Thursday, September 9, 2010

A New Year Encore: In Lieu of Flowers...

In Lieu of Flowers... was originally posted on October 1, 2008 as an obituary for Florence who had died the previous morning. Since Rosh Hoshanah appears in the English calendar differently each year, she in death has become as unpredicable as she was in life. Wouldn't have it any other way.

In Lieu of Flowers...

Tell the truth.

Tell yourself the truth.

Don't let your bullshit compromise either of the above.

Don't lie. Unless you're drunk. Then really don't lie.

Don't steal.

Accept hand-me-downs.

Look fabulous in your own clothes. They may have started out as hand-me-downs but they're yours now. Proudly recount their lineage. Never feel ashamed about that.

Never take a taxi.

Walk everywhere.

Don't wear a coat in winter.

Carry your own weight to the point of pathology. Better to err on independence than not.

Refuse to lose at the hands of cowardliness, mediocrity, stupidity, and the need to blend in.

Suffer aloneness at the risk of fitting in with any of the above.

Refuse to feel fear. If you do, ignore it and keep going. Just like Florence did that night during a World War II blackout under the Manhattan Bridge by the movie theater (now a Chinese market).

Always put your work first.
Always do your work.
Always put your work first.
Always do your work.

Rage against the Machine. Even when it looks like it's related to you.

Risk being laughed at by morons when you do something no one else is doing. Just like when Florence put on those roller skates in 1972 and skated up and down Grand Street and all those people laughed at her and then a couple of years every one had disco skates.

Start your entire life over at 60 like you were a 14 year old. Because on some level, you still are.

Fight back just like Florence did all the times someone mugged her or tried to mug her during the 1970's.

Don't EVER quit.

Know that that beer, that sandwich, those shoes, that jacket, those pants, that avenue, that movie house, that proper grammar, that street, that bar, that woman, that dance, that etude, that sonata, that scale, that subway, that bus, that hotdog, that boardwalk, that beach, that ocean is Your New York.

It Was Hers.


Anonymous said...

words to live by....especially the part about starting over at 60 cause you are still 14...honestly, I've never felt much older than that inside (outside I'm a damaged old crate). Your mom passed on my birthday by the way. Both my parents passed in October. It has become a somewhat sad month.

c.o. moed said...

Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments during this "florence-memorial" time. I am forever surprised how many of us still feel 12 or 14 while perceived by the world in packages that don't have wild dreams and deep desires....

warm regards to you during the days of October.

bucko said...

If we could all try to follow one of these maxims, that would be an excellent tribute to Florence! Thank you for the New Year's gift!

Melanie said...

It was all important and not to be forgotten.

KairosKim said...

It's so easy to love Florence (with all her sharp points) through your eyes.
one more 'in lieu of':
I was leaning over the bedside of a beloved patient, dying from his lousy Parkinsons, and holding on to my tears I asked - "What can I do for you?" and (with great difficulty) he answered - "Set a good example."


c.o. moed said...

utterly brilliant and so wonderful! thank you so much for that.

Alana said...

I remember the first time I came across this entry. It's now printed on my front door to look at before I bolt out in the morning.

Glad to see her spirit lives on in so many amazing ways, most importantly your writing.

City Of Strangers said...

CO - Great list. 'Rage against the machine. Especially when it looks like it's related to you'. Oh, how true.


Unknown said...

Dearest Claire,
My heartfelt condolences. Florence was a brilliant conundrum. I know you were frustrated by her and still always full of love for her. Thank you for your wonderful tribute - a great reminder to keep going in spite of the fear (Aghh!).
I love you,

c.o. moed said...

Laurie, thank you for such a perfect description. That's it exactly.