I went to New York City yesterday for a memorial service for Josepha Sherman, who died recently after a long illness. Josepha was a prolific writer, an editor, a folklorist, and the co-author of (among many other books, mostly written solo) Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood. I've got a copy here on my desk and, unlike most such books, it really is genuinely, cheerfully subversive.
As was Josepha. I wasn't a close friend -- not like most of the people who showed up last night. But I enjoyed her company and she clearly enjoyed her life. Every time I saw her, she was just enjoying the heck out of the situation, whatever it might be.
Listening to her friends relate fond memories, I couldn't help thinking of how in some ways she and I were opposites. I never know how to respond to gifts, for one thing. When somebody gives me something, I stand tongue-tied until Marianne nudges me and says, "Say thank-you, Michael."
I suspect that Josepha never had to be told to say thank-you. She knew that life is a gift and she was continuously grateful for it.
Now that gift has come to an end. But the memories remain, the friends remain, the community she was a part of remains. Rest in peace, Joespha. You left some good things behind.
Including at least one book so subversive I can't quite find the guts to quote it here.