Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cambodian refugees

At 4211 San Jacinto
Here are photos (link to ~70 photos is here) from our work with Cambodian refugees 1981-86 (and afterward). Those were very intense times. They really were the best of times. They really were the worst of times. Thousands of severely traumatized people were dumped into rough neighborhoods in Old East Dallas with little to no help. We were there seven days/week doing whatever needed to be done – helping people get into the healthcare system; helping families get enough food to eat; hearing the stories of torture, concentration camps, starvation (“sleep, sleep, die”), and murder; sitting with people dying; getting the East Dallas Health Center started; all of that and more. Some of the story is told with the photos at the below link and other places in this journal; some of the story cannot be told.

At New Year ceremony
Those were the days when we did far more than we could possibly do. How our hearts burned, how we fought injustice and cruelty, how we wept, how we raged, how we did and became more than we had imagined was possible. The people – their lives, their pain, their strength, their beauty. Leslie said, “All of it was an injustice. And (regarding Rith) it was love at first sight.” And there we were. 

At the photo site (link below), click slideshow. It defaults to 3 seconds/slide, so maybe need to adjust to more seconds/slide. If anyone sees a photo of themselves that they don’t want here, let me know and I’ll delete it. 

All the photos are here:

Posted from San Francisco

Sunday, March 2, 2014

In the garden (walking to the front door)

Standing on front sidewalk. Larkspur bottom left, New Dawn rose
on arbor. old-fashioned yellow iris further back, then a hint of rose 
Pull in the driveway, park, open the car door, get out, walk diagonally about 20 feet across the lawn, past rosemary and roses on the left, and on the right, lemon grass and tomatoes (everything depends on the season – like right now the only things blooming are daffodils and rosemary, so you wouldn’t even see some of what I’m writing about), a big sprawling hybrid musk rose (Buff Beauty, first bred in 1939) and Texas mountain laurel, and here are the steps, with more roses (Maggie, found rose, no date; Zephirine Drouhin, a bourbon rose dating from 1868; and New Dawn, 1930) and also Confederate jasmine with sweet-smelling flowers perfuming warm late spring nights with fireflies all around.
Larkspur and CK

The jasmine blocks the main front door, so go to the right, past the Buff Beauty that blocks the far edge of the porch, under the arch (four arches on this porch; how cool is that; it’d be insane to glass-in a porch like this), past the mailbox and various potted plants here, there, and everywhere, past the big hundred year old egg pot that a man at a Vietnamese store gave me, past the table I made >40 years ago, the one that David wrote his name on (which irritated me at the time, though I didn’t say anything and now, of course, I treasure it), past the bench to the door, first the screen, the one that Buddy busted through a number of times, now the door, with little double happiness characters taped to one of the 15 panes of glass and on another pane, a no smoking sign that I put there when my Mom died from lung cancer in her groovy little house behind ours. Looking through the glass the view into the house is blocked by Cambodian silk.
Texas Mountain Laurel. A single Buff Beauty rose peeking through...

Coming from the front/street, walk between two big clumps of lemon grass (again, everything changes with the seasons), past old-fashioned larkspur or Mexican tarragon or cilantro, past another old garden rose with small white flowers with a tinge of pink (Marie Pavie, a polyantha rose, 1888), past iris given to me by Don Lambert, jewels of Opar (a native perennial, named after a Tarzan book!), walk under the arbor overgrown on one side with a large climbing rose with fragrant cream/pink flowers (New Dawn, 1930) and if it’s night the many-colored lights on the arbor are sparkling, past wood sorrel (oxalis) on one side and on the other side, a red fragrant rose (Archduke Charles, China, before 1837) and then a fragrant apricot rose (Perle d’Or, 1884) and across from them the old-fashioned yellow Dutch iris that a long time ago the old woman at the Washington Place Projects gave me from her little garden beside her front stoop, past mint and rosemary and now we’re at the steps again.
Standing on the porch, looking back at walkway

Look sharp and see crystals hanging from oak tree branches and temple bells hanging from the roof peaks…

Here is a cottage garden webpage I put together sometime around 2006-2007 and have not updated in awhile: A cottage garden is what I’ve been describing in this post. Not all the neighbors think it's a good idea... one person said, "Interesting."  

New Dawn (front door far in background)