My journey to hometown

Today is Sunday, May 22, 2011. I have had a busy month. At the end of last month, I traveled to my hometown of Rockville, Maryland. I was able to present at the Rockville Historical Library. Growing up in Rockville, I visited the library frequently and I participated in many summer reading programs. I never dreamed of the journey I would make, and I never dreamed that I would become an author. It was thrilling for me to re-visit and see where I spent my kindergarten-through-high school years.

One of the most poignant questions for me was from a young woman swathed in scarves, who waited until everyone else had passed by to buy books or to ask questions. In a hushed voice, she asked me how I kept going. She told me that she and her family had been in a flood, and that only she had survived. I told her that none of my friends who died would have wanted me to waste my life, so traumatized by their deaths that it ruined my life forever. If I hadn’t survived by a strange set of circumstances, if I had died that day, I know that I would want those who survived to live full lives. I never forget. But, I did rebuild my life.

I also spoke in two events at Meeting Houses of the DC-area Society of Friends. Those were interesting and warm events. My time with the Quakers has helped me live a fulfilling life. I joined the Quakers in 1994.

Next weekend, I will join many other survivors and friends to celebrate the installation of panels at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland. The panels, with the names of all of those who died in Guyana, are set at the top of a rise, so they are sloped overlooking a lovely valley.