Thursday, October 22, 2009

LIttle bits of Dr. Mary

I miss her extremes of exuberance, of compassion, of total hilarity, of her gigantic faith in a larger than life body barely able to contain it all.

Of exuberance: It was at the New york Baha'i convention the year it was held at a large hotel in New York probably forty years when the Baha'i Faith was even more obscure. We were all excited to see a fellow Baha'i and on this one day in October every year there were Baha'is everywhere-all hugging anything that moved. My mother became a pure powerful spirit feeding off the energy. We were on an elevator with our telltale glow when one passenger-not a Baha'i-just a curious businessman asked a perfectly normal question. "Who are you people?".
My mother's huge arms sprang upwards and outwards and she shouted, "We are the people of light!" The look on the man's face of total panic makes me laugh until this day.

Of hilarity: We went to visit some Baha'is in upstate New York and as usual my mother was so excited to meet new people-especially Baha'is and their friends. In a country house with a view of a meadow we sat down at a dining room table to socialize. Dr. Mary turned to an older Baha'i woman and asked, "How are things up your end?" and I, making things worse, said "Mom, you can't ask someone a question like that"
My shocked mother replied, "Oh, I didn't mean it like that!"

Of Faith: She went out to Chiropractic school in her mid thirties to try and help her son who was born legally blind. She was divorced and like so many others of the Great Depression generation had to drop out of High School to make money. With two small boys and a High School equivalency certificate and some money saved from working in a factory she began five grueling years of college. Her entire family thought she was crazy and would not help her. After going to class all day she then worked at a nursing home and came home at nine o'clock at night. She became a member of the Baha'i Faith and helped form the first Local Spiritual Assembly of Davenport, Iowa. She left Iowa in the dead of winter and arrived five days later at her Mother's house in New York-five days of sleeping at gas station parking lots from Iowa to New York. She had two pennies left in her purse.

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