Archive - Jul 7, 2012
It was a beautiful hot summer morning. The white clouds had piled up in the deep blue sky without a threatening tint of grey yet. The songbirds added their commentary as flies buzzed nearly and in the distance a lawn crew started their buzzing machines.
A large group of people gathered in the carefully manicured grass next to a gaping hole in the ground. The crowd was filled with dignitaries. The Lt. Governor, a former Lt. Governor. a former Secretary of the State, and a former State Senator who was now the head of the state Democratic Party. There was a State Representative, many activists and far more that I did not recognize.
My mind drifted to that great quote from the movie Norma Rae.
Also present were eight hundred and sixty-two members of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers and Cloth, Hat and Cap Makers' Union. Also members of his family. In death as in life, they stood at his side. They had fought battles with him, bound the wounds of battle with him, had earned bread together and had broken it together. When they spoke, they spoke in one voice, and they were heard. They were black, they were white, they were Irish, they were Polish, they were Catholic, they were Jews, they were one. That's what a union is: one
Yes, the union was there. There may have been representatives of one local or another, but it was the more perfect union that was there. These were people who had worked side by side
to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
It's how I had met Win, the mourning husband, as well as many of the others gathered to note the passing of his wife.
Traditions were observed and family members spoke. A woman sang a show tune from South Pacific that she had often sung with now deceased sister.
Dites-moi Pourquoi La vie est belle. Dies-moi Pourquoi La vie est gai, Dites-moi Pourquoi, Chere Mad'moiselle, Est-ce que Parce que Vous m'aimez?
Why is life beautiful and gay? Because of the love we have for one another; even in death.
There were the comments about the different deaths. The death of the body and the death of being forgotten. Carol was well remember at the service and my mind went to "Samuel Mendelsson: A Man Who Must Not Be Forgotten". It is a book about a man who died in the holocaust which was given to me by his great granddaughter.
The Kaddish was recited and my thoughts went to Allen Ginsburg's poem of the same name
Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on
the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village….
We formed two lines as the mourners passed between us, on their way back to their daily lives. But first, we all gathered for food. As one friend once said to me, all of Jewish history can be summed up in the phrase, "We faced great odds. We prevailed. Let's eat."
So as we ate, we talked about the great odds we continue to face in forming a more perfect union, the struggles for justice and domestic tranquility, and how we can best promote the general welfare.
Rest in Peace, Carol. Your life is well reflected in your loving husband, siblings and children.