"Sheltering the Creative Spirit"
Taos, New Mexico USA
Frank Waters Centennial:
The Man and The Myth (1902-1995)
To View Centennial Photos --> CLICK HERE
A Seed of Light
We live in a
cynical, post-modern age, the apex of an era steeped in alienation and a
deepening despair. For many, especially in America, the lack of any spiritual or
philosophical center has resulted in a frenzied and self-destructive
materialism. Indeed, a friend recently remarked, “After all, it’s all about
sex and money” – a statement which succinctly summarizes the contemporary
view of our tired world.
And yet, as Lao-Tsu taught, there is always
a seed of light in the shadow. This
is perhaps why over two hundred scholars and non-scholars alike recently
gathered in Taos to celebrate the Centennial of Frank Waters’ birth. The
author of nearly thirty books of fiction and non-fiction, Waters and his work
have a central role in solving the crisis of our times. As Rudolfo Anaya, author
of the seminal Southwestern novel Bless
Me, Ultima, wrote, “We are living at the end of an age, and we look desperately
around for men like Frank Waters to point the way into the new cycle of time.”
Beginning on July 25, the date of Waters’
birth, the Centennial attendees gathered under a tent next to the long portal of
the adobe mansion built by Mabel Dodge Luhan in the ‘20s, where she founded
the Taos version of her New York artistic salon.
Like the woman herself, the mansion stands
with solid authority under spreading cottonwoods and towering blue spruces.
Waters had been a close friend to Tony Lujan, Mabel’s Taos Indian
husband, and the two had drunk many a bottle and traveled many a mile together
across the American and Mexican vastness. While listening to the presentations,
I could easily imagine the pair setting off on an adventure, crossing the great
flagstone walkways, perhaps joking about the plaster deer statue, or solemnly
studying the massive boundary rock said to mark an Indian place of emergence, or
delighting in the furious flight of a hummingbird under the blazing New Mexican
Sixty years later, the distant descendant of
that hummingbird darted through the sun-shot air, while below, John Nichols, his
hair in a tight ponytail, his still handsome face lined from years of political
struggle, acknowledged the influence of Waters’
of the Valley on his own classic, The
Milagro Beanfield War. Novelist Alexander
Blackburn, tall and patrician in bearing, proposed that Waters’ work answers
Joseph Campbell’s call for a new world mythology. Playwright Denise Chavez, a
dark-haired literary matriarch, spoke passionately of Waters’ love for the
desert and the people who dwell in it. Philosopher Vine Deloria, Jr., his broad,
strong-featured face mysterious behind sunglasses and a cigarette, praised
Waters’ ability to understand the Indian’s unique blend of realism and
spirituality. Thin and elegant as a scholarly Dashiell Hammett, biographer
Thomas Lyon presented some of the difficulties involved in unraveling the maze
of Waters’ life. And the keynote speaker, Rudolfo Anaya, a dignified figure
with graying hair and moustache, spoke of the mythic depth found in Waters’
Others testified to Waters’ warmth and
beauty as a man, including the bearded sculptor Mark Rossi, Waters’ surrogate
son, and the slender, soft-spoken Tal Luther, businessman, book collector, and
decades-long friend of Waters.
Over it all flowed the deeply caring,
maternal energy of Barbara Waters – Frank Waters’ fourth and final wife –
still beautiful with her fine features and flowing turquoise dresses. From a
special chair under the portal’s shade, she smiled benignly on all the
speakers, giving them her empathetic support.
On the Centennial’s first night, a
thunderstorm passed over Taos, bringing rain to the drought-stricken earth. My
partner, Barbara DeLosa, and I watched the lightning flash from our room in the
Laughing Horse Inn, the rambling many-roomed structure said to be haunted by its
original owner, Spud Johnson, the literary jester of the ‘20s and ‘30s who
edited Laughing Horse,
a literary magazine, and the Horse-Fly,
a newspaper. In our imaginations, we could also sense the presence of Frank
Waters, who for a summer lived in Johnson’s house.
The next morning, Barbara Waters confirmed
that Frank Waters had indeed been present, at least in spirit, during the night,
when she announced that he had always believed rain was a blessing, and that for
her, the storm was a sign of his benediction on the Centennial.
Who was this man who has produced an almost
mystical devotion to his readers and friends?
Frank Waters grew up in Colorado Springs in
the waning days of the mining boom. From his part Indian father, he learned a
deep love for the earth and its spirituality, while from his maternal
grandfather, Joseph Dozier, who was a building contractor and mine operator, he
gained an appreciation for the rational, scientific world-view. Waters healed
this seeming tension by fusing both visions into a unified reality, a grand
circle of life including the intuitive and the rational, the spiritual and the
material, the yin and the yang. This merging of Indian and European philosophies
would be a constant theme in his writing, along with the Hopi Indian Emergence
myth – the belief that humanity is making a spiritual journey through
After dropping out of the engineering
program at Colorado College, Waters landed a job troubleshooting at phone
offices edging the Mojave Desert. This strange and harsh environment inspired
his first novel, Fever Pitch (Lizard
Woman), published in 1930.
During the ‘30s, Waters explored
Mexico’s Sierra Madres on muleback, and then found his way to New Mexico,
where he lived in Mora, Taos, and Arroyo Seco. These years resulted in some of
Waters’ most enduring novels – Pike’s
Peak, People of the Valley,
and The Man Who Killed the Deer.
In the decades after World War II, Waters
held jobs as varied as picking apples in Washington State to public relations
writing for the Atomic Energy Commission. In the later position, Waters
witnessed numerous atomic detonations, a soul-shaking experience that would help
shape his novel about the nuclear weapon enterprise,
Woman at Otowi Crossing. It was also
in the decades following the war that Waters wrote his most important
non-fiction works, including The Colorado,
Masked Gods, Book of the Hopi,
and Pumpkin Seed Point.
By the ‘70s, Waters was able to settle
into a life of full-time writing with his wife Barbara. Living in Arroyo Seco
and Tucson, he continued to examine our time of global transition. In 1981 he
wrote in Mountain Dialogues,
“For this most pivotal hour of change since the beginning of the Christian era
marks not only the death, but the transformative rebirth of our current limited
beliefs. It will not come overnight nor even in a tragic century. Yet the change
is already under way. We can sense its underground movements breaking surface in
paranormal experiences of every kind, the receptivity of formal sciences to
ancient doctrines, in the political and social revolutions throughout the
Appropriately, the Centennial’s fourth and
final day was held at Frank Waters’ home. In a small field near the adobe
house, not far from the granite boulder that marks his grave, we listened to the
Taos flute melodies of Ricky Aragon, the poetry of Imogene Bolls, and Joe
Gordon’s talk on the centrality of mountains in Waters’ work. As the morning
passed, the wind whipped the aspens that shelter the Waters’ house. Beyond
their tall, white trunks loomed the great mound of Taos Mountain. Above its
summit, the sky was blue, reaching to infinity.
For me, the Centennial’s finest moment
arrived when Frank Samora, the inspiration for Martiniano, the protagonist of
Man Who Killed the Deer, gave his blessing
to the gathering. This small, compact man, dressed in simple clothes and wearing
his long, black hair in two braids, smiled like a benign Buddha as he chanted a
Taos Indian prayer under the great wheel of the sun. At the prayer’s end,
Samora sat down against an adobe wall next to Rudolfo Anaya, who was beside Tom
As I studied these three men – Indian,
Chicano, and Anglo, I was sharply reminded of the moment that inspired Frank
Waters to write The Man Who Killed the
Deer. Waters had just come from Samora’s
trial for shooting a deer out of season on federal land. Deciding to shave,
Waters filled a basin, peered into it, and had a vision of three faces – one
Indian, one Spanish, and one Anglo. Out of this moment came the passage in The
Man Who Killed the Deer when the
Governor of La Oreja Pueblo, National Forest district chief Sanchez, and Bureau
of Indian Affairs lawyer Strophy meet after Martiniano’s trial – the first
scene from the novel that Waters committed to paper.
Man Who Killed the Deer, this meeting
dramatizes the tensions between three very different world-views. But Samora,
Anaya, and Lyon – brought together to honor the memory of Frank Waters –
symbolize his faith that someday we will realize the Pueblo Emergence into a
planetary civilization unifying the intuitive and the rational, the Indian and
In the posthumously published
Time and Change, Waters asserts,
“Reconciliation of these two modes of thought with the realization that matter
and spirit comprise one undivided whole, has yet to come.” But as I recall the
image of those three men of such different cultures resting harmoniously against
an adobe wall between earth and sky, I believe that this reconciliation will
some day arrive, and that the words of Frank Waters will be an important
catalyst for humanity’s coming transformation.
"A Glorious Celebration"
by Barbara Waters
will not soon forget the Frank Waters Centennial.
Holly Reed, our professional photographer, has sent two exquisite albums
blossoming with photographs from the celebration, which more than two hundred
persons attended. My pot of
miniature pink roses from the Saturday night dinner table is another flourishing
memento, besides the photos. And
bouquets of appreciative words keep arriving.
Anaya writes that he and his wife want to thank all “who worked so hard on
what can only be called a glorious celebration!
Frank was proud of us!”
Silbergleit, U of NM archivist, writes that she enjoyed hearing “an eclectic
array of speakers [listed on our website under “Centennial”] and
perspectives, and the opportunity to meet new people and renew friendships with
others whom I had not seen for a while.”
Although she was unable to experience Sunday at our home in Arroyo Seco,
Beth thought it was “a real treat” to spend the first three conference days
at the Mabel Luhan House --“a perfect venue for the celebration.”
Nichols with his personal reminiscences and Alex Blackburn with his literary
criticism began an interwoven pattern for understanding the complete Frank
Waters that balanced and re-enforced itself throughout the symposium.
Across the top of a July 19 photo of himself atop a favorite mountain,
John later scrawls, “Frank should be clicking his heels over your love and
St. John Hawley’s hand-painted orange nasturtiums card, another bouquet,
you for the fantastic experience of being so close to the beautiful
of Frank Waters. It was not only a historic occasion – but
a tender event – so many people of like mind and filled with love
admiration for him and for you.
was grateful for Alexander Blackburn’s comments about Teilhard de
and Waters (their affinity of spirit).
loved Vine Deloria and “Silence.”
Chavez – a great and eloquent woman.
Luther – his presentation absolutely exquisite in its detail – such
for books – the collector’s spirit – such poetry!...
musician Cynthia Stacey, who also spoke and recorded the speeches of others for
us, “At the Centennial I received a lot of inspiration and clarity for my own
enjoyed Tom Lyon and Patrick Burns addressing the issue of “truth” in
writing. My favorite statement
regarding that, (similar to one
Tom gave us) is: “All stories are true and some of
I loved the anecdote that
Patrick gave regarding Peggy
book, where Frank ended by saying, “Mine is the true story.”
of course was right because there is the objective factual truth and
there is the mythic Truth. One is
the truth of the ego and the other
the Truth of the Self. Frank helps us connect with that deeper Truth,
is what we all hunger for.
bouquet of heartfelt thanks to devoted, volunteer committee members who worked
so hard and self-sufficiently on our A Team with Tal Luther as chairman and
Marilyn Luther as secretary. They
included super-saleswoman Elise Backinger and her husband Kent Strickland, Marty
Meltzer, Margot Wieland, Irene Falk (the Fruit Salad Lady), webmaster Bill Farr,
Mary Ann and Geoffrey Torrence, Holly and Mary Beth (the Raffle Ticket Sprite)
Reed, Mark Rossi, and Al and Renate Collins.
then there was the creativity of Mary and Howard Taylor, who distributed to
speakers their 1983 photograph of Frank and myself; of video-taper Robert Callan,
and his wife Marilyn, who thought up a “How Did You Get To Know Frank Waters
and His Work?” project (call her at 719-686-1969); of Jerry Edelen’s hooked
rug gift bearing Frank’s epitaph; of sculptor Mark Rossi’s bronze presents
to Luthers and six volunteers; of Katie Woodall’s original poster portrait of
Frank, auctioned off to Charles and Gayle Hodges for $1,000.
We’ll always remember Joe Gordon born again as Vine Deloria; the contra
dancers (“a blast and a half,” writes Bill Farr) led by caller Jim Buechler;
the musicians including familiar Jennie Vincent and Peggy Nelson; and Pueblo
Governor Vicente Lujan and his wife, Beatrice, with the hit of the conference in
tow – Frank Samora, the “Man Who Killed the Deer,” and his beautiful
our place that last day Frank was closest to us, speaking through his favorite
talking aspen leaves. Time ran out on us so that I couldn’t give my speech.
Instead, I presented my copy to Frank’s old friend Quay Grigg.
He writes, “I strongly regret that you didn’t wrap up the conference
with your wonderful piece. Hearing
it there while we listened to the trees would have been magical.”
Instead people can read my uprooted “Rooted” speech on our website.
the same place, also be sure to catch John Nizalowski’s fine review of the
Centennial. That man can write!
Rossi’s bronze paperweight medallion, a rare Centennial souvenir, is now
available for $55, shipping included. It
features Frank’s profile on one side, aspens on the other.
To order, call us here at 505-776-2356 or write.
Thanks also to Mark, along with Peggy Andrews, for promoting Waters
centennial discussions, readings, and a library exhibit last fall in Tucson.
other lovely souvenir available for $50 is a limited edition broadside created
by Tom Leech at Santa Fe’s Press at the Palace of the Governors.
On handmade white paper, it features a delicate-looking stone imprinted
with Frank’s long “life is a great white stone” quotation from People of the Valley.
Centennial, too, remains “a complete, rounded moment, which contains all.”
by Barbara Waters
there be grief, let it be the rain
this but silver grief, for grieving’s sake,
these green woods be dreaming here to
my heart, If I should rouse again.
I shall sleep, for where is any death
in these blue hills slumbrous overhead
rooted like a tree? Though I be
soil that holds me fast will find me
Faulkner -- “A Green Bough”
the spirit of William Faulkner lives on through certain trees of the South, --
probably rowan trees -- so the spirit of Frank Waters lives on in the native
Southwestern trees surrounding us here today -- particularly in our aspen trees.
He looked like an aspen tree: tall, slim, and white, with all-knowing
eyes. And Artist Michio Takayama
called him “Aspen-san,” which I adapted to Aspen Son.
His voice seems still to resonate through the quaking of these leaves,
another example of the talking tree, which device has been so popular in
literature that it is recognized as an aspect of the collective unconscious
shared by humanity since our beginning. The
oracle in Zeus’s sacred oaks of Dodona spoke through their rustling leaves and
creaking boughs. King David
listened to murmuring mulberry leaves to hear the voice of God.
In India, legendary trees foretold the approaching doom of Alexander the
Great. Among other authors, Virgil,
Dante, Spenser, and Tolkien utilized this motif. Listen, they all
teach, when the tree speaks.
Imogene Bolls is one who listens; thus her poem “The Walk to the Upper
Pasture,” a message to me personally, states in part:
round us the trees are talking
had said, listening
grove of sacred aspen.
Especially the old oak -- our goal
in the upper pasture where
ashes, two weeks without rain,
the trunk in a formal act
completion -- is eloquent.
It says: Listen.
I am here
It says: Listen to me.
your pain to the wind...
1947 when he bought the Arroyo Seco property, neither Frank nor its aspens were
deeply rooted in the literal sense. Frank
moved around the country a lot -- he said he had the “itching foot,” and
just seven spindly aspens stood beside the driveway here.
Since then they have multiplied and spread out to form what I call the
Sacred Aspen Grove beside our house. They
have infiltrated the back yard as what Frank called a reflection of the Pleiades
representing his lucky number seven. They’ve ducked under our home, and are popping up all over
the yard next door. Two of them are
thrusting their merry ways through the roofs of our main house and our studio.
from the start Frank had been irresistibly drawn to the magnificent old
cottonwoods already here, he told me many times in later years.
Los Alamos is Spanish for
“the cottonwoods;” and, ironically, it is also the rational place of
destruction from which he was to draw inspiration for The
Woman at Otowi Crossing, one of
his most complex novels. The pull
went deep. About the strange
magnetic power of this tumbledown house and jungled trees, thickets, and bushes
here in Arroyo Seco, he wrote in Mountain
is no accounting for the mysterious magnetism that draws
holds us to that one locality we know is our heart’s home,
karmic propensities or simple vibratory quality may coin-
with our own. Thus have I often
wondered how I happened
choose this slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains for my
home....I always stopped to admire [the spot] set back in a
lawn, surrounded by towering cottonwoods along the small
flowing between the house and road....The first time I saw
on a walk up into the mountains, something about it claimed me.
second, somewhat similar incident wired to the deepest levels of the psyche
occurred at our small winter home in Tucson.
From the beginning, Frank was pleased with it and its back yard full of
runaway wild bird of paradise flowers, overgrown greasewood bushes, a pineapple
palm, a gigantic evergreen, green-trunked palo verde trees, and a splendid
Russian olive tree.
said in 1977, “I feel like we’ve sat together before in a jungle clearing
like this, in another lifetime. Probably
red poinsettia trees ran wild,” I said.
landscape of the heart was always green, and rooted in the soil. He liked his literature the same way. His favorite book in later years was Karan, by B. Wonger, where the native Australian protagonist instead
of dying transforms gradually into a fertile tree strongly rooted in the earth.
said, “Now that’s the way to do
it! That’s the easiest transition
I’ve ever heard of.” And during
bad times near the end he imaged an evergreen already beginning to grow in his
kind to trees and they will bloom into flower for you,” Wonger writes, as if
describing our wild plum trees, cottonwoods, aspens, and Frank’s heart tree.
thought that our friend Helen, daughter of the famous Taos artist Ernest
Blumenschein, was out of her mind when she made the unkindly suggestion, “Chop
‘em all down, Frank. Get rid of
‘em like I did mine. All these
high old cottonwoods and aspens make this place of yours look like the house of
a sorcerer.” He savored
her final image, for he was attuned to Merlin, literature’s most mesmerizing
sorcerer and a staunch denizen of the woods.
Frank may have bought the New Mexico property simply because it looked
like it belonged to a sorcerer.
he literally became rooted in the Sacred Aspen Grove and under his favorite oak
in our upper pasture is a complicated story.
But it all began with the lack of trees in our local cemetery, where
Frank had purchased a plot for himself. To
me this was intolerable.
can’t stand to think of you in that barren spot forever,” I said, “even
though the individual graves are nicely decorated and well tended.”
To no apparent avail, I repeated my lament sporadically over the next
couple of years.
Victor White died. Victor had been
a writer and teacher, born in Vienna on the exact same date as Frank’s
birthday. After they had befriended each other, Frank thought of him as
his shadowy alter ego and said Victor had never received the fame he deserved
for his fine writing. When he died
a lonely death, we scattered his ashes in our Sacred Aspen Grove and toasted him
with some terrible, straight Scotch that Victor had loved. Frank liked the ceremony and amazed me some time later by
conceding, “I think that was a good idea.
I guess I’ll do the same thing as Victor, after all.”
individualistic to his last hurrah, however, about a year before his death Frank
informed me, “I don’t think I should do exactly the same thing as Victor
did. I want my ashes, or at least
half of them, to be scattered out in the upper pasture under the shelter of the
horses’ favorite spreading oak tree.”
half of them are today, around and under a simple wooden cross that faces sacred
Taos Mountain, while the other half in the aspen grove beside our house root
themselves around and under a Colorado granite boulder bearing a symbolic
Mimbres deer carved by sculptor Ted Egri. Opposite
the boulder is a granite chair hewn in China and bearing on its back calligraphy
symbolizing the word “gratitude.” In
his opinion, writer David Jongeward had said at my husband’s memorial service,
the privilege of having known Frank Waters could be summed up in that one word.
Under this granite gratitude seat, my ashes too will mingle and root with
life-giving veins of aspens and purple plums.
months after Frank’s death, two twelve-foot-high sheaths of light appeared
outdoors here late at night. They
were shaped like Shalakos, those giant energy spirits featured in the Zuni
Indian ceremony honoring death. One
danced back and forth before an apricot tree in the front yard; the other wove
in and out in front of a high cross-shaped gatepost in the back yard.
Viewed symbolically, these backdrops both stand for the Tree of Life,
while the figures represent the pure light of eternity.
This combination symbolizes a merging of duality into the All.
As Shalakos, they were probably the war twins, Warrior of the East and
Warrior of the West. Their Indian
name, reminiscent of Frank, means “you are a tree and under your body the deer
lie down to rest at your feet.” In
his stated opinion, the Shalako ceremony teaches that death is not to be feared
or grieved. It is merely part of
the one great whole, the All.
third of June on the anniversary of his death, three couples and myself gather
here at Frank’s memorial stone. We
festoon it with flowers, memories, and his words read aloud.
We study immortal initials thickening on aspen trunks crusted in black
and try to decipher the messages encoded here in inscrutable Egyptian eyes.
This year Ines stood with the full length of her back pressed against an
aspen tree close to the boulder. “I
feel it pulsing!” she suddenly exclaimed.
“This tree is alive like a person.
It’s giving me energy!” Seated
in the granite chair to her left, I smiled as soft leaves of a wild plum
sapling caressed my cheek and the trembling leaves above chatted on.
happy memories of Frank are rooted in individual trees here, such as the Bear
Tree, the Smashed Honda Tree, and our Bridge Tree -- all cottonwoods. He’d hobble out with his walker to the Bear Tree beside our
garage to watch mother bear and two of her cubs peering down at us.
Her third cub acted perennially perplexed, always stumbling off in the
opposite direction from the rest of its family, scampering up the tree when they
came down, making us laugh.
a storm, one third of the mammoth cottonwood next to the Bear Tree came smashing
down on the back end of my hatchback Honda, flattening it like a pancake
sizzling with silver-red sparks from a downed power line.
With one of his what-will-be-will-be shrugs, Frank edged around the third
of the Smashed Honda Tree filling the entire back yard, went inside the house
and back to bed, and immediately fell asleep!
cottonwood Bridge Tree crashed across the acequia madre out in back where we
used to picnic and splash our feet in the cold mountain water.
This venerable being could be Frank in another form.
He has proven too daunting to demolish.
His commanding arm, tattooed with orange lichen, continues to halt all
aspiring woodchoppers. And a poet has written as his epitaph:
tree fallen over
Frank Waters knew how to talk to trees and understood them, we know from his
novel The Man Who Killed the Deer,
where he wrote intuitively of cutting down a lofty pine for the Taos Indians’
We know your life is as precious as ours. We know that we
are children of the same Mother Earth, of our
But we also know that one life must sometimes give
another, so that one great life of all may
So we ask permission, we obtain your consent to
they cut him down, he in their midst who had stood there
and sound and proud before they were yet grown and it
well with them and with him who had spiritually assented
their ritualistic request for his sacrifice.
his love of nature and his published ecological concerns, Waters grew into a
contemporary embodiment of Green Man, stone images of whom have adorned
architectural structures for centuries. In
folklore this symbolic figure has also been called “Leaf Man,” “Jack of
the Green,” “Green George,” and “May King.
Green Man is the archetype representing our oneness with the earth.
his book about this archetype William Anderson writes, “When an image of great
power such as the Green Man returns as he does now in a new aspect after a long
absence, the purpose of its return is not only to revive forgotten memories but
to present fresh truths and emotions necessary to fulfilling the potentialities
of the future.” Anderson might
well be speaking of Frank’s lifelong writing mission.
of Frank’s doors to the universe, then, was this wilderness of trees on his
own private property, now open to the public through the Frank Waters
Foundation, which deeply appreciates your essential, continuing support. I leave you with these repeated, sustaining words of that
other great author who loved his land and trees, and who also embraces here his
fellow writer being honored this centennial weekend:
is any death
in these blue hills slumbrous overhead
rooted like a tree? Though I be
soil that holds me fast will find me
In other words, we have the consolation that both of these lovers of Mother Earth will continue to speak through their roots, warning us against the worst and inspiring us toward the best. Pure Waters: Frank Waters and the Quest for the Cosmic, Frank’s second posthumous book, is the latest proof of this promise kept.
Of Awards and Pink Tulips
by Barbara Waters
Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs, hometown of Frank
Waters, got the centennial celebrating his birth year off to a smashing start
with a series of events that happened to tie together with remarkable
synchronicity over the weekend of April 12-14.
Initiating this celebration was the tenth
Frank Waters Award for Excellence in Literature given this year to author
Barbara Kingsolver. Because
Kingsolver was unable to attend, she wrote a gracious letter of appreciation;
and focus gravitated to Waters and this special year of tributes to his memory.
his representative, I had all the fun and benefit from a well-organized program
emanating from an enthusiastic community that united Frank and the literary
award given annually in his name, Kingsolver, the Betty Field Memorial Youth
Writing Contest Awards, a writing workshop for participants in that contest, the
Pikes Peak Library District Board, Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District,
parents, teachers, personal Colorado friends of Frank’s, myself, and Mary Ann
Torrence, who as Frank’s number one fan traveled with me from Taos.
Special touches were the Board’s exuberant
pink tulips and boxes of chocolates left in our rooms at the Hearthstone Inn Bed
and Breakfast, a favorite of Frank’s and mine.
Friday evening was just as special with gourmet food prepared by board
vice president Mary Ciletti and her husband Jim (owners of Hooked on Books, a
real find for us), and other welcoming board members, such as president Barbara
Bailey, Friends chairman Kathy Stevens and board photographer Don Stevens,
director emeritus Andrea Corley, and our “chauffeurs” Ken and Susan Krassy.
A large writing workshop facilitated mainly
by Darcy Alan for young people and their parents on Saturday morning
reacquainted me with the writing dreams of Frank Waters at the same age, as
evidenced by his second published story that appears elsewhere in this
newsletter. Students in grades six
through twelve received certificates for their participation in the writing
contest and workshop.
The highlight of both workshop and Saturday
night’s sold out annual library district dinner was being in the Carnegie
Reading Room of Penrose Public Library. This
striking Carnegie Library with its huge picture windows was originally built
when Frank was three years old; a little later of course it became one of his
favorite hangouts. A special
tribute statue presented to me was another surprise highlight of the dinner
event. And I was deeply touched by the accolades given Frank by old friends Ken
and Barbara Sparks, Joe and Diane Gordon, Alex and Ines Blackburn, and Bob and
Marilyn Callan. Thank you, Ken and
a cordial audience, for mine too. I
also felt honored to present winning student authors with their awards and to be
photographed with them. On top of
all this, the food was good!
Mary Ann and I completed our memorable Library Trip with a pilgrimage to Frank’s gaunt old house – sympathetically painted this spring in soft Easter egg colors -- across from Frank Waters Park on East Bijou Street. Before heading home, we decorated his father’s grave in Evergreen Cemetery with bluebells, white daisies and pink tulips.
For Program Details --> Click HERE
List of Friends and Supporters of the Celebration --> CLICK HERE
Centennial Photos --> CLICK HERE
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