Sunday, July 22, 2012

“In Paradisum” from Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem

Performed by The Robert Shaw Chorale 
with the Atlanta Symphony

In loving memory of Carol, age 71, a childhood friend and schoolmate from first grade on who died of cancer early Friday morning. She was one of the Golden Girls of our generation –– a classic Nordic blonde –– a Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, a member of The Eight Sharps (a girls octet, who sang fun popular songs in close harmony) and our high school a cappella choir. Carol was enormously popular with boys and girls alike. Every boy wanted to date her –– every girl would have given her eye teeth to look like her. Best of all she was as kind and good as she was beautiful.
Goodbye, dear Carol, it was a joy to have known you. 

~ FreeThinke


  1. FT,
    My condolences. From your description, Carol was a winner!

    I haven't yet lost any close friends. Yes, I did lose a homeschool parent who was a friend, but not a lifelong or a close friend.

    Mr. AOW has lost two very dear friends. Again, not lifelong friends.

    This stage of life where we are is filled with too many losses!

    PS: Lovely musical selection. Very appropriate, but I'd expect nothing less from you.

  2. Thank you, AOW. The news came in last evening from a mutual friend -- another schoolmate I've known since the 1940's who became Carol's step-brother after we all got to be adults. His widowed father married her widowed mother a few years after they lost their respective spouses. Isn't that sweet? All very nice people. All gone now, Alas!

    Our high school class has reached the point where everyone in our parents' generation -- and nearly every one of our teachers -- has passed away. About a third of our class, itself, is no longer with us.

    Maybe that's why those of us left behind have for the most part grown so much closer and more precious to one another since we got together for our fiftieth reunion already three years ago.

    As for the music, I would have posted the entire requiem if it had been possible. We performed the Duruflé Requiem -- along with many other great choral masterworks -- at our church under the direction of my friend and mentor "J. Erwin Solomon."

    Once these exquisite sounds get into your head, you are transformed -- for the better -- for the rest of your life. Carol shared many of our musical experiences.

    I was fortunate to have been brought up in a great town at a great time in our history.

    I have to admit it's been hard seeing all of that crumble away bit by bit since the mid-nineteen sixties. Carol was a piece of my personal history, and I hate to think of her not being to share another email, receive another phone call or be available for another high school reunion get-together ever again. None of us will ever forget her as long as we live.

    I hasten to add by the way the our church was just a small parish organization -- not a huge, impressive cathedral with massive financial endowments or anything like that. What "Mr. Solomon" was able to with ordinary people and scant resources was nothing short of miraculous.

    The same was true of our high school music program. Everything we sang was music of the highest quality from all periods -- Mediaeval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern.

    All the "pop" stuff of our era was strictly reserved for the dance floor -- where it properly belonged.

    As for my feelings about Carol, Emily Dickinson comes one more to the rescue:

    We cover thee, sweet face ––
    Not that we tire of thee --
    But that thyself fatigue of us.

    Remember -- as thou flee --
    We follow thee --
    Until thou notice us no more __
    And then -- reluctant -- turn away
    To con thee o'er o'er --

    And blame the scanty love
    We were content to show --
    Augmented, sweet, a hundredfold --
    If thou couldst take it now.

    What that says to me is that we can never love too much, and that very rarely do we being to love enough.

    ~ FT

  3. FT,
    I take it, then, that you had very recent contact with Carol?

  4. What a beautiful tribute. I am sad at your loss, and any friend, no matter how close or how distant, is indeed a loss.

    May God rest her soul.

  5. A beautiful tribute to one who by your description must have been a very special person.

    My deepest condolences. May Carol rest in eternal peace.

  6. Thank you -- all of you -- for your kind thoughts.

    Carol and I had a nice visit in March of 2011 at the home of a mutual friend who lives near me. I had no inkling it would be the last time I would ever see her.

    Lately, she seemed to have withdrawn -- was not corresponding, not answering the phone, etc. I knew her last scheduled visit to our area had had to be cancelled, because of complications from phlebitis, but cancer was never mentioned.

    I have to admit learning of this suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday really knocked the stuffing out of me.

    Even though Carol and I were not close friends in high school, we had started out our school life in the same neighborhood, and had been playmates as little kids. That creates a peculiar kind of bond nothing could ever break.

    I feel almost as though I'd lost a member of my own family.

    ~ FT

  7. I have to admit learning of this suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday really knocked the stuffing out of me.

    That is a natural and human reaction, my friend. I would expect nothing less from a man of your character and depth.

  8. Thanks very much, Kurt.

    That was most kind of you.

    ~ FT



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