Mother's Definitive Picture

She said we all have one. Over 94 years, she had examined all of her various photos and had chosen this one. She did the same for others- for me and for her best friend Carmel.
Dear Ones:
My friend Rachel came up on Monday evening and drove me in to the Trinity Cemetery on Tuesday May 6th in the morning. She truly supported me and as one of my ministers was a lovely presence there.
It is so beautiful there- lush and distinguished and soft and soothing- and all were very kind.
Antonio had chosen a beautiful white and gold casket and Guy,( who just happened to be on the East Coast) Carmel ( my mother's oldest friend) and Rachel and I gave my mother an intimate send off ceremony.
Anne and the girls had sent a beautiful bouquet which was placed in front of the casket.
My mother's resting place is just a few feet from my fathers- which is a smaller place for an urn in the corner directly to the left of my mother's spot. I somehow didn't realize they were in the same Court- the Court of Peace it is called.
They had picked out the site together, when she happened to accompany him up there to choose the place for his urn- and she'd declared, "I want to be here too! "
I had gotten two candles from the Mary Magdalene Cave in France earlier in April - and Guy and Carmel held the lighted candles as they each spoke about my mother .
I spoke of my mother's comfort in knowing that this Cemetery would be her 'final resting place'.
We had just visited earlier in the year so she could see my father's inscription. During that visit there happened to be a small group of dignified African Americans going through the ritual of a ceremony of departure, and I guess we both felt, but didn't say that it seemed like a rehearsal of sorts for the future eventuality of her own arrival there.
We had also just had a wonderful conversation on the day before her fall, during which she'd spoken of my wonderful life- and how if it ever came to pass that I went to the man up in the sky ( or something like that,) I could report that I led a full and wonderful life-. We were laughing- as I replied ," Yes, you too!" She agreed, "Yes! I can say that too! " and we were laughing some more together about that. I said, I'll call you back later- and she said, "No call me tomorrow- that will be mejor! I said, "OK."
Before the casket was placed, Rachel and I stood on either side sending prayers and protective messages. I actually felt my mother's presence at that time, a feeling of satisfaction emanating from her.
This is the poem that she'd asked me to keep for this occasion. I read it as the closing of the ceremony:
Don't Cry for Me
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there; I did not die.
Author unknown
Sending love to each of you, Thinking of mid July for a memorial here in NY and Kingston
Leighla Whipper Ford
Author, Songwriter, Former Co-Proprietor of The Spuyten Duyvil Restaurant
September 22, 1913- May 2, 2008
Leighla Whipper Ford passed away May 2, 2008 in Kingston, NY as a result of an accident in her Hudson Valley home.
Mrs.Ford was the co- proprietor with her mother Virginia Wheeler of the popular Spuyten Duyvil Restaurant of Saratoga Springs, NY between 1949 and 1986. The Spuyten Duyvil was a famous watering spot next to the bustling Sales Paddock where yearling horses are auctioned off.
She was a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC and a member of the prestigious Stylus Club there. Later, during her years residing in New York City she made her living as a journalist and a literary editor. There, she wrote for The People's Voice Newspaper and other periodicals. Among her memorable interviews were Mary Pickford ( while still in Washington, DC), the spiritual leader, Father Divine, Lon Chaney and Josephine Baker.
An author and songwriter, she published several mystery stories in The Saint Mystery Magazine and the Madrid anthology series Ojo Del Lynx ( Eye of the Lynx). Her memoir, entitled The Pretty Way Home was published by Writers Club Press in 2003. A novel will be published posthumously. A member of ASCAP, she wrote tropical songs with haunting lyrics, creating many folios that are widely distributed today throughout the world.
An inveterate traveler, Mrs.Ford made several early crossings in the 50s by boat to Europe on the French ocean liners The Isle de France and the Liberté. Then, focusing primarily on Mexico she divided her time between Saratoga Springs and Mexico City. In Saratoga she formed a team with her mother and her daughter taking on the management of the Spuyten Duyvil. While in Mexico, she was an afficionada of the Corrida and the founder of the Saratoga Peña, a club that encouraged aspiring young matadors.
Born into a prestigious family that encompassed the wide ranging areas of literary excellence, theater, medicine and social activism, she was the daughter of the noted actor of stage and screen, Leigh Whipper ( The Ox Bow Incident is one of his important film roles.) and Virginia Eva Wheeler, a talented dancer in the early chorus lines of the 20s and 30s. She was the niece of Dr. Ionia Rollin Whipper founder of the Ionia Rollin Whipper home in Washington, DC. Her grandmother, author Frances Anne Rollin was the author of the earliest known diary by a black southern woman, and the author of the first full length biography by a black person. (The Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delaney, 1868 ).
Her marriage to prominent sociologist Hylan G. Lewis ended in divorce in the late 40s and she was widowed during a second marriage to restaurateur Norman Ford in the 50s.
In recent years Mrs. Ford had made her home in the Hudson Valley, residing in Kingston, NY where she enjoyed playing her piano, writing, painting and crocheting.
She is survived by her daughter, Carole Ione Lewis, three grandsons, Alessandro, Santiago and Antonio Bovoso and eight great grandchildren. Entombment will take place in the Trinity Church Cemetery, in Manhattan, NY.
A memorial service will take place at a time and day to be announced.
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Comments

She is very beautiful!

On June 17th, 2008 Ximena Alarcon Diaz says:

She is very beautiful!