Thursday, July 29, 2021

For Kathy




Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble


Booktopia / Australia

This weekend is the Memorial Service for fellow author, Kathy Fischer-Brown. Every evening, as twilight falls and the July fireflies rise from the grass, I realize that her phone number will never again appear on the caller I.D. 

It's important for some writers, many of whom are, by nature, rather solitary creatures, to have another confidant in the same odd line of work to talk to. I'd never had a friend like this before Kathy, so had not realized that I'd like one until I met her. In fact, Jude Pittman, our publisher, got us together, as she'd noted our similar late 18th Century interests. 

It turned out we shared a great deal more than just research and a common interest in the American Revolutionary & Colonial Period, something we only gradually realized.  She was younger than me, and had more of academia than I did, therefore our childhoods and twenties did not occur at exactly the same time or contain the same experiences. It turned out not to matter much, in the end.

I was not able to attend the Memorial Service, so I wrote this for her, kind of drawing a line under the loss, I guess. It's the kind of thing that you experience more and more of as you get "to a certain age," and it seems to me that poetry is as good as any other way to cope.   

 For Kathy

Fireflies rise, cool sparks 

Glow against the black tree silhouettes.

With a glass of Malbec at hand and a phone,

We're off again, sharing visions of the Revolutionary War,

Whether those characters should wear coats of red or blue or green,

Criminals, heroes & villains alike 

Standing on the backs of strong women 

And slaves—

Wild, Wild East of history, both genuine and fake,

Where, beneath trees older than Genesis, 

The First People still told of Thunderbird and the Three Sisters, legends of

Earth Turtle and Beaver, of Brave Muskrat and Trickster Crow.

After a summer supper, calling from the porch,

“How ya Doin’?” she jokes and I laugh at her puns,

Baseball mutters in the background, and

She shares today's vision of a fox, how it paused and

Stared from the green slope of the lawn, down toward the on-again-off again creek.

We discuss fireflies and how,

When we were children,

So much was different; 

We mourn a natural world lost, a place with Monarchs and tadpoles. 

Sometimes she shares memories: 

Our 60's: hers of Baez, Civil Rights, of plays and performances,

Of academia, of camping at Woodstock--her friends had never expected THAT--

And her Mom and baby days, birth stories and death stories, so poignant.

I learned about her research and dreams,

Her quest for recognition a.k.a., The Same Old Writer’s Blues, 

Of Revelations at reenactment nighttime campfires, under a country night sky,

Full of stars dancing,

About working for her father, of jumping into the 'Net in the 90's, and of 

Friends and treasure troves of history found in virtual space-- 

As well as how to cook a duck and create a holy Passover supper. 

Together we nodded, two gray women, agreeing about

The complex knots that tie families everywhere.

Tonight I watch fireflies rise in hazy twilight,

And once more I’ll miss your rambles through Past and Present,

My Dear Friend, 

Your husky voice in my ear, your laughter and sophistication, your wit, 

A delight for all too brief a time.

~~Juliet Waldron 



  1. I enjoyed the short visit I had with her in New York City. She is missed

  2. What a poignant testimony, Juliet. Thanks for sharing your precious experiences with Kathy. She is smiling at you from above.

  3. How lovely and sad, as a tear escapes. It was a great experience to have shared so much with Kathy.


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