Remembering . . . lost loves,

The Lady in Pink, Cal & Tuddie

and the MANY LESSONS they gifted me

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 all." 

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 subject later.

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 again.  

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"

Starr "Twilight" Swartz

The Lady in Pink

Nov, 1948 - Aug,1999

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 . . . THE 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 were based.

   Read CAL & TUDDIE, my children's story
inspired by guess who? LOL