S: A Book of Love
FC: A Book of Love
1: To my darling wife, It's been such a wonderful process to coordinate this project. I can't tell you how precious it is to read all these heartfelt tributes to you. They've come in over the past four months - a bit here and a bit there - and it has been a joy to digest each and every one. Most amazing to me are the common threads that come through so strongly from family and friends, both old and new. Your honestly, authenticity, creativity and love of digging in deep with people shines through. I remember a conversation with a dance friend when I pointed you out as someone I was interested in; at the time I thought I wanted a weekend fling as a salve for a tough breakup. She, very wisely, replied, "Oh, no. You can't fling with BW. She doesn't do casual." And she was right. My time with you has changed me - or rather uncovered who I am under all the extra debris I've collected over the years. I am learning every day who I am, and you're a big part of that, with your refusal to take half truths aimed at smoothing things over. You've helped me face my shadows and learn to accept them. You are an inspiration and I love you more than words can say. (Like a lot, a lot!) I hope you take much pleasure in this collection of writing and photos. My personal thanks to your friends and family who have so generously and enthusiastically contributed. Happy birthday my love, Ki, xoxo | From all of us to you ... | April 2012
2: Linda, you are such a wonderful daughter, and are so very good to me. You are so helpful; when you were growing up, you were very devoted to me and to your baby sister Sue. I remember you as such a sweet girl and you still are. You have such an adventurous spirit. I remember when you were 16, I thought you had turned into a little devil; you were so independent and didn’t seem to want to listen to anything we said. | You went places we didn't want you to go and saw people we didn't want you to see. I can see that, in the end, that helped you be the person you are now and I love who that is. For your future, most of all I wish for you happiness, love and security. Love, Mom & Dad | The | LEE'S
5: To my dear sister on her 60th Birthday. What a milestone on the journey that is your life. When I set out to look for a photo of the two of us that captured a memorable shared experienced, I was quite surprised to see how few photos I actually have of us together. You are usually the person taking the pictures so it's kind of difficult to be in them as well. Your photography rocks! We have had our ups and downs throughout our lives, but we have always had a tight bond and a determination that saw us through every situation, no matter how difficult, and brought us closer together. You are very precious to me and I am fortunate to have you for a sister and I am always mindful of that fact. We have shared many wonderful experiences over our lifetime, such as my spring visit in 1994, captured in this photo, when we spent an exhilarating | day sailing on San Francisco bay. I always look back on that day fondly along with all the other life experiences we have shared both with family, your time in Boston and during my visits to California. I want you to know how proud I am of you in all your accomplishments, both professionally and personally. I admire your tenacity, passion and ability to take on any challenge life throws at you and handle it with grace and courage. You are a unique individual and I love you very much. I wish for you every happiness and fulfillment today and always. Happy Birthday sweetheart! Love, Paul
7: To Buckweat... In these years of age and old... the memories of youth unfold and take me back to sunny times when you and I would draw with rhymes... rising suns on eastern shores gave hope to dreams of myth and lore... long gone in changed realities... and struggles with finality. I miss that heart of girls in niche... working for the common goal of love and loving...finding peace... within the female heart and soul. I wish you all the happiness that life and loving may express in all the years that we remain... my thoughts of you remain the same. I have great love for you my friend though the roads we travel seldom cross. Robin | Atlanta, Florida & London
8: To BW on her 60th Barreling down the road in your humpback red Volvo on your way to shoot some hoops with the Shooting Stars. Maybe you still have the basketball my father bought for you before he died. Tenacatita – going out in the pangas with the Mexican fishermen. Swimming with tropical fish in the clear, warm ocean. Feeding the crabs fish and watching them drag the pieces down into their holes. Oops, the chunk is too big; down goes | MENDOCINO DAYS | the crab and sand comes flying out until the hole is big enough to hold its treasure thank you for the gifts you gave me. Sorry for past pains. Wishing you health, happiness, love, friends all the BEST the life has to offer. Dobie | Hi to BW I think we must have been in our twenties when we met. BW was the quintessential young butch, with that fabulous Southern accent - playing basketball and doing house painting. Then went off to school on the East Coast and I didn't see her for many years. We reconnected when she came back to California. I think one of the things I've always loved about BW was her willingness to explore and talk about feelings, even the painful ones. She didn't shy away from the difficult issues and through the years has grown stronger in speaking her truth, and encouraging her friends to speak ours too. Love you BW, Helen
9: Happy Birthday BW! Wow, we’ve been friends since the beginning of time I think, at least 30+ years. You were a mere babe (or is it baby? :) when we met. I’ve never been known for my memory, but some of what comes to mind is when you stayed with me during a serious illness and recovery when I lived in the “cliff” house and was struggling with the Soup House. Then after you were well you gave me so many days and hours of your time in the Soup House. You just stepped right in and you were such a tremendous help. I also remember your music – Neil Young – your beautiful voice and guitar. I still think about your serenading me now and then! I’ll always remember how you came up here after moving to the City to attend the “Soup House Reunion & Mendo Rec Center Fundraiser” in 1994. You arrived, | saw how overwhelmed we were, and again, pitched right in and started helping serve dinners. I’ve sent you pictures to prove it. We served over 500 people that night and raised a lot of money! I also have fond memories of visiting you in the City and helping you a little as you refurbished the cabin on Harriet’s land. You turned it into a sweet place. It was always such a treat when you would come up here to work on the cabin and sometimes spend a few days with me (thanks for the guest bed!). Of course, if we spent some time together and started reminiscing, many more memories would come, but for now let me just say what a wonderful and loving friend you have always been and how much I treasure your friendship. Lots of love to you, Barb | From Karen When I was living in San Francisco, you repeatedly encouraged me to come to the women's country dance evenings. I'm not that fond of country music, but I am fond of women and dance, so eventually I went. I had an ok time, but I wasn't impressed with the dancing. It seemed heavy footed, simple and rather boring - until you managed to get away from the sound system and onto the dance floor with Kieren. Suddenly, country dancing became something entirely different - and quite amazing. You subtly and gently led Kieren through graceful and complicated moves. There was so much musicality in your dance that it changed my opinion of country dancing. You were a delight to behold. Since then, each time I have watched you dance, I've been moved by the beauty and joy you bring to the form.
10: Beedub Bee double you Bee double ewe Beedub I think the first time I met BW Was with Dobie She was a young country dyke jock (like my trillium cohorts) Basketball player in white tight t-shirt and red satin shorts Hot and fast on the courts Running up and down the fort bragg gym floors Beedub and Rumble (my heart throb) strutting their stuff and Redwing trying so hard to remember what it felt like in 7th grade when I actually was on a basketball team, (my first and last attempt) I was pretty good at shooting baskets at 13, But now, at 20, having left one hippielesbo commune To come to Albion to join the “women’s basketball team” (the excuse I used to leave Oregon to move to Albion) One had to laugh I had to laugh at myself-- Thunderthighs in red satin shorts Breasts bouncing up and down the courts And then the ultimate challenge from our rival team--- Those lesbians don’t wear deodorant!!! Beedub Strong body Strong spirit Soft heart Re-connecting here and there Through these years Of aging and sagging Losing friends and lovers Leaving friends and lovers Changing and rearranging our lives As spirit leads us | And yet returning Always To friends Remembering, when I landed in the City That I actually had old friends here Beedub Helping me paint my crazy colors In my new home away from home Once again, the “pro” Leading the crew, knowing what to do No satin shorts But a sureness of what she knew Long talks, some walks Beedub the dancer Meeting her match, Marrying her mate Carrying on Through the lives and deaths of family and friends Reaching out for support When she knew I knew, what she was going through And me feeling so glad to lend a hand Knowing there is an old friend in one’s midst Is a great comfort Not too many people knew me as a basketball player! Beedub at sixty Strong body Strong mind Soft and open heart All ways | Some Thoughts for BW At sixty (from Redwing, at fifty nine)
11: Dear BW, This is how I see you, but I’m writing in the third person so others may share my vision. I have known BW since around 1977-78 and she has always amazed me. She is like the Redwood Trees that surrounded the cabin that she lived in on my land as a young woman—strong in her convictions and direction, straight in the sense of seeking honesty and integrity, of wanting to give you her best, evergreen in her loyalty and dependability and always so beautiful. I think that BW must have been born with a very old and wise soul. Or if not born with it she grew it early on. Her love and dedication to her family to her sisters Barbara and Sue was manifest even if giving of that love might have been difficult for others to give. She has loved her parents and brother with a strong heart and individual attention, not just with duty. She was a sweet friend, a guitar teacher and sanctuary for my daughter Allison when BW lived with us and I was a somewhat distracted Mom. I could not find the pictures of them together but I did find one of Ally playing the guitar and probably singing Golden Slumbers which BW taught her. BW would make forays into the main cabin and surprise me by cleaning all of my records-yes youngsters vinyl was all we had-although BW might have had one of those newfangled cassette players. We had many sweet talks about life, feminism, film, and how to have a true relationship. | BW did not live with us for a long time. She was young and had places to go-skills to learn and the larger world to see. We never lost contact and no matter how many years past we could move into the old comfortability and conversation in about 10 minutes. Later when Larry became part of my life her warm openness included him as well. One aspect of BW that has astonished me through the years is how darn well she does things. When she studied film making and became an editor she always had a job were others gave up the field. When she started to paint, her house became full of fabulously colorful abstracts and you would have thought she had been painting for years. When she danced two step, she became a DJ and promoter to help share her love of dance with her community. She created a fabulous home out of a basement apartment and then with Kieren, a wonderful garden patio. She has more energy and passion and skills than almost anybody I know. And when she found her life partner, Kieren, she committed herself with great love. So my dear BW—I am sorry we cannot be with you on this important birthday for I would love to put my arms around you and give you a very big squeeze of appreciation for all I have learned from you, but we are in Mexico. I wanted you to know that my life would have been less without you being in it and how much I have admired you throughout these years. My birthday wish for you is that you realize that not only is the | heart of the Redwood true -- but the roots go very deep and that whatever the coming years bring, I hope that the creativity, passion, and vision that is who you are will continue to burn. And although I am the older women and getting close to 70 I plan to be around to see what great things you come up with. L'Chaim --“To Life” for you and Happy Birthday Love, Harriet
12: Happy 60th Birthday,Dearest BW! Scientists today study social networks and friendships. They debate weighty questions, but our friendship had a different basis. 32 years of histories; of protest and celebration. We organized, we made up Direct Actions. You helped me grow up! Meeting you was life-changing, like meeting an experienced guide what I learned: How to be more kind Macrobiotic eating and Brewer’s yeast on popcorn How to remove wall paper, spackle and paint “If you want it done right, hire a woman” Flea bombing carpets What a butch was Why I am a femme How to make super 8 movies How to be emotionally honest and present How to be an unapologetic woman and feminist in any situation Compassion and commitment Nurturing and healing matter as much as anger That you are the most wonderful, loyal and loving of friends. For these reasons and so many more, I wish you happiness, joy, creativity, health, power and all the gorgeous femme energy in the world. I LOVE YOU BW! (Kate sends her love too.) Urv | P.S. The question you must be asking by now is where are all my photos of you? In the storage area on the Cape, I’m afraid. So I did what all content-less people do, made a PowerPoint. xxx
13: BOSTON | Dear BW -- It is hard to believe that you are turning 60 or that it was 33 years ago that we met as newcomers to Boston. Lord knows what happened to my photos and memorabilia from those days, amazing as they were! I haven't been able to find them, so there no visuals just good thoughts to accompany my birthday wishes to you: I wish you much love and happiness always, but especially on your big birthday. I wish you good times, fun and fulfillment in everything you do. I wish you good and loyal friends who can comfort and challenge you, and make you laugh. I wish you good health, and lots of stamina and energy to do all the thing that are on your wish list. | I wish you the time and resources to travel to new and interesting places, and to revisit some of your favorites. I wish you good haircuts and great food, wonderful music and a hassle free car. But most of all, I wish you lots of love and a very happy birthday. All my very best to you on this special day. May there be many, many more! Betsy | From practically being roommates in Allston back in the early ‘80s and making sure Urv survived her asthma attacks, to Lesbian Feminists Revolting and too many meetings at your house, to loving our sweet companions Rocky and ‘Nista and sharing our love lives in the hot tub, to standing up for you at your wedding in 2007, it’s been a long and steady friendship. Every year we jointly celebrate the fact that our birthdays are just three days (and one year) apart, and even though we can’t manage to see each other as much as we’d both like during the rest of the year, we maintain a bond that is unbroken – and trust in the knowledge that we’re there for each other. Welcome to 60! It’s not so bad when we can go through it together with true friends. I love you and love that at 60 you’re still who you were, and are, and will be, at your core. With affection and excitement for what comes after 60, Eileen | BW, my dear friend, | BUDDIES
14: For BW, I lived in a house with BW when I had just moved to the Boston area. BW painted houses for money and she experimented with her own room. One day, she painted each wall a slightly different shade of gray and directed me to look at the corner, where the three walls intersected so that I could see that they were in fact different shades of gray and how it all worked together. We always had company in the house -- Laura's sisters or friends. Once there was a lesbian performer staying over. Her group was called "Ova". I bought several of her music tapes and I STILL HAVE THEM!!! | BW amazes me! She's a strong person with deep feelings and great old friends! My wish for BW is for her heart to be content and for her life to remain full of her art, her friends, her wife and all that gives her expression and contentment. Happy Birthday BW!!! I'm glad to still know you and to have watched you mature into the amazing person that you've always been. Hugs forever! Adrienne
15: BW Moves Back to California This time to San Francisco | My Father always said, "The best experiences are those that are shared." So you and I have had a lot of bests. Wonderful times walking in Marin, working in the yards, building all kinds of stuff and shopping for trees. You came into my life and comforted me when I needed a friend the most and we've been there for each other ever since. Congratulations to you on your birthday. Love, "Bretty Boy" | Dear BW, A very happy 60th from Ellen and me. I can tell you from personal experience that there is life after 60. And if, as I am and as you seem to be, you are fortunate enough to be sharing that time with the woman of your dreams, then it can be the best of times. Treasure each moment together. I wish you health and happiness and love always. Your Friend, Earl | For BW: At this milestone event, I want to quote William Purkey: “You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sign like no one is listening, And live life like it’s heaven on earth.” I feel blessed that we met on the dance floor and sustained a friendship these past 20 years. You’re a pretty awesome person and I’m honored to call you a friend. Alex and I wish you many more years of good health, happiness, and harmony in your life, and we look forward to another 20 years of friendship. Happy 60th birthday! Love, Jill G
16: BW Lee A very, very special person, indeed! I've known her probably 10-12 years. I met her when I was making a HUGE direction-change in life, moving from the biotech world, great job, great salary, good bonuses, to go back to school to learn acupuncture and Chinese medicine....utter financial insecurity and high risk. There were a lot of people in my life who thought I was certifiably crazy. But BW was supportive in a quiet, sincere, steady way. It was an emotional support that helped to ground me in my true purpose. BW came to me for treatments, and followed me as I moved my practice from the school's clinic to my first practice in the Mission District, then to a quirky private office in Pacifica and finally to my deluxe digs very near the sea in Pacifica. She rooted for me, referred others to me, thanked me. She (and Kieren) came to my | graduation exercises when I received my doctorate degree and cheered from the audience. They invited me to their wedding, which was such an honor! They've introduced me to Jasmine, who is truly one classy dame!! I am truly grateful that this woman was born, and that she has taken good care of herself so that those of us lucky enough to be close to her can enjoy her in her prime! I am grateful to her parents for whatever they did to help her to grow into the fine woman she is today. And I am grateful to all her friends (and Kieren) for nourishing and supporting her fine character. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BW!!!!! With Love and Good Wishes, Ella Woods | I have known BDub by chance. Moving into a aging Victorian 20 years ago, Kent and I soon grew to know neighbors. BW was the strong woman downstairs with a southern way, the lovely garden and of course, Rocky. We have been friends and neighbors, with a family friends (and pets) that extends much more. Kieren brought out the cuddlier side that I always knew was there. Much love, Happy Birthday! | Peter
17: BW You are willing to see and be seen. You touch with your realness, with your honesty - inviting those around you to reflect more deeply on their own lives. You are using your life experiences, distilling them into a special nectar that soothes and heals. You bring compassionate understanding. You possess the wisdom and kindness of the elder; the interest, engagement and youthfulness of the young- your spirit embraces both sides of the spectrum- being timeless and whole. Happy 60th Birthday BW Many blessings to you today and always! It was a great joy and honor for me to officiate your and Kieren’s wedding, to feel your love for each other, to see you dancing together - on the dance floor and through your lives. I love to engage with you two in inner explorations. I am touched by your big heart, by your vulnerability, and strength. You are willing to stretch outside the conventions and go for a life of your dreams. You see the sculpture even when it is partly hidden in the stone. BW, I see you. You are so precious! May you relax into and trust your blossoming! With love, Odilia | To Our Friend BW on Her Birthday! There are few people that compare to BW. She listens with her heart and comforts in times of need. She stands up for what she believes in, even if it gets her into hot water. Nobody can say she doesn't lack courage to face life's tough times. What's different about her is she takes the extra steps to help others face their challenges even when dealing with her own. In true form, she recently visited and helped a work colleague sick in the hospital. She also talked everyday to her boss about the loss of his mother. It reminded me how she rallied our colleagues around the birth of our premature daughter, Elsie, which I will always cherish. She has helped me in so many ways, and I am grateful. Her spirit lifts us past the point of "Can't" and is always "Let's Do." She is the spirit that keeps me content at work -- always doing and always listening. One who knows her limits but has the heart that knows no limits. I found this simple poem on the Internet with the search for Momma Bear.:) A Friend in Deed Listening, Comforting, Smiling, Loving, Caring, Sharing. A Friend in Deed. Love, Arthur, Debbie, | Elsie & Jack
18: I don’t know when BW and I met. Must be when she came to Channel 5. I don’t even know what BW stands for. But when I go to work each day, there are few people in the building who help make my day like she does. When I hear that folksy southern greeting “hey now,” my blood pressure immediately goes down a few notches. I know behind that friendly voice is also a friendly ear, someone I can talk to, who’ll listen to my water-cooler complaints, laugh with, and rely on. But it’s not just at work. My son Edward has a play fortress because of BW. I have a wonderful redwood fence to keep well-meaning neighbors at bay because of BW. The list goes on, but she’d be 61 by the time I finish. “Because of BW” is all you need understand. She lends her time to those who simply need her help. That’s the definition of a friend. That’s BW. Happy Birthday, BW. Wayne, Corbin, | BW, You are witty and wise. your friendship is priceless. Happy Birthday Jen Mistrot | Oh those fabulous Dyke Marches! Happy Birthday Love, Fritz | Happy Birthday Cowgirl! I hope your days are filled with love and laughter. Take good care. | Love Kelly Lyon | & Edward
19: There once was a gal with a vacuum. Clean it up! No ordinary vacuum That lil’Nellie Suck it up! No ordinary Gal Ms Linda Lee Change attachments! Why.that vacuum could: Bust the dirt Eat the mold Erase the must Incinerate the dust They were a team Lil Nellie and Ms Linda Lee Together Walls gleam Floors beam Rugs come alive Cobwebs be jive Lil Nellie and Ms Linda Lee Our place was a mess Wow what a mess Just the time for Nellie Scrub a dub dub Nellie and B Dub Arachnids fled | Dust balls just said: “I’m outta here, Ted” A job well done So, let’s have some fun Hey! 60 ain’t bad It’s just 30 And 30 again Whoa! So DANCE Ms Linda Lee And PRANCE Paint Ms Linda Lee But don’t faint Giggle now Sizzle later Shake it Go ahead and bake it May the SUN warm your feet And the MOON light your way Upwards and Onwards Your buddy, | Mark Jacqua
20: On the Ranch ... | That hat ain't just for show!
21: And All Your Other Devoted Friends
22: Dear BW, Who would have thunk that you and I would live to see the day where there was a “6” attached to our birthdays!!! And that twenty years would have passed since the “grand Opening” of the Country Nights at the Montclair Women’s Club in Oakland! And with all the “dyke drama” going around it was a miracle that so many gay women actually got along from 7:30-11:00 every Friday night. Well a big part of the success had to do with all the support you gave Country Nights through the years ... your great energy ... our big smile ... and that BLACK HAT! | I will never forget the Country Nights Reunion Dances you produced along with your Gay Country TV broadcasts. It was all part of the “blue” that created a women’s “dance family” I like to call it, that was quite unique...and gave birth to many long-term friendships and “support-ships” between women who met at the dances. I am delighted that your life has thrived through the years ... and that you finally met your soul mate (I can tell from the way Kieren organized this whole surprise birthday book). You’re a lucky gal to have found such a supportive and loving partner. | So ENJOY YOUR DAY ... and your life. I hope to see your cute face after I move back to California (ETA March 2014) when I finally “retire” from working my butt off. My partner (of 13 years) Jade and I will be moving to Sacramento and “commuting” to the Bay Area for women’s dancing. So don’t be surprised to run into us. Lots of love to you on your 60th. Ger
23: Dear BW, The first time I saw you was on the dance floor at Geri’s dance. I was totally blown away by the ease with which you glided across the dance floor, by your hat (!), by our willingness to be butch (I was just beginning to learn!). You became my instant role model for how I wanted to look on the dance floor. Since I’ve gotten to know you, although dancing remains something we both love, I’ve discovered depths that go, of course, way beyond dancing. I consider you a good friend with whom, even though we don’t see or talk to each other very often, I have a great deal in common and share a deep bond. When you first started dating Kieren, I of course felt naturally protective and needed to it check you out! Luckily, this didn’t take long and wasn’t difficult. In addition to the wonderful dancer I already knew you to be, you are a wonderful, loving, caring person. One of my life thrills was to be part of your wedding. It was a loving, joyous, memorable event. | Turning 60 is indeed a milestone. But that’s really only because it’s a number that ends in”0”. It’s another year of experiences, learnings, joys, and sorrows. I always look at getting older as “it beats the alternative!” It can certainly be challenging, and uncomfortable, and annoying, etc., etc. But that’s part of the bargain we made, consciously or otherwise, when we came into this life. And I hope we all, today especially including you, get every bit as much pleasure and love and laughter out of it as possible! Happy Birthday! Love, Barbara | Gay Country! | Very best wishes for all the Happiness, Love, Good Health and Prosperity you so richly deserve. With great admiration and affection... | Beverly
24: Happy 60th Birthday, dear BW! Such a milestone! You probably don't know how significant you have been to me because most of the time we have met only on the dance floor, which seems so public and non-intimate. But, like the one pillar that holds up the whole house, it's the one encounter with the right person at the necessary moment that forms us. You are part of my mental wise women council, and knowing you has helped me keep love at the center of my life when it was so tempting to hate or shut down. I love you for private things like the strength of your support during my hideous breakup, and how you included me at dances and made me feel safe and visible. | I love your honor, your self-examination and vulnerability, and the gentleness with which you listen to others. I highly valued your trust. I particularly love how you loved Kieren. She was our little injured bird, and you seemed to be the one who could enfold her in love and she would stay and heal. I was so moved and happy that I cried through your whole wedding and was so honored to be asked to serve. You so bravely joined our tango performance group, and your determination to both succeed and remain human at the same time inspire me still as a dancer and a person. If I can find myself as strong, constant and loving when I turn 60 as you are, I will be very proud. I am so proud and grateful to know you, and call you my friend. Love and kisses,Winter Held | Fondly, Kathleen Archambeau | I first met BW whirling around the Country Western Friday Night Dance. She actually twirled in the right direction, belying her Georgia roots. When she puts on a 10-gallon hat and vest, watch out! No one can take a girl around the dance floor faster and with more aplomb than BW. Outside the Hotel Maritim in Koln, BW told the stories for which she is now famous. No one can spin a yarn like a Southern girl -- we should all be so lucky to hear just one of her tales. Happy Birthday, BW! Remember, 60's the new 40.
25: B.W. told me once what the letters stand for with a promise to not to tell. Don't worry, at my age, I have already forgotten it. You have touched my heart and made me feel that I am not alone in this world. You are a wonderful woman and I love you. Welcome to the WISE age. Hugs, | Dear BW, Well, we’ve known each other for a very long time, mostly from acute observation, but never seemed to have a chance to really be friends with the dancing, the women, the heartbreak and more dancing to smooth over the heartbreak. Thank God for dancing! Please know that through it all I have learned to appreciate your stamina to find and be happy with the woman of your dreams and felt privileged to be at your beautiful wedding to Kieren. It was a gift to yourself, each other and your community. I look forward to experiencing you in your sixties. Whoa! Love and congratulations, | I met BW 14 years ago when I had just moved to this country from Wales. I knew no one and immediately went dancing at Geri’s country nights dance. Jill Gover invited me up to Leytonville where she had a house and BW was going up too. So I spent a weekend with Jill and BW. BW made the most amazing fried okra, I still remember it and had not believed that okra could taste so good! I think BW did most of the cooking for us femmes that weekend. However that wasn’t what amazed me most. We drove back to the Bay together, just BW and me, and what stayed with me was how real and honest and deep she is. How there is no polite chit chat but deep, | real conversation about the important things in life. BW, I love how you know who you are and you don’t shy away from the hard things, that you face yourself and life with honesty and integrity. Of course you are also an amazing dancer and cut quite a swash in your cowboy hat, and have made my friend Ki very, very happy -- all of those are wonderful things, but the most wonderful for me is what is in the heart of you. | With love, Zoe | Auriel | Maya
26: BW: Strong One of our first memories of you is the day we were all helping Kieren move. We think this is the first time we met you. We had tried to lift a file cabinet, and it was too heavy for us. Marcia’s shoulder was out, Maureen’s back was a bit tender. We told Ki, “I think we’ll need some help to move the file.” Suddenly you walked in just carrying that sucker. By yourself. “Where do you want this?” you asked, casual as anything. “Hmm,” we said to one another. “That girl is strong!” BW: Smile And then we saw your fabulous smile. Attached to your soul. Reflecting kindness. A good thing. Because, honestly, anyone who was going to sweep Kieren off her feet better be a VERY good person. “I like her!” we said to one another. “She’s obviously totally devoted to Kieren. She gets the seal of approval.” | BW: Tender We saw your sweet tenderness. To Kieren, to her friends, to us. To Ki’s family, to your own. We have this particular memory of your kindness to your dad the day after your wedding. He was a little confused, maybe a bit abrupt, and you were completely patient and kind with him. You smiled as you watched him, and your eyes were filled with love. “It’s wonderful to see BW’s devotion to family,” we said to one another. “This is something she and Kieren both share so deeply—a very cool thing about their marriage.” BW: More Of course there is more. We have not mentioned smart, talented, funny, playful, generous, creative, thoughtful. And a darn good dancer, too! We are so glad we know you, and we launch you with love into this new decade of life. With all you bring to it, it’s bound to be fantastic! Love, Marcia and Maureen | P.S. (from Kieren) The reason why there aren't more photos of Marcia is that she's normally behind the camera. Along with being one of my very best friends, Marcia was our wedding photographer. | From Henry: I was very fortunate to have meet BW about 15 years ago. She has always been instrumental in keeping my office complex looking great. She has always maintained our landscaping with beautiful plants and a watchful eye. She is the epitome of a renaissance woman, being well- rounded and knowledgeable in many matters. I truly value our friendship. I'm really that she is in our family's life. We love you BW!
27: BW Lee: a portrait in my memory snippets "You're startin' to scare me, babycakes" calm and collected, awesome southern drawl, BW is sitting in the back of my car, hanging on. I'm driving and chatting, drinking coffee and probably texting. My other passengers laugh nervously, thankful someone said something. Thankful it was BW. "You look tired. You should quit your job." I love it. I LOVE IT! Who says things like "You look tired. You should quit your job"? She says it and I think "Yeah. I am tired. And I should quit my job!" BW notices that I get tired. She notices that I lost weight and is concerned. She notices I've got more color and smiles. I see BW once every couple months, briefly, and in those few moments I know that nothing bad will happen, because BW notices these things. | Because she is calm and present and has that awesome southern drawl. And because she cares. She's got a cooler full of home-cooked food. I don't know how she got it here. I don't know how she lugged a cooler across the world, how she cooked a meal, how she got it from the hostile to the ballroom. It's a ballroom. We're in a ballroom, and BW has a cooler full of home-cooked food. I guarantee there are greens in there. Greens and broccoli and some vegetarian form of protein because she knows I don't eat meat. Here in this ballroom. We're in suits and gowns and our fanciful finery. We are glitter and sweat, nerves and aspirations. We are trying our hardest and succeeding and failing. But BW has sustenance. She made it herself, thinking of us. She lugged it across the world and shopped for ingredients and thought about what would nourish us and she cooked it and packed it and, miraculously, brought it here. To nourish us. | by Emily Coles | Dearest BW, Congratulations on advancing to Crone status in the world! You have always had wisdom beyond your years, so reaching 60 will no doubt just expand the wisdom even more. I just wish I could come celebrate with you. I appreciate the instant and strong connection we have made, and I want you to know how much that connection has helped sustain me in my move across the waters on my own. Here's wishing you the happiest of birthdays - I will be sending warm greetings across the miles. | Much love, Jill
28: Happy Birthday, BW! Thank you for being such a wonderful friend to me and my mother at the trying times for both of us. Your help was irreplaceable. I am looking forward to parties at your wonderful place, to hanging around on Emily's deck, to cheering for our favorites on the dance floor and to traveling the world together. Here is to health and lots of energy for many more enjoyable times we will have together. Oh, and the horse... well, it's beautiful, and I hope it makes you feel good. :) Katerina | To BW: BW, What I want you to know: I remember the time we met ....you were very sweet, warm and welcoming. it felt wonderful! ....and watching you lead two step is a joy ;) What I really think: you scored a hot young thing. How cool is that?! Besos! Andrea
29: Dear BW, Happy 60th! What an age to achieve, and what a future beyond it to cherish! I like this poem below for capturing a spirit of liberation, rebellion and energy (even though I don't like purple at all, and will probably never wear it!), and for describing a future which is so at odds with what many anticipate... I wish you a rich, fulfilling, and rebellious future, and hope there are more than a few moments in which we intersect. Go well into, and through, your next decades! Love from Ginny x | Warning When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick flowers in other people's gardens And learn to spit. You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go Or only bread and pickle for a week And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes. But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our rent and not swear in the street And set a good example for the children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers. But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple. Jenny Joseph | Happy Birthday BW. I hope you have a wonderful birthday filled with fun and celebration with great friends and family. My wish for your post-60 years is simple: Continued Love with Kieren; deep and meaningful | friendships; Laughter on a daily basis to keep things light; Family, be they blood or chosen, to act as a fortress during life's stormy moments and to help you celebrate the great ones; Health for | Ana Chavier | you and your loved ones; andPeace in your heart. Best Wishes for a fantastic birthday celebration! Sincerely,
30: Dear BW, You have been a bright spot in my life, first as the true love and support for my dear Kieren, and then as a true friend in your own right. These are some of my favorite memories of you: Visiting the newsroom on New Year's Eve was so interesting and adventurous. I loved seeing where you work and understanding more about what you do. Seeing you, Sunny and Kelley dressed in sailor costumes for the production of my dissertation. What handsome sailor you make! Dancing country 2-step with you, always so much fun. You are a fantastic lead! Watching how happy you were at your wedding made my heart feel full. I've always admired the relationship that you have with Ki. You two maintain your love and passion even though difficulties. I see it in you every time I visit. Talking with you in Cologne during one of my emotional moments really helped me feel loved. And of course, the scene in this picture, racing around San Francisco as our fearless driver collecting photos of gay history. Happy Birthday! I'm so glad you were born. Love, Andy | Happy 60th BW! May this new decade bring more peace into your life, abundant laughter, multitudes of loving friends and family, jubulous joy, and all the love you could ask for. Through all the dancing and partner changing, I want to take this time to express how much I appreciate your openness, acceptance, and sincerity. It can be hard to support everyone, not simply graciously, but with truth in one’s heart. I feel like you have done just that. Your warmth and the beauty of your smile has always made me feel welcome in your presence. I am thankful our spirits have crossing paths. May you enjoy all the gifts that you have been able to give to others. Happy Birthday! With Love, Sunny Williams
31: My Dearest BW, I am ever thankful for your friendship, for your sisterhood, for the love you give so freely. You have brought laughter to my heart, candy to my eyes, and yummy bits of goodness to my soul. You have given me your hand in friendship - freshly washed of post-baggage residue, warmed through sincerity, and genuinely inviting to touch, to linger, to hold, to cherish. You have inspired me to embrace and seek out my inner cougar, to be fearless in my pursuit of happiness, and have shown me that people really can dance as if nobody’s watching. :^) BW, you are a super-shiny-shiny jewel, sparkling with the light of friends, strong and enduring through life’s challenges, joyous and cognoscente and appreciative of the gifts in your life. You are a treasure-an invaluable and insurmountable booty of awesome. Thank you for being my friend in this life! Love, forever and a day, Kelley | To BW: I searched for poems that may be fitting and could not find one. I looked for poems about age and wisdom or ones that speak of one’s great qualities. I looked at poets such as Maya Angelou and Emily Bishop. Their poetry is wonderful of course, but didn’t quite fit. So I ditched that idea and here is what came forth. First, I appreciate that you are reaching 60 before me. It’s wonderful to have great women trailblazing this part of the journey. And you are one of them. I have much respect for you from having talked with you back when and in watching you over the years. You speak from your heart. You are real without pretense. You have a loving way with your wife that speaks volumes of your deep love for her. Your commitment to videotaping competitions is a dance unto itself; different from Ki’s, but a dance nonetheless. Balancing up on a chair and maneuvering between tables and chairs is not easy. You have a way with children that is warm and engaging. Bottom line is you are special, to a lot of folks including the dance community and me. Hold on to that truth. I bought a b’day card years ago to save for inspiration when I “matured”. It read, “The art of aging gracefully is becoming more of who you are.” I share that with you and wish you many, many blessings for this special time in your life. With love, Kathy
32: Salt Walter Pine Wood (she walks on Earth) Solitude Bread Wife Guitar (she has a Buddha in her hand) | Astrid | Helle | Now use Google translate to find out what I wrote! | BW, you have always been so beautiful, sweet, kind and encouraging. I hope to get to know you better, but what I already know of you I love. Let's dance again soon. | Love, Citabria xoxo
33: BW, I have some really interesting memories with BW. The first night we met was for dinner at Nirvana. She told me her name but I did not get it and she explained: “It’s BW, like buckwheat.” That stuck with me, she had to repeat it a couple of more times but it worked. And can you imagine jogging in a ballroom floor during a competition/ general dancing break? Oh yes, it happened. It was BW’s idea to help relax. We took a couple of rounds.BW kind of took me under her wing after she met me; it has been such an incredible experience, to have siblinghood. And she was totally cool to have me lead her and teach me now to dance two-step. | Marcos
34: First they met... | ...then they married
36: ...and they traveled | New Zealand | London
37: Paris, Cologne & Prague
38: welcome to the Jameson Clan | "Who were you talking to...and why do you look so happy?" I say. "Hmm...Just someone," she (my little sister) says happily. "Kieren you look fantastic and so happy—better than you have in a long time. What is going on, you're meant to be depressed and mourning an ex!" "Well, actually, I've kinda met someone..." NOTE: This would explain Kieren’s miraculous adaptation back to the carnivore state in which she originally left these fine shores before being corrupted by the trendy alternative California west-coasters. "Bloody hell, that’s great, who is she?" "Her name is BW," Kieren says... "Are you serious!? What sort of name is that?" "Well," says Kieren, "her name is Linda but everyone calls her BW." "Ok," I say, "but what does BW stand for?" “Actually I'm not sure, but I hope to find out soon!" It is fair to say that BW Lee has a bit of a cult following in Wellington, maybe we have all been hooked by her calm, gentle demeanor and positive energy (and cool drawly voice!). I can truly attest that this fabulous woman has been the best thing for my little sis and we are so blessed to know her and have her as part of our family. Our friends here, who have met BW, are equally enamored and inquiries continually arise as to her and Kieren’s wellbeing. You are loved!! Happy Birthday Gorgeous! | When we visit BW we love... Her truck (a “ute” in NZ) and the way she can drive and talk fast at the same time Her real country shirts and the way they are rolled up on the arms Her CBS rock star friends and their obvious respect for her Her addiction to vanilla coffee, and our attempted efforts to love it as much as she does Her Dad and his WW2 cap Her cowboy boots and the miracle of Kieren’s conversion to them Her positive attitude and how it makes us all feel better | A Conversation with My Sister | Wellington, New Zealand, March 2006 | Love, Janine, David, Stella, Siena, Joe, Ike
40: Our first contact with BW was a phone call when Kieren was on her way back to the States in March 2007. Kieren had spent two weeks back in NZ and told us that she had met someone new but was not a lot more forthcoming than that. When she boarded her flight back to San Francisco, we knew that she was a little sad to be leaving but also a little excited about getting back to SFO. About 3 hours after her flight departed, we had a phone call from a woman who introduced herself as BW and explained that she and Kieren had recently met and were hoping to take their relationship to a new level. We were immediately impressed by BW’s caring nature. She explained that she wanted to ring because she thought that we might be feeling sad with Kieren having just departed, a feeling she totally understood because she had gone through the same experience only two weeks earlier. She wanted to reassure us that that she would take good care of our “baby”. Thinking back to Kieren’s reactions as she was getting ready to board the plane, we realised that BW’s feelings for Kieren were definitely reciprocated. We have had the opportunity to stay with Kieren and BW on our visits to San Francisco and to BW’s family in Georgia; they have stayed with us on their visits to New Zealand and we will shortly join them for a period in Europe. We continue to be impressed by BW’s caring nature, her intelligence and her love of life. Whether it is in conversation with her folks and siblings in Georgia and Boston, with her friends and co-workers at the | studio or with her [wide] circle of friends – BW is seldom heard to say a bad word about anyone. She focuses on the good in people and always finds something kind to say. BW has been very supportive of Kieren and her aspirations, particularly as far as her dancing is concerned. With Kieren’s heavy practice and competition schedule, BW could be likened to a “golf widow”. However, she has provided nothing but the utmost support for Kieren and her exacting programme. As Kieren’s parents, we feel blessed that Kieren and BW have gone from strength to strength in their relationship. BW fits in extremely well with the rest of the Jameson clan and the “nieces and nephews” truly adore their other aunt. A friend is one who is trusted, caring and helpful; for us, BW ticks the box in all three. | About BW | Stuey and Trish
43: Time with you by Kieren How can I measure time with you? It slips through my hands, Faster than my reflexes can react. And still I feel the call of ages spent with you. You help me sort through my bits and bobs, Collected over time, to see what truly fits. You take no prisoners, but are the sweetest of warriors. Propelling me forward. Protecting my back. Helping me sculpt a new me, an old me, a true me. You are not interested in easy truths; You go deep and take me with you. How can I measure time with you, When I have no Einstein mind to see the dimensions of it? I’m learning not to measure, but to live and love you now.