Monday, November 25, 2013

A memorial, puppets and a mic


Gertrude Louise Robinson
The crew from ready, Willing and Able are becoming regulars here. The privately run clean up service for formerly hiekess people works the streets outside our door. We're a good place for a rest stop. And they keep our sidewalk super clean. The crew leader loves the puppets that caught by surprise. 
Katherine is already in the sanctuary. We’re preparing for the memorial service for Gertrude Robinson.
The table is ready
Blessed with 103 years of life. All the details for her service and burial carefully worked out years ago with Katherine, who has held the plans, and the dress and the gloves safe all these years.

Also joining us is Rev. Diane Lacy from Gethsemane Church, with a roots ministry with formerly incarcerated women. We’ve only now learned that Diane and Gertrude’s daughter are longtime friends from the early days of the black feminist movement.
Revs.Bob, Diane and Katherine
We will do this service together. A service in the midst of 20 foot tall puppets. Eugenia smiles, mom would  have liked that, she says.
I stop to realize Gertrude was already in her 80’s when we met. One of the first residents of a senior Section 8 on 87th street. Now after fulfilling its 40 year social obligation, it’s gone market rate. She came to West-Park because it was one block away. Gertrude went first to the Village Care facility on 47th and 10th. I remember meeting her there for happy hour, every Friday. Watching the senior dancers float through time, ageless now, alive. Gertrude would have her one drink. Her own circle of special friends who she encouraged to come to West-Park. And I remember her 100th birthday party. 
It's good to work with Katherine again, like old times. And very close to our anniversary. It was a Christ the King Sunday when we first worked together. I'd spoken to her to get a feminist perspective on the day. At the end of lunch, I said, look instead of me using your words this Sunday, why don't you come share your own words? No one had ever done that before. We worked together every Sunday for over 10 years. 

Following a repast at Eugenia's, time for a visit to Jm in the hospital and then back to West-Park. 
After the Bread and Puppet performance, we gather for Open Mic.  We sing our songs. Best of all, a number of B&P people respond to RL's invitation  to come and join us. (I heard say to B&P Katherine, we've got to represent.)
Tatsuya becomes our first performer to sing to his own electronica. Sasha some a capella song.
They stay until the end, a good musical party. And as I'm leaving, young banjo phenomenon Nick Lantigua has become part of an after hours jam. It is a good night. 

After hours jam: Nick and Pat and Joe and Marc

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