“Margarete”

By Ellie Levin

Morningside Gardens                                                                           February 2015

Dear Jud,

It’s snowing today.  I remember in 1982 when you came here from New Jersey through the snow.  After dinner you insisted on going to Lincoln Center to see an Italian film, “The Night of the Shooting Stars.” It is such a beautiful, hopeful film about friendship between Americans and Italians in a small town during World War II.

Yesterday I went to see some old film footage made by two sisters, probably twins; it was called “Margarete” as that was the first name on some envelopes in the box where the films were found.  Janek Turkowski on a hike a few years ago, stepped over the Polish border into East Germany and just for fun bought the films at a flea market. After he began to look at them he wanted to know who made them and why. It became the center of his work in theatre in Poland. He couldn’t find out how the films got to the flea market dealer. He did find Margarete with the help of a friend fluent in German. He went to see her. She was 99 years old, and in a nursing home. She could see just enough of the films to authenticate them. Continue reading

Deacon’s Ministry

“particularly as a servant of those in need” BCP p 856

by Hardison Geer

Sharon met Anthony when they were fellow servers (acolytes) at St. Mary’s. Sharon became a good friend of his, as she did with so many others. He left St.Mary’s to attend a church on Long Island whose rector was a former curate at St. Mary’s, but continued coming into Manhattan to his job as a lawyer for the V. A. Almost a year ago when he was ordained deacon she went to his ordination. In June, when her breast cancer put her in the hospital, she called him in for a conference with her oncologist. I met him in the hallway and took him to where they were. When they emerged they had decided that she should go straight from the hospital to the hospice.

In the hospice Fr. Anthony visited almost daily as did so many others. Who? Fellow servers, friends from all over, relatives close, relatives alienated, half sisters unmet, high school friends from twenty years back and so on. Soon the guards stopped giving her guests visitor’s passes…they ran out of them. The maximum of five visitors at a time meant nothing…rarely, in the evening, did she have so few. Twelve or thirteen was more common. One nice thing about the hospice is that they will supply a bed in the room for visitors who wish to stay the night. Sharon had at least five different people stay the night, some of them more than once. In fact she did something which should not have been possible…she was more visited than all the rest of the patients in the two hundred bed hospice put together. When she could still walk she did something to reduce that disparity by visiting and befriending her fellow patients. At least two of her new friends predeceased her. I was told that the staff were flabbergasted when she ran errands for other patients getting them water or ice. This was not her greatest task while in hospice, she used the leverage her being in hospice gave her to heal alienation in her family. In fact an informal gathering the day after her funeral was attended by a combination of people inconceivable a year ago. Continue reading

Zermat

by Marilyn Crockett

We flew Icelandic, Tony and I, with its stop in Reykjavik and we really did stop in Reykjavik for three days, I think.  I liked Iceland for its oddness, little multicolored houses with corrugated roofs lining streets punctuated with little trees.  The open, treeless countryside had its great falls, not as great as Yosemite or Niagara, and its hot springs, not as dramatic as Yellowstone – but all interesting.  I liked the sheep turned loose to graze and the feeling of being in a Bergman movie with the Icelandic language surrounding us, so Scandinavian in sound.

But our real destination was Zermat and the Matterhorn.  Tony, an Australian with a physics PhD from Cambridge, the English one, had the English climbing bug.  I had gone along with jogging, hiking, and even two lessons in rock climbing, ever the cooperative girl-friend.  Not that I did that well.  My jogging on the paths around the Cloisters was intermittent, walking when the grade was too steep or when I just felt fatigued.  The hiking, most interesting at the Delaware Watergap, was a plodding thing.  I looked forward to the picnic with a demi of wine at the top.  I met my match with the rock climbing.  I did not like dangling off a rope and rappelling.  I never got the hang of it, bouncing against the side of a vertical cliff.  The first lesson went fine with a pro instructor that Tony had hired.  But on the second try, I got stuck on the face of the cliff – sandwiched – and I could not go either up or down.  Tony to his credit had the strength to pull me up.  The misery of that moment surpassed my embarrassment. Continue reading