Tuesday, May 23, 2017


I was asked to contribute a statement about Ann Shelby Blum to a Smith College 45th reunion memorial for the Class of 1972. I couldn't do it. But I did.
Here it is.


Oh Beth, where to begin?

But that is always the hardest part...beginning.

I was browsing on FB last February and had a flash to search for signs of Annie—surely by now she was onto social media. To my profound shock I found out Ann Shelby Blum had passed away in November 2015 after a long decline to ovarian cancer.

The letters and stories and tributes were piling up on a website put together by her husband Peter, each writer revealing their unique connection to Ann(ie)—who was a multidimensional and original woman—she who  could not be contained or defined in ordinary terms.

I read these stories through a fog of regret and sadness then went to tell Robert, bursting into tears. Annie is gone!

It was not that I knew her now as well as back when we had been so close, fading as years blew by...in 1971 when Robert and I spent the summer with Annie, camping in a lean-to in the mountains above Santa Fe with two dogs and a VW bug, waiting tables in town.

Annie had been fascinated by the Santa Fe Trail, and she was a trail-blazer. She left Smith to explore history, archaeology and geology in the southwest...she was a "naturalist" with a creative, insightful curiosity and intrepid style.
Her unique fashion sense, frayed turtlenecks and floppy pants, prompted my mother to offer her hand-me-downs, thinking it was because Annie was poor that she did not wear matching Bobbie Brooks. Yet she had a simple elegance -- Annie invented shabby chic.

It was not that I had forgotten her, the last time we hugged, when she pressed into my arms a wedding present: a big red tin pie-safe carried from Vermont, as we left Cambridge on the way to Maine for our honeymoon in 1975.

When we shared a broccoli pizza.

When I took the train from Springfield to New Haven to visit Ann, with a loaf of bread rising in my backpack.

When we climbed to her special autumn hill in Vermont, a riot of color. When she told me a drop of water fell in her eye while swimming in a pond and it changed her lens of the world to a brilliant sparkle.

And years went by and we had lives without each other but we had lives.

Ann co-authored ‘the’ book on natural history illustration, she was a wife and a mother, an artist, historian and scholar and we lost the close relationship, I suppose naturally, to distance and limitations.

The fat file of letters I have still today, written in her distinctive hand -- funny and insightful snapshots of Annie -- must have gradually lost its place as we just got too busy for all that. Too busy.

I suppose I wrote her back. We were in Philly, in Spartanburg, in Taos, in Corrales. We had babies. We had a practice. She was in Puerto Rico, Ithaca, Australia. Latin America. Massachusetts.

I sent Annie a coffee table book once, photographs of New Mexico, thanking her for bringing us to The Land of Enchantment.

Our lives were changed completely by her adventurous spirit; we never left and yet she never came back.

The postcard she sent to thank me for the book said the photos were so beautiful "it hurts to look at them."

The tears, I told Robert, were not because I knew her as well as once we did. It was the years that went by. How could it be.
Forty years! We were children together. Four decades gone, and we did not see, hug, talk, smile or know each other as grownups out in the world.

I am breathless, speechless, by the loss of that time that we did not know was going by and I still don't understand where it went. That realization is the source of deep sorrow, nothing seems to touch it.
And now a wrecking ball has hit my life, a wrecking ball called cancer. This happens to other people. Not to us. This happened suddenly.

Gone...where is he?

It's like he evaporated and I am alone with new parameters, missing my Robert, my healer, my brown silvery brilliant beautiful man, his voice, his touch.

Missing my man. Missing my friend.
Missing Annie.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

my flowers

My flowers are reflected

In your mind

As you are reflected in your glass.

When you look at them,

There is nothing in your mind

Except the reflections

Of my flowers.

But when I look at them

I see only the reflections

In your mind,

And not my flowers.

It is my desire

To bring roses,

And place them before you

In a white dish.

---The Florist Wears Knee-Breeches 
by Wallace Stevens

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mom's Xmas in Maine

At this time of year, I am constantly reminded of my mother, Helen Owens Weissinger, for whom Christmas was more than a holiday, a shopping spree, a festive occasion, but was a potpourri of events and traditions encompassing months of planning and the execution of miracles.

She believed in the magic of Christmas, especially for children, and she labored most of the year to create the perfect Xmas-y atmosphere, wrap the perfect gift, fill her home with the scent of cookies baking, painting them as angels and snowmen and trees, amid piles of wrapped packages awaiting the appointed hour,  and the astonishing array of ornaments and silvery balls glimmering, hanging from the ceiling, which thrilled and amazed all who stepped into her holiday lair.

She had a Christmas Club at the bank, depositing fifty cents or a dollar a week, so that by December she had a little saved up for presents. Mostly she sewed, doll clothes for the high-heel dolls - fur jackets and ball gowns - and she would repair old stuffed toys and fix them up new.

We'd go to center city Philadephia just to see the display of lights and maybe see Santa at Wanamaker's, stopping off for a visit to the automat at Horn & Hardarts before catching the Reading train home.

After retiring to Caribou, Maine, in the last decade of her life, she tried to keep up the energy to continue carrying on the soul of the season. Northern Maine obliged with annual snowfall in the hundreds of inches, and the flickering flames of the gas fireplace added ambiance.

This poem, Mom's Xmas in Maine, is taken verbatim from her card, sent to me one December day, many years ago. I saved it because it seems to capture her spirit; more than the glitter of tinsel, or the familiar ring of hymns and carols, it reminds me of the prettiest angel cookie you could hardly bring yourself to bite into, painted with golden hair and blue eyes - the snickerdoodle stocking-stuffer whopper of a Christmas morning she loved, and I just know that she is somewhere, happy it's that time of year again: jingle bell time, a swell time, Christmas. Thanks, Mom.

Mom's Xmas In Maine

Dear Linda,
I simply can't
get the pkgs. out in time,
they aren't even gift wrapped!
The house isn't decorated,
the tree's not up,
there are no drapes in the LR
and no blinds in my BR
(they're ordered but still haven't come.)

I have only 2 kinds of cookies made
& today I broke a big bowl in the kitchen
& pottery shattered everywhere,
& the cat's driving me insane!

My cleaning's done
& my cards are all sent.
Two neighbors brought me wreaths;
I hung one on the front door
& one on the window
(outside--it's real pine,
or fir, or balsam
or whatever.)

I have 2 doctor appts. before Xmas
My BP is 200 over 95,
& I'm supposed to be having the dinner this year!

Merry Xmas!
Love, Mom

P.S. Don't cash this
till after Xmas.
You'll be able to buy
twice as much.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Autumn New Mexico 2012

Sandhill Cranes

Everyone is out shopping - no one down by the Rio Grande

Vote Like Your Whole World Depended On It

Posted by Picasa

I took this photo in 1972 in Shutesbury, Massachusetts after McGovern lost to Nixon. Massachusetts was the only state to go for McGovern, hence the bumper sticker we had on our VW for years: Don't Blame Me, I'm from Massachusetts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Duke City Marathon 2012 - at the starting gate

Almost like being there - See you in 3 hours, Sion!
(Sion Ben Lupowitz is in the green shirt - He came in 10th place at 3:00:24) More info about the 29th Annual Duke City Marathon in Albquerque NM is HERE

Monday, September 10, 2012

Faces of Turkey : Istanbul

Michele Lupowitz has published her photo essay Faces of Turkey: Istanbul - the story and visual journey of her year as a Fulbright exchange teacher in Turkey 2005-06 - The book has many wonderful and intimate photos of fabled Istanbul today and the story Michele relates is very interesting, and best of all, you can buy it HERE right now, just click on Books - at MicheleLupowitz.com

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Melbourne Beach Frolics - Summer 2012

Having fun with the kids at the beach, what could be better for a vacation...It starts in the back of a golf cart flying through the dunes jungle - so hang on!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In the Summer of Moths

In the Summer of Moths

 For Alice Woolf (June 18, 1916 - June 3, 1997)

Yours were the hands, purple and knotted
striking the keys to make music from memory.

Yours was the voice weaving memory and myth,
croaking the stories we craned our ears to hear,
ready to laugh with you, Alice.

Eighty years of life you aimed to conquer
Frontier girl, long-jumper, rule-breaker,
horse-breaker, bone-breaker --

Fast as a hummingbird,
silvery as your weight of turquoise jewelry
until the weight of pain would slow you down,
 you never missed a trick, Alice.

Nearly Christmas eve you missed a step,
body and soul plunged down the dark stairwell,
breaking almost every bone but not your spirit, Alice.

Through the narrow rabbithole emerging,
pinned like an insect to the hospital bed --

Stubborn butterfly, you willed your promised
freedom from the white cocoon.

Crucified woman, cast  halo crown-of-thorns
freed a hand to tear the tubes from your
own throat while your guardians slept

You would breathe, and you would arise.
 Trusted healing hands would hold back death
 till it be merciful, and swift.

No thunderclaps or lightning,
on an ordinary day
you stopped the world.

Did you dream of riding bareback
through the aspen, racing to
the ridgetop of the ranch,
ageless matriarch of wonderland?

Sky-wide your heart, yet could not
hold you longer, June-Bug Alice,
this summer of moths,
you were drawn to the light.

-- Linda Weissinger Lupowitz 

(Alice B. Woolf, 80, passed away on June 3, 1997.
She was a teacher, artist, musician and rancher who
lived in the Cuba, New Mexico area for 45 years.) 

Friday, April 06, 2012


A billion times God has turned man
Into Himself.

You stand in line for the
Highest gift
For His generosity cannot end.

But best to bring an instrument along
While waiting in the cold desert

And make some dulcet sounds
To accompany the palm's swaying arms
That are casting silhouettes
Against the sky's curtain
From our fire.

Remind the Friend of your desire
And great patience.

A billion times God has turned man
Back into Herself.

We all stand in line
For the highest

written by Hafiz, the Great Sufi Master (c. 1320-1389),
translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Saturday, February 04, 2012

This song has no copyright - a gift to you - listen for 33 seconds with your whole attention.

‎(This is a backyard buddy who seeks the tallest spot to sing - down the chimney and OUT to the wide world) --

This house is owned by a family of sage thrashers and after many generations born and raised in the spruce, I think this is the King. Or, it's a love song!

Or it's Spring in New Mexico...Beautiful!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We Are The Many
Hawaiian guitarist Makana performed this song in front of Obama & World Leaders at APEC Conference - while Occupy Wall Street becomes Occupy America

Listen to this song, the lyrics are moving and intelligent, and it's hard to believe this was performed before APEC world leaders - Lots of "the few" were there! -Pass it on please - a fine new protest genre that is smart and courageous is coming out of this experience - it's for the young to take the torch.

Singer Crashes Obama summit with 'Occupy song'
north to gallina - shel hershorn memorial celebration

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spectacular October in the cottonwoods of the Corrales Bosque

Monday, October 10, 2011

Balloon Fiesta 2011

Our first time on the field for Mass Ascension with the kids - and Grandpop - WOW!