1.06.2008

Extraordinary women

I know some extraordinary women. Some I met when they were teenagers and are now grown women having amazing lives. Two are daughters. A few have passed into another realm, less physical than this one. There are friends, close to me in age and precious to me in their ability to love.

I'm grateful that I know them all. I appreciate their uniquenesses, I'm honored that any one of them would consider me a friend.
(Most of the photos get bigger when you click on them.)

Purple hair. Teenagers do that. And lots of piercings and maybe a few tattoos. Here is Liora. As of June '07, she was living in Hokkaido, Japan, teaching English and hiphop to the locals. But I know that she was planning on going for a Masters in Psychology sometime soon -- not in Japan, here in the U.S.





This is Melissa. She was a handful. But a very fun and fabulously intelligent handful. I wonder if she knew that her teachers tore their hair out because of her. A few years ago, I read her first published novel, Swollen. I'll be reading her second, Upstream, soon.



I stole this picture of Donna from her website. She was my first photography student. She loved it so much, she was willing to come to school at 7:30 a.m. and get NO credit for it. That's extremely unusual. She also passed up a pretty certain career in math (she was very gifted) in order to study commercial photography.





You've met Lorelei if you're a constant reader. If you're just meeting her now, go back and get acquainted with her.
What fun this teenager was!! A delight, a joy, a trip. And now she lives in Dublin, Ireland and is in love with lovable Roland.




This is Slayde. She is Kim's daughter and mine, not by marriage, but by choice. I don't know of any other stepmother who had it so good. Slayde (and her brother Abe) treated me with the utmost kindness and respect. Here she is with Ben, her very cool and very smart boyfriend. Slayde is a law student at Georgetown University Law School. I'm hoping she'll put polluters in jail.




Allison is my first daughter. She's sassy and funny and smart. She should write about traveling since she goes all over the place -- and at the drop of a hat.






My mom. I thought I would die of grief when she passed away. That was such a long time ago. My mother was truly extraordinary. She was a WASP, Women Airforce Service Pilot in WWII, the first women in history to fly US military aircraft. And after her husband (my father) died, she drove 4 kids and a german shepherd from Virginia to Arizona in a pink and black Nash Rambler. She was tough.



Evie was Kim's mother. Here's just one of her amazing and unbelievable stories: she taught at the American School in Tehran while the revolution was going on in 1979 -- the Shah was fleeing while the Ayatollah Khomeini was coming to power. Her friends said they hated Americans, but she was okay. Evie also taught in Paris and in Moshi, Tanzania. Remarkable. She taught ESL in Santa Barbara right up to the day her heart stopped. She was tough, too.




Yup, that's Lauri, queen of the north country. That's a baby halibut she's got there and she says "it's no big thrill." Whew, it would be for me. Lauri is steel wrapped in the softest lambskin.






Here's me and Lois and Elijah, her first grandson. Lois has the best sense of humor of anyone I've ever known. She can make me laugh anytime, anyplace. That is worth everything because without laughter, you're finished.






Belinda is the best high school drama teacher in the country. And the best friend. A therapist told me once that I should check into a mental hospital because I was in such bad shape. I went to Belinda's house instead, where I could get some real care. Whenever I woke up, she was there beside me, asking me what I needed, bringing me delicious muffins and coffee.


These women sustain me. They energize, inspire, comfort, entertain, amuse, and enlighten me. I would like to take this opportunity to say: thanks.