On a bright Sunday morning, Betsy Kiddy's family, friends, dissertation advisor, capoeira mestre, colleagues, and students joined Greg in paying eloquent tribute to her as a sister, playmate, empathetic, "embedded" historian, student, teacher, mentor, playmate again, wife, and friend. Every word was terrifically fitting. We all recognized the Betsy we knew and loved, and we each caught glimpses of a Betsy we wish we'd known better. These photos, which Greg asked me to take, do nothing to capture the thoughts and feelings that were expressed. I hope those words will be shared.
Jeff and I were blessed to share one of Betsy's own creations, a version of it, at least: her senior honors thesis in music composition at Kirkland-Hamilton College, a setting of Hermann Hesse's poem STUFEN, or "Stages." I think we were all struck that a 22-year-old woman could anticipate, through Hesse's words, the remarkable life she would lead, anticipate, too, this day of remembrance.
As every flower fades and every youth
To age gives way, so blossoms every stage of life,
So blooms each wisdom and each virtue
For its day, which may not last forever.
So must the heart at every stage of life
Be prepared for leavings and new beginnings,
To give itself with courage and without mourning
To new and different bonds.
Within each dawn there dwells a magic,
Which protects us and helps us to live.
Let us stride from space to space serenely,
Clinging to none as though it were a home,
The Cosmic Spirit wants not to chain and trap us,
But to lift us up, stage by stage, to broaden.
Hardly are we inured to our surroundings,
And intimately settled, when indolence threatens.
Only those prepared for leavings and for journeys,
May tear themselves from crippling custom.
It may even be, perhaps, that the hour of death
Will send us, ever youthful, into new places.
Life’s call to us will never end . . .
Go on, my heart! Take leave and be healed!
© John Robert Pankratz