This has been quite the year, it is just a year now that we moved our motorhome onto this property
The hardest to deal with I finder the losses…, the ones who have passed on this year, that we have not had a chance to say goodbye to. It is not like good byes are often possible, under usual circumstances, but they are so much harder now.
I have already written in this blog about my fathers death last June, where he fell and broke his hip after coming out of the Handi Mart getting his lottery tickets. 91 years old, on his way to his truck. We were not able to visit him, or have any input into his care (or care decisions) until he was beyond the ability to interact with us. We missed being able to be there for him when he needed us most.
I wanted to write about those whom we have lost since then…
War has unintended consequences, ( collateral damage). For me though, it had unexpected benefits. The people I have got to know because of common views against the war, became some of my closest friends over the years. And I am missing them now.
In late January 2003, I went to the Mayor of Bandon OR, for help in organizing a rally against the Iraq war. (I was naive enough at that time to think that NO ONE was actually FOR the war, it was so obvious enough to ME what was going on). He kind of smirked at me, and politely told me that he did not agree with my feelings about the war. To his credit though…….. he put me in contact with some people whom he thought might share my views. What a life changing action that was for me. The people I met thanks to the mayor’s actions, felt the same way that I felt about war, and were poised and ready to take action.
So that was the start of an incredible time in my life, we all started organizing rallies…. (and we did MANY rallies), education events, parade entrants etc. Somewhere in here I started writing music. I learned that I was the worst poster maker of the group, but there was lots of artists to help me
The three I became closest to were Frank, Marjorie,… and Bobbie. ( Francis Quinn, Marjorie Feldman, and Roberta Seigstew) This was a friendship that spanned all of these years. We went to rallies in Washington DC, where Frank (he was not young then), was one of the few hundred people who got arrested at the White House for remaining close to the outside fence and not moving. (things HAVE changed)There must have been about 10 of us from Bandon alone who went to that rally.
Then Marjorie, Frank, Bobbie and I did the peace march (with the Rural organizing project) from Salem to Portland in 2005, where we marched from the Capitol of Oregon to Portland, camping at night in tents along the way. It was a 7 day walk together.
We also joined a group “WOMEN IN BLACK”(WIB) in coos Bay. It was an international group of silent protest. We went a few times to Coos Bay, then decided that there were more of us from Bandon, and so we started our vigil in Bandon every Friday. Women in Black, though not specifically anti war, were more of a statement against the violent deaths everywhere. Women in Black began in Israel/Palistine, on both sides of the wall, mourning the losses of their loved ones.
I even wrote a song about Women in Black. While I stood there each week for an hour, I did not always know the other women who were standing there, I always knew they would be very nice people, who else would stand here regardless of weather, to bring attention to the deaths of those whom they did not know.
Sadly our weekly stance quickly took on an opposing force of veterans who did not fully understand our intentions. They took up across the road, in a very patriotic stance with flags and sometimes even patriotic music. This went on for a LONG time, and tended to attract more people with common views who were looking for a way to express them. Although a group of us women started with the Women in Black, quickly Frank joined us, because he was often the driver and he felt just as strong as we did. I guess we were the WOMEN in Black….. and Frank. Then other men joined our “Women in Black”. I believe it was during this time that our local Veterans for peace was formed. Eventually, the veterans for peace decided that they represented a different entity, and so they formed on the third corner of the street ( There are 4 corners to every intersection). I am sure you can imagine that this intersection created quite a scene. We had people stopping to film us often, as this corner was along highway 101 a major highway for coastal Oregon.
During this time of antiwar Rallies etc, we often invited the group over to our house for pizza parties after the events. They were great get togethers of like minded people.
With all of the travel etc, I had gotten to know a lot of musicians from all across the US, who were doing political music at events. One of those musicians was Anne Feeney. Anne was well known politician folk musician and we did run into her often at events. At some point in all of this she contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in putting on a house concert for her. So essentially that was the start of a long line of our house concert series. I figured if I got such a large crowd over to our house for a pizza party after a rally, it would also be a great way to support political musicians who were travelling (on tour). IT is a long ways from Portland to San Francisco.
I guess I wanted to give some perspective to some of those that we have lost recently.
Marjorie and Frank and Bobbie were a chapter in my life, that has come to a close recently. Frank was walking his dog in early February and fell and broke his hip. After a long time in hospital and rehab, he passed away a few weeks ago. He was about the kindest person you could imagine. He was softly spoken and always very profound in whatever he said. In many ways with the loss of Frank I feel the loss of Marjorie and Bobbie from the previous years as well.
Bobbie died in late fall of 2018 after a difficult struggle with congestive heart failure.
We all visited with Marjorie who was in the hospital (at the time) January 2019 for a “group hug”, for Bobbie. Marjorie died in May of 2019.
When we were there in January of 2020 we were able to have a day to visit with Frank.
So just like that all 3 of them are gone, it is so hard to even imagine Bandon without them. To us they WERE Bandon.
In Feb 2021, Anne Feeney died from complications of Covid. She had fallen and fracture a vertebra, and had a surgical procedure in hospital, where she contracted Covid.
Also lost to us this year was Debbie Culhane, she was a nurse, friend and eventually a neighbour in Eugene. We often camped in her driveway in Eugene when I was getting radiation treatment. She developed a lymphoma the year after my cancer treatments ended. She said was not as scary going through chemo, after having had a friend go through it first. I was sure hers was much harder then mine. Sadly she survived that cancer and developed another cancer last summer that had already metastasized. She passed away at home in November. She had been in the hospital for some time where no one could visit, but a group of the neighbours arranged for her to be brought home, and she died that night.
I am lost for words to say about the loss of Ian (Cadence) Frank, just a week ago, just 30 years old, died suddenly in Portland Oregon. Friend to our son Josh, and son to friends Rick and Dianne Frank, from Bandon Oregon.
Cadence contacted Josh on January 6th, during the capitol Riots asking if it might be possible to come to Canada. We all said YES.
Much love to all who read, virtual hugs to everyone.
Janet, Ken and Tucker.