Oh, Connie!

by Malcolm Willison…..

Oh, Connie!  Can you be gone?  Can you really have taken away your impish face, those penetrating eyes, wry smile, the devastating remark?

You would throw out an article or craft a poem that captured us—you could revel in a phrase or reveal a deepest longing.  We so counted on you–your quick wit, your sly remark, your careful edit of your own and others’ exposition and choice of words, your trenchant critique.   Now who will offer us that same left-handed support, the slant observation, such useful advice, the rare insight, even the valuable, scarce piece of news?  You knew so much, past and present, syntax and useful fact.  Where will we go for them?

And how will we fill your now-empty place in our plans, our anticipation of catching up with you tomorrow or sometime, somewhere soon, you rushing through town and all its attractions, letting us know what we should be seeing, doing, experiencing, absorbing?  All across the town, you leave an aching gap in our place and plans, in our on-coming lives.

We shall all be poorer tomorrow without you.  Dear Connie, we will miss you sorely.

~ Malcolm Willison, September 3, 2016

Connie Gilbert, 1939-2016
Connie Gilbert, 1939-2016


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2 thoughts on “Oh, Connie!

  1. I checked my email earlier today, and I got my, “The Blue Paper” email and saw the Connie” headline with the dates below it and my right hand went to my mouth, as if on its own — and I caught my breath. I met Connie Gilbert at one of my first dialogues on race relations (“Dialogue to Change our Destiny”), working at the Key West Citizen. She was present, and supportive — and honest.

    I’m so damned grateful I had the opportunity to fellowship with her for the years there that I did. She was always in my corner, saying, “Deb, we need this!!!”

    I’m happy that I got the chance to see and be with her in May of 2015 when I came down for a Navy reunion. My great friend, Warren Lemard and his wife Abbey hosted a dinner party in honor of our return at their home. Connie was there, as were many of my other old friends in Key West. We had a ball!!! My friend Alex wrote about it here: https://thebluepaper.com/dinner-party/

    Connie Gilbert was a wonderfully, free spirit — I will miss her…

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