Dana Schechter, after a long dance with life and delight, died today surrounded by love most of us have only dreamt of.
During our last visit with her, me, David (a.k.a. the Boy Next Door) and the Mariner scribbled down the things she had said, with our usual mixture of envy for such brilliance and glee at such wit.
"We're ripping off your words, your language..." I told her.
"That's what the English did to the Irish," she replied.
Beginning today, and ongoing until it is time not to, a series of Dana's stories and the accounts of visits that always felt like they ended too soon.
Originally posted March 24, 2009
If I Bring Forth What Is Inside Me,
What I Bring Forth Will Save Me***
This is Dana.
Her husband, before he was smart enough to marry her, had, as a teenager, a crush on Florence. When they all grew up, Dana and Florence and their husbands and children lived across the hall from one another on Lewis Street.
I knew Dana was the most beautiful woman I knew. And I knew this before I knew how to tie my shoe. I also knew she knew something about the world that would be essential to my survival. Perhaps it was the beautiful stones from Brazil she gave me after her trip there with her husband to help establish socialist co-op housing. Or maybe it was the tiny little Bolivian dolls given after another trip to continue developing affordable housing in South America. Or maybe it was the story book with real art as illustrations that told me there were more worlds beyond the wall of sound I heard every day from Florence's Steinway.
Whatever it was, what beamed from her heart and soul was a living example of utter enjoyment of every second of every moment to love, eat, laugh, talk, touch, live.
Today, at least 45 years after learning to tie my shoe, Dana is still the most beautiful woman I know. Or at least Number One of a very short list. And today she brought forth a story she had poured into devastating poetry. She said that when she wrote that story it saved her life. Once again, so many decades later, I learned of a world beyond the horizon of my own fear, my own pain, my own disbelief.
***The fortune cookie fortune Dana reads every morning as she fixes her hazelnut coffee.
Sunday Memories of the Boy Next Door
Sunday Memories of Where I Could Still Find Her
Guest Artist: Dana - The Gift That Kept On Giving
Sunday Memories Of Deep Chills on Valentines Day