Wednesday, June 21, 2017

anna machmer of virginia, from the second book of poems in this project, passed away this month.

i just heard word from virginia today that anna machamer, whose berkshire knitting mills poem was in my second volume of poetry, passed away on the 10th of june at the age of 98. her obituary ran in the washington post today. 

i interviewed anna by phone in 2016, after emailing the questions for her to read in advance with help from her son ron. she became the first and only person i interviewed from outside of pennsylvania for this project. and her charm even by phone seemed distinct and genuine, like it'd be very easy to love her in-person.

this is a re-posting of the photographs ron sent to me before i interviewed her. in the first, she stands with her husband wellington in some life-minute before their marriage, when they both worked at berkshire knitting mills. the second picture is more recent.

reading about more in anna's life put me in awe. since i only asked her about one job in her life, and in pennsylvania, i had no idea she has such vast experiences and testing out of so many angles of skills. working in a research lab, making anti-aircraft detonator shells, acting as a caretaker for the grandchildren of president eisenhower, and creating a backyard like a small, and beautiful park are just some of the points which stood out so interestingly in reflections of her life. 

i also loved reading that she spent time playing along and probably in the schuylkill river as a child, since i spend as much time by the river as i can and teach my traveling poetry class there, along different sections. rivers are such an important resource to our hearts, more than i think people sometimes realize. but if you do spend some time at them, you see that they change you, and for the better. so i am always grateful when i stumble across people who have known the value of a beloved local river, especially away from the fierce distraction of electronics and and work obligations consuming our lives today.

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