Eloise Rabon Brunnemer 1913-2013

I was signed up to march across the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday morning as a sign of solidarity with the V-Day events going on around the world. I’d met the organizer of this particular project, Miranda Leigh, at the Omega Women & Power conference I attended last fall. Miranda is the designer of gorgeous, well-designed and symbolic art umbrellas. (I hang mine on the wall between uses as a piece of art.) Miranda had gotten to know Eve Ensler quite well. Eve is the founder of V-Day and creator of The Vagina Monologues. She is a force.

And then I received a phone call that my friend’s mother had passed away and that the funeral would be on Thursday in Westport, CT. I couldn’t do both. How does one prioritize a one-day event and a once-in-a-lifetime celebration? It took me all of two seconds to opt for the funeral, old friends and an event that can never be repeated.

The service was an incredible testimony to Eloise Rabon Brunnemer who had reached the vaunted age of 100 last spring. She never wanted anyone to mention that number (why I don’t know–I’d be shouting it from the rooftops!).

She was the beloved mother of Mary Ann Hall, a remarkable woman and business owner whom I’d met 36 years ago when our daughters were both 2 and in a playgroup together. We were neighbors, became good friends, PTA parents and colleagues over the years.

Mary Ann is the founder of Music for Children, a thriving music education program for young children in which all of my kids participated. Naturally, the music at the service was exquisite starting with a flute rendition of Over the Rainbow. Friends of Mary Ann’s sang and the church reverberated with notes and love. Her son Daniel read from Where the Sidewalk Ends. A gentleman who’d survived the Holocaust, and who had met Eloise on an airplane and become a suitor for many years, spoke eloquently about this fine Southern belle.

There was a crowd of us from Columbus Magnet School days (Mary Ann was President of the PTA back then) who’d known each other for 30+ years there to support her. We stayed and stayed.

I never thought twice about my decision.