Heather and I lit your candle per usual and you watched It's a Wonderful Life with us just before Christmas. Chris, Vic, and Astrid were here for Christmas dinner. Astrid is growing so fast, such a neat kid. We watched the animated Grinch.
The day after Christmas, a letter came from a publisher, Anderbo, who held a contest for self published books. I'd entered Brad Pitt Won't Leave Me Alone. I know if you win they call you so I opened the letter resignedly. To my surprise your novel was named one of the best three. I was so excited!
Tonight, I watched The Colbert Report because your friend, Michael Stipe, was listed as a guest. He sang a Christmas carol at the end so I was disappointed he wasn't interviewed.
I'm at your Nana's house on this anniversary. She has been in the hospital for two nights. She is supposed to come home this morning.
She has a lovely nativity scene outside that I think you would like.
Remember the last time you were here. It was in December after Bumpa's death. It was just before Christmas so we had one last Heuer Christmas. That will be 15 years ago this December 19th.
Your nana and I will probably spend the day making English Toffee and Pecan Tassies.
I wear your Cuba sweatshirt sometimes and one of your stocking cap. What I cannot wear any more is the top I wore to your memorial. I can't give it away, but it's too hard to wear.
Did you see that Ric Martin sent me some of your poems that you had given him when you were in college? Two of them I did not have.
Of course you know that Obama won. What a relief! I wonder how you would have fared in Hurricane Sandy. I believe we are on a collision course with disaster re climate change. On the flight here I remember thinking how ingenious is man that this large planes with filled heavy humans and luggage can soar through the air,that we can climb in vehicles and drive here and thert, that we can communicate with the world with small hand held devices. How clever are we humans! But we are too oblivious to notice we are destroying our planet or to worry or care.
It's time to catch up. I worked hard on this year's election. We would have had wonderful conversations about how lame were many of the Republican candidates, the hypocrisy, and outright lies. I'm so relieved that Obama won. I knew the votes were there because I could see Obama's magnificent ground game from the ground up. However, I didn't trust the Republicans to stop with voter suppression efforts. I feared they'd steal the election. Maybe Romney's confidence made them think they didn't need to try it. (OTOH, a group called Anonymous claims to have built a firewall around Ohio's vote counting software which indeed was attacked but they claim their wall kept it safe. Interesting, but I don't know if it's true.)
Your nana's health is not so good. Iowa was a battleground state so we went back there on election day and canvassed and visited her. We were there on election night. We, being Victoria, Heather, and I. V and I stayed a week and Heather a long weekend. It turned out well. We also worked for Christie Vilsack to try to defeat Steve King. That didn't work out, but she gave him his first real run for his money. Christie was in Sioux Center so we, including Nana, went to see her and have a three generation picture with her which appeared on her facebook page. Did you know you have a facebook page? You have been found there by old friends.
A few days after we got back Nana was in the hospital. Her heart stopped several times for a few seconds. Now she has a pacemaker.
Chris, Vic, Astrid, and Andrew were here for Thanksgiving along with Heather, of course. We lit your crooked candle.
I am going back to Iowa to be with my mom to help her with some computer stuff, make English Toffee, and take her to a doctor's appointment to test for early dementia. I'll be there from the 4th to the 11th so I will spend the 8th anniversary of your death in Iowa. That will be odd. I usually spend the day looking at old pictures and letters.
Heather has an offer for a job on KFOG mornings. She's not happy with the salary and hopes to negotiate a better deal.
Did you hear about Hurricane Sandy? It hit New York very hard, water down the subways, people without power in many areas. I wonder what it would have been like if you were still there.
Summer, oh Summer / Rene Alegria
Thinking about you so much lately. Summer and all. The neighborhood. Laughing and laughing. You saying sweet things. Us both feeling like the world was ours to juggle with and dance to. Miss you. And your tattoo, of that guy who you always said had your back and mine. You're with me now, like then, us both looking out my window, and the life at Thomkins Park that fueled our young universe. Close
I almost never remember my dreams unless I wake up early and fall back to sleep. This morning I dreamt I took you to a shoe store for new shoes. You wanted a certain kind and I bought you orange canvas tennis shoes with a pointed toe. Of course, I had to also buy you some brown leather all purpose shoes before I woke up with a smile.
remembrance/ Rachel Reynolds (college friend )
I found myself telling someone about Shannon last week. We weren't very close but we knew each other at the University of Iowa and spent at least a few nights out goofing off and talking about writing and art and music and anything, really. I'll always remember Shannon. Close
I was at a meeting all day about California's budget project so I'm tired, but want to say hi. Vic brought daffodils last Saturday for our annual corned beef and dumplings in your honor. They weren't open, but are now fully open and beautiful.
We thought of you this holiday season / Eloise Hamann (Mom)Read >>
We thought of you this holiday season / Eloise Hamann (Mom)
We lit your crooked candle as usual. We also thought about your Uncle Vernon who died on New Year's Eve last year.
The publication of your poetry book is official. The publication is listed as this month. I sent Attila several copies along with your Brad Pitt book. One of my friends absolutely loved the main character.
We are going to Phoenix the first week in January. Heather may join us. She is between jobs, but she could have one soon. She quit her sales job, but there's a fruit basked upset in radio right now so she will either get hired soon or have a long waiting period. She didn't want to do Christmas this year. We scaled way back on presents, but not on the feasting and drinking.
We did some home redecorating and your old room is less of a shrine.
It would be good to agonize over politics with you. The bipartisanship is over the top. Of course, I see it as the Repuglicans as being totally rigit and using every trick in the book to gain power. They attach their agenda items to must pass legislation for government to continue to function.
Chris, Vic, and Astrid were here this evening. They were a boost to my spirits. Vic told a story about you from Chris's stepmom I'd not heard before. I love hearing such stories. Your poetry book is still just on the verge of being available for general sale from Pavement Saw so I'll start mailing the copies I received soon.
I felt so good about seeing you published, but I realize it doesn't change the fact that you're not here. Damn it!
Seven years ago I went to bed with you still alive.
my writer son that this website doesn't respect commas etc. I suspect the comma I put after sorry won't appear. Further what's with the European spelling of various words with Oktober with a "cee" becoming Oktober. Your German heritage or your mischievous spirit?
People can preorder your poetry collection Deathdoubledactyl from www.pavementsaw.org It is to be available in Oktober of this year.
Your novel Brad Pitt Won't Leave Me Alone is available now at https://www.createspace.com/900004304 It will soon also be available at Amazon.com and eventually available on Kindle. I'm personally unhappy with Amazon for their position on collecting California sales tax but that's my opinion.
There will be an article on my publishing your work in the augustus alumni magazine. It will include a picture of me with the oil painting Attila did of you. It was amazing that they sent out a professional photographer to take the picture which will be on the cover of Deathdoubledactyl.
We always enjoyed talking politics. The political scene has become even more rancorous.
brodsky says it best on your belated 45 / Leif Read >>
brodsky says it best on your belated 45 / Leif
I wish you were here dear
I wish you were here.
I wish I knew no astronomy
when stars appear
when the moon skims the water
that sighs and shifts in its slumber.
I wish it were still a quarter
to dial your number. Close
Happy Birthday, Shannon! / Victoria Heifner (Friend)Read >>
Happy Birthday, Shannon! / Victoria Heifner (Friend)
We celebrated your birthday with your folks on Sunday. As usual your Mom's cooking was delicious. My Dad died a week ago so we crashed your corned beef with a creme pie. I hope you don't mind. I know you would have liked my Dad. He would tell you about all of the clubs he used to go to in North Beach in the 1950's. He saw/loved Nina Simone and Lenny Bruce--all right up your alley. His politics may have bothered you but frankly he wasn't *that* firm on them. Come to think of it that very fact may have bugged you more. ;)
Your Mom is doing a fantastic job of getting your work published. We can't wait to buy a copy.
It's funny I've noticed that when published some of the notes written show up with typos. Last time it made me cringe a little. There's a little phenomenon in the (real/hand) typesetting world which refers to "type mites". Those little invisible creatures that come in when you're at lunch and "mess things up" so you print tiny errors. Old School Printers will tell you about this. On this site? I've decided it's you; still getting the best of us. ;)
Happy Birthday. xo Vic Close
happy birthday sweetie / Vicky Wheeler
shannon i miss you so much. been a tumultuous year so far... sometimes i honestly feel like you're pushing me speaking thru other people's mouths pointing to things i need to be mindful of like you are right there. which is awesome. today i wanted to post 'wave of mutilation' to facebook for you but ummmm tsunami on japan & all that didn't want people to get the wrong idea (eek) and yet i couldn't help imagining your wicked grin if i had posted it.... and then thinking of 'wicked' i found a gorgeous live version of john cameron mitchell singing 'wicked little town' and i know how much you love that. every time i find myself humming it (often) i think about you. '...and if you've got no other choice you know you can follow my voice thru the dark turns and noise of this wicked little town...' i love you. Close
We had your birthday dinner last night. Heather's new job in sales makes weekday nights more difficult.
Astrid is nearly four. She doesn't want to grow up. She wants a piano but doesn't need lessons. She already knows how to play.
I haven't talked to your editor at Pavement Saw since he emailed the collection. He wanted to discuss how to break lines that were too long to fit on a single line. I know he hoped to have it all ready by the end of this month.
This website is getting buggier and buggier. I noticed some typos in my last note to you. I am certain I didn't type them however. As the editor of this site I can go in and correct things but I could not get to that particular message.
I hope this one gets posted. I'm also supposed to get an email whenever anyone posts to this site but that's erratic.
Erica and Missy are both getting married this fall within a couple of weeks of one another. Amazing how Nana has had adult grandchildren for years and now two weddings back to back.
I plan to self-publish your Brad Pitt book but the publisher I chose which is associated with Amazon.com has suddenly gone incommunicado. I wonder if they've gone out of business.
Your Nana was in the hospital a couple of days with a severe case of bronchitis. She is 87 and just in the past year began taking something for chest tightness. She has narrowing of the blood vessels.
I talked with David Baratier the editor of Pavement Saw a couple of days ago and we talked about the expected publishing date. I think I may have become a trifle lost in all of the dates. The end of March was the first date perhaps the one where it will be in galley stage then to printer then we get copies and then it will be available to the general public by June or July. Given my experience with academic publications I'm prepared for slippage.
We saw your father's relatives at your uncle's services. Myke is awesome. I know you two would have a connection. Craig was between jobs but he seems to always land on his feet. Hermina was as prepared as one can be. She has a large supportive family so that will help with all that is ahead of her.
Your cousin Missy is serious about a nice young man. I don't think I told you Erica is engaged to Rob a man she's been with for years. They are likely to tie the knot in late Oktober in a beach in Mexico.
Your let's see first cousin once removed Ana---Evan's daughter is an adorable sprite. Big dark eyes long dark hair despite having been cut. She's six months younger than Astrid whose hair is just getting past the baby stage. Once she told her mother Vic "I want hair." You would love her temperament. Heather's John was so totally enchanted with her he told Heather he wanted a daughter. You can imagine Heather's response.
Speaking of your sister I don't think she's told you Dr. Dean retired. It was rather sudden so her life has been turned upside down. She is getting many job interviews for selling radio ads something she is determined to get into.
Of course I imagine you know all this with your molecules flying around the universe.
Hmm you should take a peek at the collection of your poems I submitted for publication. I realize there are about 40 poems which aren't included. The editor may include a few of them. I don't know if he decides or I decide. Swoop in and take a look at my computer files and emails with David Baratier. I think I will rank order them in terms of my preferences just in case it's my decision so give me a sign or is it a Sign?
Your Uncle Vernon passed away this morning. I guess we will always remember the date. Your Grandma Hamann chose Easter at least in our time zone but Easter changes year to year. Now I can't recall which day in April marks her passing.
You chose your Aunt Sandy's birthday so your maternal relatives will remember.
Vernon was 80. He has been suffering poor health for some time so in some ways it's easy to be philosophical about it all. He had a long life. He was suffering. Somehow I still find it all unsettling. What seems more comforting is that none of us live forever and I'm not sure many of us would want to. I know I wouldn't. If I did I'd need to move from planet to planet with different holidays and customs. Also definitely frailities and failities of the creatures who live on the planets are such that I could not handle living on any one forever.
Yet I hate all justifications of individual deaths no matter how valid. And I do appreciate your uncle was ready to go because o his suffering and indeed would that be the case for all of us. Yet how do we miss them less?
Seeing death as the natural order of things that we must accept is rational so long as death does not happen in an untimely manner as it did in your case. Rational does not mean it is OK. OK in the sense of our hearts I mean.
We are going to watch one of our favorite VHS movies either "A Fish Called Wanda" or "Love and Death". I don't think we talked about either movie.
This is Christmas Eve Eve for us. Heather's John is with his son tonight so we are moving Christmas back a day. We are big on ceremony but not when. I don't think Heather has told you about John. You would like him I know. He is smart and well read.
Your candle is lit and we had a nice dinner with Heather. We went on a short hike. we stopped at a rocky peak and somehow I thought of you. Meibe I was thinking how nice that the three of us were together and then realized there was someone missing.
I received the following email from a good friend from San Jose State University. We try to stay in touch since my retirement but it's been hard. I think it unlikely that she remembers the exact date of your death. You'll like her daughter's reaction to your poetry.
I have been meaning to email you for a while now. I wish I had a good excuse - even if I did it would be just that - an excuse. I was talking to Natasha today (online chat - her generation doesn't seem to appreciate the original purpose of the telephone). She went on and on about how she loves to read poetry and I remembered showing her some of Shannon's poetry when she was younger. She may have been 5 or 6. At the time she didn't think it was poetry because it didn't even rhyme. Anyway I found some of Shannon's poetry online and sent her the link. Her only comment was "oh wow".
"Oh wow" seems as high a praise that one can give.
I thought this year I had achieved peace but Heather just left and I feel empty. I don't feel that way on other days.
Vicky Wheeler is especially missing you this year.