Thursday, April 14, 2011
a celebration

On Wednesday, April 6th, over 600 people gathered to Celebrate Dear Betty's remarkable life. Because of my Health Issues, I wasn't able to be there 'in person', but I did put together a Video, with the help of David Shine, a Video Wizard, who came to my house to tape me and then took the three "clips" I wanted to show in the body of my Tribute back to his editing bay, and put it all together, brilliantly. Not only was it exactly as I had discussed with him, he even made a few little improvements---he really understood what I wanted. I had spent quite a lot of time deciding what I wanted to say and just what 'clips' I wanted to include. Because I have always been a Historian at heart, I have 8mm films from back in New York during the "Spoon River" experience, 1963, and some film of Betty and Larry when they visited me in Hawaii back in June of 1974.....And, then, in 1997 I had a gathering I at my house for John & Kendall Carter---dear friends of Betty's and many of us at Theatre West, which I Video Taped...They had moved to New York and were on a visit here. John had directed Betty in her one woman show, "Betty Garrett And Other Songs", back in the spring of 1974 and every time she did the show subsequently, over the years....San Francisco, Palm Springs, New York, Texas, and London, to name a few of the places she did her show.... Then, at the gathering, after lots of yummy food and a visit down into my Cactus Garden, we sat around and told story's and Betty told a couple of jokes....She told my very favorite joke she ever told and that I constantly asked her to tell over the years.....Unfortunately I cannot show you this because it is rather x-rated....lol....But very very funny....The Hawaii films are a bit bawdy, too....Betty "mooned" us---twice! She was so game.....The third and last clip that I showed on my tribute to her was a clip from when we appeared on The Today Show back in October of 1963....We did about 10 or 15 minutes of some poems and songs from the show....And included in that 15 minutes was the poem that Betty did of a woman named "Lucinda Matlock", who was based on Edgar Lee Masters Grandmother---a woman he absolutely adored! Joyce Van Patten and I always felt this character and the way she lived her life, was the closest to who Betty was in her own life.....





I'd love to be able to show you her doing this poem---but I don't know how to isolate it and then post the video---it was a Kinescope so the fidelity is not fabulous but it is from the 'Today Show' back in 1963.....Betty patterned her 'Lucinda' after a neighbor of hers who was from Sweden, so she had a slight accent.....Here is Lucinda Matlock:



I went to the dances at Chandlerville.



And played snap-out at Winchester.



One time we changed partners,



Driving home in the moonlight of middle June,



And then I found Davis.



We were married and lived together for seventy years.



Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children,



Eight of who we lost



Ere I had reached the age of sixty.



I spun, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick.



I made the garden, and for holiday



Rambled over the fields where sang the larks.



And, by Spoon River gathering many a shell.



And many a flower and medicinal weed---



Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys.



At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all.



And passed to a sweet repose.



What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,



Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?



Degenerate sons and daughters,



Life is too strong for you---



It takes life to love Life.






Betty always ended this poem with a little 'Huh?' and a very dear and knowing laugh.....In truth, Betty always knew that 'it takes life to love Life'......






I heard from many many people about what a special and wonderful afternoon this 'Celebration' was....Betty's sons worked so hard to make it as special as Betty herself was, and from what I hear---they more than succeeded....Everyone said it was Superb, in every way....Moving and Funny and so very Loving....! I will get to see a DVD of the afternoon eventually---and I look forward to that more than I can say. People were very enthusiastic about my Video, and that pleased me very very much. Creating it alone here, in a kind of vacuum---it was hard for me to tell how it went. I hoped it was everything she deserved---the humor, the talent and the love---and from the feedback I got, it sounds like it indeed was.....So, that made me feel very good. Now, we all have to try to get on with this loss and what it means to each of us in our day-to-day reality. I always knew that this would be a very very hard one for me....And I was not wrong about that. But I am not alone in this and that helps to some degree, too....For each of us who knew Betty and felt her love, and who loved her back, this continues to be a very hard time. But, to have had such a rare and special person in my life has been the blessing of my life---to have been that lucky for so very many years, truly warms my heart.......I thank you all for your understanding and for caring in such a moving and meaningful way....it means everything, believe me......









More To Come.......









Note: "Vagabonde", a lovely and talented blogger that I met recently 'In person', has written a post about me! To say I am flattered, is to put it mildly. There will be a part two, as well.....so, if you get a chance, drop by her blog and while you are there, do read her very fascinating posts about her many many travels. Her pictures are superb and her research on every place she visits is incredible---I have learned so much about so very may places from this amazing women.....Enjoy!















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32 Comments:
had this to say:

Beautiful. I'm sure your friend is gratified by the remembrance.

Aside: When one attains the stature of a certain number of years, (and I'm not sure of the number, BTW), one is entitled to be as "bawdy" as one wishes. It's your web journal, dear. You can be PG-13, if you wish!

Cheers.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 2:16:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It sounds like a very lovely memorial service and your thoughtful video presentation to try and illustrate a bit of her life. It all is a wonderful tribute to her that so many loved her so much

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 3:51:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Julie said: Last night I watched On The Town. Thank you for sharing your friendship with Betty with the rest of us. Although this is a difficult time for you, I wanted to mention an amusing observation I made while watching the movie. Betty was wearing a yellow-green jacket with 3 sparkling butterfly pins (top of the Empire State Building scene). And I thought, that jacket looks as up-to-date today as it was in 1949! :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 3:59:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi, sorry I haven't got to your blog earlier, it's tricky getting on the internet so much.

I'm so glad the celebration for Betty went so well and your video sounds wonderful.

I love the poem especially the last line.

I'm thinking of you at this time, and sending you hugs from AZ!

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 4:33:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I am certain that your video was a great addition to Betty's celebration of life. How sad that you couldn't be there, Naomi.

My best friend passed away yesterday. I feel about her as you did about Betty. Neither of them can ever be replaced.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 6:05:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful life. I'm glad you were able to be some part of it. Always remember how blessed your life has been to have Betty as a friend.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 7:02:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

OMG Naomi...you are so powerful, loving and a truly devoted friend and sister to Betty! I just LOVE you and who you are. This has been a very sad time for you and I so appreciate all that you are dealing with. I just cannot get over what wonderful things we have seen and learned from all your blogs....you are full of inspiration...even if you don't feel it. I do. xoxo, Audrey

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 8:26:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Been thinking of you Naomi. I am sure the tribute was just wonderful. I love the pic of you & Betty and the ones of her and Madi.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 9:33:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I so wish you could have been there but I know you were in your heart. I know it won't be easy watching the dvd but at the same time loving it.
It's a two edge sword to love someone and loose them. but we'd never give up having those years of love.
Hugs to you Naomi

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 3:48:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, I can imagine that the video you compiled was a labor of love!

I hurt for you that you could not be in attendance at the memorial service /celebration of Betty's life. Just to see the reactions of the people around you in the audience is so worthwhile, and I don't know if you'll get to see that on the video of the event.

In any case, Betty no doubt had balcony seats off in the wings, and enjoyed the celebration put on for her. :)

May she rest in peace, and may your fond memories of your special friendship continue to sustain you.

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 11:14:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

That is just beautiful Naomi and I bet the video presentation is also beautiful and a wonderful tribute to a wonderful friend like Betty.

I'm sorry if I haven't been around, but I'm back now. Hugs from us here in Bergen.

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 3:14:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It must have been special for all to watch your video since you knew Betty so well. It is sad that you could not see it with the others but at the same time it certainly gives you comfort to know that you had your part in Betty’s Celebration of Life.

I enjoyed researching details on your life too so I could write about them in my last two posts. You have had so many events happen to you - and there are still more to come. Thank you for taking the time to visit with me, it has been a great pleasure.

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 4:25:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Warmest Aloha to you
from Honolulu


Comfort Spiral

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Friday, April 15, 2011 at 9:47:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What an amazing person you both are.. I am glad to hear you got to be involved in Betty's memorial.. and remembering what she meant to everyone. She was a very special person.I didnt know her personally but from what I have read here she was an amazing person. I am glad to know her through you and your posts with life and the Ladies Who Lunch and such.

Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 5:27:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

The video sounds like a wonderful gift for your dear friend's family, and for you too. I'm so glad that Vagabond shared her visit with her blog followers. It was a pleasure to "meet" you this morning.

Blessings.

Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 5:45:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Betty was a lucky lady to have so many friends who thought so much of her. The Memorial must have been a very emotional time for everyone, and I am so glad that you were able to make a meaningful contribution by being there in Video even though you were not able to be there in person. Betty would have appreciated that.
So hard to lose such a good friend. Hugs to you, dear Naomi!

Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 8:44:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

that last photo is lovely Naomi
look how Betty's eyes are so full of love and warmth
because of a friend like you

I think of you all the time
Hope was playing with a card you had sent me, she loves the flowers
I told her Naomi made that
now whenever she sees it she smiles and says "OMI"

Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 9:34:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I wish I could've heard that joke and seen more of her work. She sounds like she was a fascinating woman...and spunky (I love that she mooned you all!). :)

I hope you find comfort in these memories, but I know it must be so difficult for you to lose such a wonderful and loyal friend. My heart is with you.

Peace to you, Naomi...I hope to chat with you soon, my friend. xo

Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 10:14:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I am so sorry you were unable to make the Celebration and I am sure your video was very well received for it was done with love, skill and talent.
I am so glad you are getting a DVD of the event so you can watch it as often as you wish. How thoughtful of her family.
You were so blessed to have had her in your life for so long, but it is never long enough.
Give your heart time to heal.

Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 3:07:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a year this has been! We,too, have lost those dear to us, and have participated in celebrations of lives. It has occurred to me that for some reason we wait until our dear ones have passed to celebrate their lives; we really ought to consider celebrating our lives together!
Thank you for sharing; I know it's been a challenging time for you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 6:22:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Thank you for sharing Betty's smile. Hugs

Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 8:03:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It sounds like she had a wonderful memorial service. I know you'll be excited to get the video of the whole thing. I'm sure your video was great in every way.

I have thought of you so often. I know this has been so rough for you. Hugs and love dear lady!

Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 8:07:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi,
This beautiful post about your lovely friend is something that one can only hope for as a tribute to a life well lived and loved. Betty knew how to live and attract to her the kind of people who nutured her and she back to them. Her joy radiates out of the photographs of her. The picture of you and her are especially poignant...two wonderfully strong, brave and courageous women making their mark on the world and one those around them. Sending warm thoughts to the Lady in The Hills...

Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 8:39:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Dear, dear Naomi. You are such a beautiful and powerful woman - with a heart of gold!
What a wonderful post as a tribute to an old friend - thanks for sharing!

Btw: Glad you have made friend with Mrs. Vagabond too. I met her at OsloBG in august last year you know - she is a great lady too :-)

Happy Easter to you!

Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 4:03:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hugs to you my friend. ((hugs))

How beautiful. What a tribute and you Naomi, you were such a great friend to Betty. It is a great pity you couldn't be there, but to be there 'in spirit' via video was a fabulous idea. =)

Monday, April 18, 2011 at 12:46:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

It takes life to love life. How very prfound. What a special person.

Monday, April 18, 2011 at 8:36:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

This is so touching in so many ways. I LOVED the poem and that you were able to be part of the memorial ceremony in such a creative and meaningful way. I feel like I know Betty through you, Naomi and I haven't even really met you! We are both historians at heart and friends for sure and I am thinking of you, especially these days.

Monday, April 18, 2011 at 8:59:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

Reading that one can only be assured that it really was a celebration of Betty's life. Her spirit and joi de vivre comes through all the time. I found the Lucinda Matlock poem very moving and real.
I wish we could see your video but it's clear that it said everything you felt about having Betty as a friend. You, her friends and family have been blessed. God bless Betty.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 3:17:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, the "Celebration" sounds like a very lovely and touching memorial service.
Yes, certainly your video was a wonderful addition to Betty's celebration.
You did a wonderful homage post and the last photo is just lovely.

I am amazed seeing the two posts that your friend "Vagabonde" has written about you! Just great!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 5:44:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Just beautiful - your post and the celebration of Betty's life. She touched so many people.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 2:16:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful celebration it must have been and I'm certain that you felt Betty's presence while you were creating that remembrance of her.

My heart feels heavy and happy at the same time thinking about you and your best friend, if that makes any sense at all.

Friday, April 29, 2011 at 11:23:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh, Naomi, I didn't know. What a beautiful tribute to Betty. Through your posts I feel like we all knew her; thank you for sharing her with us.

BTW, I still post, but have been posting to a new site as well, http://www.northernshutterphotography.com

Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 8:24:00 AM PDT 

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