Well I have had time to think in my little hiatus. The year ended with the death of another friend who was only 51 years old. She had been struggling valiantly over the past eight years against breast cancer but lost the fight mid-December. The end of the year is also the time of my son’s birthday. I sent him a present and good wishes from all of us here but we have heard nothing. I can only hope some deserving homeless person got the benefit of the gift we sent.
This is one of the things I wanted to write about but never quite made it.
The death of Odetta in December.
Odetta played a role in my life, although she didn’t know it. A few years ago, maybe seven or eight, I was in a small city. There wasn’t too much going on but I noticed there was a music festival and that Odetta was appearing at it. Her name was familiar and I knew she was a big deal in the sixties, she sang at the march on Washington etc. so off I went to see her. She put on a good show, singing and sharing stories from her life.
For her last encore she sang what I guess was a big hit for her back then, This Little Light of Mine. I didn’t remember her singing it particularly over the years, more memories of singing it around campfires. But when she started to sing and invited us all to join in, the tears started falling because I knew I was not letting my light shine.
Those of you who are birth mothers out there know we are pretty good at putting a clamp on our emotions. It is the only way some of us have survived. But I recognized for the first time listening to that song that I must make some changes in my life. I was in a job I didn’t like very much, not because of the work, but because of the boss. I was hanging in hoping things would get better. But after listening to Odetta I acted. I got out of that job, I took a creative writing course, I won a prize, I had a play produced, etc.
I feel I owe some of it to Odetta.
I heard she was not well but was trying to last until Obama’s inauguration. Unfortunately she didn’t make it but I’m sure she will be there in spirit.