wendi

Skylarks

The wine-cup of Heaven overfloweth, the banquet of God’s Covenant is bright with festive lights, the dawn of all bestowals is breaking, the gentle winds of grace are blowing, and out of the invisible world come good tidings of bounties and gifts . . . The field larks are become the festival’s musicians, and lifting wondrous voices they cry and sing to the melodies of the Company on high, ‘Blessed are ye! Glad Tidings! Glad Tidings!’ `Abdu’l-Baha, Bahai writings

Sixty years ago today, a young couple tried to drive their car from their apartment on North Hobart in Hollywood to the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, less than a mile away.

mom and dad 2

The car wouldn’t start, so the young woman, who couldn’t drive, got out to push. Pushing seems to have been the order of the day, as shortly afterwards, at 11:54 in the morning, she had her first child, a girl.

That night, at Warrenton, North Carolina, an unidentified object was sighted – it flew in a straight line across the sky. The official explanation was that it was a star. I don’t think it was a sign…

That young woman was Carol Morris Worth [Allen], who was 22 years old. She was a singer with The Buddy Worth Trio.

mom 2

Music formed the backdrop to her daughter’s life. Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Mel Torme –  one of these was bound to be playing on the `hi fi’ when she got home from school. It was fitting that she was born on the same day as jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie. Here he is singing with Louis Armstrong a song that she learned as a child and which she thought was so sad, though not in this version!

The central part of her girl’s life was the Baha’i Faith. She went to her first Baha’i `Saturday school’ when she was two.

So important were these two things in her life that at one point she thought that everyone in the world was either a Baha’i or a musician or both.

Although she loved school and reading, most of the important things in life she learned from her mother: you can do everything; you can be whoever you want to be; life is fun; working and playing are the same thing; it is important to celebrate things, like buying new underwear; God is wonderful and can be relied on; Baha’u’llah IS the manifestation of God for today; when in difficulty, keep your head down and cling onto the hem of the robe of `Abdu’l-Bahá; `do not dwell on the unpleasant things of life’, fix them; food is for eating; chocolate is great; make others happy; no matter how far apart members of the family are, they are still one family; sing always.

Nearly sixty years later she sent to her granddaughter photographs of her first child to be used in a birthday book. She so wanted to be there to celebrate her daughter’s 60th birthday. She couldn’t quite make it. Like a caged skylark, on 19 September she burst her cage asunder, took to the sky and is now singing in another firmament.

She asked that her passing be marked by the music of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

I thought it would be good to mark my birthday with the same music.

I miss you so much, mom.

I love you.

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