Sunday, April 11, 2021

Being Wise Ten

 Being Wise Ten April 11, 2021

For Marie Hammond

In Memory of Sam Hammond, August 22, 1947–February 25, 2021

Oh, Sam! I miss you! You gave yourself 

so freely. You egged me on to do a book

with my grandmother’s diary, and then

you helped. You made sure I had omitted

no lines of possible research on what their

life was like in the China of 1910, and who

exactly they all were, these people they

mention. You even found some answers

for me. Five different families learned

about Grace, A China Diary: 1910-1916

and wrote to me of their relatives, friends

of Grace and Harvey. Grace had bipolar

disease, not understood well in 1910, but

the missionary doctors were wiser than

those in Oklahoma when they returned

home. I came to understand Grace better

–my goal for doing the book. I remember

how you and Marie celebrated with me.

Other times you were there when we

shared dinner. I loved to make you

laugh. It was so easy. I saved up

outrageous stories out of my own life.

Once you joined a small writing class

I was teaching. I had a young black

student, new to writing. I could tell

you approved of how I worked with

him. I always believed my students

could write well and better. And they

did. You left us in February. But for

me, you’re still here, part of my life

and thought. A model of a loving man 

in an increasingly distraught world.

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