|I thought since I put up a
memorial for my friend Toni Donelow Stewart, I'd also add some
thoughts on other very special people that I've known. I
know, too, that if I do not take the time to remember these people,
I doubt if anyone else ever will. They'll be forgotten
when they should not be . . . for their contribution, even if only
to my life, was great.
It seems to be a bad habit of mine
that I get close to people and then lose them. Does that mean then
that we shouldn't get 'too' close for fear of their loss? No, I
personally don't think that at all. I really believe that old
saying, "it is better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at
Also, I hate the term 'just
friends' and the absolutely ridiculous notion that lovers can't be
friends. These are very limiting mind sets what throw up
barriers against achieving true intimacy. It puts us into
fear. True intimacy is not something to be feared. Sex
is not intimacy by the way. In fact, many married couples
share lives totally devote of intimacy yet full of sexual
encounters. Intimacy is an emotional closeness achieved
through sharing of thoughts and energies. Anyway, more on this
LENNIE . . . Yes, I've
certainly shed my share of tears for lost loves. I had a somewhat
tragic childhood so I never really had a childhood sweetheart except maybe
for Lennie. Lennie was a guy who told me after our first date that he
couldn't see me any more because he was bad boy who would wind up destroying
my life. Of course, I had a lousy self-image so I thought it was
just a line but one day, after three years of nonstop starring at each other
in the halls at school, he showed up on my doorstep and swept me into his
arms for a passionate goodbye kiss, all the while raving like a madman that
he'd never loved anyone else. Imagine that and all in one sentence!
It turned out, though, that whatever
love we had was not to be . . . the Navy was shipping him off for Viet Nam.
Seems he was given the choice of joining the Navy or going to jail for armed
robbery. Wow, some choice, huh? Well, I guess he
really was that 'bad boy who might have screwed up my life' he said he was.
Jeez, I sure know how to pick them, don't I? Ha! Well, anyway I
have no idea what happened to Leonard Johnston. He'd be about 60 now.
I must assume he died in Viet Nam but I don't know for sure.
And, even though I thought I would, I never heard a word from him ever
It's strange that even though I had
other boyfriends, including a three year "unconsummated" relationship with
John C** of S. Philly, it's Lennie who stands out the most. His
devotion to me was unfailing even though words between us were rarely
spoken. And, having been a child who did not know love, I had
much to learn about the subject. But, oddly enough, it was sad-faced
'bad boy' Lennie who taught me my first real lesson about love. That
lesson? . . . true love is of the soul, it comes in many forms and
it's something that never dies.
**John C.: Sex
has nothing whatever to do with love. John taught me that.
It doesn't matter what we 'were' in the eyes of all others.
John and I had a love and respect for each other I would gladly
match against that of any pair of lovers. We parted only
because we lived in worlds that would have been incompatible.
I was very spiritual even then. He was drawn to that part of
me and his life greatly changed because of it. However, there
are some families that will not accept 'outsiders'. J was in
such a family. There is no doubt our 'romance'
would have made a great movie!
CHARLIE . . . I was
only a teen but as best I know, when Charlie died, he was a 21 year
old drifter with no family. He worked for my father and ran
one of the stores he owned. Our friendship began right after
he was hired. We got to be pretty close and often would picnic
at Wilson's Lake. One day he asked me to join him for a day's
outing to the shore. My father. . . . Well, my poem below
tells the rest of the story so I won't repeat it. I
don't remember his face or even his last name any more but I've
never forgotten Charlie. So often I've thought about all
the whys . . . why he died, why I knew him and why I can't seem to
forget. His death reminded me what a precious gift life
truly is. Most of us go through life never realizing the value
of that gift until it's too late. Now, many decades
years after the fact I still don't know any of the answers to the
many whys of his death but I do know that his death helped me
realize how much I wanted to live. Not then so much, but later
when I considered taking my own life. Obviously, I didn't.
I believe Charlie IS a big part of the reason I'm still alive.
And, yes . . I loved Charlie too.
One Last Ride
A lonely passerby,
no family known to send remains,
did he conceive to take his life
that sky lit night in sixty-three?
He drove up to the lake
where once we sat to contemplate.
A comradery we shared,
a friendship fast but true.
No more, no less,
that's all we had, I think.
But daddy misinterpreted,
whilst I was gone
daddy spoke the words, "No More."
Driven to the brink
by daddy's angry words,
a slue of drinks,
his troubled mind
thought of our place.
Onward he sped as if in race,
the turn too sharp,
he knew too late
a watery grave would be his fate.
Barely alive at 21, a passing face,
a tear was shed by only one.
-- By Shirl A. Steward --
written and copyright 1983. "To Charlie, my friend"
The Lady in Pink
Nov, 1948 -
Starr was certainly one
of the most special of friends I ever had. Our friendship actually
happened completed 'by accident' but, then again, I'm not really sure of the
details. It's kind of a blur. Someone I knew recommended
her I think . . . Starr was one of the best psychic reader around and, of
course, I was looking for the best. A new age guru wrote me
claiming to be my long lost soul mate and I felt strangely attracted to him
and love for him although we had never met. Eventually, we did
meet, of course, but I wanted a second opinion about what this
'relationship' and odd 'attraction' was all about. Starr was extremely
helpful in sorting that situation out and also in many other ways.
She immediately took me under her wing. I'm not sure if she was
my student or I was hers. We learned a lot from each other. She
was a medium, a psychic, a seer . . . she was especially good with seeing
past lives. She could tell you what spirits were in the room and
what they were saying. Through her I was able to confirm that all my
visions were actually past life memories. My nightmares of German
concentration camps when I was a toddler had been the start of my 'seeing'
sense. Then came my visions of my life as a high priest in Atlantis as
a young adult. I also soon learned that I was very gifted as a
seer myself . . . though still, to this day, I have chosen not to use
that ability to do readings. I see my life mission as a writer NOT as
a seer. Also, Starr was teaching me to read the Tarot and to interpret
the visual impressions I receive. We never finished those lessons and
that's part of the reason too. Anyway, I'll write more later but here
is the poem I wrote and read at her funeral in August, 1999. It's
quite long so I put it on another page.
My poem . . .
LADY IN PINK!
CAL & TUDDIE . . . I was working
as a corporate trainer. I just happened to be at the
office one day when an elderly gentleman dressed in a fancy
suit and a white 'real' cowboy hat walking in to interview with the
owner about his series of empowerment seminars. He
turned to me and said "Howdy, I'm Cal White." He wore a smile
as wide as the Rio Grande. I was instantly drawn in by
his special brand of Texan charm. We were friends from
that moment on. He died one week after returning from his
honeymoon (1997 I think it was).
Cal was a stage hypnotist and a friend of the
magician, Kreskin. He also was an paranormal investigator for
the strange events at the house which the Amityville Horror movies
CAL & TUDDIE, my children's story
inspired by guess who? LOL