Category Archives: Peter Paul and Mary

We Need Mary Travers’ Message

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It has been five years since Mary Travers passed away. There was a

replay of her famous people-populated memorial service on PBS

over last weekend. I was weeping and laughing throughout this special

moment in time. The memories of the group “Peter, Paul and Mary”

will always be there, ingrained into my emotional well being.

 

Mary was 72 years old,  living from November 9, 1936 until she passed

away on September 16, 2009. She was born in Kentucky and at age two,

moved to New York with her family. This is where she eventually got

connected with music. Mary died in Connecticut, after fiercely battling

leukemia. She had endured bone marrow transplants, in the hopes of

living longer. I have to add, ‘fighting until the end,’ since Mary was not

one to be afraid or back down on Life or any important issues.

 

The families of the three close and dear friends still gather to this day.

They play music and continue peaceful activities giving tribute to her

memory. There were montages (photographs and film) shown through-

out the special program. Picnics with families sitting on their blankets,

children running around while Peter and Paul’s, along with Mary’s,

families all gather and rejoice in their loving connections.

 

At the Memorial Service shown on PBS, I was impressed with the ones

who came to give their respects. I hope it may be of interest to you, to

remember the members of the musical group along with hearing what

the prominent guests shared about Mary Travers. Each time I tried to

listen to the words being said, but paraphrased and encapsulated them.

 

“The Guests”

George McGovern gave a serious pronouncement declaring that Mary

‘would not stand for bigotry or racism,’  and said her life was devoted to

opening people’s hearts and allowing love to come inside.

John Kerry said in a kindly, folksy tone, ‘All the ones who support

people’s rights are here and present. Carrying on the message will be

her legacy.’

Bill Moyers was emotional and said for everyone to keep singing and

believing, passing the Peace around.

Whoopie Goldberg talked about Mary’s impact on people’s lives by

saying Mary had an incredible way of ‘touching people’s lives and

changing them for the better.’

There was a song video tribute replaying a concert that Pete Seeger

sang with Peter, Paul and Mary.

The way that the two men spoke of Mary got me crying, something

about Mary “lives in their cells.” Something about Mary is part of the

“fabric of our country.” She lives on in so many different ways. Not

sure if this was Paul, but my notes say,

“Love ties us together. The vibration of Peter, Paul and Mary, I believe,

made the world a better place to live.”

 

Gloria Steinem spoke about how Mary believed everyone should be

treated the same wherever they came from and whoever they were.

She mentioned, Mary Travers stood up for  “Peace, Justice and

Equality,” supporting all people. This also included the Women’s

Rights Movement and the Civil Right’s Movement. I had forgotten

that they were there at the March on Washington and were in the

Selma and other southern cities singing about peaceful protesting.

 

“Messages”

The meaningful and moving song called,  “We Shall Not Be Moved,”

(written and has been performed by Mavis Staples) was played at

Mary’s Memorial Service. The audience and choir sang along with

this one.

 

A beautiful poem with inspiring words (that were metaphors for

branches of humanity) started with its words about there being

one world, many forests. Then many forests, many trees. As it

went, many trees, many branches, many branches, one branch,

and many leaves.” (The person who explained this as multiple

faiths, one God, made it very spiritual. They mentioned that

God is for everyone. . .) I have to admit, I cannot seem to track

this one down. Sorry, but it was lovely, wished to share its

message and it made me wonder who wrote it, too.

 

The funny parts of the tribute to Mary Travers were about how

her blonde hair and good looks brought more mail and men to

the concerts. Also, there were references about her being sexy

and rocking back and forth, moving with lots of energy during

their concerts. Peter and Paul took turns sometimes interjecting

the funny, comic relief moments.

 

Many people repeated throughout the PBS special, the music of

Peter, Paul and Mary was more than just for one period of time,

it is ‘for all times.’ It was not written with definitive beginnings and

endings, it was meant to be “Music for Change.”

 

“The Music”

Of course, the wisdom and message about Peace is found within

the words of, “Blowin’ in the Wind.” (Which was written and sung

by Bob Dylan,  permission given to be sung by P, P and Mary over

the years.)

The words about loving your country and being part of the world,

“This Land Is Your Land,” is another recognizable song. This fine

song was written by Woody Guthrie, before WWII, in 1940. The

long lasting message resonates with me, doesn’t it with you?

I like all versions of it, but am most familiar with the way Peter,

Paul and Mary sang this anthem. It makes me proud to be an

American.

 

John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” continues to be affiliated

with the group, Peter, Paul and Mary, too. (John has been gone

for seven years, having accidentally crashed his ultra light plane

in 1997.)

There are possibly millions of weddings where they included the

loving words of the song, “Wedding Song/There is Love.”

So many children loved the words to, “Puff the Magic Dragon”

that when they grew up to be parents they taught their own kids

to love the words, too.

Two love songs I ‘slow danced to’ were, “Like the First Time” and

“Such is Love.” Another one which my parents liked, “Kisses Are

Sweeter than Wine.”

A new Rally Call is being made to this new or next generation and

there is a program called, “Operation Respect.” This is being done in

Mary’s name. 22 different countries, including Israel, have people

who have joined together and are following this project.

 

Do you have a favorite Peter, Paul and Mary memory or song?

 

The two remaining members, Peter and Paul, continue to spread

or sow seeds of love and understanding around the world. After

all, we still need the message.

 

 

Peace, hope and safe travels

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I had just got off the phone from talking to my good and oldest

friend, Patrice, (that I still stay in touch with), who was preparing

for her annual trip to Charlevoix, Michigan. We both say sometimes

we should just call it, “Camelot.” Bill and I traveled up there once, to

see her sister’s renovated Castle Farms. The town is beautiful, with

Lake Charlevoix and the special houses that look like mushrooms are

there, too. The Castle is so breathtakingly Princess-like I complained

when we had to leave!

We did venture North ward to the Upper Peninsula, the locks, great

waterfalls, the towering evergreens, and Lake Michigan, too. I did

stop complaining, I think I was just missing my Patrice, who is

a source of comfort and joy. We saw all kinds of other fantastic

sights!

Pat had packed up her bags, shipped her papers and medications

up to Charlevoix, had completed a few different doctors’ visits,

and was relaxing. Pat’s sister, Linda, would be coming to take

them to the airport and she patiently listened to my nervous

energy and anxiousness about my Mom. She gave me comfort that

she had put my Mom on their church’s Prayer Chain, earlier in

the week.

We sang a little bit of “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” to cheer us both up.

She’s ready to leave soon. My car is packed, ready to go. Stopping

to call her before I go post this story about Mom and plans made.

Ever since Hurricane Katrina, this has become Pat’s yearly routine.

She has only once come back to Long Beach to find roof damage, no

serious side effects that could be compared to the year the hurricane

disaster hit the gulf coast.

since she hates and fears the potential

She has always, ever since I met her freshman year in college,

imparted heavenly peaceful feelings to me. She is my ‘Zen.’

Patrice was my first and only “Maid of Honor.” We’ve shared

a lot and has known my Mom since 1978. Both her parents died,

while she went to live down there, taking care of her Mom first,

then her Dad. Living in their retirement home, now.

She gave me a lot of reassurances and reminders of how ‘spunky’

and ‘strong-willed’ my mother is. I am prepared to see her in a few

short hours.

Mom had been a little strange, had hurt her leg, twisting it a

little as she got out of the “Whistle Stop” restaurant booth.

My brother and I had decided to see what the place that had taken

over the old Cahoon Winery would look like, what their food would

be like and found the atmosphere and the prime rib dinners very

satisfying. Mom did not recognize it, due to its internal changes

but the outside, she had exclaimed,

“Dad painted this in acrylics, didn’t he?”

It was one of the many paintings my Dad had decorated the house

with, before my brother started to paint ‘real art.’

My brothers had said the twist that had produced pain and a

slight limp, would be ‘just fine,’ only a muscle strain and

not even a bruise on Easter, when I was with her in the

bathroom, looking at Mom’s leg.

I had sent cards, reminding her to use a heating pad. I had

added another suggestion to alternate with a bag of frozen peas,

and ‘Make sure you elevate it!’

When I had to leave on Easter, she had reassured me that she would

be okay and I hugged and kissed her. I always am torn between seeing

my grandchildren and children, and the possibility that Mom may be

not as well the next time I go up there.

As I was leaving, she told me she was not used to putting her feet up

to relax on her sofa. There is a nice, soft ottoman that is part of

her living room set.

Then, recently, I was filled with some trepidation, when my brother

called during a work day. He had left a message saying he had called

an ambulance, met my Mom at the hospital.

She ended up staying the three days, that allows to have her Medicaid

‘kick in,’ along with having a battery of tests. Not many medications,

not really any results.

They did not understand why she was ‘lethargic’ and rather

‘non-responsive’ but once the I.V’s kicked in, she had ‘rallied,’

was renewed and ‘herself’ again.

I should be grateful for small mercies, knowing that she could have

had something more seriously wrong. There is a knot by her knee,

that is healing. She will have ten days of therapy, visiting in

her senior living apartment.

I talked to Mom for an hour this week, she shared with me a sort of

funny explanation. She knew my brother was coming to get her for

dinner, she had fallen asleep taking a nap. She was wearing a t-shirt

and underwear. When the knock at the door came, she had called out,

“Who’s there?”

My brother had answered, so she thought the quickest way to get to the

door was to ‘crawl.’ This is her explanation of what she did.

Yup, Mom crawled to the door to greet my brother, on her knees.

That ‘set off alarms, in my mind,’ too!

My brother said,

“It’s locked, Mom!”

She replied,

“I’m on my way, just a minute!”

She stretched and unlocked the door, remaining on all fours.

He looked at her, then looked at her dog, Nicki, who was sitting

beside her.

I am sure this was quite a shock to his system!

Nicki usually is nervous when people come in, ‘whimpering.’ Even

familiar people and family members. Mom moved to a chair, climbing

on it to sit down.

Anyway, with much reassurances that she was fine, he called

downstairs and found that my very polite mother had received

three days in a row, calls from the front desk, asking if

she was ‘all right.’

Each time, my Mom had said “I’m fine, thank you,” hanging up.

They did not ask why she didn’t go to the dining room nor did

they offer to send her up a dinner. This will be discussed in

the later part of June, when my brother can be there, along

with staff and the social worker. The ‘protocol’ was told to

us, that if someone did not come to the dining room, (without

cancelling their dinner, as sometimes people do to eat out with

their family) they would send someone up to check on them.

This is why my brother my Mom had appeared lethargic, almost

comatose and delusional! She probably had eaten a tablespoon of

peanut butter and endless cups of coffee. She is not one to

convince easily to use the microwaveable meals and other food

items that we put in her refrigerator.

By the way, Mom’s little dog is staying with her ‘sister’ who

is a half dachshund and half beagle, nine years younger, her big

brother, Hamlet, who is a golden retriever and her huge sister,

Fiona, who is a Newfoundland, at my brother and sister in law’s

house, across the street.

My brother and sister in law, are heading this weekend to Bethany

Beach, Maryland. They will be taking the big dogs, Hamlet and Fiona,

leaving the little ones, Nicki (my Mom’s shih tzu) and her other

one, she had to give up to move into the senior apt., Bella for

my brother to watch, take care of and feed. I look forward to his

coming over after he works, plays volleyball or tennis, along with

his other activities. I picked up a few movies, older ones for Mom

and I to watch and action ones where the three of us will watch.

I am filled with less trepidation, just sadness, because I am

not sure how Mom will “be” over the weekend. I had sent a couple

of “Get Well” cards this week. Unless she made it to the mail box

she knows from my big letters on her white board on the kitchen

wall and her calendar over the sink, “Robin will be here for

Memorial Day weekend, on May 23- May 26.”

I saved the rather amusing “Mom’s version of what happened before

she got taken in the ambulance” for you to possibly chuckle at!

In her recounting of the crazy, cuckoo, some would say, “Did you

lose some of your marbles?” moments, I gathered that she was not,

in the least, embarrassed about her state of undress, when greeting

my brother.

By showing a fine sense of humor, she had told me, ‘right off

the bat:’

“Hello, Robin! I am fine, I was in the hospital and got a few

meals along with tests. I hate to tell you this, but I would

not have passed the ‘dining room dress code’ the other day,

when your brother came to get me to take me out to dinner! I

had no pants on!”

Last summer, the signs to enter the dining room had first said,

“No shorts allowed in the Dining Room.”

I had inquired of the seating hostess, “Why did this happen? Surely,

no one would wear ‘short shorts’ in the dining room.”

I had ‘capri shorts’ on which ‘passed inspection’ for dining that

summer evening.

She had leaned over and whispered to me,

“A few gentlemen came to the dining room wearing boxer shorts!”

She had added in a rather horrified tone,

“And one’s overlapped fly, didn’t exactly overlap!”

Later last summer, 2013, apparently someone had come in their

bathrobe to dinner!

A new sign had been posted upon my next monthly visit:

“Proper Attire Required in the Dining Room.

NO shorts.

No pajamas, robes, boxer shorts or otherwise

bed clothes allowed.

Men and women must wear pants.”

I laughed (back then) when it had become such a wild and long

list, almost like the silly Jean Kerr’s “Please Don’t Eat the

Daisies” book where she had forgotten to tell the children in

the New York apartment that request.

I had stopped worrying about my Mom’s mental state when she made

that joke about proper dining room apparel. But, when she said

she wanted to ‘do all the things we usually do, like go to the

grocery store and eat out, at least twice!’ I had become rather

concerned. Hopefully, she and her walker will be just fine and

we will have a grand old time up in Cleveland, ‘tooling around

like we usually do!’

Hope you all have a happy Memorial Day!

Hope there are lots of good times with family or friends.

A few moments of meditation and memories for loved ones, too.

Enjoy your three-day weekend!

May it be safe and peaceful.