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Wes' Remembrances of Memorial Services

March 25, 1996 -- Geraldine ("Jerri") Troncalli (5/21/29-3/22/96), the mother of my friend Lynn.
Lynn has cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic. (She also, amazingly, publishes a magazine for disabled women called ABLED Woman. For information, send e-mail to "") Her mother, Jerri, helped advocate for the rights of the disabled. Between Jerri's and Lynn's friends, there were quite a few disabled people at the service. The priest began the service with "Please stand." I wondered if anyone else caught the irony. When I visited Lynn later in the week, she was distraught about her mother's death and the impact it was having on her father. After visiting for a while, I told her that her mother's service had a touch that I would like: Three booted motorcycle cops! She laughed.

March 21, 1996 -- Anna Sams, the sister of my friend Dalzenia.
Dalzenia is one of my friends who is most in touch with her feelings. When she told me about Anna's service, I asked if she wanted me there. When she said yes, I decided to go. (I hadn't known Anna personally, just knew of her cancer through what Dalz would mention.) This was the first service I've been to that was really outdoors -- in the Houston Arboretum. It turned out that the day was perfect: Not too hot or cool, no mosquitos, no wind knocking pollen off the trees. Just a mild, sunny day in the woods. The service began with a black woman singing the Lord's Prayer a capella. That was neat -- I'd never heard it done that way before. Then people got up and shared their memories of Anna as a strong-willed woman who was very artistic. Someone brought in a big (6' by 8'?) painting she'd done. As people were sharing, I noticed a squirrel come down in the area behind them and start doing his squirrel thing. I liked that, too, as Tom and I maintain that if you see a squirrel you know it's going to be a good day. Later, two women got up and sang another song a capella. Finally, Dalzenia got up and sang a song. The bare vocals in the woods was a nice touch.

Afterward, the people were asked to gather at an art collective. It turned out it was in a borderline neighborhood. I was one of the few white people there. There were several black artsy types who had their hair in dreadlocks. Up close it was really cool. I asked a young woman how she did it. She said she didn't do anything, that it just grew that way. (Someone later clarified they have to twist it that way.) I asked "Do you mind if I touch it?" "Yes, I do." I felt this big.

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© 1996 by Wes