Friday, November 6, 2015

The Last Day of the Peace Crane Memorial

The last day of the Peace Crane Memorial
 Last weekend we set up the Memorial at Dia de Los Muertos. This project began 12 years ago in 2003 when the press was stopped from showing the coffins of those in the US Military killed in the war in Iraq,. Evidently there was an amazing amount of humidity 80%, but no rain, on Saturday night. When people came to help on Sunday, they found cranes and names on the ground. They had fallen off, glue dissolved by the moisture. Some names had stayed on but info was washed out. We estimate that 50 to 70% of the memorial was damaged.  Reverend Lind Mervin said it was a metaphor for the destruction of war. I was also thinking that the birds and spirits of the dead were ready to move on.
People talked of repair or modernizing it. I realized that the memorial wall as it has been has represented to me a continuing story. The names and birds that Tim and I and Jenny first put on were still there this year, yellowed and faded. We did those when she was beginning high school. Then there were the years we got hyper perfectionist, everything in order, birds made to perfection. Then we became overwhelmed and the Peace and Justice center helped with the first Pizza and peace events. The descriptions of how people died got larger and fewer names were put on one panel. The Quakers started helping out. It out grew the storage shed Tim had built for his tools and we moved it to BK’s and then to Kay Shades garage. The women of the Gate did a gluing session. Finally it came to the Quaker house inside and then into it’s own shed outside. The Rotary clubs helped to include Afghanistan deaths.
The memorial to me has been a story of the people involved with love in bringing it to the public. It marched in a 4th of July parade in Silver City, was displayed in Albuq, Santa Fe, and Deming. It went to Washington DC twice. A song was written about the trip. It is the story of peace people connecting with veterans and families of those on the Memorial as they found their loved ones. This began as a protest to war and has served as a community place of public grief over the impact of war.
I thought we were done in 2011 as the Iraq war ended and then David and the Rotary took us on into doing Afghanistan. Last year Tim created a sculpture for the suicides of veterans. The sculpture was not damaged by the humidity.
There are ideas and thoughts of a different way to display these names, as we have learned from the weather of NM, the original design was definitely not weather sturdy. I hope someone pursues it. Thanks to all who have helped with this work over the last 12 years. I began this as a leading not knowing it would last so long and go so far. The US government may have us in endless war but I will not continue to document it.  I have enjoyed the whole slow fragile story of it over the years and am happy to move on to other work.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dad meets the Edwardses

I haven't posted here in quite awhile. I got together with my Edwards cousins in May and thought I would like to share Dad's record of meeting the Edwardses. It is short. Some from one of his letters and some from a small journal he kept from Nov 1945 to March 1946.

Dad’s adventures meeting the Edwardses in 1945 – Thanksgiving. Note: he was working in Chicago at the AFSC office and Dorothy was working there as a secretary.
From a letter to his folks (11-29-45):
            I had a very nice and interesting Thanksgiving. One of the girls that work in the office invited George and I out to her home for dinner. George had already accepted an invitation but I snapped it up. They live out in one of the suburbs, about 30 miles. Train runs about every hour. I was to get on one at 12:30 and arrive at 1:14. I asked a guy I know how to get to the Union Station the easiest and quickest. He said take the “L” and you will go right by it. So I did. But he forgot to tell me that I should change trains or I would not go right by it. I missed my train and had to take the next one which got me out there about 3:00. I would have called them and told them I wasn’t coming except for the telephone strike. I figured they would be meeting the next couple of trains looking for me so I’d better go. When I got there I found that they had gone ahead and eaten but there was lots left and everything turned out fine.
From his journal:
11-23-45 Fri 7:05
Got up at 9:00 ate a pork chop and dashed off to catch a train out to Hinsdale where the parents of Dorothy Edwards live, to a Thanksgiving dinner. Missed the train & arrived late on the next train.
The Edwardses are very nice people. Mrs. E is a bit hecktic. A little like Billie Burke. They are quite a pair. Dorothy seems a little quieter at home, a bit overshadowed. I got a kick out of the whole deal. They are swell people & must have a lot of sense somewhere, 2 boys that are C.O.s (conscientious objectors). One of them went to prison a while & is paroled now. Mr. E refused to buy bonds & caused a nice little stink. Sout fella!
The bet part of this job is the people I meet.