So, my mother, Barbara Hall, or Isabelle Hall Fiske Calhoun, who was born in the Arizona desert almost 100 years ago (missed it by four and a half years), has died in Hartford (White River), Vermont, in a valley surrounded by the Green Mountains. She wanted all her life to live in Vermont and achieved that goal when she was an artist from “Tibet”– the 1940s nickname for the West Village in New York (Shangri-La, I think). She and my father, Irving Fiske finally married, got enough money to buy a $1,000 piece of land (140 acres of old hill farm) in Central Vermont, just after WWII. She had drawn The Black Cat, Girl Commandoes, and a character she herself seems to have invented, called The Blonde Bomber (looks just like her). Then, she took Irving’s advice to become a fine artist (painter, pastellist) and immediately threw $300 worth of pencilled pages in the trash. He was agonized… not having meant right THEN!
But then and always, The Blonde Bomber was a thoroughly impetuous person. She invited “angels unawares” to visit and stay on the land in Vermont, visited me in Binghamton, NY when I was living there with my boyfriend without waiting to be asked, charged down to New York and collected money from all she knew, and invested Quarry Hill with her wild, but somehow very centered and unshaken soul. “No coward soul am I…”– E. Bronte.
She died April 28, 2014, in a very peaceful state, like a baby rocked to sleep. I am so glad that it was peaceful and at rest. Her last words to me, even when she could not really SAY them, were “I love you so much.” She said that to all who came, whom she knew and recognized. I love you so much too, Barb, and have a Happy Mother’s Day, or I hope you had one– freed of all the silly conventions and memorializations of this earth. But boy, you have some beautiful grandchildren and great-grandchildren….