Saturday, 23 November 2019

Last Wednesday evening, Nov 20th was tough.

Zion and I strut our stuff every other Thursday  at Sarasota's

a wonderful centre  for GLBTQ young people.

I simply sit and relax,  as  Zion works his magic with the attendees.

We did a bit of extra duty last Wednesday when ALSOYouth hosted a vigil, in memory and honour of the known twenty seven trans women who have been murdered this year in the U.S.A.  simply and solely because they were Trans.

I was moved and burdened beyond words.  We remembered by name the youngest who was aged 17  up to the oldest who was aged 56.  Most were in their twenties.

Imagine that.  Twenty seven lives snuffed out, all on account of prejudice.

It was a tough, searing, and challenging evening.

The Vigil

Amanda, the program director for Also.

Inside, before the Vigil.

Zion and I re-unite with Merlin --  we knew them when they worked in our local Walgreen's Pharmacy

Friday, 22 November 2019

When the Trump/Boris Johnson/Prince Andrew etc news lead us to distraction or even despair...

...............      This, about G-d,  from Thomas Keating, will bring springs of water to our spiritually parched lives.  

(Thanks to my friend Kathy Bozziti-Jones for the h/t on this)

Oh how we need this soul food as we face the challenges of our era.

Henri Nouwen strikes a similar note


Thursday, 21 November 2019

My humour wasted.

I am still mulling my rich experiences on Tuesday and Wednesday: 

(Two lectures on "The Messiah and the Jews" at Sarasota's Temple Emanu-El; and my participation in the Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony here in Sarasota).

Both events stretched my mind and spirit,  (that's good), but I need time.  I will reflect on these events in a future blog, but it will be a day or two before I can do so without ranting.   

"What jmp, a ranter?" you say.


In the meantime here is a bit of dogged  POVEY HUMA, which was utterly wasted!

Cairn Terrier

I called today to make an appointment with t
he business at which  my beloved dog Zion gets his bath. I was told that  the first available slot is on Nov 30th,

I said "Nov 30th is St. Andrew's Day".

There was silence at the end of the line.

I added "St. Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland".

Yet more silence.

I soldiered on. "That being the case" I added, "I'll leave my dog at home and bring in a Cairn Terrier".

The concluding silence convinced me that my wacko sense of humour  was altogether too esoteric  (or weird).

I hope that you will giggle at my silliness!  If not, may the Universe have mercy on Thee and I!

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Isn't this just the coolest thing?

Tuesday and Wednesday have been two rich and rewarding days: days of learning and challenge,  at my local Synagogue, and with members of the GLBT community -  with an emphasis on the T part.

You'll hear about it in due course, but for now I need time to think it through.  

So today you get "Povey Light".

I've seen this mother and daughter three times at Arlington Park.  I find the "young child buggy cum tricycle" to be fascinating.

The mother gave me permission to take this photo'

In it, the child is apparently pedaling, but the Mum is pushing and doing all the hard work.  As the wee one gets stronger she will be able to pedal her trike alone, since the "Mum handle" is detachable.

But when the little girl's legs get "all tired" Mum will be able to reinsert her handle, and push the child home.

Ain't "low tech" great?

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

ROOSEVELT: - name dropping (and my bragging rights)

Our beloved Jeanette Roosevelt was married to the late Curtis Roosevelt between 1961 and 1985.

Curtis (1930 - 2016) was the grandson of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt.  He spent some of his his young years in the White House.

He was the son of the Roosevelt's  only daughter Anna, and her husband Curtis Bean Dahl.  Their marriage was short lived.

Anna  remarried a man named Boettinger, but this second marriage was also disastrous.  When it ended Eleanor Roosevelt suggested that her beloved grandson Curtis should not have to use  the last names of his father or his stepfather, but that he should use his middle name of Roosevelt as his last name.  This he did.

Despite the divorce our dear Jeanette maintained a "sorta" friendship with Curtis.  So it was that I met him a few times  when he visited her at their Berkshire County (MA) home. We liked each other.

Our Berkshire County (Western Mass) connection led me me to  visit Curtis and his fourth (and utterly charming) wife Marina at  their sweet home in Saint Bonnet du Gard, France; half way between Avignon and Nimes, and not far from the famous Roman Pont du Gard.

S. Bonnet du Gard.

Pont du Gard

During my visit I had been out and about one day,   (probably visiting  Nimes). When I got back Curtis was nowhere to be seen. 

So  Marina and I sipped our glasses of wine in the lovely garden as she told me of her early life.

She was born in war torn northern France, or Belgium.  Her birth mother left her in the care of a loving Belgian family who had two daughters.   Marina grew up believing them to be her parents and family.  

When she was a young girl, (aged eight or nine?)  her birth mother swooped in and took her to England (she knew not a word of English); and she did not know this woman who had "kidnapped" her.

The Belgian family had no legal rights, for they had never formally adopted her.

She never forget them, their name, and the name of the Belgian village.

Many years later, after her marriage to Curtis they drove to the village.  Just as soon as they arrived they met a mail man and asked if he knew any family with the unusual name.  He said they there were three families with that name, indeed he lived next door to one of them.

The mail man took them to the house.  Curtis and Marina knocked on the door.   An elderly woman answered their knock, came to the door, then slammed the door shut.

They heard her footsteps leave and then return to the door.  She was clutching in her bosom a framed photograph of Marina in her First Communion dress.  That photo' had rested atop their piano  for all those many years.

Marina had a joyful/tearful reunion with her Belgian family.

Of course I shed tears as Marina told me the story.

After the tears Marina invited me into the house to view a piece of furniture which had recently been returned after having been on exhibit in the States.

It was a rather ordinary looking book case.  "This", Marina said, was in the White House".  Then she touched a secret lock.  The bookshelves were doors which swung open.  Behind the doors were shelves designed to hold liquor.

These book cases/liquor shelves were quite common in the homes of the wealthier classes during prohibition.

My gauche self asked  "may I touch it".  Permission was readily forthcoming.  So now I brag:    I once touched a book case which FDR had touched many times!

Hidden book case/liquor shelves (not the one I saw). The wings would fold in disguising the liquor shelves as a book case.

Curtis arrived home and announced that we would have dinner at the local village cafe, a plain and ordinary place, with wonderful food  (Vive la France!).

I asked if he liked to talk about life in the White House, and especially about his Grandmother Eleanor.  He responded that he loved to do that.  So our dinner conversation was "all about Eleanor".  What a privilege for me!

Eleanor Roosevelt 1933 portrait.

It is common to speak of the greatness of FDR.  I will not argue with that.

But for my money Eleanor was greater. 

It was my privilege to have that conversation with her grandson Curtis, whose respect and admiration for her knew no bounds.

I have lived, let's say, an interesting life.😊

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Carrot and Ginger soup Memorial Service. A great way of remembering the life of our beloved Jeanette Roosevelt.

Jeanette S. Roosevelt died on October 15, 2019, at Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center, Lenox, almost two months after celebrating her 100th birthday.  

The Memorial Service for Jeanette was at St. Stephen's Parish, Pittsfield MA, this afternoon at three o'clock.  I could not be there, so I had my own time of remembrance; with food: -

My home made Carrot and Ginger Soup

Jeannette made her version of the soup, and served it to me and to others at her home in Berkshire County, MA some twenty five years ago.  I'd never before partaken of  it.  I liked it so much.  So it seemed right that my glad memories of her should be "prayed" this afternoon with my home made Ginger and Carrot Soup!  

I am getting a bit weepy as I drink the soup in remembrance of her.  I could  all to easily have an adjectival overload, and heart felt binge about Jeanette.

Instead I'll let you get to know her by reproducing her obituary.  

Make no mistake she was one of the "greats" of my life; and the lives of hundreds of others.


Her obit: 

Jeanette S. Roosevelt died on October 15, 2019, at Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center, Lenox, almost two months after celebrating her 100th birthday.  She was born in Hondo, Texas, the first of four children to John Emil and Willie Gayle Schlottmann.

    She received a B.S. degree in 1939 from, Texas State College for Women (TSCW).  It was there she first encountered modern dance, which became her passion and her career.  She taught for ten years at TSCW while earning her M. A. degree and co-authoring the five volume "Folk Dance Library."

    She came to New York in 1950 where she studied with Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Doris Humphrey and Louis Horst.  In 1951 she joined the faculty of Barnard College and continued graduate studies at Teachers College of Columbia University.

    In 1958 she was recruited by Connecticut College School of Dance and the American Dance Festival.  There she encountered most of the leading figures of modern dance early in their careers.  These included Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Pearl Lang and Alvin Ailey.

    She married Curtis Roosevelt in 1961 and in 1963 moved back to New York where she returned to the faculty of Barnard College. 

 At Barnard she established the Department of Dance and served as chair of the department until she retired as Professor Emerita in 1986. She was recognized by students and colleagues with an award for "excellence in teaching and service to the Barnard community."  She was a founding member of the Congress on Research in Dance and the Society of Dance History Scholars.

    Jeanette first came to the Berkshires in 1941 to assist her mentor, Anne Schley Duggan, in giving classes at Jacob's Pillow.

 She and Curtis visited the area again when his daughter, Julianna, came to stay with them in the summer.  The beautiful view from a hill on an early fall day inspired their purchase of High Meadow Farm, with its old farmhouse and red barn, in the town of Washington.

    High Meadow served as a summer retreat from their home in Greenwich Village, N.Y.  Julianna and later her son, Nicholas spent many happy times there.  

Then a succession of young people in varying combinations lived in the house in the winter.  Some stayed in a cottage out back.  Typically for Jeanette, these have become life-long friends.  

Jeanette moved full-time to High Meadow in 1986 when she retired, a year after she and Curtis were divorced.

    Jeanette is a woman of deep faith.  In New York, she was a member of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields.  She volunteered with many of the church's service programs, especially for those afflicted with HIV/AIDS during the terrible epidemic of the 1980s. In the Berkshires she belonged to St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Pittsfield.

    She called retirement her "Third Act."  She enjoyed the wealth of arts in the area, notably the South Mountain concerts and Jacob's Pillow, where she also served on the board.  She devoted her considerable energies to friendships near and far, her legendary hospitality and volunteering.  At St. Stephen's she worked in numerous capacities to welcome and to serve.  She was a bill payer for many years for Elder Services and a tutor for Literacy Volunteers of Berkshire County.  The latter presented her with a plaque honoring her outstanding work from 1990 to 2001.  Generous to the last, she donated her body to science and would be delighted to know that she was accepted at Harvard Medical School.

    Jeanette moved to Kimball Farms in Lenox in 2006.  The last few years of her life she was lovingly cared for by the staff at their Nursing Care Center.


Those of us who are ordained christian ministers have the rich privilege of meeting women and men who enrich and inspire our lives.  Good ministry is always a two way street.