Friday, November 28, 2008

From Josephine, Madeleine's Daughter

September 6th, 2008. The first anniversary of my mother's death. It is a stormy, rainy, blustery night, right out of the opening of A Wrinkle in Time. I have been out to dinner with friends, we have raised a glass to her memory, and now I'm sitting in Crosswicks, reading. Around 9:30 I realize I have been hearing a strange noise, like a siren - what is it? I go into the kitchen - it's louder. I stick my head out the door - louder still. I finally realize that all the alarms at the Cottage have gone off - an alarm system that I deactivated a few years before. What should I do? Should I call someone? Is it too late? I look at the clock - it's 9:30, right around the time she died. "Okay, Mother," I yell to the wind, "I hear you." The alarms turn off.

Wild nights were her glory.

20 comments:

Harold & Karen said...

I was happy to see a comment from Josephine, as my thoughts have turned to her during the past year, hoping that her many blessings will see her through inevitable "dark and stormy nights". She is my contemporary, and I think she must have been a primary inspiration for the sense of wonder and confidence in the eventual "rightness of things" that permeate my favorite author's books. Wishing her all comfort and joy---Karen Matuszak

ccj said...

Josephine,
Thank you for sharing your mother with us. I was a lonely eleven year old when "Wrinkle" was published.

How I loved pretending I was Meg! My youngest daughter is named Meg...and my maiden name is Camp ...and I too love stormy nights!

Many BLESSINGS to you and your precious family!
Carole Johnson

DoniLynn said...

Oh, how perfect!
Thank you for sharing. Your Mother was a great contributer to my imagination. I am glad to know she is still around you!

Kerry said...

so beautifully fitting.

thank you.

Deb Cox said...

This is wonderful and not at all surprising. I had a similar experience when my dad died. It's so like Madeleine to be close to you and want to say hello on that day!
I have such wonderful memories of Madeleine from New York, and hear her voice whenever I read her books. Thank you for sharing this Josephine.
Deb

sheena said...

From reading Madeleine's work, this sounds like nothing we couldn't expect. Goodness knows she would have always wanted to BE that mysterious, magical happening on dark and stormy nights.
Just like a star, she dedicated her life to fight the darker things in life and the world is a brighter place for it. Her writings let her continue her work as well. I know I turn to one of her books any time I need a literary hug. The scene between Meg and Aunt Beast happens to be my favorite comforting scene to read on a dark and stormy night to make myself feel all warm and loved.

Lynne Foster Shifriss said...

Gosh, if I had known you all had a yard sale, I would perhaps have driven out to Connecticut for a weekend and brought a keepsake home for my desk. Madeleine was kind of a "touchstone" for me, a way to connect to what is true and important. Years ago, I sent her my high school poetry and she sent me a couple of her poems and a very kind letter. Later, she replied when I wrote to her once every few years. I always thought, when we visited my late in-laws in Highland Park, NJ, that I would call Madeleine up at the Cathedral and offer to take her to lunch as a thank you. But, I did not, thinking that if all her fans did that, she'd have no time to write! Now I am 54, not so shy, and wish I had.

My good college friend, Mary Catherine O'Neill Webster, was equally a fan of Madeleine's. We shared passages from her books and reflections about Madeleine's writings. Mary was the director of religious education at an Espiscopal church and read Madeleine for inspiration. Mary died almost two years ago, at 52.

I think I should write to her children, who are in high school and college, and recommend that if they haven't, reading Madeleine's writings is a way to be in touch with things their mom thought about...and thought of as important.

Gypsy Scribe said...

Thank you, Josephine for sharing such a wonderful treasure. Your mother is the reason I am a writer today. Her wisdom has touched millions and she is missed by many.

I lost my father a year ago this November so I understand the pain you and your family are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

~Jen Chandler
Georgia

Christine said...

When I discovered the writings of Madeleine L'Engle I felt that I now had a 'knowing' of someone who somehow, miraculously understood what was swirling around in my head......I so wanted to meet her, to tell her how her writings had effected me, as a child and an adult- but alas was never that fortunate--and then her death---and I grieved as we all do--thinking -there will be no more Meg Murry, Vicky Austin--no more Madeleine......But I was able to attend the celebration of her life at St Johns and to hear the wonderful accounts of those that knew her......and now I listen to her audio books and hear the wonderful stories -in her voice as they were meant to be heard---and on those stormy nights I think of the author who brought so much into my life.......Thank you Josephine and family for sharing your mother with all of us!

Mary-LUE said...

Thank you for sharing this!

Gerti Reagan Garner said...

I just stumbled on this site today and was delighted to read your story of November 28th. I read A Wrinkle in Time in the eighth grade. Some years later I happened upon Love Letters in the library which started an adult life of reading Madeleine's writings and adopting her as a spiritual companion. I had the privilege of hearing her speak on a couple of occasions. She has had a profound impact on my life. Thank you for sharing your story; know that your mother lives on in the hearts of many. Next time the alarms go off - Fear Not! - - Gerti Reagan Garner

linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
linda said...

As I am companioning with Madeleine L'Engle these days, I look forward to your next post.

Johanna Clemence said...

i sit with tears of joy & awe at our God & His Ability to orchestrate our lives & destiny.
I recently purchased "A Circle of Quiet" which was my first introduction to Madeine L'Engle.
And though i am only on page 44, something very significant is being unlocked in me. Wanting to know more, i googled :)and was so blessed to find this site.
I was hoping that Madeleine was still alive; but now i know that she is in the World Without End & that she is still very much alive through you....
I was 53 on Nov. 29th.....
both my Husband & Mom were born on Sept. 6th....
Since this is a blog i will not blog it down with details...
but these dates are further confirmation to me & to what is unfolding in my life.
I hope to frequent this site often & look forward to your updates.
Even though i live in sunny So.Calif., Lord willing, one day, i hope to have the opportunity to sit in on one of your readings.
That to will be a first for me :0
Since children of all ages are welcome, i should fit in nicely.
Many Blessings & Happy New Years to the Family, her heart!
Sincerely,
Johanna

ArtsyKid21 said...

Thank You for writig this. I can't imagine what it feels like to share your mother with the world but thank you. It feels good to know that even in death her sound is still being heard and has continued reverberating across the nations. Just as many in the days of Israel came out into the wilderness to see John the Baptist, so have we enjoyed basking in her light for time.

Sincerely,
William Matthews

Katherine said...

Josephine,
I hope you'll write more. Your mother's stories are so dear to me - both her fiction and her non-fiction. I have pages and pages of quotes from her work that I love...and I miss her. I am thinking of you as Sept 6 and her birthday approach.
Thank you for sharing Madeleine with us.

Tallis said...

I was remembering Madeleine and your family today. She and her work so impacted me. Thank you and your family for sharing. May grace, joy, laughter, and love flood your memories today.

Helene said...

Thank you Josephine.Your mom would have loved that post and I believe you had a visitor that night. I read Wrinkle in 1964 and have been teaching with it for 35 years. It continues to bring students into a search for beauty,identity, light, and truth.
You should keep writing too - you have a flair!

Stephanie said...

Oh, how I love this story! It just sounds right. And it makes me appreciate rainy, blustery, evenings more.

Your mother is my favorite author, and I feel so fortunate to have grown up with her, from A Wrinkle in Time to The Other Side of the Sun. She has been a companion in every age, and I have been blessed in reading her work.

Thank you for sharing the inside track on Madeleine. I so appreciate this window into your family.

ms skye said...

Thank you for sharing.
My students are reading A Wrinkle in Time and I am enjoying it again. :)