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TRIBUTE TO ALETHA WORRALL (CLASS OF 1975)
posted 31 March 2017



Aletha Worrall (Class of 1975) with her brother, David
(Class of 1969), in Tacoma, Washington, 2008


ALETHA'S MEMORY
Several folks have asked whether there will be a service to celebrate Aletha's life and if she named any charity for donations.

She was happy with her life and at peace with her next journey chapter, so she did not want a ceremony. In some ways, I think she just would not have wanted to miss the party! I am enclosing a poem she shared with me that she enjoyed in recent weeks.

Aletha also made no designation of a charity for donations. For those who are interested in this form of expression, Aletha received very compassionate and professional care from Denver Hospice in the final weeks of her life. She valued their candor and competence. Voluntary donations may be made to:

Denver Hospice
501 S. Cherry St., Suite 700
Denver, CO 80246

Thank you,
Rob Worrall (Class of 1967)


THE LANYARD - By Billy Collins
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly-
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that's what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-clothes on my forehead,
and then led me out into the air light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift - not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-toned lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

 

 


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