Simple Moments

Simple Moments

I read the obituary column. Some people may think this is odd. I found my name in there once. It was many years ago, and I was feeling quite well that day. I was shocked and surprised to see MY name listed. The only other thing listed there was the name of the memorial park where services were held. I have been told I am a procrastinator. Well, I’ll think more about that later, but it was a while before I could follow up on my namesake who had passed. By the time I did get to the memorial park, I found that this other Elaine Martin had been cremated and her ashes scattered. That meant there was no stone or marker I could visit to find out more about who she was, how old, place in a family, anything. I recently read the obituary for Lowell Steward, a...

Sad Goodbyes

Sad Goodbyes

I’ve lost two important people in my life recently. Al Martinez died on Monday, January 12, 2015. He had been a columnist for the Los Angeles Times for many years. He wrote several books, and I met him on more than one occasion at his book signings. At that time he also read from his books, and he had such a way with words. In 2012, the Huntington Library had an exhibit titled “Al Martinez: Bard of L.A.” The dictionary defines “bard” as “an exalted national poet.” He was that and more. He was my literary hero. I wanted to be like him when I grew up. He was warm, witty, and very human. He taught writing, and believing I could learn much from him, I gave serious thought to enrolling in his class. It was held in Topanga...

A Time For Giving

A Time For Giving

Giving doesn’t come naturally to some people. Having a generous spirit doesn’t either. I was lucky. Both my parents were givers. They did a lot of community service. Not that community service required by law, but the kind that came from a generous soul. I remember holiday dinners where either one of my parents would invite someone they knew to join us for dinner, someone who would otherwise be alone. My mother used to drive friends to doctor’s appointments, and she was always helping at the church bazaar, in whatever church she belonged to. When she returned to California to live, I went with her to all her doctor appointments. She had a pacemaker to regulate her heartbeat. On one appointment with her cardiologist, she asked him if, after she...