On the Road with Georg

I am writing this post from the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express in Troy, Michigan, so I may rush and I may not find all the right words to articulate just what transpired at the memorial. But I will try.

Yesterday, we had the most incredible experience, honoring Georg at The Roeper School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. I hugged my cousins, a new baby in the family (beautiful little Alessandra) and many, many old friends. I met friends of Georg’s I had heard about for years but had never met and I saw old friends of our family that I had not seen since I was a small girl.  I met the new head of the school, David Feldman (who had never met Dad, but set the context for our celebration so well) and sat next to a Greek priest, Father Theodor, who had also never met Georg, but listened to what we all said about him and gestalted the most wonderful closing remarks. He then sang a prayer in Greek and English that made me cry. It was a day of perfect magic; just what Georg would have ordered.

In the front lobby of the Hill House where we gathered, our dear friend Jarie Ruddy who teaches art in the lower grades at Roeper had installed the work of her Stage II students (this equates to about kindergarten age-1st grade, if I remember my Roeper stage theory correctly). Jarie had made Georg’s feathers the subject of inquiry for her students. They learned about Georg, looked at his feather images, looked at real feathers with magnifying glasses and then created their own feather images with pastels on black paper. The front hall was covered in feathers. Probably 50 of them, maybe more.

When I first walked into the building to set up for the memorial, I was greeted by feathers made by little hands. It took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. Scattered throughout the installation were explanations of what the students had done, information about Georg, and quotes by the children. One in particular struck me. I don’t remember the child’s name, and I may be paraphrasing or conflating two quotes that were next to each other. Here is the gist:

“I love the feathers of Georg because they are like light. They glow.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country in Bend, Oregon, my dearest dear friend, Carolyn Graham Tsuneta, created a special altar for Georg, listened to Greek music throughout the day, and was witness to a vision of Georg art in the sky. She couldn’t make the journey to Detroit, but she and her mom honored Georg for us at a satellite location. Here is what she wrote about the sky over Bend yesterday:

The sky was UNBELIEVABLE today. I went out to walk Ziggy this afternoon and it was a GEORG VIHOS SKY. The clouds were EXACTLY, and I mean EXACTLY like one of your dad’s drawings. It was a HUGE section of the sky just covered with Georg energy …it gave me chills to realize that even his biggest pieces made on earth will never equal what he is now capable of creating in the sky. Talk about an INFINITE CANVAS! I honestly don’t know what to believe about life and death any more. Sometimes I long for the certainty of the atheists who proclaim, “Dead is dead. Life is for the living.” But I see something like the shape of the clouds in the sky today and all I do is wonder.

There is much to wonder about, and much to be grateful for, and still so much to do.
I’ll be home soon.

7 thoughts on “On the Road with Georg

  1. Such a beautiful tribute to such a beautiful man. Thanks for sharing this. I keep the postcard that Roeper sent to notify us of the event pinned just above my desk, now George is always there when I need him. Should have done that years ago!

    1. I wish you could have been there, Dick. Some old school chums were there: David Shulman, Sheldon Cohen, Howard Luby, Patrick O’Connor, Fiona Ruddy…If I am forgetting someone, I apologize. So much of the afternoon was a blur of love and magic.

  2. What a fantastic day you had with family and friends. The drawings by the children are proof that legacies and memories will continue to bring joy. These kids will remember Georg and they will tell their kids about the project! How wonderful is that. Glad your family had a lovely memorial for your Dad.

  3. Thanks for writing about the memorial so beautifully…wish we could have been there. So sad that you stayed at the Holiday Inn while our home stood empty…

    Had a lovely conversation with your mom this morning; it was great to hear from her.

    1. Thanks, Pat. We did not find out we couldn’t stay at Amy’s house until Thursday night. I appreciate that you had offered your house to us weeks before. It just seemed simpler not to impose on any one so late in the game. Thank you so much for offering a place to stay. And thank you also for the nice card you sent. I am so sorry to hear about Mike’s dad. I hope you all are doing well, as well as can be suspected. Love, Lisa

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