Indie Spotlight on Biographer Elva Green -My Writing Journey as My Father’s Biographer

Today, we welcome biographer Elva Diane Green, who discusses writing a biography of her entertainment pioneer father, Eddie Green who was an actor, playwright, singer, dancer and all around performer – in short, a real Renaissance Man.

Note from the author: “In 2014 I started a blog to chronicle the writing of a book about my father, Eddie Green. First blog. First book. First laptop. Because according to the internet when writing a book I needed a “platform”. I needed a “following.” I needed to get the right publisher, and learn how to write a query letter. After spending too much time agonizing over what was what, I just gathered all of my papers and started writing. On the blog I began at the beginning, adding anecdotes and photos and funny pictures from Google’s advanced image search, and along with the blog I also began writing my book.”

Take it away Elva!

My Writing Journey as My Father’s Biographer

I decided to write the book in 1996. My father was famous. But my reason for writing the book was not because of his fame but because of the inspiration his story could provide for my grandson. As a child, my grandson was convinced of his inability to complete homework assignments. His words were always “I can’t.” I figured I could provide inspiration for him by writing a book about his great-grandfather who had become successful during the early 1900s. The inspiring part was evident in that Eddie was a Black man, and in those early days in America just to survive was a struggle for Black men.

While working on this book I came to realize that it could inspire not just my grandson Edward, but other young people like him. It could inspire anyone, actually, who felt an inability to succeed or who had run into obstacles while trying to achieve their goals. The title of the book became Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. It is a rags-to-riches story of a man who became a filmmaker, a Broadway and movie star, a composer, and an Old Time Radio icon. His career spanned the years from 1917 until his death in 1950. As an entrepreneur he was a music producer, he owned a string of restaurants and headed two movie and television studios, Sepia Art Pictures Co. and Sepia Productions, Inc.

I was only three when Eddie died and my memories of him are vague. My mother, Norma, told me about some of his achievements. I say some because I did not find out about the restaurants (and a few other things, which I will get to further down) until 2015. She told me he became famous as a result of being cast as Eddie, the waiter in the popular, long-running radio program Duffy’s Tavern. That he had also played the lawyer, LaGuardia “Stonewall” Jackson, in the Amos ‘n’ Andy radio program. When I was eight years old she allowed me to stay up late one night to watch the Paramount movie Duffy’s Tavern (1945), because Eddie had been chosen to portray his radio character, Eddie, the waiter, in the movie.

Mom also told me that in 1917 Eddie wrote his most famous song “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and that Frank Sinatra had recorded the song. She did not tell me of the fifty or more other folks who had recorded the song. I was told that Eddie had performed on stage in a theater production where he sang “Titwillow”: “On a tree by a river a little tom-tit, Sang “Willow, titwillow, titwillow!” What I was not told is that the song was from the theater adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. The adaptation was produced by Mike Todd and titled the Hot Mikado and featured an all-Black cast starring Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Eddie played the part of KoKo, the High Executioner. I learned this in 2015 which is also when I learned that the show was performed on Broadway and at the 1939-1940 NY World’s Fair. For a brief glimpse of the performance it can be seen on YouTube.

Anyhow, my mother and I began the process of writing the book. As I began research in the old newspaper archives, I kept finding more and more information which led to more and more research, that began to make for a lengthy process. Life stepped in and that process became delayed. I lost a job, went back to school and in 2006 mom’s health began to fail and I put the book aside. After mom passed I decided to put both feet into getting the book done as a way to handle my grief. The thing was, once I got back into the research I found still more information. Surprising information. I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t begin the writing process because I could not stop reading all the newspaper clippings about my father.

Imagine my surprise as I discovered that my mom was Eddie’s fourth wife. When I discovered that Eddie had worked the Apollo. When I discovered he made five movies not just one. I discovered that he worked with Paul Robeson on a radio show for Commander Byrd in the Antarctic. That he appeared on Jubilee radio shows for the United States service members during WWII. And that one of the radio skits was about Santa Claus bringing Private Eddie Green a Lena Horne doll as a Christmas present (the doll turned out to be the real Lena Horne.) There was much, much more. Remarkable.

I began to realize that Eddie had been “somebody.” Just like Lena or Robeson or Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. I also began to realize that if I mentioned “Bojangles” people knew who he was. If I mentioned Lena, people knew who she was. Not so when I mentioned Eddie Green. It was as if Eddie had simply vanished from the picture. And so my intent for this book expanded to include the mission of bringing my father’s name back to the fore of the public’s memory and to honor his vast amount of work.

Well, the book was published in 2016. I have been named the winner of the Foreword INDIES 2016 Bronze Book Award. I have just completed an interview with the National Public Radio (NPR) which will soon be available (I am told an author would give one of their molars for a chance like this). Thanks to my blog, this has been one experience that has kept my spirits up.

Anita, thank you for being a friend, a part of my mission and for asking me to guest post.

BIO: Elva Diane Green was born in and continues to live in Los Angeles, California. In 1996 she decided to write a book about her father, the legendary Eddie Green, to provide an example to her grandson of the ability of a person to succeed no matter the obstacles. Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer is the culmination of her extensive research into a book that draws the reader into the story of one of America’s most beloved comedians. Elva has been named the Foreword INDIES 2016 Bronze Book Award Winner. If you’d like to connect with Elva you can visit her blog, Pin in the Tush, follow her on Twitter, or Facebook.

 

 

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I still remember

Fourteen years ago, on a fine September morning, our lives changed. We didn’t see it coming. We, never in a million years would’ve expected it. We were horrified. We were overcome with grief. We were afraid.

But true to American spirit, we banded together. We united. We bounced back. We vowed never to forget. But I think we have. A lot of us. Conspiracy theories, wars that have gone on too long and sacrificed too much, and laws enacted to protect that actually oppress, have made us weary. Have made us lose sight of the fact that we lost 2,996 lives that day. And more as the days and months wore on.

They were fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. They can’t be replaced. And they leave a permanent void in the space they should be occupying, for their family and friends.

For many years, I was one of the bloggers involved in Project 2996. A valiant attempt originated by one blogger, DC Roe, to pay tribute to those lost lives. Following are the tributes I personally wrote – my small contribution to remembering. With a sincere hope that I could offer at least a little comfort to the families and friends who lost a loved one.

Steve Mercado

Deborah Medwig

Paul Lisson

Bruce (Chappy) Boehm

Ted Moy

Craig Amundson

Peggy Hurt

I hope you’ll join me in saying a prayer for those lost lives and the family and friends they left behind.

I Remember Ted Moy – a 911 Tribute

ted moy lg pic

Eight years ago I became involved in a project called 2996 . Which is a group of bloggers who’ve volunteered to write a tribute to a single victim of September 11th 2001. This project has had such impact that it carries on now to the 13th anniversary of that day. I have promised myself that I will never forget and as long as I have this blog that I will continue with these tributes. Each year. One person at time. I do this, not as a political statement but as an act of respect and love for those people who had the misfortune of going to work, getting on the wrong plane, acting like that day would be the same as any other. Wrong place, wrong time. Life cut too short. I honor those people and through a tribute in some very small way I am able to give them just a little bit of the life back that was taken from them. This year, I honor Ted Moy.

Ted Moy, 48 of Silver Spring, Maryland was U.S. Army civilian employee and worked at the Pentagon as a program manager. Ted was born and grew up in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Where his parents ran Veteran’s Food Market at Fifth and H streets. Growing up he helped in the store while growing up.

While on a student trip to Taiwan in 1975, Ted met his future wife, Madeline and was smitten. They shared much in common – both had traditional Chinese parents, and grew up in a neighborhood steeped in their Asian heritage. Even their families came from the same village in China, Toi Shan in Canton province.
They married in San Francisco, on July 12, 1980 – a lucky day on the Chinese calendar.

After several moves, the Moy’s settled in Ted’s boyhood home of Washington, D.C. After 14 years at the U.S. government’s Department of Defense, Ted joined the Information Management Systems Department at the Pentagon in November 1999, where he worked until his death.

According to his wife, Madeline, Ted loved eagles and on their last Christmas together he framed a poster of an eagle with the word ‘freedom’ below the picture. Ted felt a kinship to eagles and believed them to be symbols of wisdom and courage. He was a kind and caring man and loved his country – his favorite song being ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ – which his daughter’s string quartet played at his funeral. He collected flags and pictures of eagles and his wife has a picture of him decked out in a red, white and blue sweat suit, complete with a floppy stars-and-stripes hat that he wore on the Fourth of July.

The day before the attack, Ted and Madeline celebrated her birthday with a dinner out at Outback Steakhouse with their son, Daniel. The next morning, he went off to work at the Pentagon as usual. Later that morning, Madeline received a package – a birthday gift from Ted. She put it aside, planning to open it once Ted came home, then went to work herself.

Madeline got a call from her daughter Jessica, who told her that the Pentagon was on fire. “It was devastating, not knowing where he was.” She had just spoken to him at 8 o’clock that morning – Ted had called to remind her of their son’s orthodontist appointment. As the day wore on and details were revealed, Madeline said she accepted the worst – that her husband of twenty-one years had died at the Pentagon.

By all accounts, Ted was a kind, gentle and caring man, who loved his family, his country and to help others. His friends and colleagues can tell you more about him than I can:

I continue to mourn the loss of Ted, whom I worked with for many years at the Washington Navy Yard in the 1980s. He was always a gentle and likeable chap who was bound to his adoring family and serving his country through civilian DoD service. Ted was indeed proud of his Chinese-American roots and Washington DC ties, and continued to share his culture and ideals with those that surrounded him. May God continue to bless and hold close my dear friend and former colleague, Ted Moy.

I echo the comments of Mike Nepi. Ted was proud of his Chinese-American heritage and was dedicated to the service he provided as a civilian employee of the DoD.

Ted and I were DCYOP parents. Our daughters toured Austria and Germany with orchestra in 1999. Ted and I were chaperons. On this day and every Sept. 11th I think of Ted fondly. He was voted favorite chaperon by the orchestra members that year. I want his family to know that Erika (cellist) and I think of Ted and his daughter Jessica with fond memories. God Bless and embrace the Moy family not only today but everyday. Ted you are remembered and missed.

All the best to the Moy family, my prayers are with you always

Ted was a very loving, kind and sincere person and he will always be remembered.

Ted was an “extremely motivated person” who loved to help others. The father of two (Jessica, 19, and Daniel Ted, 15), he is remembered as a very loving dad. The night before his death, he spoke about the good relationship he shared with his children and the plans he had for their future. Ted, a deacon at the Spencerville church in Maryland, is also remembered as a devoted husband whose weekday routine was to call his wife three times during the day.

Bald Eagle

As the eagle was killed by the arrow winged with his own feather, so the hand of the world is wounded by its own skill.

Helen Keller

I hope this tribute has done him justice. My thoughts and prayers are with Ted’s family and friends. God bless.

Respectfully,
Writer Chick

I remember Craig Amundson – a 911 tribute

craig amundson - 911 tributeArmy Specialist Craig Amundson was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He grew up in the town of Anamosa where he often played pick-up football on the playground and fished at the creek with his buddies.  Craig played football at Anamosa High School and graduated in 1992.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies from the University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1996.

In his early twenties, he married Amber and together they had two children – Elliot Reed and Charlotte Marion.

Craig chose a career serving his country in the U.S. Army — he wanted to be where he could be a part of a large organization that was working in human interest.  He felt it was a perfect opportunity to use his talents in a way that was part of the bigger picture.  He believed that by working within the military he could help maintain the military focus on peacekeeping and  strategic planning.  In fact, the last two years of his life he drove to his job at the Pentagon with a visualize world peace bumper sticker on his car.

Craig worked as an enlisted specialist under Lieutenant General Timothy J. Maude doing multimedia illustration.  During his military service, Craig received the Military Achievement Award, given by General Ohle in 1999, and Expert Rifleman. He was also awarded the Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Award posthumously.

These are the ‘facts’ about Craig but as is often the case, they don’t really tell the story of a person.  From his picture I would say he was happy by nature and cheerful.  He had goals to forward the cause of world peace and so to me that meant he cared deeply about his fellow man and the human condition. As an artist, I’m sure he felt connected to others and was inspired to bring beauty into the world in whatever way he could. I think I would have liked this young man and others would have been lucky to call him a friend.

And I think we can all hope that Craig’s dream of promoting peace among all peoples will someday come true.

“It is not the length of life, but the depth.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

With respect,

Writer Chick

I Rember Peggie M. Hurt – a 9/11 Tribute

She was warm, friendly, could belt out a tune and was loved by many. Peggie M. Hurt had only worked at the Pentagon as an army accountant, for two weeks before the plane struck on September 11th.

On the night of September 10th Peggie and a longtime friend, Phyllis Adams, took Peggie’s godmother out for dinner to celebrate her 86th birthday. It was a night of love and celebration and one on which they stayed out perhaps a little too late for a week day.

The 36-year-old Kenbridge, Virginia native had many friends and a large extended family of cousins and church members. And loved being a part of the Hurt family gospel singing group. Her favorite song was “The Battle Is Not Yours, It’s the Lord’s,” and she sung it often and by all accounts well.

I never knew Peggie and can only tell you what I’ve read about her, but her friends and family can tell you who she really was:

Peggy and I worked for the State at night (part-time) She was the first person I met when I arrived for orientation. Peggy was so friendly. We would chic chat at break time. What a sweet angel that is gone much too soon. – Priscilla

Peggie was my first cousin and like a big sister to me. Though the reports state Crewe, Va, her home is really Kenbridge, VA. She NEVER resided in Crewe. I have a picture to place here soon. You all are right about her sweet and kind demeanor. Her spirit was genuine and true and still lives on…I didn’t know about this memorial, but I am glad I stumbled upon it. Thank you all… Alesha Williams

I remember Peggy from high school. She had a sweet quiet demeanor about her. I was stationed in Northern California when I received the news that she was killed 9/11 and thought how could something so terrible happen to someone so sweet. Remember you always. Connie Foster-Daniels

Peggy, we love you, and we miss you! Virgie Dow

Peggy was one of my favorite cousins. Always a pleasure to be around, Peggy always had a beautiful spirit and a kind soul. One of the last times we spent together was at my sisters wedding (Wanda). We had a ball doing the “bump” down the soul train line. Every time I see a picture it breaks my heart. Peggy you will never be forgotten. Love Always – Lorinda Ridley

I worked with Peggy along with ten other ladies at the USPFO in Richmond, VA. We came to be known as the “Girls Night Out” Group. Peggy was so special to all of us. We teased her, but she was such a good sport about it, never taking offense. She had a special quality about her that was never touched by the ills of the world. What I will always remember about Peggy is that she never lost her small town, down-home personality. Peggy, we’ll always love you, and we miss you, still. The Girls Night Out Group – Mary Reede

I met Peggy Hurt in August of 2000 at the Army National Guard Readiness Center we worked in close proximity. Peggy had a loving and warm personality. She loved her church family at home and in Arlington, VA. I remember how excited she was when she received a call regarding being selected for her new job/promotion at the Pentagon. The 911 attack happened within 2 or 3 weeks after Peggy reported to her new position and the Pentagon. Remembering you always Peggy, – Wanda Thurman

Peggie was a spiritual person. Every first and third Sunday, she returned to her hometown church in Kenbridge, Virginia. It’s about a three- to four-hour drive from Northern Virginia. She sang in the choir, and with the Hurt family singers which consisted of aunts and cousins. She loved that song a lot. She was the lead vocalist on this song, and it was sung at her funeral service. –Delores Hardy, cousin

Peggie is my niece; we were much closer than that. We were raised in the same home together and were more like sisters. Over the years we were like mother/daughter relationship. I miss your beautiful smile and crazy jokes. You are miss by so many people who loves you. Margaret

Clearly Peggie will always be missed by her many friends and family members and you have to wonder what we have missed by her absence in this world. Her warmth, her kindness, her smile…

I’d like to think that she is in a better place, in another celestial choir singing this song:

With respect,
Writer Chick

For other 9/11 tributes please check project 2996

I Remember Bruce “Chappy” Boehm – a 9/11 Tribute

For several years now, a group of bloggers have banded together to write remembrances of September 11th victims for the 2996 project. And as the years pass, I suppose it is easier to forget and maybe some people want to. I as well as others, however, have promised never to forget. Nearly 3,000 Americans were killed that day through no fault of their own – simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As the saying goes, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

This year, I remember Bruce. Affectionately known as Chappy – although I couldn’t find out how or why he got his nickname – you’ve got to like a guy named Chappy, don’t you?

Bruce was one of many Cantor Fitzgerald employees who did not survive the attacks. He was strong, athletic and handsome. From all accounts a great father, husband and friend. Even though he was a financial broker for a prestigious firm, he was also a physical fitness advocate who regularly swam, biked and competed in marathons and triatholons.

He loved the ocean and often told his wife, Irene “The beach is my church.” He shared his love of the ocean with his daughters Brittany and Stacey. Like their father, they went on to be lifeguards, helping others, and looking out for people in trouble. And I’m sure, making him proud.

Chappy loved Hofstra University’s football, basketball and lacrosse teams, and attended most home games. In short, it seems that he was a great guy, with a lovely family and a love for life. Sadly, he was taken from his family on the day of his 19th wedding anniversary.

Rather than trying to speak for his family I will instead offer his wife’s words:

“The pain is there every single day. Time does not heal. You learn to kind of put your grief in your back pocket and carry it along with you. My husband is on my mind 24 hours a day. I don’t think that will ever go away and that’s good. I have memories of him. They’re not sad memories. We talk about him all the time. We laugh about the quirky things he would do. He would be happy that we’re happy I had 19 wonderful years. As sad as it is, at least I have that. Those memories will never go away.”

I cannot know what was in Chappy’s mind when he went into work that day or his last thoughts. Nor can I know what the loss of this man in his family’s and friend’s lives has meant. I can only say that the world is a little less happy because he is missing from it. And maybe someday when you’re at the beach you might catch a glint of something special, the spirit of a man who loved that vast expanse of water and whose sparkle reflects on aquamarine waves.

With honor and respect,
Writer Chick

I Remember Paul Lisson – a 9/11 Tribute

About three years ago I became involved in a project called 2996. Which is an aggregate of bloggers who volunteered to write a tribute to a single victim of September 11th 2001. The project had such impact that it carries on. I have promised myself that as long as I have a platform like this blog that I will continue to do these tributes. Each year. One person at time. I do this, not as a political statement but as an act of respect and love for those people who had the misfortune of going to work, getting on the wrong plane, acting like that day would be like any other day. Wrong place, wrong time. Life cut too short. I honor those people and through a tribute in some very small way I am able to give them just a little bit of the life back that was taken from them. This year, I honor Paul Lisson.

Paul was forty-five and worked for Pitney Bowes in the World Trade Center. By all accounts he was very a shy man and kept to himself much of the time. An only child, he grew up with a mentally ill mother, trying to take care of himself and her at the same time. It must have been very difficult and lonely for him to have such a burden as a child and even as an adult. His parents were divorced and so he was the main emotional support for his mother.

Despite his shy and retiring ways anyone who worked with Paul or knew him, spoke of his kindness and care toward other people. If it was your birthday or your anniversary, you could expect Paul to take you to lunch, surprise with a bouquet of balloons or something equally kind and thoughtful. He was just sweet that way – perhaps because he grew up with the special sensitivity of a child who had a vulnerable parent, perhaps just because it was native in him to be kind.

He never married and lived alone in his Brooklyn home – was a conscientious worker and often arrived early at work. Though in his very quiet way he had touched lives and had friends whom he cared about and who cared about him – which was apparent when nearly forty people arrived for his memorial dinner. His father, though they were estranged for many years, was also thankfully a part of Paul’s life and it was a terrible loss, when he realized that he had lost his son.

At the memorial, Bill Kirkhuff, an old family friend, described the Ed Sullivan routine that Paul had spontaneously performed as an 8-year- old. Mr. Vidal marveled over Paul’s utter reliability. Sidney Lisson, a retired graphics artist, discovered that his son had won attendance awards and had a personnel file brimming with commendations. “I’m so full of grief, still,” Sidney Lisson said. “My heart is absolutely shattered.”

It’s amazing isn’t it that we often learn about the people we know, so much more once they are gone than we knew about them in life. That seemed to be the case with Paul as well. Though, unfortunately there was not a lot of information I could find about Paul – it seemed to me that the people who were in his life cared deeply about him, that he was a constant cheerful presence in their lives and that they continue to miss his shy smile and kind nature. It’s always a tragedy when we lose a gentle soul – the one who always smiles when they see us, remembers our birthday, makes us feel a little bit special. That was Paul Lisson.

He liked foreign films, introduced to him by his friend Vera, mystery novels, discussing current events, ballgames and wristwatches. He was shy and kind – making his own quiet way in the world.

His friend Vera tells this story about Paul:

‘I’ll tell you a funny story about Paul,” she added. ”He was supposed to work 9 to 5 every day and he got there at 8 every day. He was always there early. One morning he got there and some people were robbing our computers. Paul offered them coffee and held the door for them. That’s how good and kind he was. He couldn’t conceive that someone would be robbing us.”

On Septemeber 11th :

Genya Sookoo, a Pitney Bowes worker who was with him on Sept. 11. After smelling smoke, she said, they and a third clerk began to descend the stairs. Then came the public address announcement that the problem was in Tower 1 and that it was safe to return to their desks. ”And at that point,” Ms. Sookoo recalled, ”he said he was busy and was going back.” She said she begged him to keep going, but he told her he was dizzy and just wanted to return to his desk.

”It’s funny,I had the pleasure of telling him how much I cherished his friendship that morning and he said the same thing.” She added, ”I used to tell him I wished I had a friend whom I could get him together with. Cause he was just so lonely and I’d feel so bad about it.”

Ms. Sookoo told these stories to Mr. Lisson’s father, Sidney, who called her in the days after the attack to try to determine his son’s fate. Father and son lived just blocks apart in Bay Ridge and, in his view, they had been working on a relationship tainted by hardship and regret. ”I think we were developing a very decent father-son relationship in the last few years,” he said. He was not surprised that Paul had turned back to his office. ”He would tend to be ruffled by that kind of thing, and he was kind of sensitive,” said Mr. Lisson, a retired calligrapher and graphic artist. ”I don’t know how to explain it. He had a very bad adolescence living with an emotionally unstable mother.”

I’m sure that there are many people out there who still miss the shy man with the kind heart and big smile – I hope that they have found peace with the loss of their friend and son and that Paul’s spirit lives on in each of them.

Your smile never fades
from the memory
of those
who received its gift

with respect – wc

To Serve and Protect – Officer Randall Simmons

He was a giant, both physically and spiritually – perhaps moreso spiritually. His name was Randal Simmons, he was a 27 year veteran of the Los Angeles SWAT team and the first member in its 40 year history to ever be killed. Ten thousand people attended his funeral yesterday, officers from as far away as Australia attended. Gang members, old classmate, politicians, strangers – they all went to honor this man. Why?

Because not only was he excellent at his job he was an excellent human being. He gave to the community, not just as a police officer, sworn to serve and protect – but as a youth minister. He affected hundreds of lives and helped countless youths to get off the fast track to hell and ruination and onto the path of a better life. The day of his death, and for days afterward, there were countless radio broadcasts on talk radio where people who knew him and especially young people whom he had helped called in. The calls would have broken your heart. This was a man who quietly went about his life. He put on his uniform and gun every day and headed out to the mean streets of L.A. but he went out there with an open heart and hand. His goal was to help. And he did.

I know that we all like to complain about cops. When we see them behind us in traffic, our paranoia kicks in and we drive extra careful. When they catch us not quite stopping at the stop sign, we curse under our breath and smile as we sign the copy of the ticket. Then go home and bitch and moan about it to our friends, spouse, family. And we never stop to think about the fact that these men and women literally take their lives in their hands every day for our benefit. To protect us. To keep us safe. We never stop to thank them or wish them a good day. We just take for granted that when something terrible happens they will come to our rescue.

And on that day, Randal Simmons did. A man was holding his family hostage – he had literally lost his mind and had already killed three members of his family. But Officer Simmons and his comrades went anyway. They went to help anyone who might still be alive, they went so that the man wouldn’t kill another human being. Unfortunately, he did kill one more – Randall Simmons. A man who so deserved to live moreso than many others still walking around and enjoying their lives. A man who truly did good in the world. Who cared about the world he lived in and tried to make it a better place, one person at a time.

Angels open arms
rise to their holy welcome

your spirit is home

Rest in peace, Officer Simmons. Thank you for being here and for all that you did for your fellow man. Bless your family.

If you would like to help his family, click here. To read more about this incredible man, click here.

I Remember Deborah Medwig

Her father still remembers his firstborn daughter as an infant, asleep on his chest, safely enclosed in his protective arms. He remembers her childhood games, of hoola hoops and bicycle rides – her first words, first steps.

Her friends remember her without time or goodbyes. The quick smiles and laughs they shared. The closeness despite the distance that separated them. The joy, the plans, the I-miss-you’s.

Debbie was a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother. Like many women, she had a promising career, a happy family life and good friends. Everything to live for.

I’m sure that when she boarded Flight 175 on the morning of September 11th she had no idea that life would change forever for her and her family and friends. Though she and her husband, Michael, were both traveling to Los Angeles, they took separate flights. Debbie always said that if anything ever happened to her, she wanted to be sure someone would be there to take care of her daughter, Cassandra. And maybe despite those terrible last minutes, she took comfort in knowing that her husband would be there to take care of their little girl.

I cannot pretend to know who Debbie was or what she meant to those who did. She was a private citizen going about her life when the course of it was radically shifted to an unthinkable fate.

I can only tell you that she was loved by her friends and family. That she is missed by those who knew her. That she brought comfort and joy to those in her life – and that the world has a little less sparkle and shine without her.

She leaves behind her parents, E.F. & Betty Lou Medwig, her brother Michael, sisters Deirdre and Michelle, husband Michael and daughter Cassandra. This is for them:

She flys with angels
glistening gossamer wings
whisper her spirit

 

We Remember

Last year I stumbled upon this website and was truly touched by what I read. A blogger decided to put together a tribute for all the 911 victims and called it Project 2996. I signed up to do a tribute on this blog and pulled the name of a NYC fireman – Steve Mercado. You may have noticed his picture in my sidebar. I keep it there as a reminder to myself of what we lost that day and also, so that I will never forget that there are real heroes in the world.

This year I will be doing another tribute and I suppose as long as I have this blog I will continue to do tributes to these citizens whose lives were cut short simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I would encourage any of you to please visit the website and consider doing a tribute. It really doesn’t take that much time and it can mean so much to those who lost loved ones on that terrible day.

But I warn you, if you endeavor to be part of this project, it will change you. It will take hold of someplace deep inside of you and give you eyes you didn’t know you had. And you will feel things you didn’t know were there to feel. It will make you step outside of yourself and your world and take you on a journey to your heart of hearts.

I hope that you will consider doing a tribute and that if you do, it will forever change you.

WC