“Oh, we’re going to talk about ME, are we? Goody” (goodie, goodey?). A quote from Ms. Tracy Samantha Lord in The Philadelphia Story. Ms. Lord is portrayed by Katharine Hepburn and Grace Kelly in film versions based on the 1939 Broadway play written by Phillip Barry. The play starred, and was financed by, Katharine Hepburn. Phillip Barry specifically wrote the character Tracy Samantha Lord, based on his friend, Philadelphia socialite Helen Hope Montgomery Scott, to be played by Katharine Hepburn. I also happen to love this movie (Hepburn’s film directed by George Cukor is the best). And I adore CK Dexter Haven, along with Mr. Connor, Ms. Imbrie and of course sassy little Dinah Lord!
My point being that I wanted to title this “ME” for “Meditations Epilogue” and instead titled it as is and added a favorite (or favourite) line from The Philadelphia Story which is from the same love era as our David LS and Emily BA.
Confession – I tried to write a sonnet and failed.
This is what I have:
On June 30, 1942, in expectation of another wan moon that night, Emily B Anderson and David Lee Stewart were married in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. David, a dashing 40-year-old southern gentleman, and Emily, a southern beauty at 27. David probably wore his very best seersucker suit, white short-sleeved shirt, summer fedora, and tie. Emily probably wore a pale colored smartly satin-belted strapless dress, sassy little lace fascinator, with a modesty shrug as required by those who cared about that sort of thing. They were married in the church by a Baptist minister. Emily's paternal grandparents were witnesses, along with Ms. Pearl Fisher. The wan moon most likely saw the new Mr. and Mrs. Stewart dancing away to Moonlight Cocktail by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra. Couple o' jiggers of moonlight and add a star ... In 1942, the United States was involved in World War II and had recently banned the sales of new cars in order to conserve steel for the war efforts. Coffee and gasoline were also rationed. About 55% of U.S. households had indoor plumbing (defined as a flushing toilet, a sink with faucet, and a bathtub or shower). The U.S. President was Franklin D. Roosevelt. He ordered the seizure of all Japanese-American's properties and opened Japanese-American internment camps. He ordered the military to define and guard "exclusionary zones" on the West Coast, where any Asian looking person was not allowed, and on the East Coast, where German and Italian Americans were not allowed. The Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, and used a submarine to bomb Ft. Stevens, Oregon. Bambi and Casablanca were released that year, and Bob Hope was very popular. Bing Crosby starred in a little film titled Holiday Inn, and released a recording of the hit song of the year from that film, White Christmas. David Lee Stewart registered for the military by completing a United States World War II Draft Card.
Not long after their wedding, David and Emily Stewart moved to Norfolk, Virginia. There is a naval yard in Norfolk, so perhaps David was assigned somewhere near or around there. His brother, Paul, was a mechanic, making it likely that David was called to the war effort to fulfill his draft obligation as a mechanic.
The Stewarts lived in the Washington, DC/Norfolk, VA area for six to seven years. During this time, Emily worked for a large department store. On July 2, 1945, two months before President Truman declared the end of World War II, Emily gave birth to a squeezy squishy bundle of love baby girl, Nellie. It seems as though they must have had a very loving, high regard for and tight relationship with David’s former childhood neighbors, the Hunters. Both the grandmother and granddaughter were Nellie Hunter. Nellie Hunter, the granddaughter, was about 6 years younger than David, and lived nearby with her grandparents throughout David’s childhood. I love the idea of loving memories being bequeathed to the future with namesakes. This is so very poetically sweet.
A few years after the war ended, the Stewart family returned to Edgecombe County where Emily worked in a local sewing plant. With cotton as a staple crop in the area, I imagine our Emily was busy with a variety of cottony softness items. David’s story is proving to be more elusive.
In 1986 there is a deed recording of transfer of property from the estate of Emily’s mother, Fannie Bond Anderson, to Emily and David.
Sometime in 1990, 88 year-old David became ill, relying on Emily for his care-giving.
On October 20, 1995 there is a deed recording of David and Emily transferring the Anderson property back to Emily’s remaining siblings.
Two days shy of seven months later, on May 18, 1996, David Lee Stewart, 94-years-old, beloved husband to Emily Bond Anderson for 54 years, while waiting for a waxing crescent moon in Gemini (which manifests itself by the need for change), crossed the Tethys sea back to the land of dreams as his soul left his body and he died. After nine more Valentine's Days (or 8 years, 10 months, and 20 days later), on April 7, 2005, back to the Aries wan moon (which manifests itself by uncertainty and quick problem solving), Emily Bond Anderson Stewart also crossed the Tethys sea back to the land of dreams as her soul left her body and at 90 years-old, she joined her David in death. As described in her obituary, "Emily truly exemplified the meaning of steadfast, unfaltering love and care," and I believe it. The second child in a family of ten children, a life partner, a mother, retail professional, seamstress, caregiver to her mother, caregiver to her husband - all steadfast and full of love.
David and Emily’s little Nellie Nell grew up, married, had children and grandchildren. I am carefully packing up the little book as I found it with the sonnets inside, and sending it to Nell with a note and regards. I am grateful that it came to visit me. I am grateful for the moments of magics and imaginations. I am grateful to hold space for the witnessing of big feelings, deep love, creativity, and moving human souls.
Thank you for witnessing with me.
Go, lamp of the night - go to the West, And take your joy, and your pain: But the doubt and the hope that stir in my breast Will linger, to struggle again. (MEDITATIONS Series to E. p.5, David Lee Stewart, 1936 1:00 am In the Country)
Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo
Goodbye David and Emily and Elizabeth and Robert