have become what I wanted to be. . .
Here, as recorded in this excerpt from my memoir, Buffalo Nickel, was my vow, following my brother Edward’s mysterious death on June 3, 1950:
I lifted my head to the dark, clouded sky and words burst out of my lips, poured out of me in a flood.
“I love you, Eddy,” I said. “I swear by your memory and my love for you that I’ll try to live up to the image you had of me! I swear I’ll do good on this earth and that I’ll try and achieve happiness in the here and now.”
As I spoke, I didn’t think. I listened, rather, to each emotion-laden word that rose out of me, each word that somehow helped to clear my mind and ease the constriction in my throat, the tightening in my rib cage, the ache in my heart.
“I’ll work at something which will bring me personal contentment and will help others, too. . something in the arts, writing or painting. Something like what you wanted for yourself, like the novels you wanted to write… I swear that I’ll work as you believed. Not for subsistence but for self-fulfillment. That I’ll seek the freedom of the artist, the free man!”
Photo Credit: Ginny Staley, 1971.