]
Here’s a comment by bejazzytwo on Paul Robeson:

Indigo, I thank you for posting this music by Paul Robeson….His voice has not been stilled!!!…Our government forbade him a living because of politics and prejudice…yet the music lives on despite politics or racist motivation. The voice and music are for all people, regardless to color, status, political persuasion or any other disadvantages suffered…all who loved music and all who believed in human rights knew this man among men!!!!…Long live his legacy!!!!!


And I might add: Long live the legacy of David Bradley, another remarkable man and genius, too!

Finally, to hear Lawrence Tibbett sing Goin’ Home in the original key, the one we’re doing it in, go here.

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