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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16 Responses to “Skylarks”

  1. Barneyon 21 Oct 2010 at 12:46

    Wendi, thank you for this heartfelt and moving post. It’s an uplifting reflection on your mom and what you learned from her – and it is poignant that she couldn’t be physically with you on your 60th birthday. I’m sure she was and is with you in the world of the spirit.

  2. Billon 21 Oct 2010 at 16:45

    Wendi, you really capture your mother so well. Carol was an inspiration because she truly believed and lived all the things you learned from her. I agree that she thought of work and play as the same thing. But there was a little twist to it. She once said to me: “Remember that work ends and you can go home to reality – like naughty Egyptian movies on TV.”

  3. Vidaon 21 Oct 2010 at 19:38

    A beautiful tribute to both mother and daughter. Thank you for sharing this very moving and uplifting description of your early life. I always enjoy reading your blog but today it was very special. Happy Birthday.

  4. Munaon 21 Oct 2010 at 21:59

    Wendy,

    Beautiful photos, beautiful homage and tribute to your mother – a most beautiful and treasured legacy!
    Thank you for sharing, Wendy! Was very touched and inspired!
    thank you!

    love

    M

  5. golrizon 21 Oct 2010 at 23:24

    this is so beautiful auntie wendi. happy birthday!

  6. Stevenon 21 Oct 2010 at 23:57

    Happy birthday!

  7. Pukiraheon 22 Oct 2010 at 09:51

    Thank you for sharing the moving stories
    and beautiful Baha’i thoughts.

  8. Ronald Tomanioon 22 Oct 2010 at 12:22

    Dear Wendi,
    Makes me think of my own mother and the Billy Cristal movie “Mr. Saturday Night”. My mother probably listened to the same music.

  9. Susanon 22 Oct 2010 at 14:10

    Dear Wendi,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. I remember her well but I didn’t realize she had once been a singer. I remember she moved to Tennessee. Is that where she died?

    with love, Susan

  10. Thelmaon 26 Oct 2010 at 14:59

    Very beautiful tribute to your Mother. It made me cry.

  11. LizKauaion 28 Oct 2010 at 21:22

    Beautiful, in every way!
    (((HUGS)))

  12. Pete Hulmeon 16 Nov 2010 at 11:10

    Dear Wendi, I’ve been meaning for days to let you know how moving I found this post. Thank you for sharing the beauty of these thoughts. Love, Pete

  13. Michael Cavitton 30 Nov 2010 at 00:19

    Wendi, great story about you Mother and jazz. I found you looking for information on spirituality and the Baha’i Writings. I’m feeling a missing piece in the Ruhi program of spirituality.

  14. Cassandra Butleron 18 Dec 2010 at 21:21

    Thanks for sharing that wonderful story/experience! Happy Belated Birthday! (I was in your 2008 pilgrimmage group.)

  15. Karl Beechon 02 Jun 2011 at 09:35

    An interesting and moving recollection…

  16. Lauraon 17 Jul 2011 at 21:02

    Dear Wendi,
    I just happened upon your page, and was pulled into your recollections of your mother. How inspiring!! I am honored that you have allowed us to read them. I am sorry that you have lost your mother in this world. Hugs for you.
    loving thoughts, laura

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