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Final Farewell

Below is a post from my father, the author of the blog This Is Me. I have been asked to put this on Meander With Me on behalf of him and the rest of our family.

This is me. On the morning of Saint Patrick’s Day, a lady named Gallagher was welcomed into Heaven. It is my sad obligation to inform you that my Mother, Mary Alice Gallagher Kaufman, “slipped the surly bounds of earth and touched the face of God”. About two weeks shy of her 90th birthday, Mom began to experience problems which led us to believe that she had suffered a stroke. After moving to Hanover Pennsylvania to live with my sister Barb, her condition degraded precipitously over the course of four or five weeks. An M.R.I. showed that Mom had developed a brain tumor. Mom had insisted long ago that she should never be kept alive with tubes and machines. As her condition did not allow for aggressive treatment, and in keeping with her wishes, nature was allowed to take its course. We were privileged to be able to spend several weekends with her while she was cognizant of what was going on around her. She was able to sit with us and enjoy the conversation and laughter, while delighting in a glass of wine and the fire softly burning in the fireplace. A great mind has been stilled, and a feisty lady is no more. On behalf of the family, I wish to thank all of the faithful readers of “Meander With Me”. You made her happy, and for that you have our gratitude. For my siblings, Bonnie Thomen, Jack Kaufman, Barb Boyer, Bev Kaufman, and Bette Rolli, I am making this final farewell in “Meander With Me”. In sadness, Carl Kaufman

A New Chapter

This was not in my plans. I still have so much to do and it pains me as I struggle with new challenges in my daily life. Thank you for your kind words. My family is helping me to periodically check this website and I am looking forward to the day I can continue my work. I miss you all.

Temporary Absence

I am moving to Hanover, Pennsylvania, and will be back on line as soon as I can. I will miss you.

Facts, Just Facts

Tomorrow, shortly before three in the afternoon, I plan on entering the door of my audiologist, a Bonnie J. Laurie. I have high hopes of eventually regaining at least enough of my once keen sense of hearing so I might never again have another evening such as the one I spent last evening. I spent the entire time at the home of a best friend sharing supper with her and another friend or hers. Both of them speak in low voices, but unwilling to keep asking them to repeat what had just been said, I was forced to guess. I left knowing I had understood little of what had been said. If hearing aids don’t alter the situation, I’ll find myself declining future invitations to suppers and the like. I’ll find myself slowly but surely becoming self-ostracized from the outside world. I’m not complaining: merely stating a fact. I’ve a good long run of it, as the saying goes.
In spite of the ever so slight depression I am in at the moment, I am delighted, joyful, elated and thankful to have another Halloween behind me and especially this year. Although I tried most valiantly to ignore the aftermath of my shingles attack, it hasn’t been easy. I depended a great deal on television for diversion, only to find almost all channels—including the History Channel—dedicated to the occult, the paranormal and the supernatural. Big Foot striding across an open space in broad daylight and obviously a man in an ape costume, keeps me puzzled as to how anyone can believe it to be anything but a hoax. I like a good ghost story as much as anybody I know, but let’s keep fact and fiction separated in our minds.
If that wasn’t enough to give me pause to consider how little I have in common with many people I meet, both in actual life and on the Internet, I came to the realization just the past week that I’ve had all I can take of over-religious zealots with “forked tongues”. With one side of their mouths they claim to believe in and love God: with the other side they take it upon themselves to be “God, Judge and Jury” of their fellow human beings, mainly homosexuals.
A few thousand years ago, some Semetic tribesmen, ignorant of all things concerning how the brain operates, condemned anyone who dared to be attracted to someone of the same sex, to be stoned to death. Because of a few scriptures in a book called a Bible, we are faced with those who, as I said, plays at being God, Judge and Jury. If such are assured of either eternal life in heaven or eternal life here on earth, I’m thankful I’m going to be … just plain dead after I’m dead.

Even though I know I got off easy with the case of shingles I had, and, even the after effects are not all that bad, I sure didn’t need the upsetting past three days I’ve had. Last evening I received an email from my oldest son suggesting something I had already decided to do: keep on with Meander With Me, even if it isn’t an every day post, but keep it light, interesting, and—these are my words—fun to read. Well, before I do that, I have to get over a past, three day’s upset. I’ve used astericks in place of names, but here is a copy of a letter now sitting in my mailbox for pickup later on in the day. I believe it is self-explanatory. I’m worndering, how would “you” handle this situation if face with it?

My One Time, Good Friend, ****, October 19, 2009
I will make this short and simple. If you and ******* did not intend to mend a broken friendship, just why did the two or you stop by? As much as I was truly delighted to see the two of you and genuinely happy to think we could, once again, be the friends we once were, I am sitting here at my computer vainly trying to compose myself. What I sincerely hoped was a gesture of friendship, turned out be just another attempt by ******* to once again, get me to produce a book that, if I ever had it in my possession, had been returned to your home.
When it comes to a book on the life of Kathryn Hepburn, I would not have had the slightest interest in its content. I’ve never been interested in reading biographies of movie stars, and never will. I do remember coming to your house one evening and being told to put whatever it was I had borrowed with other articles lying on a stool, or some other piece of furniture several steps into the room and to the left of the doorway. For all I remember, I may have taken the book home and returned it unread. The accusation of having borrowed a book and failing to return it, will trouble me for as long as I live. Had I borrowed the book and not returned it, it would still be sitting on the kitchen table. Never, not once in my entire life has anybody—until now—accused me of failing to return something I borrowed.
It saddens me to write this: it has become quite clear to me that *******—if not both of you—will continue to believe I borrowed a treasured book with irreplaceable clippings in it and did not return them. I am now convinced that I will be forever harassed on the subject. I don’t need the aggravation. ******* has succeeded in convincing me that it is best that I sever—without any malice whatsoever on my part—any and all possible future friendship between you, ******* and me. I am willing to talk the matter over at any time—with you and you only.
I once suggested a slight change in one of her poems and she took offense. I learned early on to back off.
I think it best for my state of mind if I “back off” permanently.

It’s been a faily rough past few weeks which may be prompting me to come to a decision: it is time for me to give up blogging and stick with those things dearest to my heart while there is yet time: get my two books of poetry printed by a publisher who can provide both a semi-hard cover and good quality paper, finish my autobiography, add to the true farm stories I think worth the telling, edit the few short fiction stories I’ve written, work on my autobiography and finish my incursion into the minds of the early Semites who wrote the Old Testament. How anybody can actually believe the Creator of this universe had anything to do with writing the Old Testament is beyond my understanding. Most people I meet appear to think I’m still pretty “hep” for someone who will start her ninetieth year of life before this year is over.
An hour or so ago, I finished watching a “documentary” movie of the life and times of Charles Darwin. As I sat in my lounge chair, pondering over what I had seen and heard, I could not help thinking what a truly fortunate old woman I am. I am absolutely and utterly free of any and all belief in the super-natural and the paranormal. I’ve come to the conclusion, that’s a wonderful way to live.
Just not sure at this time what to do. Mary

Remembering:

Not having kept a daily journal—which I’ve often regretted not doing so, I have to rely on memory. While my memory is still in good shape, recalling the date on which some particular event occurred, or even the year, gives way at times to guess work.
Back, say 1957 or 58, and with nothing to go on other than a question ricochetting about in my mind, ‘If it’s true, why didn’t Paul preach it’, and an idea I had concerning how all llife forms first came into existence, I eagerly read an article I discovered in a scientific magazine from the shelves of a local library an article that so closely resembled my thoughts, I bought a copy of the magazine, which I promptly mislaid and never found.
My idea was this: Every species of animal life originated from but one source, a “sea of universal “soup” containing what I chose to call molecules—I was and I still am woefully ignorant of all things scientic. What was to become a horse became a horse. What was to become a zebra, became a zebra and so on.
Following that line of reasoning, it made sense to me to conclude that homo sapiens also evolved from a more primitive form, but nevertheless, were destined to become what we are today … a species with thumbs which give us the ability to preform intricate tasks and the only species with the ability to think, to imagine the impossible and to believe in the improbable—but, back to the original subject matter.
This morning I decided to search for either the article I read back in the later 1950s or its counterpart. All I could recall were the words, ‘primordial soup’. The author of the article suggested that, if there was viable life somewhere in the universe other than on earth, life would likely resemble lifeforms on earth because of life originating from what was commonly called “primordial soup”. Well, I found such a site and I’ve taken the liberty of lifting a few words from the work I believe I read those many years ago:
August 7th, 2009 (PhysOrg.com) — In 1953, Stanley Miller filled two flasks with chemicals assumed to be present on the primitive Earth, connected the flasks with rubber tubes and introduced some electrical sparks as a stand-in for lightning. The now famous experiment showed what amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, could easily be generated from this primordial stew. But despite that seminal experiment, neither he nor others were able to take the next step: that of showing how life’s code could come from such humble beginnings.
Mr. Miller did not claim to have discovered some long-hidden truth, but did go on to suggest that all life had its beginning from a single source, and he wasn’t referring to that source as God.
Nothing pleases as does a bit of vindication, because those very thoughts were my thoughts back in the latter 1950s, and still are. This may be true: up until the present time, scientists have not been able to create “life”. Is their failure to do so, proof they never will? Perhaps not in the years yet allotted me, nor during the lifetime of anyone reading this, but don’t bet anything you can’t afford to lose, that they never will.

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